From seed to service – the Potager Garden diary

By 3rd November 2022 No Comments

November 2022

It’s over in the blink of an eye, isn’t it?

No sooner have you cared for young seedlings through those first difficult weeks, into sprouting adolescence and then careful harvesting of produce – than they exhaust themselves, wither and die, and you bow your head to acknowledge the end of another summer season.

But do not mourn, fellow gardeners, for now is the time of the winter vegetable.

So far, the autumnal months have brought an abundance of produce, and I’ve been particularly delighted at our crop of butternut squash, leeks, swede and chard.

Still going strong, and used every week in the kitchen, are the cavolo nero and curly kale – and our purple sprouting broccoli plants are looking strong and healthy ahead of harvesting early next year.

However, the broccoli plants can be susceptible to toppling in the high winds we’ve had recently, so a good strong stake is advised.

I would also advise consideration for your celeriac crop – although they will be happy in the ground into February or even March, the root ball does not like a heavy frost. Therefore, I cover the roots and surrounding soil with bracken, just to take the edge off any drop in temperatures.

Something else that frost can adversely affect is our newly sown onion sets (300 of the buggers in all) as a freezing soil can push the sets up and out.

However, if you get them (and garlic) into the ground early enough – ours went in around mid-October – it may not be an issue, and even if it is, you can simply push the sets back in.

It’s a similar story with birds pulling the sets out, but, again, push them back in. I’ve never really had to deal with either scenario, and nowt but a regular inspection suffices.

Talking of inspections – loofahs.

Those in power here at the hotel want loofahs for the bathrooms, and yours truly has been tasked with growing them, drying them out and producing perfect sponge-like back-scrubbers.

Loofahs are a new one on me, but they seem to be doing grand.

They are off the vine and in the polytunnel drying out – I’m nervous they will start rotting, and so they are inspected every day for the first signs of trouble.

Mind you, with the storms we’ve had recently, it’s not the loofahs that are causing most concern, rather the polytunnel itself.

Having lost the greenhouse to Storm Eunice earlier this year, and having already lost one polytunnel in the past – if this one goes, then the loofahs and anything else in there will do more than rot!

Fingers crossed the polytunnel holds firm.

In other news, the end of the busiest part of the growing season means our attention turns back towards the grand garden scheme, and I will bring you fully up to date with that next time we speak.

Suffice to say, we will be very busy, and will hopefully have more than a back-scrubber to show for our efforts come the start of the new summer season!

~ Tim