DRYING – STORING – SOWING… FOR WINTER STORAGE AND GROWTH

It is this time of summer again when thoughts turn to harvest, saving seeds, drying herbs, sowing winter vegetables, and pruning some of the soft fruits. It is also time to make a note of what to, and what not to do next year, and where to grow what. Every season I learn more and so the garden is ever changing as I try to make it all better and more productive for us and also for the rest of nature, so incorporating plants, flowers, and berries for the birds, the bees and for any other creatures in the ecosystem that this urban garden is.
So the last few days I collected different leaves, among them dandelion (leaf and roots), mint, lemon balm, hawthorn, and nettle. I am working towards having a good store to see us through the winter months, and as these plants contain lots of valuable minerals and vitamins I think that it will be a valuable addition to our soups and stews. Some I will also use as teas.
Last week I sowed some winter vegetables, kale, salad leaves, and beetroot mainly, they are coming up well and some I potted off in order to become stronger so they can go into the soil outside. I will make use of the cold frames this winter. The temperatures drop to around -0C or just below it during the night, and daytime temperatures mainly around +5C so it is an ideal climate to grow winter produce. Leeks do very well here in my garden and I have planted out dozen of them during the past few days.
This morning, being Saturday and time to take a stock of what I have been doing and looking for ideas and information, I went to the library and again got a great selection of books, among them, two that I want to mention, one is about Winter vegetable growing by Linda Gray,  and the other one is a book to relax with at night, it’s another memoir of a gardener, (Just Vegetating by Linda Larcom),  I have read some good memoirs lately and enjoyed.  Great inspiration can be got in books, it is a never ending pleasure.
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Mint, delightful scent!

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Nettle, and lemon balm, great for teas, and or soups, broths etc…         And more seedlings, I am looking forward to winter growth.  Making meticulous plans right now, find it exciting and motivating.  Taking the providing role very seriously, that is, providing or rather enabling mother nature to provide us with lots of lovely foods.  So enjoyable, and good for the soul.

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2015 GARLIC EARLY HARVEST     20150807_162019

Garlic, and dandelion leaves, very fond of both.  A huge crop of dandelion leaves this year, due to the rains.

2015 HARVEST

Peas and broad beans, it was not a great harvest this summer and so I will need to change the type I am actually growing, though I think that this year’s bad summer had something to do with it too.

29 thoughts on “DRYING – STORING – SOWING… FOR WINTER STORAGE AND GROWTH

  1. I am interested to know how you use your dried dandelion leaves? Our pea and bean crops are poor this year too – definitely a lot to do with the weather. Broad beans are still growing and plants look healthy and have started to flower again so hoping we may get a crop of some sort from them:)

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  2. If only our winters were warm! Some years if I put enough covers over them I’ve been able to keep kale plants alive and edible into November.

    Your dried nettle leaves reminded me that I need to collect red raspberry leaves for the same. The bushes put on a tremendous amount of growth and I think they will make a good substitute to regular tea.

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    1. Thank goodness I read your post! I have a patch of nettles which need to be moved. Now I know what to do with them rather than have them go to waste. (I had thought the leaves were too bitter from the beginning of June?)

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      1. Yes I had heard that too Helen, however, these nettles I dried are newly grown, they are not the once that came up in spring, I picked those, so they are young growth in that sense. Hope yours are young too.

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      2. Yes, they are… I pulled up the original plant when I thought its leaves were too old but it has grown back again.

        Anyway, I hope you enjoy your nettles 🙂

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    2. Great to be gathering like this isn’t it, what a blessing. Do you ever use horticultural fleece, it is popular even here to protect plants from frost, but I guess if the frost is bad then fleece won’t help either.

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    1. Hi Mitza, I am fine thank you, hope the same for you. It’s all such wonderful activity isn’t it. I just restarted my herbal course again as well. It’s nothing intensive, just taking it a my own ease, but loving it.

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      1. How could we fill the time of our lifes better than to do things we love, Agnes? And it doesn’t matter what it is and how good it is. I had been ill for a week with some stomach virus but now I feel better. Have fun, regards Mitza

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