It’s been raining; a cross between drizzly and fat heavy drops with bursts of sunshine in between. But it’s not cold, not really. Besides the house is being warmed by the processing of golden quince orbs into jars of deep red clear jelly and jars of left over pulpy jam! So delicious! I just checked out the local online supermarket and they didn’t have any quince jam or jelly so I reckon that puts it in the “luxury” jam category, unlike the run of the mill strawberry jam that seems to be the most common jam on offer. The luxury jams were going for about $5 a jar, so my ten jars have just saved the family about $50! (Not including the sugar, electricity or labour – but who’s counting.) Luxury jam wouldn’t have been in the budget anyway. That’s what I love about gardening, grow the posh stuff! We truly have a champagne lifestyle on a fizzy water budget!
It also helps to grow the budget stuff too, like spuds and carrots, but even they are getting costly in the shops. But they just taste so much better fresh. The humble carrot is elevated to something well beyond the average status it normally gets! It’s not a starchy, dry, slightly soft orange vegetable – it’s sweet and juicy and so crisp!
I dug up a row of spuds the other day – 20 days early, but I was being cheeky and tried to squeeze in an extra crop before the end of the season, only to have it succumb to blight – grrr! But I dug some up anyway and they were perfect. Another 20 days would have made them slightly bigger, but they are already a decent size. That’s saved the family from having to hand over wads of cash for potatoes of uncertain provenance.
It’s not exactly a posh vegetable, but broad beans have become a regular inhabitant in my winter garden, because it is so lush and green during the cold season, where there isn’t much going on except the old slow poke brassicas. There isn’t much advantage planting them in the autumn over planting them in the spring except that they crop a couple of weeks earlier. But I don’t actually like them enough to relish the two week head start, it’s more about having something growing in the garden that I have to tend to when there is nothing else to do. They need constant staking and protection from those windy winter storms and don’t start me on the aphids that just love the tender tips!
The broad bean row is beginning to flourish with seven green seedlings spreading their leaves out to soak up the warm rays of autumnal sun. However I planted eleven. I’ve waited patiently for eighteen days. I’m beginning to think the last four aren’t going to come out of the ground. Seven plants would be enough (there are still some in the freezer from the spring!) But their lack of growth offends my sense of order. There are gaps in my row. There is nothing else for it – I shall have to go out right now and sow four more seeds!
Come again soon – there is never a dull moment in an autumn garden – well… there may be one or two boring bits when it’s raining!
Sarah the Gardener : o)