Autumn, without a doubt my favourite season of the year! You can really feel the change in seasons here on our farm. Bitter cold gusts of wind coming from the south, sudden downpours of rain, bright streaming warm sunshine and dark gloomy clouds. Autumn truly is the season of everything.
With the end of the growing and harvest, the clean up and prep and planting for the winter crops begin in earnest. Brassicas have gone in, with three varieties of broccoli, two varieties of cauliflower, cabbages and the most excitingly of all, brussel sprouts! Homegrown brussel sprouts really can’t be beaten for flavour and sweetness. Picked about 2/3 the size you would normally get from the grocery store, they retain their sweet flavour with a slight, rather than over powering bitter twang, better yet, picked after a light frost, they are amazing!
It’s quite invigorating starting up Lemon and using her to rototil the soil, turning in all that alpaca , chicken and cow poo, as well as lovely biodynamic compost! The old potato beds will be planted up with both broad beans and garlic. Hopefully anywhere up to 1000 garlic bulbs will push their way through ready to harvest in November-ish. Our main variety is Italian Red Rocamble with a purple/red tinge to the outer skin and a rich and complex yet not over powering flavour.
This winter we double our market garden growing space, making ready for lots and lot of potatoes! They have been our biggest sellers to date, but tomatoes are making a last minute dash for finish line which is fast approaching. We are currently growing on about 700-800 square meters of gently slopping land, so next year we will be growing on 1400-1600 square meters, a bit over 1/3 of an acre. 1 acre is the magic number. They say that a 1 acre market garden can be managed by one person full time and turn a small profit. Ultimately I think we will get to just under an acre, around 2/3 for 2 reasons, 1) we are hamstrung by limited flat/gently slopping land, 2) I’m not sure we will be able to sanely manage 1 full acre, go to work full time and not impinge on family time.
Also this winter, I will attempt to put up a greenhouse and a strawbale shed/cool room/ office. The aim is for the greenhouse to house my aquaponics system MKIII and the shed to act as a store room and being heavily insulated, also a cool room, with a small section for a basic office. All our seeding, cleaning, packing and storage will hopefully happen here as well as storage for gardening tools and the like.
So lots to do in the coming months with photo updates to come.
On a side note – yesterday, I was weeding and prepping beds while Hayley was pulling up egg plants (a fizzer in our climate – too cold…) Ava-Li was crawling around picking capsicums and the boys were riding their bikes through puddles! Life truly is good!