Sunday, 11 October 2009

End of the growing season

Before the recent rain I lit a bonfire at my allotment to get rid of all the bits and pieces that the plot generates and which would take a long time to compost. It was all very dry and I soon had a good blaze, burning seed stems from verbascum and foxgloves, fruit bush prunings, parsnip stems that had been allowed to go to seed, the courgettes plants and weeds.

Autumn is a great time if like me you prefer things neat and tidy, all the pruning, raking leaves and removing dead flower heads make the garden seem much more open. I do leave behind the sunflower heads for the birds and also anything that I'd like to self seed.

After several clear starry nights with chilly temperatures, I cleared the tomato and aubergine plants from their pots on the patio before any frosts. This is the remaining harvest.

Chutney making next week with the tomatoes and plenty of baby aubergines for dinner. This is the first year I've grown aubergines and the two plants have done really well.

Larger aubergines have been sliced and layered with sliced courgettes and tomato sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and grated cheese and baked. The smaller ones have been halved, and baked in the oven with pesto - lovely. I'll definitely be growing these again.

I haven't tidied the runner beans yet because in a shady part of the garden they are still producing well. They have had a long season this year and there are a few more meals to come unless we have a frost.

Although I think of the autumn as the end of the growing season, the garden doesn't really stop. There will be leeks and parsnips from the allotment and perpetual spinach and chard if the deer don't eat it all.

At home I've been sowing seed.

A few winter lettuce, with the hope of growing some salads in my mini greenhouse tucked in by the fence at the back of the house. I'd love a "proper" greenhouse but this is all space permits in my garden. It should be sheltered but the last time I tried this, the whole thing blew over sending salad all over the patio. Its weighted down with a paving slab in the base so fingers crossed for this year.

Harvesting and sowing seeds, enjoying the produce of one season and preparing for the next, feeling connected with the cycles of the year, growing food even if it is only a small part of what we eat, is a lovely part of my life.

1 comment:

Heather L. said...

i need to get out in my garden and pull up the tomatoes and beans. I'm kind of waiting for some of the beans to dry out so I can keep the seeds. Your aubergines look lovely! Maybe I should try some of those next year. I did bring 2 pots of mint, rosemary, sage and thyme indoors -- we'll see how long I can keep them going. The weather here is freezing -- about 44F. Tmorrow we have a wedding and I'm not sure what to wear to stay warm!