Walking into the garden today I was greeted with that delightful aroma of freshly cut grass. It is like a lingering scent of summer as if to say, but wait – the season isn’t completely over yet, there are still things to be done and still things to be had. And there are indeed plenty of things to do.
I have to look at things rationally. As much as taking down the tomatoes will give the place an automatic facelift, as they are beyond help and need to be gone, it isn’t high on the list of “do now before it is too late.” Things on this list largely involve sowing and reaping.
Cool season plants benefit from a head start in the lingering warmth of early autumn and late summer is often more preferable. I do struggle with getting ready for winter in the heady days of summer. It is almost like looking for your coat and handbag to get ready to leave while the party is still in full swing. I’m normally the kind of girl who is last to leave a party. And unfortunately I often leave my cool season crops until the last moment. Although this year I had my super secret project to hold me back.
With days to spare before mid autumn slips into late autumn I can kid myself that I’m erring on the side of early…ish to get things sown and planted out. Today I made great headway and if I have everything sown and planted out by the end of the month I can convince myself I got it all done on time.
The first things to consider are the cover crops. These take some thinking as for what to put where. I had already managed to sow a lupin cover crop where the cucumbers were and where the leafy greens will go. This bed will benefit greatly from the nitrogen injection from the legume root nodules.
The bed the onion and garlic was in is now empty after having melons borrowing the space and next season it will have zucchini and squash in it. As these new crops don’t like to be planted out when it too cold, it will be quite some time before the bed sees anything in it, so it makes a perfect spot for the wheat. I don’t grow wheat for the grain, but for the straw. It is my mulch crop. It can be quite costly to mulch a garden the size of mine – so I grow my own.
I have sown the wheat quite thickly as I am probably feeding all the bird and rodents this side of the Waikato River. I am hoping it is just possible they won’t be able to eat them all and some will make their way through the soil, past the gastropod gauntlet and grow nice and tall for me.
I also sowed peas in the greenhouse as their intended destination still needs to be cleared away. They should get away quicker in there too as it is a little warmer. I transplanted some lettuce seedlings from the low nutrient seed raising mix to a more nutritious soil so they can gain the size and strength to be planted outdoors.
The problem with gardening at this time of year is the light fades fast and before I knew it I was almost time to head indoors. But I couldn’t go in empty handed, it wouldn’t be right when there was so much to be had. The peppers and chillies have been slow all season. I don’t know if it due to the neglect or if it was just a slow season in my garden this year. It has been a disappointing harvest, but finally I was able to pick a red bell pepper and a few chillies.
The raspberries haven’t been that wonderful either, but to have some is better than to have none. Unlike the cape gooseberries. Now they have gone crazy and the plants are lolling all over the place. I had to tie them up so I could mow around them.
The last basket to fill was the feijoas. Oh how I love them. But the problem is – they are in the orchard. We planted the orchard in the furthest part of our land so we would have a reason to go there. But when you are a little busy, or a little tired, the trek to “down the end” just seems that little bit far… even for feijoas. But it had been a few days since I last gathered them up and it wouldn’t be right not to go and check for more. I took my largest basket and before long it was full to overloaded, and I’d only gathered what lay beneath one half of the tree. I’ve promised myself I’ll go back tomorrow to get the rest as it was starting to get dark.
It is so lovely to be back in the garden; I feel like I am where I belong.
Come again soon – there will be more sowing and reaping, and possibly some weeding.
Sarah the Gardener : o)