The veg garden - October and out

Published October 16, 2022

An illustration of farming and gardening, trees, crops growing and a tractor

If the weather is anything to go by, we’re fully into autumn now. We’re either having those glorious days where the sun is shining but the air is brisk, or it’s absolutely hammering it down giving the earth some much needed moisture. I’m seeing plenty of info out there about things you can still do in your garden, but I have to admit I’ve lost a bit of steam this year.

I’m comparing this to last year where I threw in the towel in a bit of a grump about a haul of tiny carrots, and although the feeling of tired and ‘done with this for now’ is still there, I’m so much more excited about what next year is going to bring. In the future I might be working on through the autumn months but for now, I’m sitting back and admiring what I’ve achieved this year, in only my second year as a vegetable gardener, and my first full twelve months on the plot (or losing it).

Top five achievements from this year:

  • Courgettes. I threw in some courgette seeds, too close together because I didn’t read the packaging and didn’t expect them to grow. Boy, did they grow. They were my most successful and productive veg of the year and something that we ate a lot of and froze even more so we can keep on enjoying them through the winter.
  • Potatoes. There are mixed reviews out there about growing your own potatoes, as they are relatively cheap from the supermarket so potentially not worth it. But there’s definitely something special about digging up those creamy little orbs, it makes you want to do more. I’ve tried potatoes in the raised bed and some in containers, and I’ve learnt lots of lessons to do better next year.
  • Outgrowing the windowsill. I love the idea of starting things off on the windowsill, raising them to a decent size before throwing them out into the garden to fend for themselves (I mean, tenderly transplanting them into the carefully prepared soil…) This year I had so much going on at one point that I outgrew the window-space I had available and had to look for alternatives. There is so going to be a greenhouse in my future.
  • The herb bed. I started off with a basil plant from the supermarket, and gradually have ended up with a few different herbs altogether to make a bit of a dedicated herb garden. I managed to use some fresh herbs and freeze some others, and the next step is to think about drying them.
  • Learning the words perennial and annual and understanding the difference. It only took me a year. Hooray!

It’s not all been smooth sailing, obviously. I have tried a few times and have yet to get anything remotely resembling a pak choi, and the cabbage leaves were eaten and died off before they had a chance to get going. But the runner beans were good and the kale is looking hearty, and there’s still so much more to learn.

I’m into the planning stages for next year, and using a lot of different sources, including the method I wrote about previously. So far the planning feels like the hardest part because it’s somewhat overwhelming. There’s so many elements to it - the things I want to try, the space I have to do so, the timing of what goes where and when. But at the end of the day, it’s fun and everything we grow is one less thing to buy which can only be a bonus.

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