Autumn is shading into winter and the gardens are beginning to look a little bare. The lettuce is over, the tomatoes are finished, the fruit trees have fruited and the herbs are dying down for the winter. What will we sell on the stall?
This is where my next lesson in edible gardening comes in - succession sowing. With Hayley and a group of volunteers at the Edible Garden, we plant up trays of seedlings for the winter: stir-fry greens, winter salad mix and spinach. We tuck them up in the cold frame to guard against the frost.
A row of broad beans goes into the ground, brightly coloured against the brown earth of the trench. At Tudor Road, we plant garlic cloves, then replant some of the amazing Jerusalem artichoke tubers to grow again next year. We've had a glut of these to sell in the market, so I took some home to roast with sage, thyme and olive oil. They were delicious.
I realise I’ve seen the whole cycle round now, from sowing seeds to cultivating plants, harvesting crops and cooking meals. I’ve always been interested in eating seasonally, but these few months of Edible Gardening have added so much to my understanding of how that food grows, the never-ending pleasure of bringing good things out of the ground. Forget tasting the difference in a supermarket, I’ve realised how much more zing you can get from food that you dug out of the earth or picked from a plant an hour earlier.
I’ve met so many interesting and lovely people through this project, all committed to making Transition Town Crystal Palace a success. Learning to garden has been great, but doing it in such good company has been even better.