Early Autumn is by the far the busiest time of the year for me in the productive garden.
In winter I have most of my major crops in so just do a little continuous planting of the quick harvest crops and spring though busy doesn’t have the franticness of autumn and summer is a slow burn that seemed to go on forever this year.
During March not only I am trying desperately to harvest and preserve as much of the summer crop as possible I am also trying to prepare ground and plant out the quick growers, the in-between crops and the winter crops.
I am feeling a bit frazzled at the moment, here is why:
In the vegetable garden:
I am harvesting loads of tomatoes and turning them into sauce, paste and pickles. Trying to dry a few as well.
Pickling Egg plant.
Pickling and drying chillies.
Making Zucchini slice from the last of the crop.
Harvesting the last of the Corn and what we can’t eat I am and freezing.
The Beans are still giving us plenty of crop so what we don’t eat (or give away) I am freezing for winter soups.
It is the main harvest time for potatoes here in my Southern Highlands garden so trying to store some, but I am yet to find a way to keep them from sprouting for any length of time so cooking up potato bakes and roast potato to pop in the freezer.
I have biggest silver beet plants I have ever grown in the garden this summer, so I am making spinach triangles and pie and yes popping them in the freezer.
I have a big Freezer!
In the orchard:
I have had the best crop of peaches in years, so I am harvesting, stewing and freezing peaches. Who doesn’t love a peach pie on a cold winter day!
Harvesting loads of apples and making apple pies, apple sauce, cider and chutneys.
The citrus grove is producing loads of lemons so making lemon butter, preserved lemons and the odd tart.
And of course, just starting to harvest fabulous finger limes so again what I don’t eat go into the freezer.
Figs are plentiful this year so making a bit of fig jam which I use in my Christmas fruit mix and spiced figs which I just love to eat with cheeses during the winter.
Picking the last of the Strawberries and a few autumn raspberries, these mostly get eaten before they hit the kitchen so no preserving here.
From the Herbs garden:
I am drying and making tarragon vinegar as the frost cuts back Tarragon completely, so I cannot pick it again until Spring.
Had a bountiful crop of Basil this season which I have used every which way and turned any excess into pesto.
The parsley is just crazy at the moment so making lots of tabouleh and parsley pesto whilst it is so lush.
I also like to freeze some Sage at this time of the year as it does not fair well in the frost either.
Whilst all this harvesting and preserving is going on I am also franticly cleaning out beds as I harvest stuff and reworking them with lots of well-rotted manure, compost and blood and bone so I can:
Direct seeding quick growing crops like coriander rocket and mixed leaf lettuce.
Plant my in- between crops like Snow peas and English spinach.
Plant Garlic, spring onions and leeks.
Produce seedlings and plant out all the Brassicaceae’s like broccoli cabbage cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
I am feeling rather exhausted just writing about it.
Don’t get me wrong I love this time of the year- the weather is usually cooler but still warm which allows for long productive days in the garden and then there are usually some rainy days which keep me inside and allow me to catch up on all my preserving.
There is a real sense of purpose about my days and to go to the freezer and the cupboard and see how much food I have preserved gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
So, forgive me if I don’t keep up with my FB posts or you don’t see me out and about as much because really, I am just too Busy!
Hope you are too.
Happy Gardening Kathy