We’re starting to gear down a bit now as we start seeing Summer receding day-by-day, Hopefully you got some of your late Summer sowings in and as we move closer to Autumn, you can still and do still have quite a large selection of greens to grow over Autumn and over-wintering to spring! This year I will try my best to grow as much as what’s manageable.

SeptSo get  connected to your local Streetbank / freecycle or similar site to see if anyone has some fleece / cloche that they could give away or go to your Garden center if you need to fix some dinks in your polytunnels or greenhouses – and get your seeds ordered! …

 

 

mini polytunnels for vegetables

Mini-Tunnels for Vegetable Growing In Colder Weather

 

Remember, some Skip-Raiding (foraging in Industrial Waste bins and dumpsters for salvageable and recyclable materials) could  get you some used Free window panes which you could use to build a cold-frame.

Outdoors

  • Spring cabbage (early September, warmer areas only)

  • Winter salads and greens including winter lettuce, endives and oriental vegetables

  • Bunching onions (early September)

  • Broad beans and hardy (round seeded) peas to overwinter (from mid September)

  • Kale for small leaves in salads

Greenhouse / Polytunnel

  • The hardier oriental greens such as; choy sum, komatsuna, mustard greens, mizuna, Tsoi Sim and chinese cabbage.

Notes:

  • I find Broad Beans started the previous year tend to get far less black fly than Spring-sown beans, they may take about a month to sprout if sown later than September but they always come up in the end, if direct-sown, I recommend laying chicken mesh on top until you see them germinating – once they are large enough, you can carefully lift the chicken mesh up until they have all popped through, they will likely need some support structure like a bamboo cane
  • Spring Cabbage should be far less affected by Cabbage Butterfly so it’s always good to try if you have trouble growing Brassicas in Summer.
  • This year (2018) is the first year that I grew Garlic in Spring instead of the previous November (’17), this was purely because I forgot to – what I did notice is not only smaller bulbs but also quite a lot of disease / pest activity, so in conclusion, get your growing bulbs ready maybe in October

 

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This is just to clarify between the different Pea varieties you buy from Seed companies which you can view in the September Growing Calendar, which includes Pea types for overwintering…

Round and Wrinkle Skinned Peas

When to Sow Round and Wrinkle Skinned Peas

Peas are normally sown as Spring and Summer crops, that would be mostly Wrinkle Skinned varieties but in some parts of the world where a winter is expected, Round Seeded peas can be sown in September for overwintering, this gives an extra early crop when the weather changes and starts getting warmer. These plants will have larger well established root systems and so, have a head-start over their Spring-sown counterparts!

Wrinkle skinned varieties should be sown in Spring, along with other Round skinned varieties for your Summer cropping.

 

July and August Vegetable Sowing calendar

I know I have been late this year posting some of these sowing calendars, there is still plenty of time to keep your vegetable plot productive over the upcoming Winter well into the Spring, this time of the year albeit cold, is a great time to be growing as you are not as suffocated with jobs once you have cleared away all of the dead summer crops and finished the basic after summer jobs, there is less watering that needs doing and not as many pests around – plus I love being outdoors when it’s cold! There’s nothing like fire-boiling a pot to make yourself some fresh brew even perhaps a nice Hot Chocolate!

Outdoors

  • Final sowings of root crops including carrots, beetroot, turnips (until mid-July)

  • Winter radishes and swedes

  • Dwarf french beans (up to early July) in warmer areas only

  • Oriental greens (mizuna, mibuna, komatsuna, etc) and turnip greens

  • Lettuce, moving over to winter varieties by late August, rocket, cress, endive and salad radishes

  • Swiss chard & leaf beet such as perpetual spinach

  • Chive and Chicory

  • Fennel

  • Spring & Chinese cabbage (from late July)

  • Bunching and spring onions

Polytunnel / greenhouse border:

  • Chervil & Coriander

  • Salads, particularly in later summer as other crops finish.

Under Cover outdoors:

  • True Spinach (Winter Spinach)

Wow what a crazy but highly enjoyable day yesterday! Starting at around 5am I woke up, had some decaf and headed straight to the allotment as last time I was there I saw at the last moment (when I was rushing home) that the Italian vine tomato had a decent amount of very red ripe fruits (and that was a good 4-5 days ago!), these plants never let me down (if planted in the ground) and so I didn’t want to lose these beautiful tom’s!

A good few hours there resulted also, in a decent batch of Elderberry heads which I got on the way there (Which were used tonight to make Elderberry elixir), a very nice large harvest (photo further below) and a bit of weeding, watering, compost bin management etc.

