The in between season. I’ve still got things in the growing in the garden. But not a lot and they are close to being labelled ‘past it.’ But they are still there needing to be eaten. There isn’t much that can be grown at this time of year. But I can technically plant some things, but even that is fraught with problems.
For example I have a pack of carrot seeds that could go in any time now, in fact this variety has the lovely phrase that makes a gardener’s heart leap for joy. The packet says it can be sown ‘all year round’. The problem is these carrots take 16 weeks to grow. So if I plant them in the old carrot bed from last season then they will be in the middle of my salad bed for next season. I could plant the salad crops around the carrots but, I would really need to enrich the bed as the soil hasn’t had a good feed since the potatoes were in there the year before as carrots really don’t like a bed full of rich organic materials, so it’ll be getting a bit tired and the hungry salad plants that look for a quick nitrogen fix won’t want to share with the carrots.
I could put them in to their new season bed, but there is a cover crop growing there. I grew some mustard to attempt to clean up the soil a little as there was a bit of blight in my spuds last year. But I don’t want to dig them into the soon to be carrot bed as they wouldn’t appreciate the excess organic matter. So I was planning on digging them into the bed the beans were in so the soil there can get the benefit of the mustard, because this is where the new potatoes will be going. They won’t be going in until mid September which is perfect timing for new spuds for Christmas. Which would give the mustard time to break down in the soil and improve the structure.
The bean bed won’t be needed until the soil is warm enough in late October so the leeks can languish there a while longer. But don’t get me started on the broccoli. I still have cabbages and kale in their beds which will soon be the odds and sods bed for all my fun stuff, but I can still grow brassicas at this time of year, but I don’t want them in my exciting odds and sods bed holding up the action, and my salad bed still has salad in it – growing impossibly slowly due to the cold weather. I guess it beats having them go bitter and bolt in the heat.
But more pressing is digging in the mustard cover crop where the tomatoes were. I popped them in to freshen up the soil after my summer was blighted with blight. But I didn’t really give much thought to what comes next and I have some onions almost ready to be planted. Almost, because I’m running a little late with my seed sowing due to our earlier trip to Tahiti. But our onion growing farmer friend always tells me I’ve planted them too early, so maybe this year he won’t have to point it out. The problem with the cover crop is, there isn’t enough time for it to break down in the soil – I reckon we have a week or two before they go in. So I thought I could dig them into the bed where the peas were, because this is where the tomatoes are going to go and hopefully there will be lingering benefit from the mustard into the soil that will nurture my tomatoes.
I think I just need to pick up my spade and do some digging. There is no other way around it. The problem is the boffins are saying the next 7 days are going to be soggy. I just hope they have it wrong. The school holidays finish on Monday so it is bound to be sunny.
Come again soon – there is only 6 weeks until spring and there is so much to be done.
Sarah the Gardener : o)