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  • Writer's pictureThe Blooming Old Gardener

Don't judge each day by the harvest

”Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson .

Well, prompted by the ‘harvest moon’ in the early hours of the 21st September, we have been harvesting the last of our summer veg. The last of the courgettes, tomatoes and potatoes in the garden being picked and dug up. The harvest moon looked very impressive in the sky and was a warning of the autumn equinox on the 22nd. The colder mornings are happening now too, giving a more autumnal feel to the Bloomers garden.

The Romani name for September, Rigerimaskero, means month of the gathering. Obviously because it was a time when they were busy doing just that. Working on farms, collecting from hedgerows and preparing for the winter months ahead. Our volunteers have been busy too, watering when needed, weeding and strimming. As well as tidying up playthings and the book tree.

We are still having some sunny days, along with some rain, which seems to be keeping our plants happy. The sunflowers came into flower quite late this year. As usual we had some very tall ones, as well as a variety of smaller and different coloured ones. I’m sure they all have names, but as the seeds were saved from last year’s flower heads, I’ve no idea which is which. The bees have been loving them. There was quite a crowd of them on the flower heads when I visited the garden recently. The rose and the three salvia plants keep flowering well too. Making sure pollinators are happy in the garden for the next month at least.

We are happy to hear that the students are coming back to help in the garden each week again. Even though the garden plants will be winding down for the winter, there is still a lot to do. We need to keep the garden tidy and refresh it for next year. It’s great seeing them come up with ideas of what to do and they seem to have fun while they work.

As the Incredible Edible veg patch empties, I’ve been trying to grow cabbages, kale, broccoli and winter lettuce from seed at home, ready to plant out. I’ve ended up feeding slugs, snails and caterpillars though. As a result, I’ve now done a second sowing and put a slug repellent round them. The slugs don’t seem to realise that they should be repelled though and are still growing very fat eating the cabbage. I’m going out each morning, pulling them off my seedlings. It takes two hands sometimes. Fingers crossed that the latest batch of seedlings don’t disappear as quickly as the first.

At this time of the year my freezer becomes full of veg from the garden. There’s no room for my excess tomatoes. So I’m having to think up ways to use them. I’ve preserved pasta sauces using red tomatoes and basil. The first batch of red tomato chutney has been produced too. I leave the green tomatoes on my window ledge to ripen, but the time is coming when I need to find ways of using these up too. It’s usually a big batch of green tomato chutney, but I need some new ideas. Green tomatoes, sliced, dipped in seasoned flour and fried has been suggested by volunteer Pauline. I’ve found a recipe for green tomato salsa, where you whizz up cooked green tomatoes with onion, garlic, lime and coriander. Apparently this is good as a dip. Another suggestion was to put slices of green tomato and goats cheese on toast as an appetiser. Any more ideas to share?

The Blooming Old Gardener

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