November has been a month of contrasts so far: sparkling frosts, glorious sunrises and rather a lot of rain. It has been pouring down here all day.
This is Homeacres a few days ago at 7:20 am, what a treat to observe this sky!
I love frosty mornings, it’s such a treat to head off with my camera, capturing some of the magic before it melts. You can see how well insulated the hot bin is by the frost on the surface – inside it was over 60˚F
Almost everything has been planted and sown now, just the last of the garlic and broadbeans to go, and some flower bulbs (which I have put somewhere safe and can’t find!!)
Earlier sown garlic is emerging – it is hardy and doesn’t mind being frosted.
Underneath the netting protecting brassicas in the back garden, I have intercropped the brassicas with shallots – Longor and Eschalote Grise (both from The Garlic Farm) – and various module grown salad plants. These brassicas were a late sowing, so will be smaller and less productive than the earlier sown allotment veg – an experiment!
The brassicas will gradually be harvested during late winter and early spring, leaving the shallots to grow on before their harvest in July. I’ve planted them in rows over 30 cm apart so that I can pop in other veg after the brassicas next spring – haven’t decided what yet. The netting protecting the brassicas from birds will also protect the shallots from inquisitive beaks pulling them out.
In the polytunnel, I’ve finished planting and sowing everything for this year. I still need to bring in all of the lemon verbena pots and other plants that over winter better under cover. I’ve already harvested the last of the fragrant leaves and dried them in a basket beside the woodburner. Lemon verbena obligingly dries very easily. The leaves are stored in jars for winter teas and flavouring food too. The scent is incredible – pure lemon sherbert.
Two of the lemon verbenas come into the house for the winter, for early fresh leaves. Inside the polytunnel, I have fleece and bubblewrap in readiness for periods of very cold weather, which even inside a polytunnel can kill lemon verbena. The bubblewrap is all repurposed from packaging that has unexpectedly arrived in my house in deliveries. Rather than adding it to landfill, I use its insulating properties in the garden.
This is the polytunnel today – hose and sprinkler still in place from watering on Wednesday. Watering now will be less frequent, every two weeks or so, depending on the weather. It’s surprising how warm the polytunnel can get. On one day last week the thermometer registered -1˚C at night, but 25˚C when the sun came out mid-afternoon. Quite a contrast, and good for the growth of my plants.
The polytunnel is full now – the areas that looks bare (apart from the paths) have seeds sown in there: radish, chervil root, peas, broadbeans and different kinds of garlic. I had hoped to add a list of what is in there to this blog, but it is pouring down and I don’t fancy swimming across my garden – so next time 🙂
Grow little plants, grow!
I hoe the path regularly to keep down weeds germinating from seeds brought in on my boots, and have been using a hand hoe on some self sown herbs which I don’t want competing with my winter veggies. This is a Nunki hoe from Implementations, the shape is useful for getting between plants (my Dad bought me it for Christmas 10 years ago).
Before finishing planting I harvested the last of the tomatoes, aubergines, chillies, cucumbers and peppers, and also the sweet potatoes. Not the largest crop but not bad for a plant that prefers a warmer, longer season. I dug up a row of lemongrass to pot on for the winter, it will come indoors, and outside I harvested quince, medlars and crab apples.
Before composting the tomato plants, I selected some side shoots from the Rosada, which is an F1 hybrid, which all being well will over winter on the windowsill as little plants. You can’t save the seeds of F1 hybrids, and this particular variety is no longer available, so Charles and I save side shoot plants which do grow just like the parent plant.
I’ve been saving seed from some of the open pollinated tomatoes too – these are currently fermenting in my son Ruairi’s room (he is at university, don’t tell him!!
My allotment on a cold, frosty morning. The large sheet of polythene is a temporary measure to keep weeds at bay in readiness for remaking my ancient compost heaps. A lovely winter job.
Next week, I am looking forward to making and planting out a new planter that arrived today, hopefully finding the flower bulbs and planting those, and starting on some of the DIY garden jobs. I’ve finished all of my evening talks now until next February, making more time for writing my new book (which is still called New Book).
I’ve updated my shop with the last postage dates for international and national parcels. There are two discounted double packs for sale there, signed and dedicated as you wish. I think they make lovely gifts.
Thought I’d finish my blog today with some photos taken recently in a tiny Dorset village, Briantspuddle, on a solo writing retreat focusing on my new book. The village was beautiful. I had a fantastic time writing and walking.
Have a happy time in your garden. What are your wintry plans?