We're in the tumbledown days of Autumn, for reals now. The zucchini and tomatoes are crawling, and the early cauliflower (Violet Sicilian, a pretty purple that turns green when cooked) planted a few weeks ago has started to set fruit. There are leaves falling and overnight temps dipping below 10 degrees and the sheep are looking fat with bellies full of lambs. The sunsets are unreal, something about this season, because they were the same last Autumn too.
The late summer and early autumn bounty has been rad. There's some figs to think about preserving in syrup, just one precious jar I think, as well as several dozen bottles of whole tomatoes boiled and waiting. Zucchini, beans, corn and squash are all blanched and frozen. A box of pears for me to poach in some syrup too, and a bag of candy-striped beetroots for pickling, as well as more chillis to pick and turn to chilli jam (my first jar, while delicious, cooled to a toffee-like lump...boiled for too long! How do I resurrect it?).
We been digging up spuds - which, although not hilled, have yielded kilos and kilos (the trick now is to store them where the mice won't get them). The rockmelons, spaghetti squash and corn are long finished, and the watermelons ready for a final picking. Beans are finishing up, and I'm crossing my fingers the remaining capsicums are able to redden. The garlic (we planted over 10 000 cloves) has leapt out of the ground and as a good 10 - 15cm high and the Sweet Potato plants are sprawling and prolific looking - I hope there is much to discover when we eventually dig them up. The luffa is hanging on the plants to dry out, I'm hoping for a good bag of luffa scrubs to use to clean the dishes (have you ever grown them?). I've been collecting dried Fennel seeds for the pantry and the seed bank, as well as Purple Basil and Red Kidney Beans, Sunflower seeds and Strawberry runners, Comfrey root, Lavender cuttings and Curry plant too.
We've got baby Carrots to pick in an old bathtub (my favourite variety has turned out to be Purple Dragon), which has been fantastic for growing in, and I've planted trays of winter veg - mixed lettuce, kales, some final beets, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts...I had broad beans and snow peas too, but the mice have raided the trays and enjoyed a feast instead. The days are still busy, but shorter and with less weeding (hooray!). Preserving the harvest has become a focus instead, and I'm surprised as always at how quickly the seasons turn and in a rush to plant the seeds I already should have...
How is Autumn treating your garden?
The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably.