Thank you to those who made it to our pumpkin picking party yesterday: we’ve made a great start picking all the hundreds of pumpkins from the field, and transferring them to the Elephant tunnel (where the climbing beans used to be), to sit in the warm and finish off their ripening, away from the wet and cold of the fields, and attentions of slugs and badgers. We’ve probably picked around half or more of the pumpkins now, and will finish them off next week, then turn our attention to their neighbouring squashes: Crown Prince (my favourite, such dense sweet flesh), Uchiki Kuri, Green Hokkaido and knobbly but tasty Marina Chioggia, followed lastly by the butternuts that always seem to need a couple more days in the sun to set their hard skins and turn golden yellow. Having all the squashes and pumpkins ready picked also means an easier time when it comes to fulfilling orders, as you can see exactly what you’ve got and how many of each variety are left.
While picking the pumpkins, we could really appreciate the beauty of the clovers that were undersown in July and wheel-hoed in (broadcast using the Earthway bag seeder); as well as the usual red clover and yellow trefoil (not yet flowering, they’ll do their thing more next year when this patch is left to rest), I also threw in to the mix some pretty annual Persian clover with sweet-smelling star-like pink flowers, and crimson clover too for a change. I think crimson is my new favourite: I love the shape as well as the colour, and the late-foraging bees seem to be especially grateful for this bounty of flowers to help them keep going over winter.
We are also starting to pick some roots such as mixed coloured beetroot, and lovely delicate turnips; as well as the endless field of leeks (will we actually get through the whole field we planted I wonder?) which means that it really does feel like autumn now. We’re saying goodbye to the summer as the courgettes slow right down, cucumbers need clearing from the polytunnel, and tomatoes won’t be too far behind. However, at least there’s the prospect of leek & potato soup, roast beetroot & turnips, curried squash and pumpkin pie to console us!