It's my favourite time of year in the garden, even though there's so much to do. Some of the most important crops for my kitchen are either finishing up or getting ready to go in to the ground. The weather is a little gentler on both gardener and plants, and best of all we get to sample the autumn harvest (and spend hours in that weary Zen state of bottling or stirring).
The plants are showing the signs of autumn too. I can see the first ribbons of red on the grape vines, and the tomato plants are deciding whether to give up the ghost or make one last feeble attempt at fruiting. So it's time to start raking up, clearing out, and turning over.
Here are a few of the things you can get started this month:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Peas (early)
- Silverbeet or rainbow/ruby chard
See? And you thought the bumper season was over.
If you're getting impatient with your tomatoes, just hanging there fatly and greenly on dessicated stalks, know that they will ripen if you pull out the whole plant and hang it somewhere out of the way (especially cherry tomatoes). If they show just a little red, you can pick them and bring them inside. It's warmth that ripens tomatoes, not direct sun.
If you have more ripe tomatoes and basil than you can eat right now, here are some tips for preserving them for the winter months.