Well, so, it’s harvest time. There are thousands of cherry tomatoes that I could neither eat nor give away. They are pretty much smashed on the ground, so I predict many volunteers next year, too. We could have all manner of tomatoes, given the unharvested remnants of this year’s bumper crop. I was able to rescue a few San Marzanos from the rotting mess. That’s it. Those mice can have at it.
We are clearing the kitchen garden. We could have gone for a winter crop, but Julien and I were so sure we’d simply repeat the failures of previous years that we didn’t plan very well. Plants went all over with no though of sunlight or water requirements. The whole irrigation setup was piecemeal. It’s too chaotic to simply continue.
So, out go the old plants. There are a few straggler butternut squash still ripening, plus some beets and carrots that I’m in no rush to harvest; I’ll leave them until last. Julien is a no-dig convert, so once we have cleared the area we’ll spread some aged horse poo that he gets from his neighbors — ah, the aroma — then a thick layer of cardboard. Then we’ll probably replace the plastic and walk away.
We’ll come back in spring. We’ll relocate the plastic sheeting to conform to whatever planting plan we dream up, then do a proper soaker hose/drip installation. I added a couple of hose bibs in the area, so that should go pretty well. There should be no neglected areas and thus no need for standard sprinklers.
We have had a long spell of steady rain, so the fruit trees are happy. I think we got four tiny apples plus a couple dozen mirabelles. But nothing died, which is a big improvement over my usual results. I see a few crossed branches and all so a winter prune will happen in January. We’ll also take a closer look at the Wild Wood. We found a hazelnut tree in there, and a quince. We need to encourage them and engage in further exploration.
I should be doing a winter pruning of my roses, but, well, lazy. Roger did a couple of them, most unexpected, thank you Roger. I should also weed around them and figure out what to plant under them that will choke out the abundant grass — abundant only around the roses, of course. Dream on if you think I’ll be able to get an actual lawn going.
So that’s it: the kitchen garden and the rest of the property, too. Long story short, we are tidying and settling in. It’s nice.
11 thoughts on “Potager Report”
I’d say you can declare victory for your 2020 garden over the evil forces of nature. It was a good year for us, too. In the end the peppers came through and we had a final burst of eggplant, too. I’ve cleared the veggie cages and planted kabu and komatsuna for our winter crops – finally the weather has dropped into Autumn-like conditions after a very hot and long summer. Bulb planting starts this weekend and the inevitable lawn repair. I’m not familiar with the “bury it under horse poo and cardboard” strategy but whatever works is good. No doubt will please the rodent population immensely 😁. Oh well, another year of gardening and more lessons learned about how to efficiently kill plants. Progress is incremental.
I have Asian cookbooks, maybe even a Japanese one. Before I buy more seeds, I need to figure out what to do with a kabu, for example. I like vegetables. I just didn’t grow up with them. If they aren’t starchy or go over pasta or under blue cheese dressing, I don’t know what to do with them. I just found out that baking spice goes on beets. What a revelation! Live and learn, I guess.
We pickle kabu in bran which is a very traditional preparation but a royal pain in the turnip because the pickling medium (nukazuke) requires constant care. Basically you can treat s kabu like any other root veggie. Komatsuna is pretty much a collard green. Most Japanese recipes are simple and I tease the AJF that 90% of her recipes are only a blend of sake, soy sauce, mirin, miso and maybe some ginger. Have you grown shishito peppers? They’re great especially as tempura but also stir fried and one plant will keep you in peppers all summer.
Shishito? I had no idea. Okay, so I’ll get back in the habit of braising greens and find a decent stir fry pan. I used to have and use all that. Then hollandaise sauce showed up at the supermarket. My diet has been all downhill ever since.
‘Nothing died’. That’s it, victory in the garden stakes!
A good idea to ignore winter gardening, it will give you time to plan for next year.
I suppose if Julien is no dig he doesn’t go in for potatoes which is a shame with the super varieties available, and thank your lucky stars it is horse manure….it could be duck slurry.
Well, okay, he’ll make a hole for a potato or onion start. But that old-school soil turning, no way. I think the worms are keeping it aerated.
He should try Leo;s father’s techqique for planting spuds, as taught by the university turning out Belgian colonial administrators in the inter war period.
Dig a hole, insert fertilizer – don’t ask – and potato. Take a spadeful of earth next to it and plonk it on top of spud. Insert fertilizer and spud in hole thus made. Cover with the next spadeful…
It is a lot easier than digging a row and covering the spuds.
How they thought their colonial officers were going to grow spuds in the Congo is beyond me though…
Didn’t you promise us more house pictures???
Asking the real questions. +1
Okay, okay. I’m thinking the attic, next. I’d better clean it up, so I can take some decent “after” pictures. Or maybe the guest rooms. With covid keeping everyone away, they’re in great shape. Soon, I promise.
Organised people are a wonderful thing! Without guests, my guest rooms turn into a war zone as I start piling things into them. Ironing board, laundry basket, outdoor cushions, empty boxes 😀
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