Sunday, October 20, 2013

The vegetable garden as Autumn deepens.


As the season progresses we are still having high temperatures and in spite of the early morning chill, the midday sunshine is still hot enough and thus the vegetable garden continues to provide us with a variety of Summer vegetables that are slowly coming to an end. This is the case for the aubergines, marrows and the three different types of peppers we grew this year.

One of the crops that surpassed our expectations was the butternut squash and out of two plants, we have harvested 30 fruits that are left to dry for a few days against a south facing wall. They will soon be stored away to be used in cooking throughout the year. One of our favourite ways of cooking it is simply roasted with sage, salt and pepper. Delicious!

There have been crops that were a disappointment due to adverse weather conditions. This was the case with the onions, we normally are self sufficient but this year the bulbs failed to grow and the ones we harvested were the size of a golf ball at best. Still, they were delicious in cooking. Green beans usually perform well here at La Pasera but the cold and wet weather earlier on in the season significantly decreased the amount we were able to leave to dry to be used later on as a legume in soups and stews. I recently heard the locals saying that the better taste of legumes this year compensates for the low yield.




Ruby Swiss chard is a vegetable we are trying this year for the first time and we find it to be far superior both in taste and texture than those varieties with light green stems. We tend to harvest it when still young and tender.

On the pest front, the brassicas normally get attacked by caterpillars towards the end of September and we just go around removing them by hand. This year this pest was noted during August and in greater number. We persisted with our mechanical control method, a gloved hand and it is now that the brassicas start picking up. It seems the drawing days herald the end of this pest.


Roots vegetables are coming up and will hopefully continue to provides with fresh produce during the Winter months when there is little else growing. We look forward to continue harvesting leeks, beetroot and carrots while the Winter lettuce is coming on well.

Fennel usually does well in our vegetable plot and we feel more positive about the crop of celeriac that this year is already showing signs of root growth. Celeriac is a vegetable that needs to have old leaves removed to encourage root growth rather than vigorous foliage and a mat of fibrous roots as was the last year's case when we did not remove old leaves regularly.


Our crop rotation system will free up the soil over the nest few weeks by which time we will remove the plants that have finished cropping and will dig over the soil before is sown with green oats as a green manure.
At times, is it hard not to follow Gawber's example and thus sit or lie on the pebble mosaics that adorn the garden and enjoy the hit that radiates from the pebbles. This is something I love doing while the sun sets.


L

2 comments:

  1. all looks very successful - and there are always some casualties - you win some you lose some

    I envy your extended growing season :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is always next season to look forward to. The extended season is certainly a plus. The disastrous onions were not worth an image though.

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