Tomatoes cropping well

A Generic Photo of tomatoes. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
A Generic Photo of tomatoes. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.

Greenhouse tomatoes are cropping well, but the odd leaf is showing signs of ageing.

This is a good time to start removing one or two of the lower ones at a point where they join the main stem. Use a sharp knife for a clean cut.

This will allow more light in and improve air circulation throughout the crop. Too many leaves, dampness and cooler night air is a recipe for moulds and fungal attack.

Don’t fret over green fruits, they will ripen eventually, but some can be turned into chutney. Nearer the end of this month, we’ll clear the whole lot to make way for a winter leaf lettuce crop. This involves salvaging every single tomato, including the small ones. Spread them out on newspaper, the greenhouse bench or spare room will do, then add an unpeeled banana and watch even the smallest ripen over time.

Don’t waste the compost they’ve grown in, it makes a good soil conditioner and both leaves and foliage can be chopped up for the composting system.

We have two short rows of potatoes left in the garden and I’ve discovered the first keeled slug near the centre of a harvested tuber.

It’s time to dig the remainder, dry them off and store in a cool, dark place until they’re required. I’ve also noticed while taking stem cuttings of garden perennials that they are becoming more woody.

This signals the toughening-up process in advance of colder weather. Another sign that autumn is really kicking in!