Gardening Magazine

Courtmoor Plot Update

By Mwillis
I think I mentioned a couple of days ago that I haven't been to my Courtmoor Avenue plot much lately. This is mostly because there isn't very much up there that needs my attention. I don't have to do any watering now, and the weeds seem to be a lot less enthusiastic than they were a month ago, so it's really just a case of harvesting what I can.
Courtmoor plot update
Fortunately there is still plenty to harvest - not enough to make us self-sufficient, but a nice supplement to the supermarket shopping anyway. This is what I got on my last visit (Friday).
Courtmoor plot update
I'm particularly pleased to have been able to harvest another little red cabbage, because it's one of those that "came back from the grave" after the pigeon attack episode in the Spring. This is it just before being cut...
Courtmoor plot update
It's not big, but it feels heavy so presumably it is quite closely-packed. Certainly enough for a meal for two. Meanwhile, I have a few more red cabbages (Red Drumhead) coming along - ones that have been protected throughout, so largely undamaged.
Courtmoor plot update
Similarly I have a few "January King" cabbages which look promising.
Courtmoor plot update
The Kaibroc has finished though, and I have left the last couple of rather spindly spears to form flowers, which will hopefully provide a bit of late-season sustenance for the bees.
Courtmoor plot update
Next to the "cage" covering those brassicas are three tomato plants (only 2 visible here):
Courtmoor plot update
The plants are grown from sideshoots removed from my big "Montserrat" plant, during pruning. I rooted them in water, grew them on in small pots and planted them on the plot in the late Summer - the 7th August to be precise, as reported HERE. I didn't really expect them to do much, but they have set some fruit. Whether it will have time to ripen is a moot point...
Courtmoor plot update
Further down the plot is one of my two rows of Leeks - in this next photo you can just about see them amongst the weeds! To their left is the nearly-finished row of Beetroot, and to the left of those is a row of Parsnips.
Courtmoor plot update
Shocking, isn't it? That amount of weeds would never be tolerated in my own garden! Joking apart, I think the Leeks will be just fine. I keep pulling up any weeds that get big enough to attract my attention, and try hard to ignore the little ones.
Courtmoor plot update
You probably saw in the "harvest" photo above that I had picked some Runner beans. Just like the ones in my own garden, the Runners at Courtmoor did practically nothing during the long hot Summer, but when we finally got some rain and the temperatures went down, the plants began to set some pods. I wouldn't say they have been brilliant, but I have managed to pick a reasonable quantity. Most of them have been given to the plot-owners, since I have enough in my own garden to keep Jane and me supplied. I have set aside some seeds for sowing next year too. You may recall that this was my primary objective for the year - to keep the old "heritage" varieties going.
Courtmoor plot update
In the previous photo you also see my Brussels Sprouts. I admit that I planted them too close. This was done at a time when I was trying to cram into the plot something of everything. I was revelling in the idea of having three times as much space to play with as before, and got over-ambitious!
Courtmoor plot update
Probably because of this overcrowding issue, the plants have been slow to form actual sprouts. They may still produce something worthwhile, but it's not imminent!
Courtmoor plot update
Anyway, even if the sprouts don't come to much, we'll be able to eat the Tops - which are just as nice, and often overlooked. You use them just like you would use cabbage.
Courtmoor plot update
There's one final plant I want to mention today - a "Mountain Magic" tomato plant.
Courtmoor plot update
This plant was officially a spare - one which I had kept in case of casualties amongst the plants for in my own garden. In the event it wasn't required, so I planted it (again very late, for obvious reasons) up at Courtmoor Avenue. It has thrived on neglect: I tied it loosely to a stick and watered it from time to time during the long drought, but other than that it has had no attention. I didn't even pinch out the sideshoots. It has performed brilliantly, producing dozens and dozens of small but very evenly-sized fruits. These in foreground of my next photo are just those that are left now, in mid-October, not the main crop!
Courtmoor plot update
This is an interesting result: it shows that sometimes plants can do better if you leave them to their own devices, and don't molly-coddle them too much. In retrospect I think one of the things that helped this particular tomato plant to thrive was the fact that it was almost submerged in a sea of that drought-resistant New Zealand Spinach (see photo above), whose foliage will have shaded and helped minimise moisture loss from the roots of the tomato, acting like a mulch. I'll remember that for next year.

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