The last seeds of 2018 are finally in the ground. On a soggy autumn day I sowed broad beans and planted garlic……….and delighted at squelching in the mud. Despite the drizzle it was a wonderful day enjoying the bird song, the insect activity, the company of cats….and the satisfaction of getting another couple of crops underway. And then a long hot soak in the tub.
The first harvest is in! It’s always such an exciting time to lift the first harvest of the new season……today it was the garlic and boy-oh-boy did it smell good as I was lifting it. It was also a day for getting the last structure up and a final bit of bed prep……..and my fork prong found some buried treasure…..
If you haven’t already done so there’s just enough time to get some garlic sown.
I have used cloves from my own crop harvested back in July; they’re a hard neck variety which means I’ll get a flower stalk in the spring (or ‘scrape’) which tastes great in a salad – bonus!
I plant them about 6 inches apart with about 10 inches between the rows and about an inch below the surface of the soil. Choose a sunny site with good drainage and keep it weed free. Once planted I cover the bed with some netting to deter the birds from tugging on the newly emerging shoots (do they think it’s a bed of worms?).
I rotate my crops on a four year plan with the aim of preventing any build up of disease.
The days are getting a little shorter….but the to-do list is getting longer:
Remove/compost plants which have stopped producing.
Dig over the empty spaces, weeding as I go (esp. perennial weeds!)
Prepare empty beds for sowing of green manures.
Sow green manures.
Sow overwintering broad beans.
Continue to harvest (leave enough time to cook/bottle/store).
Prepare spaces for storing/get bottling equipment ready.
Check winter crops for disease/pest damage etc and remove/burn diseased plants if any.
Dead head flowers to prolong/start gathering seed from those gone over.
Clean bean poles/other supports ready for storing.
If time: dig out new bed (!!!)
Browse seed catalogue.
Plan new shed.