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What's new with Farmer Pete : Where did summer go?

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

I’m not sure, maybe it never arrived? Either way, the deciduous leaves on some trees and the grape vines are starting to turn brown. Autumn is well on it's way and its going to be a busy time in the Springfield gardens.

Low soil temperatures has led to crops maturing much later this year. Looks like I will be hanging in for sometime with the tomatoes; giving them a prune, removing any branches that look old, discoloured or just low on the vine. The non determinate tomato varieties still have plenty of life in them at the top end of the vine so they will need some more support this time of year.

For me, capsicums and eggplants are only just now coming into their own and the cucumbers still have plenty of life left especially the trellis ones. I still have plenty of time to fill up bedraggled spots in the summer garden with fast growing leaf vegetables, radishes and those wonderful Diggers heirloom beetroots. Rocket loves this time of year and won’t bolt to seed.

March is ripe pumpkin harvest time, we have about 200 this year across seven varieties!

Last week we started picking them and storing them for 10 days in a sunny spot to harden off leaving a decent stem in place. Then it’s off to a cool dry shed for winter storage and the weekly raid by chef Eilish. I am sure the Golden Nuggets hear her coming as they roll to hide behind the much bigger Queensland Blues.

Our winter crop seeds are in the green house. Many were planted during the last Home Grown Retreat a couple of weeks ago. We will soon welcome new kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Kohlrabi and turnips.

I have also selected the garlic I want to replant. Those cloves have gone in, as have the snow and sugar snap peas. I will give broad-beans a miss this year, too much work for me at harvest (lazy gardener). All season carrots are also in as are a few new artichokes. If you're putting these in now they need to be suckers or advanced seedlings.

Once the garden is tidied up I will give it a two centimetre layer of our Springfield Compost and reinvigorate all those fungi and microbes; the workhorses of our garden.

So, now I can sit back and enjoy Autumn knowing this year I still have many more weeks of summer harvest vegetables to enjoy, given the late start to the season. If the weather changes overnight and the sun disappears there is always green fried tomatoes.

Anyway, the winter crops will be well established before the first frost. I can still remember how grateful I was last year for the tons and tons of brown leaves that need to go into that spring 2cm top up of compost that the microbes will be hanging out for.

Farmer Pete

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