I had one job to do in the tunnel this year. It was simple, all I needed to do was pull up all the tomato plant seedlings and compost them - Simple. There were a lot of the self-set plants and I very nearly got them all.
Apart from one.
Just one solitary tomato plant has been left to run free, I took my eye off it for a few weeks and it’s taken over. I estimate the untrimmed, uncared for plant now takes up at least 10 square yards of valuable space in the tunnel. This is how tomatoes grow in their hot, natural habitats, unpinched and not a bamboo cane in sight for them to be tied and trained on.
The crop has been fantastic though although for some reason the fruit is still foamy, just as it was a few years ago when I planted the original seeds. They are tasty enough though so I’ll wait until the frost hits it before I pull it up and compost it. Next year though there will be no tomato plants in the garden, unless I miss one.
I really need to totally clear the tunnel and start again by sterilizing everything as there is a lot of mould growing on leaves, the pots are filthy, greenfly has infested all the broccoli and kale and there are hundreds of slugs and snails feasting on everything but the tomato plant.
“What is the reason for not clearing the tunnel?” I hear you ask.
Well, it’s two frogs. Both of them have been with me all summer sploshing around in the sunken bucket I have in the corner. They give me such hopeful looks when I walk in so how can I destroy their environment just so that I can plant cash crops in an intensive, non-sustainable manner? I’m sure large organizations have this dilemma all of the time and think nothing of clearing rainforests and displacing the residents in the process but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’m sure I’ll find a compromise somehow, maybe just limit their space to half of the tunnel or restrict them somehow. I’m also quite sure that method won’t work either as historically nothing good ever comes from closing boundaries and free movement. So for now the frogs are free to roam to their hearts content and I’ll find a more amicable solution for both of us, after all they are working in the tunnel, there would be far more slugs and snails if they moved away.
I bought some fleece webbing to cover up some pots and protect them from the oncoming cold winter weather. I did a bit of price comparing and there’s a huge difference in the amount being charged and very little (if any) difference in quality. The prices range from €9 down to 90 cent for the same product in the shops. Online was a bit more expensive as postage is included. I got four packs of the 90c sheets of 1.5x5 metres from a shop in Derry. I have also ordered some multi cell trays online to plant up some cuttings which I will be overwintering. It’s a good time to be looking for bags of compost at reduced prices now as the season is ending and shops don’t want old stock lying around all winter.
Autumn bulb planting
I’m going to try and find the pots of spring bulbs this week. Like most years I have them in pots and when they are done flowering I can just put them to one side instead of looking at the leaves dying off for weeks (think daffodils) they also don’t hinder the enthusiastic grass mowing I tend to do after hibernating for a few months. Spring flowering and hardy summer bulbs can be planted now.
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths as soon as possible to give them a good start.
- Plant tulips in November.
- Plant hardy summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia, this month too.
I’ve found that growing them in pots speeds up the flowering and maturing time. They do need watering in dry weather and the soil might need to be changed every so often. Bulbs get a lot of their energy from photosynthesis and tend to absorb energy back into their bulbs as the leaves die down so I haven’t really have an issue with them lacking in nutrients even if I forget to repot them for a year or two.
I do have some spring bulbs in the front garden planted into the soil. I’ll hack back the nasturtiums to see if they are still there.