The pace slows down quite a bit in autumn, but still – looking at these two photos of the garden, the top one taken at the beginning of September and the one below at the end of October, you can see a lot has changed in the span of two months. And even though the trees behind our little shed take away quite a bit of light, they make a pretty backdrop to the garden when the leaves turn 🙂
There are not many pressing jobs in September, but one of the things I always do is moving our cold frame to another spot and sowing hardy salads. I also took out several parsley plants and planted them towards the back of the frame. With a little protection, they’ll continue growing longer and start again early in the spring.
Other than that, it’s mostly harvesting. At the beginning of September, we were still picking lots of tomatoes, sweet corn and basil. And berries: blackberries, fall raspberries ‘Autumn Bliss’ and alpine strawberries.
By the end of October, we’ve had our first frost which meant the end of tomatoes, chilies and basil. The focus shifted towards kale, beets and endive. With basil gone, I am currently putting parsley in everything. And chilies, too. Man, our chilies are fierce! If a recipe calls for two chilies, I usually use one and it’s PLENTY! And I assure you, we don’t mind hot around here (my husband puts tabasco on everything and has trained the kids from an early age). One of this year’s favorite crops are the mini-cabbages. I grew this variety (‘Minicole’) for the first time and the tiny cabbages are wonderfully tender and delicious raw. Since the plants take up very little space, this variety would also be great for containers.
I only had one winter squash plant in the garden this year (‘Baby Blue Hubbard’) and it only gave us 2 fruits. This variety has an excellent flavour and the squashes are the perfect size for one meal which I prefer over huge fruits of which you only use a part of and then have the rest sitting guilt-inducingly in the fridge. One of the things I am looking forward to next year in our new garden is having enough space for growing lots of different varieties of winter squash plants.
We’ve had a very good apple harvest this year from our two trees on dwarfing rootstock. 5 years from planting, they gave us around 10 kilo each. We’ve already eaten all of the crisp & juicy ‘Glorie van Holland’ (below) but still have some ‘Groninger Kroon’ left. (if you want to know more about these old Dutch varieties, click here). I have been making our favorite Sunday breakfast for weeks.
Pears have not done so well, unfortunately: no fruit on our ‘Williams’ and only three tiny pears on our ‘Josephine des Malines’ tree. This late-ripening variety is notable for lasting long in storage (which is rare for a dessert pear). However, if all you have are three pears, storage is not an issue.
The grapes in our edible forest garden looked very promising, until it started raining just when what they needed was a little more sun to ripen properly. The seedless ‘Sovereign Coronation’ ripens earlier, so we ate most of these, but the rest did never really become sweet.
Our mini-kiwi fortunately does not mind the rain and the fruits were delicious.
Of course, we also carved pumpkins for Halloween. This year we had to buy them but next year I would like to grow some myself. Any recommendations?
In other news, my book is finished and being printed this week. My publisher sent me the photo below and finally the book feels a little more real now. It is called ‘Tuin smakelijk!’ and it is in Dutch, but if you’re interested, you can view several sample pages. The book comes out on 27th November, so I am understandably (over)excited.
Have a lovely November!