Gardens across the land have suffered during the cold, wind and snow of the last few weeks and the balcony allotment here at elevated agriculture is no different.As the Big Chill settled across the country and bit hard at the remaining crops of mint, lettuce, tomatoes and the persistently hardy Romital Hot chilli peppers, I considered stepping outside to scrape the worst of the snow off, but was deterred by the -2*C temperatures and an undying urge not to show the neighbours what by pajamas look like (blue stripes from M&S since you ask).
A week on and the snow was gone, along with the last crops of the year.The leaves of all four pepper plants have dried out and curled in on themselves whilst the peppers themselves have shriveled like the withered fingers of a Shakespearean witch.
When shall we 4 meet again? (sorry). Pepper plants can be cut back and hibernate through the winter from what I have read, but generally it is advisable to bring them inside rather than let the elements have their wicked way.
The lettuce and spinach went much the same way, with frost having bitten hard, leaving black burn marks on the leaves and wilted soft stems all round.And last but not least, the seeming irrepressible tomato plant finally curled up and died, with the final few tomatoes of the year split and oozing green seeds down the trellis.
This weekend will see the balcony cleared up, with anything that's truly dead removed, anything that can be saved cut back and all the muck, mud and other rubbish that has gathered between the drip trays, pots and the still unused Habitat concrete troughs binned.
The resident spiders will be left where they are given the benefit they offered in aphid reduction during my first 6 months of becoming an elevated agriculturist.
Roll on the Spring when I can go back to tending the plants without fear of frostbite or being blown off the edge by force 5 gales blowing in from the Siberian tundra.