Autumn creeps in

On Tuesday I spent the whole day in the garden and, as my mother would have said, I caught the sun.
I should have held it more firmly because it’s headed off South now and we’re talking about cauldrons of soup and braziers to huddle around as the temperature drops.
The tomatoes continue to swell and ripen, the squash have been picked and we have one tiny Aubergine!
The first runner beans blew away early in the season but we planted more and at they’re thriving at last. Fingers are crossed that they survive the predicted gales this week.
People come in each day and ask us whether we are selling vegetables and we explain that we’re sharing not selling. They either look confused or delighted as we explain the concept of local people putting some time into the garden and being able to share the produce. We’ve discovered that sharing can be quite complicated. Some visit regularly, work hard and rarely take anything away whereas others visit regularly, do no work and take quite a lot away. That’s human nature and having a clear policy on picking and sharing will be more important next year when we really get our crops going.
This year we started so late and everyone in the country had the worst growing season ever, so for now we must be proud to have managed to grow some vegetables that people want to eat.

As we empty the beds and prepare to plant for winter the most delightful part of the garden is the mini-meadow, where new flowers and bees appear each day. You have to get down to their level to appreciate their delicacy and they seem all the more precious growing at the season’s end on the most impoverished soil in the garden.

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PEOPLE & CROPS

The garden was buzzing today.
The marjoram was covered in bees and there was a also constant stream of people coming in through the gate. There were new visitors and familiar faces, people with their dogs, a lady on a mobility scooter and her helper dog and a nice chef on a bike. Our artist neighbour Tim, with his dog, who had locked himself out and needed just the right stick to help him get in and the local blacksmith who cut down some oil drums in exchange for a nice bright blue one of his own. A friendly gardener presented us with a tub of Vaseline laced with copper sulphate to deter slugs and we were also instructed on how to make a stinging nettle fertilizer solution.
We made Lemon Verbena tea and sat in the shade talking and listening. There’s an archaeological dig going on near Seddlescombe, which we heard about because a friend dropped by to ask a question about suitable seeds to sow in the Autumn.
Times slows down without constant reminders from ticking clocks and radio news bulletins on the hour.

The hot sun is working its magic and reluctant tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Its hard to believe that we have only been open for nine weeks. In that short time we’ve grown chillies, beetroot, corn, cucumbers, cabbages, leeks, chard, herbs, sweetpeas, beans, squash and one miraculous cauliflower. And many new friends.
Everyday someone new bothers to walk through the gates to tell us what a great job we’re all doing and what a difference the garden has made to the street.

It’s simple and true that people like watching plants grow.