Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Farewell to the summer garden

The weather has turned and the season has changed, so we have taken the first steps towards putting the potager to bed for the winter. There are still the Brussels sprouts for Christmas, some lettuces, the Jerusalem artichokes and a few beetroots, but the tomatoes were struggling and so were the courgettes and squash. This is the earliest we have ever had to give up and just thinking that doesn’t do much to improve my mood on a dark, damp day. We have harvested all the green tomatoes, most of which were turned into tomato and apple chutney (there are still a few apples to harvest too) and the baby squash were roasted for a soup. I am hoping the larger squash will store for a little while longer, they do make a delicious soup but I like the idea of using them as a fresh vegetable for as long as possible. I am really pleased with my Longue de Nice squash and with three of them weighing a combined ten kilos of firm orange flesh (similar to a Butternut squash) I predict lots of curries this autumn.

French Village Diaries Potager France Longue de Nice squash food
Longue de Nice squash
As usual the weeds have taken over in the potager, possibly more so this year - an unfortunate side effect of too much time spent cycling and not enough time spent gardening. However it was such a fantastic summer I’m not really complaining. Getting the plot ready for next spring will be hard work and we really could do with some good old-fashioned muck to improve the soil. We both felt that although we have harvested quite a bit from the garden the yields could have been better. We have a compost heap that provides some goodness for the plot and all the plants from the potager we have pulled up have been added to it, with grass cuttings, leaves and kitchen scraps, but there is never enough. It is at this time of year that I think a piglet would be the perfect answer. Fenced into the potager he or she could spend the winter weeding, rotivating and adding muck with very little effort on my part. Just thinking about the size and quantity of courgettes next year that would go so well with a pork chop is making me hungry. Enough of my dreaming, I have a huge vase full of parsley from my neighbour that is destined to become the star ingredient in a batch of pesto that will also use up some of last year’s walnuts. It is just a shame it hasn't stopped raining for long enough to pick and dry many of this years walnuts – I am not a fan of cold, wet autumns. 

At least wet days mean reading days and this weekend, as well as celebrating Ed’s 13th birthday, I will be indulging in some book therapy at the Hope Association Book Sale – thousands of second hand books on sale all at 1euro with proceeds going to local animal charities. I will be there on Friday, so only two sleeps to go.

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