Picking is a daily necessity particularly after some welcome weekend rain. It gives me time to ponder my resolutions for the next season. There are a few spaces left on this Saturday’s fresh food garden course. I’d love to meet you if you want to join the course. It’s a great time to sow vegetables to keep you through the winter. Everyone will take away garlic ready to plant in May. If you book with a friend you’ll both receive a box of summer vegetables to take home.
The strawberry jam I made is delicious – a taste of summer in a jar.
1 Sow green manure in every space
Where I dug my garlic (thankfully before the rain) I’ve sown mustard seeds for some quick green manure to fill the space. It’s good extra feed for chooks too. I hang the garlic by it’s stem in a cool, dry shed and it will keep all year.
2 Grow more flowers
The sweetpeas are prolific, if a little late, and always a welcome gift when visiting friends. They only last a few days in the vase but the short-lived fragrance is worth it. I’ve got some more coming up in pots to put out in a couple of weeks for some later flowering. Marigolds, borage, lavender, violas, calendulas, cornflowers, sunflowers and nasturtiums grown from seed all brighten the place up and can fit in amongst the vegetables.
3 Mulch (even) more
Mulch is a volume game. If you’ve got something with which to mulch, it only seems to do the soil and subsequently the plants good. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Keeps down the weeds, ensures the soil stays moist and increases the organic matter.
4 Grow (even) more carrots
I had trouble carrots through the slug and snail onslaught early in the spring. I suspect it’s another volume game – sow more seeds, more frequently and hope some survive. The ones that did survive have been big and strong with fewer competitors. The rabbits fall over themselves with joy at the arrival of a carrot top so it’s worth it just for them.
5 Grow parsnips and leeks for winter
I’ve never grown parsnips so I’m keen to see the seed I’ve planted germinate (no sign just yet). Leeks went in too late last year so went to seed in the heat. It’s a good time to sow them now for the winter crop.
6 Try new varieties
The real stand out star this year has been ‘freckles’ lettuces which have refused to go to seed when everything else has bolted in the heat. Clearly success is very much determined by genetics, not just the nuture I provide.
7 Provide more crop protection
With every variety of bird in our garden, anything left unprotected gets a hard time until it’s big enough to withstand the attentions of a wandering chook or pheasant. It’s too late after the damage is done so has to go on almost the instant it’s sown or planted. The cabbages under the fine mesh have been free from caterpillar damage all summer.
8 Plant more trees
A day when you’ve planted a tree is always a good day, whatever else happens. I loose track of the number I plant each year but even if it’s just a couple a week I can be quite satisfied if I’ve added another 100 trees to the property each year.
9 Not work so hard on my compost heap
I can build an excellent, hot compost heap and have compost ready in a couple of months every fortnight. But it takes time and physical effort. I’ll still be composting but reducing the amount of time I spend turning, amending and monitoring. It will take a bit longer to rot down but I’ve got space so it’s not a problem here.
10 Sit in the garden and enjoy it
It’s easy to spend time in the garden, but very difficult for gardeners to sit still. I promise I’ll sit under the vines with a cup of tea and a good book at least once a week.