Life on The Weald - October 2022
(in the garden and the kitchen)
The weather turned distinctly cooler at the beginning of the month although some days were still above the seasonal average.
Saturday 3 October was a dry, bright autumn day and I continued to clear the pathways around the beds and replenish them with a layer of organic material, mostly woodchip and prunings. I cleared the weeds from the area surrounding the raised beds - including bindweed and couch grass (which is bit like painting the Forth Bridge), and laid down cardboard covered with woodchips. I prepared two of the beds which had grown squashes and French beans, ready to plant red onion sets, garlic and broad beans.
|Adding a layer of organic compost to the bed|
On 4 October, I continued preparing beds for onions, garlic and beans. I planted two varieties of red onions - Electric and Winter Red - some French shallots - Jermor - and two varieties of garlic - Germidor (Purple Wight) and Messidrome. Having planted them, I covered them with fleece, mainly to protect them from birds who have a habit of pecking at and uprooting them. A few Patty pan squashes were still growing at the end of one of the beds which I left in he hope that they might get bigger before neding to be picked, and planted some red winter onions at the other end of the bed.
|The last cucumber of 2022?|
It was time to harvest most of the squashes - Crown Prince, Butternut and Chioggia as the foliage had died back. If picking for storing it is better to wait until there is no moisture left in the stalk where it joins the squash.
|Autumn planted garlic covered with fleece|
I planted the first of the shallots in some spare space where the leeks were growing and covered them with fleece.
|Shallots planted among the leeks|
|Clockwise from top left|
Habanero, Scotch bonnett, Cheyenne, Basket of Fire
|Habanero - ready for the freezer|
|The large bed, partially cleared of weeds|
|Cardboard laid between the beds|
|Cardboard covered with woodchips|
I harvested most of the squashes, leaving a few, including several tromboncinos, to mature.
|9 October - a squash harvest|
On 11 October I lifted my first parsnip just to see how they were doing. It looked reasonable but the flavour will be improved with the arrival of colder weather.
|1st trench - burying logs|
I covered the logs with half rotted organic matter from one of the compost bins.
|Individual Spanokopita pies|
We also made roast stuffed patty pan squash with ricotta and parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. We have a plentiful supply of oregano in the herb bed in our garden.
Cutting the potatoes in half revealed that the flesh was indeed also coloured. It was more purple than blue but when cooked was definitely blue. They were a floury variety and very tasty.
|The third trench for my new Hugel bed|
|The beginnings of a no dig Hugel bed|
Monday 17 October reached a maximum of 14C. It rained heavily in the early hours, was cloudy but dry during the morning but then quite sunny although cool in the afternoon.
|filling the final trench with egg boxes & worm compost|
|Large bed, trenches filled, topsoil returned|
I will now leave the bed over winter and apply another layer of compost in the spring before planting brassicas. In the meantime I will look out some cardboard or tarpaulin to cover it.
|21 October Marmande - beefsteak tomato full of promise|
|21 October - Marmande disappointment|
The following day there was torrential rain most of the day, and overnight there was thunder and lightning which continued into the early hours of the morning. On Monday 24 the heavy rain continued through the morning with strong blustery winds for most of the day, but surprisingly the afternoon was sunny with higher than average temperature of 17C, although it felt much colder due to the continuing high winds.
|My wheelbarrow herb garden|
|Shallots among the leeks|
|Red winter onions beneath the fleece|
(and the last remaining patty pan)
|Red winter onions|
When I removed the fleece from the broad beans, I was pleased to see that most had germinated and had not been attacked by rodents. The garlic planted between the double rows appeared to have rooted well and was producing its first leaves.