I may have mentioned once or twice that Autumn is my favourite season. I love the cooler days and respite from the heat of our Australian summer, the crisp clear nights, the beginnings of rain and fog, the need to snuggle up under a quilt and the hope of lighting the fire.
One of my most favourite parts of Autumn is being able to be out in the garden for hours at a time when the skies are clear, the soil is still a little warm and there is rain in the forecast, promising to water those new plantings, seedlings and bulbs.
This week I have finally pulled out the last of the tomatoes and hung the plants upside down to dry and give the remaining tomatoes a chance to ripen.
Most of the companion basil that I had been growing in the same bed has been removed and the leaves picked for basil with the remainder of the plants going to the chooks – they love basil! I left two plants in the ground as they are still flowering which is rare at the moment. I try to leave what I can for the bees as there is not much else for them at this time of the year.
This morning I weighed the pot of tomatoes that I have harvested over the last few days and discovered that I had around 800 grams of almost-too-ripe tomatoes. That was just enough to whip up a quick batch of passata with basil, garlic and onion – two nice jars for swapping, bartering or gifting.
I also managed to plant out a couple of perennials for the bees as well as a native correa to replace the one that didn’t make it through summer. I bought those three little pots of promise about 6 weeks ago and have been nurturing them until we had a little moisture in the soil. A little moisture. We had about 13mm of rain this week, the most rain we’ve had for a long time. Enough to wet the top of the soil for a short time. Enough to give me some hope that it will start raining soon enough. Enough to encourage me out into the garden to rescue those potted plants from the fate that awaits so many things I buy – dying in the pot, waiting for me to get around to emancipating them into the soil.
The moon planting guide told me that today was the last day for a while to plant root crops, so in went three large heads of garlic bulbs. Last year I planted two heads of garlic and we got a nice crop of garlic which is still feeding us. I now know that it won’t be enough to get us through the whole year until the next lot is ready, so I have increased the amount of bulbs planted in the hope of being able to supply ourselves with more garlic next summer. I’m still not sure it will be a full year’s worth, but each year I will keep growing more.
I had never tried growing garlic until last year – I can’t believe it either! It is so easy to grow and such a lovely thing to have from the garden I don’t know why I didn’t try it earlier. Now, of course, I’m hooked and won’t be going back to buying garlic unless we run out of our own supply.
I don’t yet have the heart to pull out the zucchinis which have been so proficient this year. They are still fruiting and producing beautiful Gold Rush zucchinis, just enough to give us one or two a week, so they will stay where they are – at least until I decide what else I want to put in that bed this year.
It really doesn’t take long to get the garden switched over from summer fruiting crops to promises of winter goodness and on a day that is slightly warm, with a gentle breeze and a clear blue sky overhead, there is no excuse not to get out into the garden and enjoy the most amazing weather while we can. Soon enough we will be cosying up inside near the fire, waiting for the weather to break so we can get outside again.
Now to check the seed boxes and work out what I can put in once those zucchinis really give up …