Written in early February, sharing it now.
It’s always the way isn’t it! The one morning I’m out early watering the front garden, hair unbrushed and shirt on inside out, is when you see people to say hello to as they are walking past with their dog! In my defence I was relying on my straw hat to hide that my hair wasn’t brushed and I didn’t realise that my shirt was on inside out and the pockets inside out as well, completing my oh so chic look! Haven’t seen a soul walk past for months when I have actually been showered, hair done and properly dressed…
There is the faintest hint in the air of the seasons changing. The Golden Nugget pumpkin plants starting to look a little tired. Some Yellow Scallop squash plants are nearly finished, this variety certainly doesn’t thrive in our garden like the Cocozelle and Rondo de Nice do. I’ll keep that in mind for next years growing season. The Yellow Scalloped squash are Lil’s favourite and we also grow them to share with our friend since they are her favourites as well.
I’m taking the ruthless approach this year to make sure we get all the Winter crops in and established before the colder weather sets in. If something isn’t growing well or struggling the crop gets harvested and out it comes. I’ve already taken out two tomato plants in the hothouse that were struggling from the beginning, one had only just set three flowers and the other didn’t have any sign of flowers at all, nursing them to produce a handful of tomatoes wasn’t worth the investment of time, space and water. One plant was replaced with two different varieties of climbing beans. The other tomato plant taken out has made way for the chamomile to spread even further plus we planted some lettuce and dill there as well.
Things are pruned back for a second flush of growth like the lemon balm, fennel and mints. The experience of growing here for thirteen years has taught me not to let things get too leggy and have too many plants of the one variety go to seed.
I used to read all the instructions and follow the harvest times for different plants but now I don’t wait and only harvest when the herbs, fruit and veg are at the best. eg. I read that you should only harvest Lemon Balm when it is flowering, when I have waited to do this the Lemon Balm is past its prime and looking quite wind battered and flea bitten. Now I harvest it when the leaves are lovely and lush at the end of Spring, this year we did a small harvest of the same plants in mid Summer and we’ll fit a couple of smaller harvests in between now and the first frost. Little by little it all adds up. Lemon Balm is a great herb in our herbal tea blends. I got a tip recently to harvest the rosehips now while they are at their peak of maturity and not wait for after the first frost. Every time I have waited the parrots, pademelons and possums have got there before me! Twice a week we are gathering rosehips from our own food hedges.
As is the way now, the hottest days of the year usually arrive in February and March. I’m back inside before mid morning and the sun is pounding. The trees around the house are maturing, shading the windows. The awnings over the windows that I was so apprehensive to invest in and install have been a game changer, keeping the cottage cooler. Thick curtains and closing up the house before the sun rises, all these things contribute to passively cooling the house. We don’t have an air conditioner, only some fans.
Wishing you a peaceful day,
The link to my Food Hedges ebook is HERE
February 23, 2022