Another hot wet summer is finally behind us, and the gardens are looking fantastic ahead of our winter growing season, personally my favourite time of the year to grow.
Our newly renovated garden is now full of wonderful autumn produce. Rows of dutch cream potatoes are just emerging from underground, and we have put in a large planting of garlic this year. We are busy harvesting young tender broad bean shoots, beans, peas, kohlrabi, green shallots, Asian greens, baby cos and tomatoes. The first broccoli, romanesco and radicchio beds are about to be harvested too.
Looking ahead to winter, I personally like to uncover the beds and let the sun warm the soil. I mulch on the inter-rows just to help with weed management and spend a bit of time scarifying the soil between the plants to remove germinated weed and to keep the soil light and friable around the plants.
As we get into winter, we should see a drop off in caterpillar activity, and aphids too. But for now, it’s prudent to keep your bacterial spray handy for caterpillars and your soap spray handy for aphids. Sodium silicate spray too is great to apply to all plantings when they are about 3 weeks established. This will prevent fungal disease, and also remineralise the soil as it is often deficient in silica. Be mindful to wear a good mask though as the particles aren’t nice to breathe in.
We have just pruned our asparagus beds and spread lots of horse manure and compost which will help to prepare the soil over winter. I’ll add some organic life fertilizer near the end of Winter as the spears are starting to emerge.
We’re also looking to prune surrounding trees here and there around the garden, as the sun travelling on a lower path can impact on the light getting to the vegetables.
Enjoy those cold and clear mornings and get out amongst the plants when the dew is still on them. It’s a wonderful time to be in nature and enjoy a quiet contemplative moment before a busy day.
For a beautiful warming winter dish at home, why not try our Rhizomes and Root Veggie Soup.
Gaia’s Organic Gardener