Au­tumn harvest

Au­tumn is with us. Shorter days and longer nights come with a nip in the the dis­tinc­tive air. It may be time to hang up the jan­dals and bring out gum­boots.

Element - - Gardening - By Janet Luke.

Ripe for the pick­ing

Now is the time to fin­ish your late sum­mer har­vest­ing. Dig pota­toes, ku­mara, and Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes. Harvest pump­kins when the stalk has gone brown. Care­fully clip them from the vine and store them in a warm, shel­tered place. Beans, beet­root, the last of the sweet­corn, toma­toes, new sea­son onions, ku­mara and cel­ery are some of the re­cently har­vested veg­eta­bles. Do you know that ap­par­ently cel­ery re­sults in neg­a­tive calo­ries? It takes more calo­ries to eat a piece of cel­ery than it has in it.

Vege gar­den

As you harvest your crops, re-sow any spare space with win­ter crops. It is a good idea to re­plen­ish the soil with some com­post, blood and bone or sheep pel­lets as you go. You can sow di­rectly out­doors from seed the fol­low­ing plants: beet­root; broc­coli; cab­bage; cau­li­flower; bok choy; sil­ver­beet, spinach and turnips. Sow­ing seeds saves you money and time. They may need thin­ning out but use these baby plants in sal­ads or stir-fries. Keep an eye out for white cab­bage but­ter­fly cater­pil­lars chew­ing holes in your bras­si­cas. I spray with Or­ganic No Cater­pil­lars from Ki­wicare. It is or­ganic and Biogrow cer­ti­fied. Ask for it in gar­den cen­tres.

Ur­ban or­chard

Peaches are com­ing to the end of their sea­son. Have a go at bot­tling any spare stone­fruit so you can en­joy them on your Weet­bix in the mid­dle of win­ter. I just fol­low the in­struc­tions at the back of the Ed­monds Cook­book. Prune your stone fruit trees as the last fruit are picked. Cut out the old cross­ing over wood or any branches which have cracks. Ap­ples are crunchy and de­li­cious. Passionfruit is start­ing to ripen. Check reg­u­larly un­der the vine for any ripe fallen fruit. Plac­ing straw or a plas­tic tarp un­der the vine makes it easy to find the fruit. If you have a glut of fruit, spoon the pulp into ice cube con­tain­ers and freeze for later.


Horse­rad­ish This herb can grow to one me­tre tall. The leaves look sim­i­lar to wild dock. It forms a long tap root. The young leaves can be used in sal­ads but it is the root that makes won­der­ful horse­rad­ish sauce for that roast beef. Dig the roots now for fu­ture sauces. Store in air­tight con­tainer in the fridge, un­til re­quired. This plant can be eva­sive. Any por­tion of the root will sprout. Plant in a large sunken pot to stop it spread­ing. Find this plant in the pot­ted herb sec­tion of your gar­den cen­tre. Rocket This is a fast-grow­ing an­nual which will grow year ‘round. It adds a won­der­ful pep­pery taste to any salad. It pro­duces small white flow­ers which can also be used in sal­ads. It will hap­pily self-seed. It prefers a po­si­tion in full sun or light shade. Water reg­u­larly dur­ing dry pe­ri­ods. You can buy seeds from the gar­den cen­tre.

Janet Luke is a Land­scape Ar­chi­tect with a pas­sion for sus­tain­able liv­ing and her busi­ness greenur­ban­liv­ Her first book, Green Ur­ban Liv­ing is avail­able in good book shops.

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