Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Autumn Arrives in the Garden

Now that all our north island visitors have fled homewards across Bass Strait, Di and I have settled back into the quiet life. We've found a bit of time to potter around in the garden again, but with autumn in full swing and winter not far away the garden is winding itself down.

Some produce is still forthcoming, rewarding us for our efforts earlier in the season. Yesterday we picked a couple of aubergines for the moussaka Di was making for dinner, and thought we might as well bring in a couple of red peppers as well ...

I've just been out in the garden doing a little work in support of our two wonderful eggplants. There are at least another nine aubergines to be picked, and flowers that suggest more are on the way. It occurred to me that they might want a bit more water, and I've also done a bit of  trussing to keep them from sagging. Maybe we'll be still picking for some time to come!

This morning we decided that we ought to grab one of our figs off the tree to have with breakfast. It was much larger and more superior to the ones we bought at the shop just yesterday to have for dinner with our friends Alan and Penney. Our fig is the plump, round fellow at the bottom of this photo ...

... and this is what he looks like cut open ...

 Maybe we should have bypassed the shop and just gone out into the back yard! The fig tree is a relatively new addition to our garden, and this is the first year we've been able to harvest any. Sam, our next-door neighbour has set the gold standard for us. His figs are an earlier ripening variety and his tree was loaded a month or two back. They were fantastic and we hope to emulate his efforts over the next few years.

The tomatoes are on their last legs, along with the basil plants we belatedly stuck in between. Now that we know they grow so well together we'll get our basil in a bit earlier next spring.

Our blueberry bushes have turned red and are dropping their leaves; the gooseberry is not far behind.  We've been very encouraged with improved cropping for both and are keen to build on what we learned this year.

We think the strawberries are finished for the season, but then we thought that a month ago and got another late flush of fruit. We will be away when the olives are ready, but the amount of fruit on our young trees is fairly meagre at this stage so we won't be missing out on much there. (They were never planted with harvesting in mind anyway.)

The zucchinis are still going strong, a late crop of cos lettuces will provide the basis for a bunch of Caesar Salads down the track, and our kale and silver beet will of course produce right through the winter. We've got a few small but delicious red cabbages in the garden to eat over the next month or so, and that will about wrap things up for the year.

After giving away veggie gardening when we were still working, we've rediscovered the joys of growing our own produce thanks to having more time to engage with the process. It's sometimes hard to work out what we should plant in our relatively small area, but that's all part of the fun. It will be interesting to see how our new apple trees go next year, when we should get our first fruit. The weeds still get out of hand from time to time, but it's a lot easier to catch up again these days - without feeling overwhelmed by it all.

And now it's time to get ready for the stroll from home over to the State Cinema to watch Sherpa. It looks like a very pleasant way to while away the late afternoon, so off we go. See you later!