November in the Garden…..

November has been a bit of a sad month in the garden.  Lots of ends and not so much new growth.  Most of the ‘summer’ veggies have now given up and succumbed to the cold, the last of the courgettes, french beans and sweetcorn have been picked and eaten. I still have the odd pepper, chilli and aubergine hanging on out there, but they’re very small and a little on the pathetic side. Jacques kindly picked the last of the red chilis for me last week, and scarpered off with them to get a sneaky chomp (lucky for him they’re mild as mild can be!):

Jacques scarpering with a couple of chilis!

One of my last wee aubergines

The annual herbs are starting to die back now too, and I still haven’t stripped the basil to make oodles of pesto as I’ve been meaning to for weeks now.

On the positive side we still have a few precious carrots left, and the couple of rows of babies I sowed about two months ago are getting bigger by the day, though I doubt they’ll be ready for eating until well into the new year. Carrots I’ve realised are incredible slow growing, especially in the colder months.  I really must try to succession sow them better next year so we have a more constant supply all year round.

Baby Carrots!

We’re also still eating lots of lovely swiss chard. Swiss chard is a fairly new veg to me and I love it.  So easy to grow and apparently particularly hardy, lasting a good 18 months or so out here if you’re lucky. You just keep picking the leaves and they magically grow back again.  And so great to cook with too, very versatile, and a lot like spinach but a little more robust. I use it regularly in soups, casseroles, stir fries and curries.

The wonderful Swiss Chard

My broccoli’s still going great guns too, which is lucky as it’s the kids fave veggie!  It’s so much tastier and sweeter than anything commercially grown.

The beetroot, sowed about two months ago, is now baby beetroot and ready to start eating, though I’m going to leave most of it to grow to full size. And it’s lovely, so so sweet. I’m very impressed at how easy and quick growing it is. Fabulous roasted (have you tried my Roasted Veggies with Couscous & Feta recipe?) or used in salads…watch out for my baby beetroot and goats cheese salad recipe coming soon!. I’ve also recently discovered that the beetroot ‘greens’ can be used just as spinach and are very tasty indeed.

Baby beets!

Last but not least that’s ready to eat at the mo are celery and the odd lettuce.  The former’s a bit disappointingly scraggy, but nevertheless great to use in soups and casseroles.  Lettuces a tad on the small side, but still useable. My rocket finished a couple of weeks ago.

At the beginning of the month I sowed some garlic, broad beans and cauliflower seeds:

And I’m pleased to say that the garlic has all come through, it should be ready for harvesting early next summer.  My first attempt at growing garlic this year was pretty successful, it didn’t exactly look perfect but tasted great and was really really strong, we’re still using it now. The broad bean shoots have also majestically appeared, they should be grown up and ready for the pot in the Spring. The cauliflowers haven’t showed yet, I think I sowed them too late in ground that was too cold. The savoy cabbages that I sowed some time early October are still very very small, I’m not sure if they’ll make it into old age to be eaten….I think they went in way too late too….eh well.

A Garlic Shoot

A Broad Bean Shoot

Baby Savoy

I had been fully intending to grow lots of veg to be eaten over the winter, but somehow or other managed to miss the summer time slot for sowing all the winter roots, cabbages and greens. But it was an extremely hectic and fun summer!

Unfortunately with less to harvest we’ve seen a big increase in our food bills again.  After an amazing summer of barely buying a salad or veg since June, we’re suddenly faced with a relatively bare garden. Next year with better planning and know how I’m hoping we’ll be in a very different situation. This year has been my first attempt at veggie growing, actually it’s been my first attempt at growing anything living at all (apart from two babies!), so all in all it’s been pretty successful. But with lots and lots of valuable lessons learned for next year.

Well that’s it for the November round up! Hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Louisa

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