Getting ready for Winter

Been so busy in the garden and kitchen these past few weeks, so not much time to write. So just thought I would report quickly on what we’ve been up to in the garden to prepare for the next season of growing.

We’ve always wanted to have a year-round vegetable garden so after studying several books and magazines, the next to-do list was created for Autumn/Winter 2009.

The first thing to do was to clear away some old summer crops. The courgette plants had finished cropping at last, so they were the first to go. Then cleared away old potato tops, peas and skeletal cabbages (thanks to caterpillars!) etc. Also tidied the trailing squashes which were nicely making their way around the garden. Should have some ready for the pot soon.

Next job was to stake the taller brassicas ready for those autumnal winds. Our curly kale and sprouts are now nicely tied in and seeds sown for spring cabbages. Also planted out were the savoy cabbages I had patiently growing in modules waiting for space. Not seen many white butterflies lately to think our brassicas are now safe(ish) from harm. Just picking the odd one or two caterpillars that we see off and banish to the end of the garden!

So that left the sowings to do. In went spinach and swiss chard into the space of one bed, with radishes, winter salads, and onion/garlic filling the gaps in others. Trying to plant them bearing in mind a crop rotation system, so new sowings went into 2010 positions. Not much room for green manures, but will dig in some of our own compost later.

So all that was about two weeks ago and pleased to see some shoots peeping their way above ground today. At the end of this month, before the frosts start,  I’ll be collecting the last of the tomatoes to either ripen indoors on thier vines, or make into green tomato chutney. Yum! The next thing to do this weekend is to start to cover up the A/W crops with cloches and get those last onion sets in!