I have no idea where this year has gone! One minute it was the New Year, next we are harvesting Autumn vegetables and the nights are drawing in.
This year I spent more time planning what to grow across our two vegetables beds to get the most out of our plot. I’ve found lots of interesting information on the Permaculture Association website which has informed some of my plans.
I tried companion planting and also dotted plants around, mixing types. The vegetable beds had lots of compost and chicken manure added last year which has helped provide a bumper crop of Autumn vegetables.
Runner beans have been producing a heavy crop all the way through the summer and are still going strong. They should last another month.
We grew french beans, Cavelo Nero kale, curly kale, chard and spinach in the same bed. The leaf plants were dotted around. I didn’t net the kale and at times it has felt like “woman against caterpillar”! Now the days are cooler, the caterpillars have disappeared and the leaves are recovering. Autumn vegetables win.
I am very pleased that we finally managed to grow squashes. We tried the Three Sisters planting system growing sweetcorn and beans underplanted with squash and cucumbers. It has worked better than I hoped. From a plot that measures 8 feet by 10 feet, we have had 40 outdoor cucumbers and 12 butternut squashes.
In this group, sweetcorn was grown and used to support Barlotti beans. We have been harvesting the corn, leaving the stems to support the bean plants until the pods dry out. That way, we have dried pulses to add to casseroles during the Winter. There are still plenty of cobs to go.
After a morning the in the garden, there can’t be a much better lunch than freshly picked sweetcorn served with plenty of butter and black pepper.
In the greenhouse, we have been growing tomatoes, peppers, more cucumbers and salad leaves. We have been picking tomatoes for months and still have some to go. The cucumbers have finished now and the peppers are just about ready.
It is very satisfying to grow so much on a small vegetable plot. We have pickles, jams and chutneys made ready for the winter and the freezer is full of vegetables. We can’t be fully self-sufficient but it is great to be “self-sufficientish” for the summer and autumn months with vegetables put by for winter too.
Next is to work out what to grow in an unheated greenhouse. It will be the first time I have tried to grow in autumn and winter and I am looking forward to see how successful it will be,