September Harvests

It’s quite sad to think we’ve reached the ‘end of’ days. End of long summer nights, end of summer harvests etc. and although I still have some plants on the go, the greenhouse is looking a bit forlorn without all the tomato plants.

A selection of the last of the greenhouse produce

Usually the hydroponic tank races away with tomato growth, but not this year, instead it’s become a winner with the ‘also rans’, not fruiting until the tomatoes in pots were well under way. I planted Berner Rose, Black Opal and Ildi tomatoes in the tank and the latter two have provided an abundant harvest. Berner Rose is a lovely pink tomato, but oh so temperamental. “With delectable red-pinkish medium sized fruits, this heirloom variety is well suited to cooler areas, originating from Switzerland, and grows very easily and reliably in Britain.” This is what the supplier says. I can agree it is delectable and it doesn’t come much cooler than south-west Scotland, so I wonder why, when I provide it with what it prefers, does it provide just one large tomato and a few half-pint sized fruits?

I still have an odd assortment of fruits, freshly picked. Sikkim cucumber has no face appeal with its brownish cracked skin, but it is really nice. Nardelo Sweet Peppers have now ripened The Chillies are uncertain, Basket of Fire is just warming up and Zimbabwe black is tiny. It’s a really pretty plant with dark green to black leaves and a beautiful little, purple flower which develops into a black through to bright red chilli pepper. Worth growing for plant appeal at least.

Kiwano, looking like a mediaeval weapon of war, and just as lethal, isn’t quite ripe yet but it won’t be long. Only two on the vine this year sadly. Brads Atomic Grape tomato has to be the oddest of all tomatoes so far. Blackish fruits, changing to different colours as it ripens and if you have the patience to wait until the fruit changes from rock-hard to squeezable, you will be rewarded by an unusual, but absolutely delicious flavour.

Still producing are the Tromba d’Albenga courgettes, perhaps best described at the moment as baby courgettes. Quite edible even at the small stage. Suzzan lettuce is still going strong and seems to defy giving itself over to the slugs.

I finally pulled down the Achocha vines. They really took off this year, hanging onto everything they could. More a fun plant than anything else really. It has a sort of cucumber flavour when raw, but cooked it’s more like green peppers.

Tomatoes I planted in my neighbour’s greenhouse are doing quite well now. They were under the shadow of a goat willow tree and once we cut that down, the tomatoes started to ripen. When my neighbour stopped growing his own tomatoes, the greenhouse lay empty, so I now get the use of it and I put some tomato plants in it for him to use, making us both winners.

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