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Newark's Gillie Wilkinson: Is autumn already in the air?

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Already there is a nip of autumn in the air and a few of the leaves on the mountain ash in my garden are turning colour, writes Gillie Wilkinson.

So far ­— touch wood ­— my tomatoes have not got the dreaded blight. They were very late being potted on this year and I am not expecting a huge crop.

My eldest son has decided he too wants fresh vegetables. He has put up a small polytunnel and got several pots and troughs with beans, tomatoes, carrots and lettuce in.

Gillie Wilkinson of Eaton Growers Associaton.
Gillie Wilkinson of Eaton Growers Associaton.

He’s only got a small patio back garden so we will see just how much they can grow over the next year.

In my conservatory I have got Japanese onions, spring onions, watercress, spring cabbage and all sorts of salad leaves all waiting to go out into the garden or tunnel.

The French beans are almost over so they will get pulled out. The climbing beans too and the frames will be taken down and packed away.

Raspberries and greengages left on my doorstep. (50690903)
Raspberries and greengages left on my doorstep. (50690903)

Some of the cabbage will go outside and some in the tunnel. We have pigeons here so they will still have to be netted.

All the spring bulbs are in the shops now and I might just be tempted to get a few. I find it very difficult to just buy a few when I have been used to buying loads wholesale!

I still have a few apples on one of my new trees. They are growing very slowly. We’ve had some lovely dark red plums off our Opal tree though. They were sweet enough to just eat raw.

Most of the patio fruit trees I bought are doing well, except the Stanley plum, which never really got going. I want to replace it with a cooking plum later in the winter.

Plum flan before cooking. (50690899)
Plum flan before cooking. (50690899)

Our Fruit Fairy has struck again! For the last two years some lovely person has left bags of fruit on my doorstep. This year it was a punnet of raspberries and a bag of greengage plums. I wish I knew who it was so that I could thank them properly.

We like thick Greek style yoghurt with fresh fruit so they got put to good use.

I keep being shown lots of photos of sunflowers that people have sown in George’s memory. The dwarf Teddy Bear ones I sowed are still only in bud but the lemon ones are lovely.

George loved these lemon sunflowers. (50690897)
George loved these lemon sunflowers. (50690897)

At long last Newark Flower Club can reopen. We meet at Highfields School on London Road, Balderton, where we enjoy a demonstration and get the chance to win one of the lovely flower arrangements.

Tea and coffee is available but bring your own mug please.

Paneer cheese with garlic and parsley (50690901)
Paneer cheese with garlic and parsley (50690901)

The September date is the 21st at 6.45pm (normally 7.15 but there is a bit of business to take care of first).

We would love to see all the old members and some new ones ­— men are allowed too.

It will be so nice to get back to as near normal as possible.

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