GARDEN NOTES: Confessions, onions and pumpkin soup

Bloody hell, we got a lot done today!

First, however, I have a small confession to make. For about a month I really thought I had cocked-up the whole garden plan, having planted the winter veg without taking into account the need to rotate the crops. Yup, I was worried, as I realised that I had planted the broad beans in last summer’s bean bed, the chard was still where it had been this summer, and the only available bed left to plant onions and garlic was . . . well, you get the idea.

Luckily, a bit of jigging around and all was well again. Last week, as we harvested the last leeks from the onion bed, it left it free for us to transplant the broad bean seedlings there, also planting a few more that we had growing in a tray in the shed. Then, this week, having harvested the turnips and the last of the radishes, it freed up that bed into which we could move the chard. The turnips, by the way, were a complete failure, barely growing to the size of a fingernail. Perhaps I just planted them a little too late in the year, although I would have thought that the unusually warm weather this autumn would have more than made up for that. I guess I was wrong!

With both beans and chard out of said bed, we finally had a new space to plant white onions, garlic and shallots. While all this was going on today, the stove was burning away as we prepared our first on-site pumpkin soup of the season. Roshan chopped up our smallest pumpkin which we then boiled and mashed, adding in a chopped red onion and a yam that we happened to have handy. The soup was a little too salty to my taste, so I sweetened it with a little apple and cinnamon jam I made last summer. It turned out delicious and went down well with our work team. As for the seeds I put some aside to dry – ready to plant next spring – and the rest I pan fried with a little oil and am munching on right now as I write this post.

As a final bonus, the compost bins have now been repaired and are more solid than ever, set for at least another three years. With the end of term approaching and the cold weather (finally) coming in, it is good to know that all these jobs are now done and we are more or less on seasonal track. Just three months ago I remember wondering just how we were going to fill all that space in the beds over the winter, and now we’ve pretty much got most of the garden beds with something on the go, so we must be doing something right.


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