Autumn Garden Assessment

I’m not sure who was busier in my garden over summer. In a frenzy of activity – the bees were pollinating while I was maintaining and harvesting.

Now it’s autumn the garden feels a little ‘tatty’ so it’s a good time to get the old photos out and remind myself of progress.  Most areas have now been treated to a thick protective and nutrient rich layer of pea straw, compost (combination of bought and home-made) and chunks of seaweed foraged from our beaches. No mean feat when the gathering of materials means lugging them up our steep steps. 

Soil is coming alive and it is becoming easier to work with no dig principles.

The next three images are taken of the same space that a year ago was just compacted clay.

May 2020 – preparing a no dig garden
January 2021, summer
April 2021, autumn

It seemed as if I’d be buying new plants forever for the front flower garden but spaces have filled and there are enough perennials to divide up next spring to pop into those last gaps. Cosmos and a few other annuals have been left to self-seed too and they’ll lend a carefree air to the overall planting scheme into the future. Trees that were just twigs are beginning to own their place.

Our fruit and vegetables have come almost exclusively from the garden for the past five months, with the odd exceptions like onions, capsicums, squash and garlic which I’ve not had success with this year. We swap produce for eggs with our next door neighbours for which I’m grateful because we do not have space for chooks ourselves.

I succession plant a few veggie seedlings and seeds – popping them in nooks that become available when something else is harvested. Hopefully there is enough cabbage, cauliflower, swede, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, celery, beetroot and carrots to keep us going through winter. Tomorrow I’ll plant some more to cover the ‘hungry gap’ of early spring.

April 2021, post-summer – looking a little lean but the new seedlings are filling the gaps

We still have a few strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apples. Our pear, feijoa and fig trees have not produced anything edible yet but all in all I think we have had tremendous success. Our two rhubarb plants are prolific. I’ve frozen some peaches, strawberries, gooseberries, stewed apple and blackcurrants but there will not be enough fruit to see us through winter.

I’ve taken new photos too of all the different areas to record what plants are where – especially those perennials that disappear over winter. On cold evenings I’ll sit by the log burner, go through them and plan what needs shifting and dividing come spring.

Old chairs proved to be extremely useful for staking tomatoes in summer and now Brussel sprouts in autumn. And some got used for keeping netting over the strawberries.

I’m also preparing a neglected part of the garden ready to put a tunnel pathway up for some vertical vegetable growing. The right side of the below image shows my recent pile of autumn choppings to which shredded paper, coffee grinds, seaweed and vegetable scraps are also mixed. I know now that this short term ‘messiness’ will produce yummy home-made compost … for free

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