How to get your garden ready for the winter season. Lucy Start, Instagrammer at She Grows Veg, shares her top tips for allotment hacks and vegetable growing.
Autumn; season of abundance for us gardeners! For me, so much of the practice of gardening is the unbridled joy of harvesting the fruits of my labour and savouring every basket of produce. Especially as they gradually dwindle as winter approaches.
We are lucky, here in East Anglia. We live in a warm, mild corner of the country and often find ourselves enjoying balmy days well past the end of summer.
This season is about lots of time outside, the harvest basket growing heavy on my arm as I work my way along my tomatoes, peppers and aubergines and my fingers sticky with juice from over ripe fruit. My daughters steal goodies from the basket when I’m not looking or just straight off the plant if they can.
Then it’s into the kitchen to process all the goodies. Do you preserve your produce? I’m always in awe of those that can whip up sumptuous jams and chutneys. However, if like me you are low on time or not gifted in this particular area, there are still many low maintenance, fast ways to preserve your goodie. I am a particular fan of freezing, its fast and effective and with crops such as tomatoes and courgettes that don’t retain their original texture when thawed, they can be added to soups and casserole directly from the freezer. What could be easier than that?
As the season moves forward and the weather starts to cool down we find ourselves with increasing amounts of bare earth in our gardens and plots as crops finish and are cleared. My suggestion is to consider sowing a green manure cover crop such as red clover. This will suppress weeds and fix nitrogen into the soil over the winter months. Early next year this can be chopped up and dug in, creating a nutrient rich soil with an excellent structure, ready for the new season. Top tip, never let a green manure flower or it will become next seasons uncontrollable weed.
Lucy’s page www.instagram.com/shegrowsveg covers all aspects of edible growing, kitchen and allotment gardening, garden hacks and rare and heirloom edibles.