The overlap days

The overlap into autumn, the next season has officially begun.  It is kind of weird because, aside from the onions and garlic, the transition from winter to spring is effectively a blank canvas.  The beds are empty, cold and often wet.  In the best case scenario they are free from weeds but often they are a wild jungle that needs taming – with a machete.  This sounds quite a miserable situation, but the enthusiasm is strong and the work required is tackled with gusto because the taste of a sun warm tomato is almost there on the lips as much as it is in the memory.   Aside from memories from last season and the hope that it will be better, there isn’t much of an overlap at all.

Sowing seeds

Sowing seeds is always an exciting time – no matter what season you’re in

The progression from spring to summer is all about progress.  Aside from the anomaly of the onions and garlic, not a lot is coming out.  Most of the plants are growing and beginning to bear fruit.  There isn’t a lot of coming and going, just a lot of going on.  The switch between the seasons is almost unperceivable and doesn’t have quite the anticipation as spring does.  Although the warmer days and longer evenings are gratefully received.

Labels are important

Labels are important. I use and reuse chopped up milk bottles and a permanent marker pen that won’t fade. I soaked these in bleach for a few days to clean them up. Most of the marker from last season came off, but for the stubborn ones a swish in methylated spirits does the trick.

All the seeds sown in the nursery bed

All the seeds sown in the nursery bed. As this isn’t their permanent home and they are at the mercy of the elements then they can be sown thicker than normal. As we can’t control the environment as well as we can in the greenhouse then we need to rely on survival of fittest and safety in numbers.

The arrival of autumn on the other hand is tinged with sadness.  The heydays are coming to an end.  The glory days of summer fruit and bountiful harvests find their way into jars and freezers to remind us in the depths of winter just how good we had it.  Plants that have stood for a good six months collapse exhausted in a compost heap.  But with the passing of the good times, autumn throws us a bone and gives us cool season crops that planted in the lingering heat of the fading summer grow perfectly well as the temperatures slowly decline into winter days.  A gardener can continue to indulge in growing a good crop even on days when the sun doesn’t shine and a beanie is needed to keep the chill from around the ears.

Tamp down the soil

Using a small block of wood, tamp down the soil to ensure the seeds have good contact. As the soil in the garden can be full of cracks and crevices and worm holes you want to ensure the seeds stay where you want them to be.

Water well.

As I have already drenched the bed to ensure it is moist to a great depth, once the seeds were sown I watered again to moisten the top layer of soil the seeds are in that had dried out in the warmth of the sun and settled the soil around the seed using the gentlest flow my hose could deliver.

And then winter comes and the garden stands still.  The plants that remain there from the autumn wait patiently to be eaten, growing almost unnoticed and gradually the beds empty out waiting for the spring.

Protection

Now Fennel the Cat has pretty much got the hang of outdoor living and playing, I need to protect my garden from her. The last thing I need to upset my well laid out seeds is a scattering from playful paws. I’ve also popped down some little blue pellets, although there isn’t much slug and snail action at this time of year, but I’m not taking any chances.

Cloche

Finally I’ve popped a cloche over the top to protect it from the harsh heat still found in the midday sun, but also the boffins are saying there is to be a lot of rain in the coming days and I want to try to protect my seeds from being washed away.

But we’ve only just entered autumn so I will try not to dwell on the winter just yet.  The days still feel like summer should and aside from the date on a calendar could still very well be.  The soil is still warm and plants are growing with vigour.  The harvest is still coming in and will continue to for quite some time.   But not forgetting it will all be over soon for many plants, I took my plan and laid down seeds to ensure the harvest would continue well into the winter.  There is a quiet comfort knowing there will be plants growing for months to come that will need my tender care and I can continue to wear the label of contented gardener.

Come again soon – I may just get into a bit of a pickle.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

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4 Comments on “The overlap days

  1. I was a bit miffed we had some hard freezes this year but it was nice to have a little bit of a knock back, that blank slate feeling between winter and spring. Things are about to start taking off here and you are heading for sleepier times. Enjoy the calm a bit!

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    • This change into autumn is bitter sweet as we never really got a good summer and so feel a little short changed. I hope your summer is one of those perfect ones. : o)

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    • Hi there. It is a plastic trellis that I got from the garden centre. It comes in a roll and the squares are conveniently 5cm square, so I use it for so many things. I used it as a planting guide, I lay it on the soil to prevent cats from digging up my seeds. I use it to stop wayward plants flopping all over the place and I even use it as a trellis for things to grow up. My kids even use it as a makeshift tennis net in the backyard! Cheers Sarah : o)

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