Autumn is rushing in to this part of south west France now that September has arrived and we are regularly seeing overnight temperatures drop to single figures (C 32 - 50F). Last night it was 9C (48F) again.
The cooler weather is also bringing early morning fog to the garden... I do love these light autumnal mists though. They cover the garden in a delicious softening haze which makes everything look much gentler. Photographers will often use a haze lens to soften the features when they are trying to capture a photograph of a beautiful young model, and that is an attempt to reproduce what nature does when it casts one of the autumnal mists across the garden.
Autumn is also bringing a change in the leaf colours around the garden and, in the photo, you can see our horsechestnut tree, taken on that same misty morning, with the leaves already turned brown and falling.
In the vegetable garden, the tomatoes are coming to an end although there is still a lot of fruit which may or may not ripen on the vines. I shall pick it soon and pull up the plants to make way for raising my winter vegetable seedlings. I shall try and ripen any green tomatoes in a window and then will make green tomato chutney with the ones that don't turn red...I love that chutney and we eat it right through the winter bringing a flavour of summer in the depth of winter.
Starting to think about winter crops for the garden has got me to thinking about what I should do about increasing the size of the plot. I started out earlier this year... the first time I had created a vegetable garden here and I set up two beds, one 8ft x 8ft (2.4m x 2.4m) and a second bed of 8ft x 4 ft (2.4m x 1.2m). The second bed is now full of strawberries and will stay that way for a few years
The first bed has both red and Chinese cabbage along with a large pumpkin vine and a few dregs of the summer crops which will be pulled out shortly.... There are some pumpkins forming on the vine....
I recently extended this bed to 10' x 8' (3m x 2.4m) to allow a path down the middle. I'm not sure whether to create a new 10' x 8' bed or whether to simply extend this one so that it becomes 16' x 10' (4.8m x 3m) I'm inclining towards extending it.
For my winter crops, I have some broccoli and fennel seedlings already on the go although I'm going to start a few more fennel, maybe today.... I'll sow some more cabbage, maybe the Chinese cabbage or maybe another variety and I would like to try some Brussels sprouts.
I read Kate's piece on broad beans yesterday and have decided to grow those as well.... Kate's article reminded me how much I enjoyed broad beans and what better reason is there for choosing a crop....
While I'm mentioning her I'd just like to wish Kate "Bon Voyage" as she sets off on her tour and to remind her that I'll be at the station waiting for her....with lots of people to see and places to go. The first place I am intending to take her is a couple of hours drive north of here, to Sarah, in Charente-Maritime.
I had better get back out in the garden... I still have a construction project to finish and now have less than two weeks before Kate arrives on her "inspection tour"!!! I'm really looking forward to Kate's visit and am hoping to have a lot of fun showing her things and learning from her.