We’ve had spectacular late-September weather, with lovely warm sun and blue skies during the day. On a day like today, I can’t quite believe it will be October tomorrow.
But it’s getting very chilly in the shade, and temperatures are starting to drop down to 4 degrees at night. Before you know it a frost will be here and, overnight, the still-pert courgette and cucumber plants will become a sodden, slimy mess.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had harvested just one cucumber off of five plants, and how I thought it was unlikely any of the many baby ones would develop so late in the season. Somerset had terrible wet weather in August, and at the time it didn’t look like that was going to change much for September.
Rather than dig them up, I decided to see if any of the small ones could be brought on by focusing the plants’ efforts into just a few. I carried out a cull on all the flowers and most of the developing tiny cucumbers, just leaving three of the slightly larger ones on each plant.
Well, with all this lovely late weather, they have indeed developed! Put together with the late ripening tomatoes, a little finely chopped onion, and some tangy local sheep’s cheese… Close your eyes and we could almost be in Greece! Almost!
I’ve still got half a dozen cucumbers hanging from their wigwams, and I’m wondering if I should pick them all and bring them in now, or take a gamble with Mr Jack Frost and leave them happily ‘swinging in the breeze’ just a little longer?
At the beginning of September I snipped off most of the flowers and babies…
…left 15 of the larger (5cm long) ones on the plants…
…which have all developed into juicy, tasty cucumbers!
Peeled and chopped up with tomatoes, celery and a little onion, all fresh from the garden. Drizzled with some olive oil, and some salt and pepper…
…serve with some crumbled feta cheese, or a lovely tangy local one, like this from Wooton Organic… Nóstimo!