October used to be my favourite month, but less so, now. This time around the allure for me of birthday treats and the half term break was overshadowed by the tragedy of last year, and twelve months one, we got through the month with a shudder, like a child swallowing a spoonful of malt tonic. The clocks went back and the nights drew in but despite the worsening weather, it has remained, for the most part, steadfastly mild. The high temperatures fooled many of the plants in the garden into thinking that they might simply go on forever. Even at the end of November annuals like the Rudbeckia Marmalade were still in flower, raging against the fake news of winter like Trump denying election results. But winter is coming – just as surely as removals lorries at the White House.
In the Green House, meanwhile, there was initially a glut of green chillis, but then, almost over night red and yellow ones have appeared, like Democrat votes in Pennsylvania and Georgia. It has been a good year for chillis and a new batch of Hot Jam is in the offing. Outside, the squash story is less positive with plenty of early growth, but not too many fruit to be had at the end of it. But, still, we will have enough for roasting when we want some hearty squash soup.
And talking of soup, Mrs B’s favourite recipe – leek and potato – is firmly on the menu, with the potatoes storing well (so far), while the leeks are the best the Midlife garden has produced in years.
By the end of November the garden can look pretty bare and cold so it is heartening to know that, despite appearances, there is still stuff there to be harvested. There is also plenty to look forward to, with garlic and shallots planted in the past month, and in the last fortnight we also got around to planting up bulbs in pots for the spring colour on the new patio. I thought I was a little late with the bulbs, but a quick check of my MLG online diary shows that it was the exact same week that I planted the bulbs last year – and they were very successful. It’s almost like I know what I am doing.
But I know better than to think that.