We’re on the tipping point of the seasons: the mornings are darker and cooler, but the days are still warm and sunny and delicious, without the fierceness of summer. Many here will tell you that autumn is the best time of the year, and their favourite season. It certainly is mine.
It’s also a tipping point for the vegie garden. Some of my crops are showing signs of slowing down or finishing; the tomatoes are one. With only four plants in the ground, I feel it keenly when even one decides it’s time to give up; that’s a quarter of my crop! I still have some fruit coming on, but I’m picking maybe once or twice a week, not every day.
This is true of the beans and peas too. The lazy housewife beans continue to thumb their nose at whoever named them, producing a handful of slim green pods very couple of days; so does the row of mixed climbing beans – yellow, green and purple; a haphazard, pretty line. Some of the peas planted in the first week of January are only just starting to turn from soft white flower into tender green pods. However, they are a disappointing supply; despite the consistently warm and sunny months and diligent watering from me, those peas and beans sown after Christmas have been poor performers.
This time of the year invites reflection on what has worked and what hasn’t. My first attempt at growing zucchinis was a modest success; each time I harvested a politely-sized specimen I got an inordinate thrill – I’ve grown a zucchini! Sadly I wasn’t overwhelmed by zukes, but I proved I could grow them, so they’ll definitely appear again next year, and in greater number.
What I won’t grow again is beetroot – a lot of time for a ‘one-off’ crop, and I don’t think that’s practical in such a small garden. ‘Come and come again’ things like peas and beans and tomatoes and silverbeet are more efficient, spreading the harvest and joy over many weeks.
And against all expectations, the basil grown in pots was far lusher than that grown in the ground. So back to pots, positioned in a sunny spot close to the back door, for quick dashes from the kitchen.
Currently growing and harvesting
- Capsicum. My goodness, this is slow! Like beetroots, may not re-appear next year.
- Lettuce. Though soon salad season will be over!
- Tomatoes, though not for much longer.
- Zucchini, though not for much longer.
Things to do
- Keep watering (though we are getting some very welcome rain) and seasoling.
- Start planning the garden expansion – I want to convert more lawn space to garden beds so I can grow more tomatoes and maybe even corn.
- Collect the gnarly old borlotti beans that hid under leaves and became monsters! I’ll collect the beans for next year’s planting