There’s not much left in the garden right now but there is a small corner, just in-front of the greenhouse door that is bursting with colour and looking quite good. It’s the Winter Density Lettuce and Chard. They are in the sunniest part of the garden so they are still getting a decent amount of sun each day. And quite frankly they are loving it.
Behind them (out of shot) is the grape-vine that is slowly turning a lovely Autumnal shade. I’m so glad I decided to plant these right next to the greenhouse. It means that I have something cheerful to look at as I potter around filling seed packets and organising plant pots (I do a lot of that!).
Garlic (Crimson Rose).
And these mini Peppers that I saved the seed from some shop-bought Peppers that I liked. I also have Chilli Peppers to bring in and Aubergines if they get a bit bigger.
My outdoor Tomatoes are finished but the Tomatoes in the greenhouse are still going strong. Not much left now. Some Kale, Broccoli, French Beans, and Squash. Winter Lettuce is coming along and so is the Spinach.
Gosh! It seems too early to be really beginning Autumn but the temperature has dropped and my Pumpkins are ready!. I’ve harvested two large Red Warty Thing pumpkins. Six Pumpkin Pie’s and about 15 Acorn Squashes (that taste really nutty by the way).
I’m very happy about everything. Except the Autumn bit that is!
One of our neighbours kindly gave us a table football for our boys to play with. So I gave him this little veg box from my garden. I had great fun putting it together. I lined the box with brown paper and picked all the stuff that was ready. Then I tied a bunch of Spring Onions with string, and some Basil too. And bagged up some of my saved seed, Parsnips, Bush Beans, Poppies and Sweetpeas and left it on his front porch. He said, ‘Thanks very much but what is the long curly thing?’ – Tromboncino.
I’m having some success with Sweetcorn. It’s already pretty big and showing signs of fruiting. It’s been pretty windy here over the last few days and so I was a bit worried about it. But as long as the great dane stays out of the garden (unlike last year) then I think we should be all good.
It’s amazing to me how far ahead vegetable gardens in Portland are (of the UK). I just watched Gardeners’ World and Monty was just planting his Sweetcorn last week. I was never really successful with Sweetcorn in England. A few cobs here and there but mostly it would end in failure. Fingers crossed here.
The orchard grass is growing. I sowed my Eco Lawn back in May and it has done wonderfully. I watered it every day for two weeks until established and now I haven’t watered it for about two weeks. It still looks great and is starting to throw up the odd flower. We often mow pathways into it. And when it gets too long mow it down completely and start again. I’m very pleased with it.
This is what the orchard looked like back in February when I planted it.
This is what it looked like last year when the orchard was a mere glint in my eye.
Well, the last time we saw the patterned garden was back in April when I just put some of the plants in. Now it’s in full flow.
There was a vague plan, but I haven’t stuck to it in its entirety. I sowed a row of Beetroot down the middle of the pattern and none of them germinated. I think the seed was old. And so I replaced them with Lettuce. Also, the slugs ate my Spinach seedlings and I decided it was getting too hot for Spinach and so I replaced them with a sowing of French Beans. So there has been some movement in the design.
I think it looks pretty good. Next time I do it I might keep some of the taller plants like Kale either in the middle or at the sides. The tall Kale in the middle means you can’t see some of the smaller stuff.
I do like the way the Onions pop through between the Lettuces though. That works.
This here is my little Stawberry picker. He knew when the Strawberries were ripe. He knew before me. He had been watching them all week. And yes there were a few green ones that came into the house ‘Can I eat this Mama?’ ‘Well I wouldn’t – and….” I was about to say and don’t pick any more green ones but he was already gone.
But today – yes! today we picked our bowl full of ripe, red Strawberries and ate them all as fast as we could.
Not content with having one basket of Strawberries available my little Strawberry picker went to get the punnet of Strawberries that I bought at the shop the day before. I was amazed to see the difference. The store-bought ones were dull, and a little dry looking.
I suppose that’s why we grow our own, right?
Here’s a rare photo of me (in shorts!) sowing a new eco-lawn underneath the fruit trees in my orchard.
What’s an eco-lawn? Well, good question. It’s a lawn that is low-maintenance. Either it has low-growing grasses and therefore doesn’t need much mowing, or it uses drought-tolerant varieties that will resist going brown in the summertime. And they usually have some kind of low-growing flower, or nitrogen fixing plant in there too for good measure.
I chose a mixture called Fleur de Lawn made by a local company but you can buy them anywhere. I used the bowls to divide it evenly across the space I have (I’m sure there are more scientific ways – like hiring a seed spreader). The mix I bought includes, ‘English Daisy, Baby Blue Eyes, Sweet Alyssum, Tiny Strawberry Clover combined with hardy low-growing grasses and other herbaceous plants.’
My plan is to let it get quite long – couple of inches, before I mow a pathway through it. Then after that I’ll mow the whole thing once a month. That’s the plan…
This is what the orchard looked like before.
…and a couple of weeks later.
Anyone else have any experience with eco-lawns? Any low maintenance tips?
As most of you know I moved to Portland nearly two years ago and I inherited a beautiful garden full of the most amazing plants that someone else planted! I’m not the world’s greatest expert on Clematis (cover your ears Dad!). I have five amazing Clematis that are now in full flower and I don’t know what varieties they are. Any ideas plant lovers?