Edible garden in October

Hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta)

In the month of October, I am sorry to say, our vegetable garden has been sorely neglected. I was teaching forest gardening at a permaculture design course, and right after that, we left for a week in England to visit other gardens and explore wild seaside edibles . Fortunately, neglecting your garden in October does not have the disastrous consequences it would have in, say, May or June. Plant growth, including the growth of weeds, is slowing down, the last sowings are done and apart from maybe collecting some seeds, there’s not much that needs to be done right this moment.dill seed and quinoa

At the beginning of the month, we had a visit from Peter Bauwens and Kathelijne Thiers from the Belgian nursery “De Nieuwe Tuin” with a fabulous assortment of vegetable seeds. Peter is writing a new book (he’s written many) and there will also be a few pages on permaculture with our garden as an example. Visit from De Nieuwe Tuin nursery

Also at the beginning of the month, in order to cheer myself up, I took the camera and photographed all that was still flowering in the garden. Many of these flowers we grow not just for their ornamental properties, but for other reasons too: e.g. lupin is a nitrogen-fixer, calendula attracts beneficial insects and verbena attracts butterflies.

flowers for many purposes

We still have not had any frosts, but will be covering our winter greens with a fleece to protect them from the cold this weekend. We’ll also put the windows back on our cold frame. The winter greens are looking good and will hopefully provide us with some tasty salads during the winter.

hardy greens

edible forest garden in october

In our edible forest garden we’ve picked many kilos of grapes and are still picking a handful of autumn raspberries daily. Most excitingly: we have harvested our first kiwi-berries!(see top picture) This hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) is a dioecious plant which means that you need to grow both a female and a male plant to insure pollination. We have both, but only the female plant flowered this year (5 years from planting) so we did not think we’d get any fruits. The plant was possibly pollinated by a male plant in another garden, though I do not know of any in the neighbourhood. The kiwi-berries are tiny (just about 2 cm) but very sweet. Hopefully there will be more next year.

Have a great weekend!

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