At long last the work in the garden is beginning to ease off. I’m still harvesting vegetables and fruit but, apart from a bit of watering, I’m allowing everything to get on with it. Which means my garden isn’t that tidy. There are weeds and plants that need to be cut down. But nowadays I don’t do as much tidying in the autumn as I used to since a messy garden is good for wildlife. (At least that’s my excuse.)
August turned out to be warmer than I expected. Not exactly a barbeque summer but I seem to remember sitting in the garden on a few evenings, so it can’t have been that bad. Looking back at my post in August, I see I did most of the jobs on my ‘to-do’ list. I pruned my apple trees, and harvested cauliflowers and beans. The shrub pruning is still on the list, but I’ll get around to it ‘soon’.
My garden harvest so far
This year, out of curiosity, I’ve been weighing most of my produce and have been astonished by the amount I’ve harvested already. Here’s a run-down:
Courgettes – almost 8 kg and still picking (3 plants); Broccoli 4.7 kg (14 plants); Strawberries 2.8 kg; Blackcurrants 2.5 kg (1 bush); Red and white currants 2.1 kg (3 bushes); Raspberries 1.9 kg (most from 2 plants); Charlotte potatoes 3.6 kg (with more to weigh) (8 plants); Anya potatoes 1.7 kg (4 plants); Broad beans 2.7 kg beans (not pods) (24 plants); Peas 2.3 kg pods (3 m row); Jostaberries over 11 kg (2 bushes); Blueberries 424 g (3 bushes) – still picking; cauliflowers 3.9 kg with more to pick (10 plants); Beetroot 437 g (5 roots with more to pick?); Chillies 114 g with more to pick (2 plants); French beans 2 kg with more to pick (20 plants); Runner beans 1.7 kg with a lot more to pick (4 plants); carrots 2 kg with a lot more to pick; cucumbers 1.3 kg with more to pick (6 plants); garlic 500 g. In addition I picked (but didn’t weigh) lettuce, salad leaves, rocket, radishes, chard and spring onions. I also foraged 1.4 kg bilberries and 1.5 kg blackberries.
So a staggering 53 kg of produce from my garden so far with lots more to pick, including stuff I’ve not even started on such as kale, sprouts, sprouting broccoli, cabbage, leeks, parsnip, swede, apples and plums. It will be interesting to see how the totals add up during the rest of the year and how much carbon (and money) I’ve saved.
Community Garden has created an online space for those of us growing at home to celebrate our Tayport harvests here. I have already shared a photo of my cucumbers. If you would like to join the Grow@Home scheme to help you with getting started with growing you can find more information here.
The flower garden in September
Most of my flowers have finished but a few are still soldiering on. This year the dahlias are putting on a good show. I’ve not really grown these before because I didn’t like the idea of having to dig them up and store the tubers, but winters have been milder so I left them in the ground and they came up again. I also grew dahlias from seed and got huge plants (with rather disappointing single flowers) but I’ll see if I can keep them going at the back of a border. For picking I still have a few sweet-peas left and also cosmos. The ‘bee-mix’ I sowed around my apple trees is still flowering. At the moment there are lots of poppies, and some sort of annual chrysanthemum. It will be interesting to see if it all self-seeds for next year. Begonias in pots did well. A few years ago I found some rose-scented begonias and they really do smell strongly of rose. I’ve managed to keep them from year to year by drying out the tubers and storing them over the winter in the shed. As a bonus, I recently discovered (in The Garden Forager) that you can eat them. The petals taste quite lemony and are nice in a salad.
Jobs to do in September
Keep picking cauliflowers, beans, courgettes, cucumbers and blueberries. Start picking plums and apples. Plant out some more chard. Pick caterpillars off the spring cabbage (and feed them to the chickens.) Pot up herb cuttings for the Community Garden herb bed. (I was delighted to find that every single sage cutting had rooted.) Take root cuttings of oriental poppies (which I’ve never tried before.) Prune those shrubs. Sow more phacelia in empty ground as green manure. (Did you see how many bees there were on the phacelia in the Community Garden?) Order garlic towards the end of the month for planting in October. And finally, now the seed and bulb catalogues for next year have arrived, start planning my garden for 2017!