Monday, 19 November 2012

End of Season

This photograph is only a couple of weeks old but already frost has shrivelled the dahlias and turned tender foliage slippery and rotten. Its a good time to look back and consider what worked and what failed in a growing season that started with drought and ended with floods.

Most of the plot is sleeping. I won't be digging it over. Instead I have cleared and mulched empty ground with horse manure.

There are newly planted garlic cloves (Sultop and Christo) in the earth as well leeks and chicory and a couple of rows of hardy chicories (Rosso Treviso and Grumulo Rosso). If I look at the drawings I made of the plot in May I can see that although I planned to line my paths with plastic and then cockle shells I never did, that I forgot that the best time for pruning soft fruit trees was after fruiting in September. I see that most of my courgettes and pumpkins were eaten by snails and slugs, that black fly destroyed my broad beans. The garlic I planted amidst self seeded poppies just disappeared. The bed of corn, beans and pumpkins that I planted yielded dark red cobs of strawberry popcorn (the variety) drying on my kitchen window sill and lots of beans but no gourds. Potatoes cropped only poorly.

It was a good year for berries (blackcurrants, red currants and raspberries) globe artichokes and poppies. The borlotti beans were planted late but still cropped heavily as did rhubarb. My no dig approach yielded masses of self seeded rocket and red ribbed dandelions. My very rudimentary pond (a buried builders trug) has persuaded a frog on to the plot.

The rye grass planted as a green manure around my damson and green gage meant lots of scything and masses of cut grass for mulching.  In the spring it will be dug up to make way for raspberries and strawberries as companion planting for my fruit trees. Over the winter I will be reading Joy Larkcom's memoir 'Just Vegetating' hoping to absorb some of her expertise and to get some new planting ideas and planning a herb garden.

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