A Quick Note on the Late Summer Garden from Kay Baxter

There’s so much to say about the garden at this time of year. Things are coming out as fast as I can get them out… I’ve been freezing Rainbow Inca corn kernels this morning for corn fritters later in the year, making tomato paste (a fermented paste recipe) are just a couple items on the agenda. We’ve been making tomato sauce and paste by fermentation now for 5 years. It’s the best way for us; we love it, no cooking, no sugar, no nothing except fermented tomatoes and salt!, covered with a little olive oil to keep it anaerobic.
Peppers are being harvested and eaten and the seeds are being saved as are the tomato seeds. Everybody here is making cucumber salads, and every time we have a community meal we all have the same gluts in our gardens so we get to see who has the most inventive ways of using whatever is in abundance! Drying basil, drying nettle, drying stevia, drying rock melons, harvesting potatoes, more than 100 Delicata pumpkins from 6 metres of bio-intensive bed!!! Harvesting buttercup pumpkins, beans, etc etc.. all of my favourite crops, even the eggplants. We missed out on summer last year so it feels very special this year, fragile almost, as if it’s too good to be true and might disappear at any moment. Also coming out of the garden right now are a lot of Odell’s lettuces and tampala, which is my favourite summer green, along with Magenta Spreen.
As well as enjoying and harvesting, it is full-on getting the winter garden in. Our beds are 18 months old now, and it s getting very easy to pull out a crop, U bar or fork the edges and the rest of the bed, apply compost, fork it in then shape the bed with a rake and plant again!!! The better the soil gets in the beds the easier that process will become. Our compost is looking great now, the high Brix oats that we grew over winter went into that compost heap so we shall see if we can grow high quality winter vegetables on it without any added, brought-in fertilisers. I think we may be able to for the first time in this garden.
I’m planting daikon, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, endive, all the brassicas (Broccoli, (De Cicco and Purple sprouting) Ruapehu cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, Fillbasket Brussells Sprouts, Borecole and Dalmatian cabbage!), and I’m also beginning to put in my winter carbon crops. Oats are my favourite because they unlock the calcium and phosphate in the soil and become extremely high Brix which is excellent for the compost and next seasons garden! Lupins are also great for a winter carbon crop as they too have a special ability to unlock calcium and carbon.
If you have a lot of comfrey around it is a great time to add a pile of it to your compost heap to add minerals to increase the quality of the compost too. I’m doing that now.
I’ve been too busy to add up the value of the veggies I’ve harvested over the past few months but will do it again next month.

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