My Spring Garden
Spring heralds the long-awaited time to sow seeds, after the darker cold months. The sign of longer days with glimpses of sunny days provided seeds to germinate and seedlings to make healthy roots. It can be tempting to sow lots of seeds at the same time, however I choose to wait till the soil warms up a bit before directly sowing seeds such as carrots, beetroot and chard outside.
Tomato and aubergine seeds are started indoors on a sunny windowsill as the glass house is still too cool for germination. For next year I've saved some of the seeds from this year's crops and also trialing a new pale yellow variety called "Banana Legs"- stay tuned for their progress!
Courgette and pumpkin seeds are sown in larger pots in the glasshouse around April and May, as are different types of kale and bean seeds. I've been gardening for over 10 years and my attempt to grow a decent-sized pumpkin continues! They are hungry and thirsty plants and next year will try to provide the plants with better growing conditions.
My Summer Garden
This summer's growing provided lots of salads, peas, mangetout, radishes, courgettes, chard, kale and all the loganberries. Every year I find there are crops that do well, and then those that I learn from. Learnings this year included leaving the beetroot and carrots to sow later in the season (around June) and that sweetcorn needs a bit of space, in grids, and not underplanted with courgettes!
Late last year I had thinned out and moved the strawberries to a new patch as they'd been in the same place for 5 years. I was hoping for a good crop, however I think the plants were still too young and need another season to make stronger roots for better fruiting growth next summer.
The growing of aubergines is an absolute favourite but not without a bit of know-how to make sure the fruits set. I grow them in the little glass house in our front garden and as soon as the female flower starts to grow I pluck off a male flower to pollinate with. Pinching off some side shoots lets the plant give all its nutrients to the growing fruits- otherwise it all goes to lots of lush green fruitless-growth!
It's Autumn and the garden is still abundant with the various fruit and veggie crops sown earlier in the year such as the tomatoes and aubergines, French beans and carrots. The apple and pear trees are laden, ready for all the fruit crumbles and pies, and of course the annual grape harvest to look forward to.
I absolutely love cooking and eating everything pumpkin. Sadly I have as yet to master growing them! This year however I'm delighted to announce, an albeit small but beautifully formed Uchiki-Kuri pumpkin. So looking forward to growing a whole lot more next year!
Autumn is also the time to plant garlic cloves. Autumn sown garlic does best with a cold- hard frosty winter to help divide the bulbs which are ready to harvest in July. This year I'm also enjoying the first harvesting of Autumn-fruiting raspberries "Fall Gold"- sweet yellow coloured raspberries- a delightful handful of sunshine as the days are getting shorter.
My Winter Garden
As winter arrives and daylight hours and temperatures fall, the garden activity becomes fairly quiet. In the glass house, the winter salads are popping up providing welcome fresh greenery to our plates.
The later sown kale and chard are still thriving and the winter pruning of shrubs and fruit trees begins. I also plant all the tulips in late November for their colourful display in the Spring.
As soon as the leaves on the grape vine fall and becomes completely dormant its time to prune and rearrange all the spider filled pots and trays, ready for early spring action.
On a sunny afternoon, the glass house catches the occasional winter sun and provides the ideal spot for a hot tea and piece of cake, perfect for journaling and a little day dreaming.