October and autumn are here but summery weather is at its best at this time of year, we all love those warm days and slightly cooler nights, and so does the garden!
It is still a wonderful growing season which we are encouraged by gardening books to make the most of by planting- up all sorts of green vegetables.
Let’s start off with a short list of these, Lettuce, Endives, Spinach and not to forget the Peas, Broad beans and Runner/Green beans, Cabbage and Cauliflower. All of these have long been harvested in the northern gardens and here we are in the Mediterranean are starting all over again.
The recent rains have moistened the soil a little and it stays really warm to help germinate the seeds that are planted. Many of them pop up after just a few days which is really encouraging but watch out for the slugs and snails, a pet hate in any garden, as well as weeds. Be ruthless with the weeds and try to get them all out before they go to seed.
And now to the root vegetables, Carrots, Onions, Beetroot, Swede, Turnips and Radish and of course Potatoes that are all year round here.
We are encouraged by our Ecological gardeners to be sure to rotate our crops which means you can plant-up Carrots and Onions where the Tomatoes have been and the Peas and Beans after the Courgettes and Cucumbers.
It all looks very complicated but a great deal of this is just common sense because the nutrients taken out of the soil by some plants are replaced by others maintaining good healthy soil.
Added to this there is always the compost heap which should by now have plenty well rotted vegetable matter at the bottom which can be either be dug into the soil or scattered over as a top dressing which will of course keep some of the moisture in and encourage the worms to come to the surface looking for food and these are just what you need to encourage in the garden as opposed to the slugs and snails.
Besides sowing fresh seeds you may well have found self-seeded seedlings already sprouting. I will just mention the flower border where Osteaspurnums/Black eyed Susan can be really prolific with dozens of healthy looking seedlings which will surely be overcrowded so either thin them out or transplant them for more space of their own.
The original plant seems to go on for ever once established so cut back the taller growth to where there are plenty little green leaves on the mature stem which will all bush out into this seasons flower heads, in fact there are some already wide open daisy-like blooms . This is one of the perennial flowers that really does well in both pots on a terrace or directly in the garden so I find it well worth while to encourage it.
The lawns will still need to be cut regularly, the hardy Bermuda or creeping grass really thrives until the heat has really gone out of the sun which is when it will lie dormant until next spring. There may well be one little hazard, we are just coming into mushroom time and if you are lucky enough to find any type of mushroom you just don’t want to cut the cap off with the lawn mower.
Mind they do , as the saying goes ‘pop up over night’. There are as many edible types of fungi although I call them all Mushrooms but be sure you really do know which are edible and which are not. A garden centre or a chemist may well be able to help you out with that but be really sure you know what you are eating or don’t eat them at all.
I am lucky enough to have a variety that grows all around the trunk of my Weeping Willow tree and even up the trunk that really is a lovely sight to see as well as being able to freeze some down for adding to the cooking pot when there are so many.
This crop of self made gardening will happen every few weeks when there has been rain from now right through the next five or six months so not all gardening is hard work sometimes, like my mushroom crops it just pops up on its own, lucky me!!