Autumn in the Organic Vegetable Garden
Autumn in the Organic Vegetable garden it all about tidying up and planning for the New Year. Things are still growing and we are regularly harvesting raspberries and kale but the weather will soon turn wintery and there is still garlic to plant.
Here are a few jobs you could be getting on with this Autumn in the garden
Harvest and Sort out Courgettes and Squashes
Our Courgettes are coming to the the end of their season and I have noticed some whiteness on the leaves. This is likely to be powdery mildew and can be treated by removing the worst of the infected leaves from the plant and spraying the rest with a solution of 30% milk to 70% water. Don’t forget that plants have a natural lifespan and many will be starting to die off at this stage anyway so it may just be time to let nature take her natural course. I am planning on removing them soon and planting something else in their place - they were all in pots this year.
Members of the squash family are susceptible to frost. If you haven’t already done so, cut the stems of any plants that aren’t producing fruit and stop them growing. Small fruit are unlikely to amount to anything at this stage so its sadly time to get rid of them too. It may seem harsh but it will allow the plant to put all it’s energy into developing the remaining fruit on the plant.
Harvest them and store in a dry cool place - use them for soups or bake them.
Harvest your Crops
Start gathering the last of the summer crops - here it is raspberries that are the main crop doing well still. We are currently freezing all we can and making jam when I can !! I will have a raspberry Jam recipe up soon I promise.
Berries can be frozen flat on trays then bagged up, ready for some quieter time during the winter months for jam and juice making,
Beans can be harvested or leave a couple to make seeds for next year. Or you can blanch beans in boiling water and frozen for up to 3 months - perfect for Christmas dinner
Apples can be stored whole as long as they are unbruised in a cool, dry location. Or chopped with blasted with lemon juice before freezing flat on trays, then bagging up.
Rhubarb should be in left to it's own devices in August but I often sneak a final harvest in around now.If the plant is looking healthy, I will harvest about half of the remaining stems to use in the kitchen or freeze for winter. Rhubarb freezes really well if cut into 2 inch long chunks. I simply chop up and put into the freezer, ready for cooking later on.
Squashes and Pumpkins should be picked now and stored
Clean up the garden and collect leaves
Leaves are a valuable source of nutrients and will rot down to create leaf mould that will turn into a wonderful soil conditioner. It’s a good idea to keep leaves separate from your compost area. Sacks can be purchased to keep them in or make a leaf mould bin using four fence posts and some chicken wire.
Now is also a great time to get outside and clear away all the debris of plants that have finished growing. Compost anything that’s not diseased, tidy away canes and netting. Clear away dead leaves away from plants such as the brassica that will be overwintering.
Cover any soil your not planting up with manure and cardboard to keep down weeds.
Plant something for winter
Why not plant some over-wintering crops like garlic or onions .
I usually plant garlic for halloween to keep the Vampires away of course!!
Spinach grows well in our garden and Kale has lasted each winter here so I love it.
Oriental salad leaves grow well too although I have them in the cold frame to protect them from bad frost.
Want to grow your own Oriental salad - get my guide here