Having had a break from blogging, not out of choice, but collected my laptop today and it seems to be fine again, so I am happy, and have a lot of catching up to do. In these last few weeks a lot has happened in the garden.
Due to fluctuations in temperature and cool weather the produce has not been plentiful, but most of all there was trouble with slugs and snails this year, there has been quite a bit of rain which did not help. In order to keep some vegetable plants alive I had to do something, and urgently, so I asked around as did not want to use regular slug pellets, and people said to go pick them off every night with a torch, which I did. One of the first nights I collected about four dozen of them, and for a week the story was the same. Eventually they started to become fewer and by now I collect only about one dozen a night. In order to help things along I also put out little bowls of beer. Yes the beer is working too. Meanwhile I had become quite enthralled by these little creatures, there is a large variety of them and they are beautiful, gentle and the slime is not as bad as I thought it would be, before washing you use a dry paper tissue and it wipes off very easy. I have also realised that the paths around the vegetable beds needed to be clean and free of leaves etc… so I started a great clean up. The hedges had been cut and some leaves were still lying around, a great place for slugs to hide in.
Meanwhile I sowed more winter vegetables and bought beetroot plants as all my young plants had been eaten. I almost became discouraged when a cat again used the newly prepared soil and disturbed more plants. So off to the hardware store and bought piping (which was very cheap) stuck them in the ground and covered with netting which worked really well, kept cats out. I then started to prune some of the overgrown vegetation and the garden started to look real good again. Planted out leeks, sprouts, and beetroot for a winter crop.
One of the biggest permaculture lessons I learnt this summer is that when the wild plants start growing in spring, rather than just let them take over, as I did in my garden, I would give them some direction, and pull up a few here and there. When I decided last spring that I was going to let my cleavers (goosegrass) grow as I now considered it as food, I did not realise that they would take over several of the raised beds, they were entangled in the bean plants, the garlic, the fruit bushes and as for the back of the garden, that was totally overgrown.
As always, the garden keeps challenging me in different ways, giving tremendous joy and inspiration.