So some of the foliage in the polytunnel has succumbed to the early morning frosts: we had -1C one night only but it was enough to finish off the vines at the edge of the tunnel. Fortunately the squash are not so fragile. We have now picked 95% of the squash and put them up in the farmhouse to cure in the daytime sun and warmth. They are a good colour and a nice size.
Outside the tunnel we have some nice "Atlantic Giants" - I was unable to lift the one in the picture!
Over the weekend we gave some squash and also some honey to R.A: to sell on his stall at Mangs Gård Slow Food Fair. We sold plenty of butternuts and nearly all the Uchiki Kuri and ALL the big pumpkins (last year no-one wanted the big ones!)
Everything that's left will now go to Fiskars for next week's Slow Food Fair which is the biggest market for us.
Spent a few hours in the garden today before we went to Mangs Gård. I dug up some more carrots, a few leeks and kohl rabi. There are still more of each in the ground but I think they will be OK for another week or two. I also picked a dozen or so brussels sprouts (the general consensus is that proper nouns when used with vegetables, don't require a capital letter but not everyone seems to agree) and will scoff the lot one day during the week.
I have cut back all the herbs. The mint and the oregano went into the sheep field but I am drying the sage and the tarragon back in Espoo. I also cut back the asparagus and mulched over it with straw. Maybe it's a bit early for mulching but normally I leave it too late!
I still haven't so much as peaked at the jerusalem artichokes which are way underground and will stay there until I need a pick axe to unearth them. As for the globe artichokes, I need to dig up the tubers and clamp them in the root cellar for the winter but I'll do that next week. I have three globe artichokes that are ripe for eating but I'm waiting for a quiet evening on my own because I don't want to share!
Peter has planted a large amount of garlic (an extreme amount) and he also spread cow manure over the garden extension which is still quite heavy but slowly improving. We will plough over it and leave the frost and snow to do the rest.
Finally, I cut off all the overgrown french beans and I will hang them to dry in Espoo. This means I may get some flageolet beans but I've never tried before.
In the tunnel I picked some tomatoes and dug up the remaining aubergines. The latter are small but edible. There are still a lot of green tomatoes (as always in these latitudes) but if I have time I'll make chutney (unlikely). If I don't, they'll go into the compost heap or I'll flog 'em at the Slow Food market. Nothing gets wasted. I picked two lettuce which miraculously survived the frost and there are still cucumbers hanging there. If I'm lucky I'll get one or two more but it's touch and go at the end of September.
We pulled up the black fabric from the floor of the polytunnel and will dispose of the vines just before we remove the plastic from the frame of the tunnel. I brought 20 metres of repair tape back from the UK so we can fix a few holes... Peter noticed that one of the aluminium supports had snapped in two. He repaired it but was grumbling...."Why aren't these made of stainless steel". They do get a huge amount of fatigue from the almost constant winds blowing up from the sea.
So we're almost done for another season.
Bit of a dilemma with the Uchiki Kuri (Japanese squash). They need another few days in the sun but the nights are much colder now. Dare we risk leaving them in the tunnel? We decided to remove about half of them, the ones that had already detached themselves from the vines and we are curing them indoors in the old farmhouse. There are about 20 of them altogether.
Next year I will grow more Uchiki Kuri as they require a slightly shorter growing season than the butternut squash (about 100 days) and can tolerate a milder summer (not a problem this year as it was hot, sunny and dry).
As for the butternuts, we have picked a few and are curing them in the farmhouse. They can go to the Slow Food Fair in Mangs Gård at the end of the month. Leaving the rest in the tunnel for another week or two as the Fiskars Slow Food Fair is at the beginning of October. I removed quite a lot of leaves from the vines so the fruits get more direct sunlight. The daytime temperatures are still up in the 30s Celsius. We have over 200 butterrnut squash :-)
We also have a dozen or so Small Sugar which are a nice size but still quite green.
The other pumpkins: Tom Fox and Atlantic Giant are outside the polytunnel - they are HUGE and gradually turning deep orange.