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Winter is almost here! November

The winter is coming and things are quiet in the garden but there is still lots of good food to be harvested. It's November and the daytime temperature is just over 9 degrees C – amazingly it is still above 20 degrees in the greenhouse. There are tomatoes still ripening albeit rather slowly! The warm greenhouse also makes a good storage space for our garlic and onions.

We are still picking wonderful juicy apples from the espaliered fruit trees. The heat coming from the massive wall is keeping these firmly fixed to their trees when the apples in the orchard have long since fallen. The succulent sweetness of these apples is truly remarkable!

The wall also provides a great micro-climate for our olive tree which seems to have almost doubled in size this year.

Elsewhere in the garden we have a fine crop of curly kale and a massive forest of sprouting broccoli which is almost 5 feet high now. The kale will do just fine where it is (hungry pigeons permitting) and can be harvested when we need it. The broccoli will produce a bumper crop next March just when fresh veg is so scarce – it remains safe from all attack from hungry beasts in its splendid netted cage.

We have beetroot, parsnips and spinach leaves to harvest – the parsnips being the biggest job as the crop will be a large one this year. The beetroot have turned out well – without attack from the field voles this year.

The autumn fruiting raspberries are always a wonderful source of fresh fruit late into the year – I can harvest them every few days, making a nice addition to our breakfast cereals.

Just to show how bountiful nature is here you can see the rampant stand of cosmos which has fuelled the butterflies and kept the weeds down over the summer.

Our two open compost bins are now settling down to mature into the winter. The left hand one is a full year old and will be emptied after Christmas – the other will go on to receive more material next spring.

The closed composter is nearly full now after 7 years daily receiving the organic kitchen waste from 2 households – truly amazing how the life within reduces the volume so effectively. There is a lovely large toad living in there at the moment – how he got there is anyone's guess!


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