Although, as I said yesterday, I feel that I am putting the garden to bed at the moment, somehow harvesting veg at this time of the year and heading into the winter seems almost more satisfying than the summer months, when we had plentiful (but sometimes short-lived) harvests of fresh produce. I am sure that when I was young I would have dreaded the call to go and pick some Brussels or dig a parsnip, but this autumn I am feeling that I am almost getting something for nothing.
For example, the swedes are gently expanding and growing, but are perfectly edible in the meantime. And the same goes for the parsnips, although there are not as many of them. The cavolo nero will keep producing for a good while yet, as will the curly kale that is looking great. Only the cabbages have produced a glut which I will not be able to eat. When there are only two of us at home, one cabbage can last us weeks…
Although we had some Brussels sprouts at the weekend, they are not up to speed at the moment. The plants seem to have shot up and the sprouts themselves have opened in the warm weather. In some ways Brussels Sprouts are the benchmark against which I measure the garden, as it was the Old Man’s excellent Brussels which drew me in to taking on the responsibility in the first place after the cows had rampaged through the garden and destroyed his work in a few hours of bovine mayhem. Those sprouts a few years ago were looking truly impressive – but had not been picked as there had not been a frost up till the point. But after the lunch on Sunday, I am thinking that there is more than a grain of good sense in the OM’s insistence on picking after the first frost.
So I am actually wishing for a little cold weather to improve the harvest and keep the food for free coming in.