The Last Days of the Summer Crops

By Ruth Miller

The mini aubergine forest (Photograph by Ruth Miller)

It’s warm and some of my plants are still producing crops. There are carrots still stuck in the ground, sweet potatoes unharvested, green beans on limp stalks and a damp miserable-looking giant courgette plant. 

The tomatoes are soggy but haven’t yet caught blight. The mini plot of aubergines still look happy, even in this moment of winter chilliness with the rustling of autumn leaves.

But, I really need to get the garden winter ready- so what should I do? 

Aubergines are perennials, so this year I’m experimenting to see if I can encourage them to survive throughout the winter. Some have been planted into the ground and I will make a poly tunnel for those. Others are in pots, so I’m looking to move a couple indoors. Generally British gardeners seem to not have too much success with them but I’ll give it a go as the UK’s winters are getting warmer.

I also have some fennel in this space and will try and sneak it into the polytunnel.

Peppers can also survive the winter indoors.  They can be brought indoors and put in a light spot. Watering should be reduced and it’s best to prune back the plant. Then all going well, your plant has a head start and will produce a crop earlier on. 

My courgette plants are at the end of their season, so they need to come up, as do the tomatoes. My runner beans are still thriving, so I think I’m going to have to work around them until they stop producing. 

I have a couple of empty container planters, so I will be adding onion fertiliser and planting my winter onions in there soon. 

This is also a good chance to look at the soil and start planning for post winter planting. I need to think about what patches of the garden will be empty over the winter and do they need a green manure. I also need to address my strawberry and raspberry patches which were overrun by bindweed and mint. 

There are lots of little jobs to do and I’ll keep you posted about how things fair!