this past month has been spent weeding, mulching, weeding, mulching, weeding, more mulching & ...... hand pollinating
many of our zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber & melon varieties. A very satisfying although time consuming job where each
afternoon just before dusk we walk around the garden & peg closed all of the male & female flowers. The next morning
just after sun-up we then do the same walk but un-peg the female flowers & pollinate them with the males finishing by
taping them up to prevent any unwanted cross pollination. Not an easy job when you've got a handful of highly aromatic
pollen & there's plenty of bees around trying to help you!
We've been keeping ourselves busy in our heritage seed garden during the past month. Pumpkins & zucchini are
doubling in size and the Chilacayote is doing its best to take over the garden despite our best efforts to try to tame it.
Our main focus at the moment is harvesting & drying heirloom tomato seed.
And of course there's always the weeds to keep up with......
Harvest is in full swing in our heritage seed garden this month. Early pumpkins are now being harvested & left to dry
out, tomatoes are being picked every few days and their seeds extracted, fermented & dried. Beans are now becoming
mature with dried pods now harvested every few days & left to dry further. We're also hand pollinating the last of the
pumpkins & melons. We've given up on the chilacayote & have left it to overtake a large section of our garden. Perhaps
one of the more pleasant tasks of harvesting the heirloom apples & pears & delivering them to our local market for
sale.......A most bountiful time of the year!
And of course there's always the weeds to keep up with...... again!
The past month has been spent mostly cleaning and processing bean, tomato, cucumber, pumpkin, marrow & squash seed. Many new (or old!) varieties have been added to our range. Apples and pears from our heritage orchard are now mostly harvested with only the late varieties remaining. We are half-way through the process of weeding, mulching and fertilising the espalier orchard. Dried bean pods are being harvested every few days and left to dry further before being processed. Remaining pumpkins, squash & marrow left on the vine are slowly reaching maturity and have finally slowed down after their vigorous growth of the previous month.
...... all this while tip-toeing around the garden with a big red-bellied black snake (our first sighting)!
Many would guess that winter would be our slowest time of year. A nice relaxing time to put our feet up in the garden & sip a nice warm drink of lemongrass tea. Well...... one can only dream!!! It's actually our busiest time of the whole year.
While the weeds have certainly slowed with the onset of cooler weather, we're still harvesting the last of our pumpkins & extracting & drying the seed; digging and inspecting carrots & parsnips for winter storage in tubs (to be planted out for seed in spring) and planting lots more garlic, shallots, egyptian walking onions & peas.
Winter is also the time when we germination test our whole seed bank. A task which takes nearly 2-3 months to complete, yet one which we know to be crucial for obtaining good results in our garden (and for our customers!).
So yes.... while we dream of warmer weather, we are still busy getting our hands dirty!