When we got home and up to my elbows in the sink on catch up, there was this terrible smell. I boiled the dishcloth and teatowels to no avail and was looking into the depths of the pot cupboard, perhaps there was a rotting dead mouse but no, mystery solved. Three jars of rotten tomatoes on the sill were getting a bit high. There's a layer of mould on the top you can just make out and the decomposition breaks down a coating around the seeds that inhibits germination. Next step rinse and count out onto squares of toilet paper, 5 by 5, 25 to a sheet. Come spring I will just cover the whole sheet with potting mix and so it begins again. Most of these are off to the Southern Seed Savers Network, (Otepoti Urban Organics). I need to build up a bit of seed credit.
It's very dry, did I mention that our rainfall was 9 inches last year? I think that puts us on a par with desert, officially. Well I've been watering the strawberry runners to encourage them to root, and of course pinching out all but the first plant on each runner. Have double dug a bed with cow manure, for once they are established enough to move, and being forest dwellers at one time, they like pine needles. For both the offspring and the mother plant, the biggest factor in good production next year is thorough watering this autumn. I have noticed that this is also true for a lot of plants and here, it makes the difference between surviving the winter... or not.