…and now we are into November, and into early days of summer.

It could be that the rains have ceased, but perhaps not quite yet. Our ponds almost dried out but then were replenished recently by some welcome downpours. Regardless, we are headed into a time of long hot days, unremitting irrigation efforts, patient plant nurture, and the harvesting of much gardening endeavour, with a rich variety of vegetables, and related satisfactions from kitchen and community. The last of the winter broad beans have only now exhausted an extended season of prolific growth. They are quite our best winter crop and a very healthy contributor to Lynedoch menus, as well as supporting the garden’s soil development. The remaining un-harvested pods will be gathered to provide seed for next year’s plantings. Some cabbages continue, particularly on our “deep litter” compost bed. Our new spinach, also on a compost bed, is in excellent shape and is now regularly cropped for the kitchen. The carrots sown in a mulched bed are being harvested – the latest in our, so far, successful attempt at a serial carrot harvest. Beetroot continues to perplex and confound with tardy and poor germination and arrested growth. Our new sowings will try to break this pattern by experimenting with different seed varieties and sowing media. The leeks which we carefully planted in early-winter in pre-mulched beds, responded well to seasonal rains, and grew-on free of weeds, only to go to seed in the sudden warm conditions. We will now replace them, in a largely undisturbed bed, with the first plantings of bush beans.

The main feature of the garden over the past few months has been the dominance of green manure. One third of beds were sown with a mixture of lupin and black oats and, as expected, these have been graced with green bulk and floral beauty. Most have now been trodden or cut down and await planting. Two long beds will be left to seed themselves, to test whether that is an effective means of on-going soil cultivation. The intended cultivation of the cut beds will be to plant directly into the green manure material with seedlings or seeds. We already have “volunteer “seedlings of Butternut and Marrow in our compost rows to be transplanted. (The route taken by these is from kitchen waste, to compost bins in the Wormery, to being buried in compost rows to accelerate breakdown.) Potatoes will also be planted, although the planting method will disturb the soil to a greater extent than with other crops. Our first bed of potatoes is already in place, although not following green manure but rather broad beans. Sweet potato runners will be planted soon, when they emerge from over-wintering in the Nursery. We will continue to experiment with planting and cultivation methods which minimise soil disturbance and use local mulch materials. In these ways we would hope to maintain the cultivation of all vegetable beds throughout the summer.

One structural feature of the Garden has been enhanced recently. The dump of top soil and Village site excavation materials has been further increased and sculpted to form Lynedoch’s very own Signal Hill. It has been planted with eighty trees (Virgilia and Wild Olive), and can be accessed by path. It will enclose an enlarged Labyrinth (to be constructed by Louise and staff) which will be continuous with the Woodland. This elevated area will also serve to screen off the new junction being constructed at the rail crossing.

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