After arriving home, all harvested goods including the Elderberries needed urgent washing etc. to be placed in the fridge immediately, thereafter I found an older courgette that was about to go bad and so, decided to make Courgette (Zucchini) Cake! Part of the harvest was a decent batch of Purple French Beans and a few Runner Beans as well, these are intended for pickling so were processed and placed overnight into a brine solution so that tomorrow they will be placed into their final jar along with the Spiced Pickling Vinegar (Which I also made tonight!!)

I decided that I need to get a move-on with the elderberry harvests (some are in the fridge and some in the freezer), my other-half and I sat for a good 40 min’s removing the berries from their stalks and placing in a jar to make the Elderberry Winter Ailment Elixir, I have a very good recipe for this and have proven this to be a very good flu / winter cold remedy which was quite effective last Winter with the whole family!

Organic Vegetable Harvest

Organic Permaculture Allotment Harvest (UK) 2018

In the above photo, I have added lines to divide the veg’s into three rows, from top left:

  1. French Purple and Runner beans, Aztec Broccoli and Hokkaido Pumpkin
  2. Sorrel, Maris Piper Potatoes, Giant Goosefoot, Bush Legend Tomatoes, Dwarf Bush Courgettes (Zucchinis) – these were harvested quite small as I am trying to get at least one more harvest before season end,
  3. Elderberry (foraged), Italian Vine tomatoes (great for sauces), Salad Burnet, Tangerine and Millefleur cherry tomatoes and finally Tomatillos with the Snail Tree-cookie below which represents my favourite of the 12 permaculture principles: ‘Use Small and Slow Solutions’

It is definitely Elderberry season right now (at least in and around London) so get foraging as you will definitely will not have much time after the next week or so if you are lucky! Remember, throw them straight into the freezer in a bag, you can take time out later to do something with them in a recipe when you are more collected and have the time to do so! In the meantime, check out this delicious Elderberry Syrup Recipe which I made last year which also has immune system benefits as a buildup to the Winter months, the Elderberry Elixir is more suited to last well into next years winter because it is made with alcohol and preserves better .. enjoy!

It is now preserving season and approaching the end of the growing season where many crops and foraged foods can be preserved for the upcoming Winter months, here is a quick and simple recipe if you need to make pickling vinegar on an ASAP basis:

Make your own Spiced Pickling vinegar in 30 minutes

Home Made Spiced Pickling Vinegar

You Will Need:

  • A good glass Jar or Bottle, usually you should use a non-metallic lid as vinegar is corrosive,
  • Cider or Malt Vinegar (Cider being the healthier option),
  • 1 Tsp Peppercorns,
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Seeds,
  • Small Cinnamon Stick piece (2-3cm long),
  • 2 Cloves,
  • 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds,
  • Small Pot / Pan for boiling and simmering.

Method:

  • Measure the vinegar by pouring it into your storage jar / bottle to fill it up, once filled place it in the pot with the spices and bring to the boiling point,
  • Once boiling point is reached, bring the heat down and simmer as slightly as possible for 30 minutes – let it sit to cool down,
  • Pour the liquid through a sieve or similar filter into your storage jar or bottle, your vinegar is now ready to be used when you want to pickle any vegetables from your garden

For other preserves including Jams, Jellies, Chutneys, Compote, Soups, Pickling etc, Click Here

I made this Elixir for the first time last year in preparation for winter colds and flu etc. mainly knowing that the Elderberry Syrup I made only has a shelf life in the fridge of about 3 months brought me to look for a longer lasting remedy, the Elixir is suggested to last for a year (due to alcohol being the preservative instead of Sugar).

All that I can say from not only my own experience albeit for only one Winter season, is that I also have spoken with Qualified Herbalists who have used and recommend this exact recipeit did work very well for my own family during last winter.

Winter Ailment Elixir

Elderberry Elixir for Winter Ailment Remedy

You Will Need:

  • Enough Elderberries to fill your chosen Jar / Bottle,
  • Rum or Brandy (one third of the jar),
  • Port (also a third of the jar),
  • Raw Honey from someone local (the final third of the jar),
  • 12x Cloves,
  • 10-15x Peppercorns,
  • Large Cinnamon Stick,

Method:

  • Remove the berries from all stalks as much as possible and place them in your jar (preferably to almost fill the jar up to the curve in the neck), add in the spices,
  • Pour your Rum or Brandy so it fills around one-third of the jar whilst the berries are still inside, fill the second third with Port and follow the last third of the jar with the Raw Honey – stir very gently with a wooden spoon or glass rod,
  • Seal the Jar and give it a lovingly gentle shake everyday at least once, do this for one month to around 6 weeks after which, you will strain all of the liquid into a muslin cloth or bag so you can squeeze as much out as you can, re-bottle it and label with the date.

Use / Dosage:

  • This is a remedy so you use it mostly when you get sick, once the symptoms are obvious then take a half to full teaspoon three to four times a day until you are better, dilute for kids and even better, just add it into something that they are already consuming if possible such as a berry juice or smoothie.