An Autumn Garden Update

The feijoas are in full swing. As usual, we’re having trouble keeping up with them and I am scolding myself for not having pruned the hulking great tree properly yet. We also have figs, apples and some grapes, from a huckory old vine that is in the Corner Pen, which I have never looked after because I thought the grapes were no good. But the grapes are yummy so I will have to start looking after the vine. It is awkwardly growing through the gappy fence between us and one of our neighbours, with its trunk on our side but behind chicken wire. It’s going to be fiddly to sort it out.

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Despite its hard pruning last year, the apple tree has rewarded us with fruit; not as many but they are easier to reach and of better quality since they’re getting more light.

We have harvested all our corn, eaten most of it and pulled the plants out of the ground. This is a good success story of a ‘better late than never’ sowing. Being a heritage variety, ‘Country Gentleman’, it is different than the hybrid sweetcorn most of us are used to eating. It isn’t as sweet but it is more creamy and the kernels are bigger. It feels like it has more substance to it and I find myself desiring it more than the common sweetcorn. We definitely need to grow it again. I am determined to have a bigger corn patch next season.

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A Country Gentleman corn cob.

All the pumpkin plants are out of the garden, except for the giant pumpkin in the Processing Corner, which seems to be having its second wind, and I’ve made a batch of Thai pumpkin soup. I’m not a huge fan of plain old pumpkin soup but I really like this Thai one, so I intend to make more since we have plenty of pumpkins and squashes. I also made another batch of plum butter, and there are still more plums in the freezer, so that should keep us in plum butter for a while.

The capsicums (I should just start calling them peppers) are still alive but the fruit growth and ripening has slowed way down. We still have one tomato plant going strong (Gardener’s Delight), plus beetroot, parsnips, silverbeet, a few runner beans, picking celery, leeks and the recovering brassica crops, as well as lots of young crops coming along: carrots, spinach, lettuces, more beetroot, cocktail onions, and the late bush beans that I’m testing out. We’ve got screeds of parsley and basil. The coriander has been very helpful in self-sowing in the Vege Garden but I’m still trying to make it establish a good pattern of self-sowing in the Herb Garden. In seed trays or pots I have leeks, more cocktail onions and celery waiting until they’re big enough to plant.

The Little Fulla chose what seeds he wanted to sow in his vege garden from the list of cool season options that I gave him. He chose Paris Market carrots, which are a small round carrot, a beetroot colour mix and some red-stemmed silverbeet to go in the middle of the garden. Germination is underway but a little erratic since he can’t seem to stop poking around in his garden. Dirt is just too exciting.

The Husband finished assembling the greenhouse frame. I have to confess a little surprise on my behalf, but I am very grateful! It is now sitting over in my Plant Alcove, awaiting a covering and awaiting me to sort out my table-constructing, ground mulching, and all around proper sorting out of the area.

The greenhouse frame. It isn’t quite in it’s final spot yet, but it’s in the right vicinity.

The Little Fulla and I did some work on the compost bin in the Cedar Pen. We took out the middle section to make it one bigger bay, added a support piece at the front and raised the front to two planks high. Then I sawed the top half off the back and sides to make them two planks high as well. At least, I sawed off what I could get at, then The Husband ‘finished off’ by whacking and ripping the rest of it off while I was inside. I was not impressed at the two posts that were left with jagged shards, so he had to tidy them up. And then I had to sandpaper them to do the job properly. Well, at least it’s done now. These changes will make it safer for the chickens so they’re not jumping down so hard on their feet and it means more chickens can fit in there and mix up the compost more easily. No doubt they will strew stuff around a bit, but that’s ok, it can be raked back in. I need to rake up a bunch of compost material that they had already strewed everywhere under the old configuration. When the compost bin is empty I will move it further away from the apricot tree.

I have been tidying up the Herb Garden before winter. It’s important to get the herbs trimmed before it gets too cold and some of the cut herbs can now be dried out for use over winter. I’m propagating more thyme and lemon thyme to replace the plants that have gotten too old and woody or smothered by bigger plants. I decided to move the pineapple sage as it kept getting really big and in the way of the path despite lots of trimming. I cut off a big rooted piece to replant then dug out and mulched the rest of the plant. I switched its position with the lemon verbena so the pineapple sage is now in the back corner, which will make the garden look more pleasingly symmetrical too, and the lemon verbena is on the left side where the pineapple sage was. I don’t really use the pineapple sage much but I love its smell and the red flowers, especially at this time of year. Except I kind of thwarted the display this time. I’ve also been doing a bit of work on the ornamental gardens recently, but that can wait for another update.

The Herb Garden in the process of tidying. The lemon verbena in the back corner has been trimmed and dug out and the pineapple sage is about to get hacked.
The Herb Garden is under control, if a little more cut than normal. Hopefully the moved herbs will settle in alright.

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