October in the garden…..

October is all about the pumpkin and squash, and there’s been lots of them!  These are the last of the harvest I picked this morning as there’s a threat of frost tonight.  Whilst initially cursing planting so many, mainly because they took up so much precious space with their wild and abandoned growth, I am indeed a very happy lady now with my more than substantial  harvest.  We’ve been eating the delicious squash, in all their various and strange shapes and sizes, all summer, and now it’s time for the majestic pumpkin to take the glory.  I have to say I had no idea squash and pumpkins could taste this good until I tried our homegrown Chez Foti ones, other than the ever so popular and tasty Butternut anyway.
Needless to say squash or pumpkin are appearing every day in our food in one form or another.  There’s nearly always pumpkin soup on the offering, and it’s a tasty sweet addition to nearly all my curries, stews and casseroles, pasta sauces, stir frys and risottos.  I’ve even made some rather yummie squash muffins!  Rest assured they’ll be lots more squash and pumpkin recipes in the next few weeks!

Most of my summer crops are still amazingly holding strong in the garden.  I’m still picking the french beans daily, and regularly have peppers, chillis (albeit disappointingly mild ones), aubergines, sweetcorn, broccoli, courgettes and carrots.  I thought my courgettes had finally given up for the year, until I found six a couple of days ago, plus lots of flowers and babies!  The celery’s also now finally ready for the picking, so I’m  looking forward to using it in lots of soups and stews.
The chilli’s and peppers continue to do well
The aubergines are still going great guns!
My second harvest of sweetcorn has just began, I planted these about Mid July and they’re utterly delicious, and so so easy to grow.  I can honestly say it’s the best sweetcorn I’ve ever eaten, but then that’s probably because there’s usually less than fifteen minutes between picking and cooking!

Francesca enjoying her corn on the cob treat
We’re also eating some lovely rocket, that I sowed earlier in the month.  Much faster at growing and somehow much tastier than earlier crops I tried in the Spring.  
The potatoes have all finally been dug up and stored for the winter, though unfortunately I don’t think we’ll have enough to see us through.  I grew various new potatoes earlier in the year, but these are the Desiree maincrop ones.  They make great roasties, mash and chips, which pretty much covers our potato consumption!
The apples and pears have all been picked; the apples stored in boxes and pears cooked and frozen for later use in pies, sauces and crumbles.  I’ve also been busy collecting some of the many squillions of chestnuts we have, but as yet have failed to do too much with them.  Shelling chestnuts appears to be a very time consuming and tedious exercise!

This month I’ve planted a few more lettuce though I’m not sure they’ll make it through the inevitable frosts, but thought I’d give them a go anyway.  More carrots have also sowed (probably rather late too, but so far doing very well), as have beetroot, winter cabbages and Swiss Chard.  The latter has shot up and is already being picked and eaten (it can be used much like spinach, but is a much hardier and easier crop to grow).
The beetroot babies
The herbs are all still doing marvellously, though I have a huge abundance of basil that I really must busy myself to making into pesto very soon.   I’ve made it several times before and is soooooooooo good compared to anything you can buy.  I’ll put the recipe on here shortly.
Well that’s all my garden news for this month.  Next job is to get busy sowing more over wintering crops, which is another big learning curve for me!
Hope you enjoyed the garden catch up,
Lou x

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