planning a green winter

18 Aug

It seems way too early to be thinking about winter, but here I am already with the plans. Not for knitting or crafting (though I should be — it’s only 100-odd days till Christmas!), but planning out my winter garden.

My downstairs neighbours have this amazing kale and cabbage growing in her back garden, which you can just see in the background of our Made by Loumms apron pics. They’re producing way more than they can eat, so they often leave a bag for us in the hallway and it’s just divine. Who knew your greens could be quite so delicious? A bit of salt and pepper, some garlic, some lemon — delicious!

The wonderful thing about kale and cabbage, and all those types really, is that it has two clear sowing seasons: late winter for summer harvest and late summer for winter harvest, so this morning I pulled up my carrots and parsnips* and sowed some late beetroot and spinach, a couple of cauliflower seeds, more carrots and parsnips and… the kale and cabbage I will be craving come January.

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I also rearranged my garden (hurrah for containers!) so that they’ll be getting the most of the midday sun, while some of my more mature plants are now a bit better protected next to the fence where they can continue to get lovely a fat in peace.

While I was at it, I decided to harvest the great jungle of rocket I had growing out there (which is destined for Rocket and Potato Soup, nom!) and unearthed a teeny tiny cucumber plant!

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Poor little thing! I’d sown the seed back in June, just to see if the seeds, which had failed to take indoors, would fare better out. And then totally forgotten about it. I think I saved it before it got completely drowned out by the rocket, though I may have missed the fruiting season by being such a dolt. (Mind you, who knows? I could be awash with cukes come October!)

I was going to take advantage of my garlic which has been seeding, but I reckon it probably needs a few more weeks before those wee ones are ready to be planted.

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* My granddad, whose knowledge of gardening is practically unsurpassable, suggested we store our root vegetables by ‘clamping‘ them. Clamping is effectively keeping your veg in big mound of earth. It’s a method that’s been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for storing root vegetables to use in the winter. The soil both keeps them cool and acts to suffocate any further growth.

Because I don’t have anywhere to dig out a traditional trench, I’ve just pulled out the foliage and have been adding to the pot where my potatoes were growing. To my great delight, it totally works! I dug out a couple of potatoes after leaving them there for about three weeks and they were as garden fresh as if I’d pulled them up by the stalk. I’ve got some late potatoes on the grow, so hopefully I’ll be able to add them to the clamp as well (if there’s still space)!

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