When I moved from subtropical Durban (where I lived for most of my adult life) to the temperate climes of Nottingham Road, I began to experience and appreciate, for the first time, the cyclical nature of seasons. Durban has 2 seasons – summer and winter and the changes from one to the other are not as palpable as they are here. I love the in-between seasons, especially now in mid-autumn as summer has her last hurrah while winter waits in the wings.
Typically autumn in the garden is a time for slowing up. Yes, there is a bit of a rush to get winter veggies in before it’s too late – end of April seems to be the cut-off point for planting the following; cabbage, cauli, broccoli, pak choi, mizuna, tatsoi, parsnips, turnips and onions. And the spring veggies like broad beans, peas and garlic also have to go in and get a head start before the first frost, which is usually at the beginning of May. But other than that it’s a case of getting beds ready for spring by composting and mulching and generally tidying up.
This autumn however, I have the added pressure of a visit to my garden organised by a group called the Midlands Barter Markets. The visit, on the 29th April, has been advertised as a Food Garden visit but I’m guessing that the rest of the garden will be included. So, as you can imagine I’ve been quite a busy little bee trying to get it all presentable. If you are in the area, do come and visit, it’s not exclusively for members of this group and I could do with some moral support!
John, a friend who delivers our firewood, helped Peter collect offcuts from the local timber yard which Kho then made into these wonderful, rather wonky new strawberry beds in the orchard.
Our 2 raised beds in the allotment have produced an abundance of mixed lettuce and salad greens, as well as chillies, spinach and basil. This year, our basil, grown from heirloom seeds, has been fantastic. We have a plentiful supply of homemade basil pesto, basil infused olive oil (with added homegrown chilli and garlic) as well as frozen cubes of basil. And it is still going strong. The chillies, which Peter propagated from seed, have also done exceptionally well.