Over the Easter long weekend we were drenched by a beautiful autumnal storm which finally signaled the end of summer. Our summer seems to have lasted forever this year (but I say that every year). Just when we thought the weather was starting to cool, we’d get a hot couple of days above 35 degrees, which made us think again. Thankfully it has finally cooled enough to get out the vegetable seeds and seedlings ready to plant our winter crop.
Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year. After a scorching summer, my garden suddenly revives itself with new growth and the brown is replaced with luscious green. As our summers are so hot, we only really have a couple of growing months, before everything just burns and shrivels in the sun.
I’m very fortunate to have an easy to maintain vegetable patch in my garden. I have four rectangle shaped raised garden beds which are reticulated with drip lines. Even though the soil in my garden is rich, I do have some clay, which can make drainage an issue. The raised beds ensures free drainage and also makes it so easy to plant and harvest my crops. I’ve also installed trellis surrounds which keeps our boisterous ‘dig loving and drip line chewing’ dog out of the patch. The kids can’t get in either 😉
I’ve unfortunately had to resort to using snail pellets. I’ve tried other organic friendly ways of getting rid of my snails, but they still manage to take half my seedlings. I don’t mind snails having a nibble in my garden, but I’d prefer if they let my seedlings establish a bit before eating them! One year I lost all my pea seedlings to greedy snails.
I’ve also been experimenting with coffee grounds over the last few months. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I used to just throw out the coffee grounds from my coffee machine, which is a great shame. I saw a TV programme about a business that collects coffee grounds from surrounding cafes to use in growing mushrooms…incidentally they then sell the mushrooms back to the cafes who gave them the coffee grounds for free! Genius business model 😉 Anyway, I’ve since been using the coffee grounds as a soil dressing, so I’ll be interested to see whether they actually improve my crop yields.
My vegetable patch is also a great way to get my fussy four year old eater involved in growing and harvesting vegetables. The theory is that she’ll eat more vegetables as a result, but whether in practice that works, time will tell! It took me a long time to convince her that chips were potatoes…she hates eating potatoes, but loves her chips!
This year for our winter crops we’ve decided to plant – beetroot, broad beans, carrots, potatoes and peas. As we harvest our crops, I’ll post some lovely recipes to inspire you. You definitely don’t need a set up like mine…a pot or two on an apartment balcony works just as well.