The summer garden is drawing to a close. We are harvesting what we can, getting ready to plant again for the new season. It is still terribly hot here, and I find myself at this time of year longing for the shift that comes with autumn.
It's always a slow change in our part of the world. Usually it's March before it starts to creep in at the corners of the day. It's subtle at first, only noticeable early in the morning and at dusk when the stifling heat becomes more pleasant. Then one day, the evening will feel crisp and you'll find yourself looking for a jumper and thinking about lighting the fire.
The heat in the middle of the day can still linger on for many more months, even into winter. But that shift, it's enough to make a huge impact on the garden. We can think again about peas and brassicas. Leafy greens become much easier to grow, staying sweet and swelling to size, unlike the hot summer months when they are lean, bitter and bolt to seed soon after planting. The chillies will continue to grow right through depending on whether we get frosts over winter.
The shady places in the garden, which are favoured in summer, are no longer preferred. Full sunshine is needed over the colder months, although some things will still grow in the shaded pockets. English spinach and a few greens managed in full shade throughout winter last year. I'll be experimenting with a few new things this cold season as well. I don't think there will ever be a time that the garden won't be teaching me something new.
What's going on in your garden? Are you just thinking about planting again? Or is your garden still in full swing?