If you’re a clever gardener, you’ll have crops to harvest all year around, but the majority of harvests happen around now, late summer into autumn. I’ve suddenly gone from harvesting endless courgettes and the occasional beetroot to also harvesting cucumbers, carrots, sweetcorn, raspberries, tomatoes and chillies (at home), which are being added to earlier harvests of potatoes, onions and garlic.
I know lot of people are drowning in runner beans right now, but I only grow the speckled borlotti style ones for podding. They’re doing well despite their awful start, and I have a half decent yield that are fattening up nicely with beans that can be used fresh before they have chance to dry out. They’re always at their tastiest like this.
My spring planted lettuce bolted, but I have some more little plants being cosseted at home for the time being. I’m hoping to plant out these and some pak choi as soon as the weather cools down a bit.
And waiting in the wings are, winter squashes, sweet potatoes (hopefully), Victoria plums, apples and blackberries. Then when the weather turns properly cold there’ll be parsnips, leeks and purple Brussels sprouts. Maybe also some purple sprouting broccoli, it bolted so I cut the heads back and I think it might have recovered just enough to sprout again when it’s meant to. That kind of depends on what autumn we get, I must remember not to plant it so early next year.
The plot is full of flowers this year. Mainly nasturtiums that have self seeded from last year, and are doing a fine job of smothering the weeds, but also lots of bright orange calendulas and mustard which has been sown as a green manure, and is now a mass of yellow in two beds and abuzz with bees and butterflies. I’m really meant to chop the mustard back and dig it in while it’s still green and lush, but it seems such a shame with the insects enjoying it so much, and it looking so pretty.
But then I sometimes feel the same way about not wanting to harvest crops when they’re at their peak and looking so good, and not wanting to spoil the aesthetics of the plot with gaps when it’s full. That’s the trouble with being a creative type. So I have to get a grip and remember that it’s not an ornamental garden, and while it’s nice to have it looking good, the food is there to eat, and I’d better eat it before the local wildlife does.
Luckily I have plenty of photos and my journal as a reminder of how good it (the plot) and they (the crops) looked while at their peak. And I also have a reminder of all the jobs to be done through autumn. One step at a time!