My garden in October

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Harvesting Jerusalem artichokes, cooking apples, one solitary cob of sweetcorn, chilis, a little kale and lots of seed saving

Planting I am just about to plant out some daffodil and tulip bulbs lining the path to my front door. My front garden is totally neglected and needs a Permaculture design project in its own right. I have scattered the last of the green manures seeds too. A little late I know so i don’t hold out much hope really, especially with free-ranging hens around. I am abandoning the garden to the hens now really. I like them to be able to free-range over the autumn and winter, so any further planting is just pointless as it ends up as chicken treats!

Thinking I am thinking about Halloween and fireworks night-yay! Two of my fave seasonal celebrations. We often have a little party, but are feeling so pushed for time this year we probably will not manage to organise it. My girls are off to a school Halloween disco later this week and we will all dress up for a spot of trick or treating. We like to make our own costumes or re-purpose item rather than splashing out on new costumes each year. I will post pics of the kids in all their splendor!

Feeling I am feeling like lots of cycles in my life are coming to an end currently. It’s a good thing as it frees up my time and head space lots. I intend to do a post on this subject asap.I am enjoying the autumn so far, the weather has been very mild, I am sat with the backdoor flung open at the mo, its been like summer again today! The clocks have just changed and I do not enjoy that. But I shall focus on the positives of dark evenings, snuggling up with the kids, hot chocolate, fires and dvd movie nights.

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One of the chicks we hatched out back in the spring has now turned into a magnificent cockerel. He is friendly and protective of his flock of ladies. He had yet to crow, we are hoping, as we hope every year, to have found a non-cockerdoodling cockerel. We so want to keep him! Our neighbours also hatched out a boyo this year, he was happily crowing away in their garden for about a month, I really liked the sound. But after complaints from other neighbours, he was sent off to live on a farm- no, really he was. – He was! I am not sure our boy will be so lucky when his time comes.

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The Jerusalem artichokes were beautiful, I love this shot from this morning of the yellowing leaves framed against a bonfire grey sky.

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The greenhouse is still providing us with salads and chilis.

Weather stats

Tuesday 28th october 2014

High 19 Low 10

Warm, still and sunny. A beautiful autumnal day.

Sunrise 06:53 Sunset 16:43

 

My garden in September

I started keeping this garden diary in September 2013, so this post marks one whole year of recording my garden every month. I find it interesting to look back and see the changes to my garden throughout the seasons and note the progress made and challenges fought in making my garden as productive as possible. I hope to keep up this regular blog post for a while yet. I hope to get a chance to take some picture of my garden in the snow! I wonder if this winter will provide that opportunity? I am grateful to have such a lovely garden that can provide my family with fresh, organic and seasonal produce. I am also grateful that my children get the chance to run around, play in the brook, climb the trees, keep chickens, enjoy playing with neighbours and generally get muddy!

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Harvesting Since my last post I have harvested food from my garden as follows; Figs, beetroot, courgettes, loads of tomatoes, purple beans, chilis, one tiny aubergine, lots of runner beans, blackberries, cooking apples, eating apples, a couple of grapes and a handful of yellow raspberries. In addition to this, we have returned from trips to the school garden laden with yet more runner beans, plums, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers and courgettes. The figs are over now, but they have been wonderful this year. The apples tree however have been far more stingy with their fruits this year. We normally like to press our apples for juice or cider, but we didn’t have enough this year to make borrowing a press worthwhile. So we gifted our apples to a neighbour who has promised us a few bottles of homemade cider in return.

Planting. I have sown some winter salads and Pak choi in the greenhouse. I have planted out the red and blackcurrant cuttings that have been taking root since last winter. I have also popped in a few more strawberry plants here and there. I spent a careful few hours planting out winter carrots and beetroot seedlings, such fiddly work. The chickens later broke out of their area and rampaged through the garden, scratching up and eating all but a few of my newly planting winter crops. I was not best pleased and just can not find time or energy to re-plant them.

Thinking. I can feel the shift in the seasons this week. Mornings are darker and beginning to feel chilly. I have searched out the children’s slippers and my dressing gown. We have had a couple of misty mornings. My walk to school was decorated with jewelled spider’s webs yesterday. I do enjoy autumn, especially all the celebrations associated with fires and tasty food. I like lighting the log burner and feeling cosy in the evenings, but we have not had to do that yet. We try to wait until November rolls around before heating the house.

Feeling My daughter’s birthdays beautifully bookend the summer. C at the end of May and E at the end of September. We celebrate Miss E’s 8th birthday next weekend, then autumn is allowed to begin!

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Weather stats

Thursday 18th September 2014

A foggy morning becoming brighter as the day goes on

Sunrise 06:43 Sunset 19:13

High 23 Low 15

 

Advent

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Welcome December! It is still feeling pretty mild here and it’s hard to believe we are into December already. The leaves were still clinging to the trees until last week when the first hard frost sent them floating to the ground.

We have been pottering around in the garden this weekend, shifting leaves to places where they can be useful, clearing paths and cleaning out the chickens. The sun is very low in the sky these days and only reaches certain corners of the garden. The chickens are now free to roam wherever they like and so they follow the sun and sit in sleepy groups soaking up the scarce sun’s rays when they can.

I have made an advent activity calendar for the kids. Each day they have an activity waiting for therm behind the door of the advent house. These vary from truly exciting events like ‘Go and choose your Christmas tree’ to easy fixes for busy days like ‘Sing Jingle Bells’ They love it all and it’s a nice way to mark the lead up to Christmas.

Fireworks!

I love Bonfire Night. The smell of wood fires, hot soup and jacket potatoes, excited kids with sparklers and the oohh’s and aarrr’s as the rockets are set off. This year we decided to for-go the big organised event and instead met up yesterday in a friends garden with The Woodcraft Folk. We had a blazing fire, hot chocolate, a cheesy sing-song and sparklers.

Last weekend we invited the neighbours over for dinner and a little homespun celebration. We laid out the food in the greenhouse and lit a bonfire at the bottom of our garden. We use an old washing machine drum as a fire pit. It is ideal for this and a great way of re-purposing something which otherwise would be thrown away.

We all sat around on tree stumps eating our tasty autumnal food then had sparklers and a few fireworks. The kids had a great time and enjoyed staying up late and dashing around in the dark. There is something quite primal and powerful about bonfires and fireworks. I find it important to celebrate the heat and light that we get from a fire as we are heading into the dark times of winter. 2013-10-26 19.00.492013-10-26 19.14.06 2013-10-26 19.10.292013-10-26 19.50.41 2013-10-26 19.50.53