The growing season

Last weekend I went away to teach an Introduction to Ecology course at Karuna in Shropshire, which one of the participants is very kind about in her latest blog post.

Whilst it’s a lovely time to be teaching outdoors, it’s not the ideal time to leave the garden, so even after just five days, I returned to huge weeds (where did all that goose-grass appear from?) which really need to be dealt with. The benefit is that, on my return, I really noticed how much growth the food plants had achieved: ripe raspberries, runner beans at the top of their canes and huge courgette plants with female flowers blooming. Perhaps the most impressive plant is Costata Romanesco summer squash. I’m reluctant to call it a courgette, as it produces fruit the size of a marrow, but with tender skin and a good flavour. It is particularly loved by one of my gardening heroes, Carol Deppe, so it must be good (she does not bestow her praise lightly). The following photos carefully avoid showing the weeds… the vegetables pictured are so abundant that nothing else is getting a look in (now, that’s good permaculture design!):

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  1. What a very impressive leaf! Your vegies look lovely and lush, and I’m sure that a few, ahem, plants in the wrong place (we don’t call them weeds in permaculture, do we?) will not take you long to repurpose into compost. I’m getting excited about very small gains: a few flowers on the tomatoes, a few flowers on the capsicums, a few flowers on the beans, a few pods on the snow peas. On the other hand, the zucchini are rioting, the sweet potato vine is taking over one end of the bed, the rocket is rampant and the strawberry plants, while flowerless and fruitless, are clearly making a bid for world domination with runners everywhere.

    • I didn’t reply to you straight away and now they are even bigger! I seem to have ended up with six courgette plants, which means I predict vats of soup in my future… ah well, at least we have a big freezer and won’t starve over the winter.

  2. Everything looks so healthy! Like you, I hesitate to draw attention to the weeds less it should ruin the reputation I am trying to build for being a good gardener! But they are so bad in my Meadow Garden….off to weed now. I am ashamed to say I know nothing of Permaculture. Tonight I had better read more on your blog.

    • Lack of response because of weeding… much of it is done now in the veg patch (until I turn my back for a day, of course). One key principle in permaculture is maximum output for minimum input, so I am hoping that all those big courgette leaves and exuberant potatoes will shade out any more weeds from establishing!

  3. Thats what happened with my garden in summer, the pumpkins took over and along with the nasturtiums (2 plants but MAN did they go nuts!) they filled a veggie garden area the size of a tennis court. Pity the possums ate most of my pumpkins but I still have some waiting to be turned into Pumpkin, apple and date butter for delicious food futures 🙂 Your garden is looking magnificent and healthy permaculture RULES 🙂

    • Strangely I have no nasturtiums this year… I wonder what happened to them, they usually self-seed. Of course, we do not have possums to contend with, but Max is partial to fresh veg (I have to fence the garlic to stop him eating it).

      • Wallabies eat anything allium here and scoffed a patch of chives once. My nasturtiums are going for an olympic record for size and are still running amok even though it’s cold and frosty here. My fully enclosed veggie garden seems to fend off most of the frosty effects. Interesting… I might be able to put things inside there that we otherwise couldn’t grow here… I LOVE the promise of edible gardening and permaculture 🙂 Earl used to nip off my uber expensive most precious grafted potted babies UNDER the graft when he was younger and had the chance…he obviously was giving his opinion of my taste and Bezial used to prune the fruits off the fuchsias and eat them and the first time he did it I panicked and thought that he was going to die till I found out that they are entirely edible! Goes to show that animals know…maybe we humans need to take a bit more notice 😉


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