As I (somewhat) patiently approach our 19th May average frost date, I’m finding joy in the things I won’t have to plant out. Yes, the greenhouse is full of seedlings at various stages, but the autumn sowings, volunteers, and perrenials are winning my heart in the quasiallotment because I know they’re past that nerve-inducing tender stage.
The onions and garlic seem to be continuing fine, last year’s calendula is flowering, we’ve some volunteer potatoes in the backyard veg patch, and I’ve spied some visiting nettle which I hope to naturalise in a section of the plot.
Finally, the alliums that I planted to be an end of June bloom creep ever earlier and have begun blooming now.
It was beautiful on Sunday so we tidied up the garden.
In the quasiallotment, the onions & garlic (don’t ask me which is which!) are doing well, the field beans made it (I hadn’t seen anything by late November when I stopped visiting), and the kale was still perfect. I didn’t harvest the kale all winter. I thought it would have gone off, but I picked a bunch and vowed to consistently visit the plot next winter.
And the bulbs are up!
My absolute favourite part of the Lost Gardens of Heligan was the actual garden area. The walled garden and greenhouses were impressively productive and I imagined just pitching a yurt in the grass in the walled garden and living there. I wanted to share these images in their own post.
I trimmed the marjoram back from the path for the fall/autumn and dried it in the dehydrator. The way the dehydrator preserves colour is amazing. I love opening the cupboard for something and seeing the vivid green and purple.
We saved 100 seeds for planting next year and dried the rest in the dehydrator. We ended up with almost two cups of peas. Each time I look into the pantry, I get excited about them and declare ‘we grew these!’.
We’ll be sowing plenty more of these Boddington’s Soup Peas next year.
As I review my learning from this year’s garden, I keep returning to the beautiful colours of these vegetables.
When we got back from our holiday (which I will write about eventually!), one of our blackberry canes was bent over. Although the full branch was still green, I expected the weight of the ripening fruit to strain the bend further as the season went on. So, I trimmed it back.
When you prune your blackberries, save the leaves. Blackberry leaves are a perfect herbal medicine for diarrhoea. Put 1-2 dried/fresh leaves in a glass pint measuring jug and pour in boiled water to steep. Drink 2-3 mugs spread throughout the day when diarrhoea is severe.
I have used this natural remedy when apples did not work and I was desperate enough to ask a neighbour for immodium. The immodium they had was not vegetarian so I couldn’t take it. Luckily, logic and my mom’s teaching kicked in and I headed into the garden for some leaves. One day of doses stopped it in its tracks and one more mugful the next day sent it packing. To make sure I’m not stuck without this medicine in the dead of winter, I’ve stocked our cupboard with some dried leaves.
Right now, it’s that sweet spot between summer and autumn that feels calm and slow. A place where I can still be barefoot and the sun rises and sets at perfectly agreeable times. A place where all I want to do is sow, pot up, harvest or preserve plants and these efforts are turned to bringing indoors as much of the outside as I can while the barrier between the two remains fluid. I don’t want to cover up or close up the house, but I know it is coming so I take this moment to give thanks for the summer we’ve had and dream up ways for it to fill our hearts, stomachs, and homes in the seasons to come.
Gather, preserve, remember, savour.
Current soundtrack: summer songs (campfire songs) or Rites of Passage.
We grew a bunch of volunteer potatoes (from last year’s patch and a compost trench) in the veggie patch and intentionally planted ones in the quasiallotment plot.
Although so far I’ve only plucked a few from the soft soil in the veggie patch (top photo) and harvested about 8 small plants from the plot, those from the veggie patch yielded larger potatoes.
This could be for several reasons because the veggie patch soil is softer and richer and the plants were also ‘ planted’ earlier.
The first harvest was dug up on the last week of August and the rest are soon to come.