Winter Cycle

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Composting, Design, In the Garden, Soil

I’m letting all the summer tomato plants rot in the garden. Why take them out? I want all the organic matter to remain, to decompose so that I can dig it into the spring soil. In spring lots of tomato plants will self germinate and I will transplant them into Orto Two, my second kitchen garden. It will be tempting to leave them in Orto one, but I need to make sure I don’t encourage disease by growing the same crop in the same bed every year, so I will definitely move them.

The kale is going strong and I can tell you that I love eating it! I almost always cook it the same way, with oil and garlic and lots of lemon (lots) and breadcrumbs, or ground hazelnut, or almond, or cashew. Lots of breadcrumbs or ground nuts because they absorb the oil and the lemon and salt and coat the kale, to give an explosion of flavour and texture.

And I have harvested one jars worth of green tomatoes. Fermented them and then added oil to increase flavour. I have given some green tomatoes away but many of them are rotting into the soil to replenish what I have taken from it. But my soil needs more so I have collected horse manure and cow manure from stables and neighbours and am adding that too. I am not composting and might never compost again. Instead I bury all of our organic waste directly into the soil. This way the mice can’t access it and all of the nutrients and the process of decomposition will directly go to improving  my soil structure.

Perennials are such good friends and Radicchio is one of my favourites. All summer, all winter it will keep me fed. I simply cut at the base but I make sure not too cut too low, and the leaves grow back over and over again. Recently a small frog was nesting in the centre of one of my radicchios and as I washed its leaves, out it hopped into the large colander.

This summer I need to start a new cycle. A winter cycle. I have rarely grown vegetables in winter because I have not had the room, but now that I have all the room I want, in summer I must think of winter. Jen said to me, make sure to sow seeds in January for winter planting.

Thank you for these wonderful words Jen. In summer I must think of winter and begin a new winter cycle.

Winter garden. It looks messy but it is wonderful! It looks a bit dishevelled but it is productive. I have left the tomato plants in and am letting them compost in the soil. Snap dragons are growing along the edges, kale curly and black, and bok choy and garlic and calendula, radicchio and parsley and celery.

Garlic detail prior to mulching the soil with straw.

Bok Choy. I have used it lots to make pesto.

Curly kale detail.

Cavolo nero kale detail.

Radicchio and frog detail.

Coffee grounds from Daylesford cafes for the garden.


Mulching with straw to manage weeds, add organic matter, improve soil structure and maintain moisture.


Garden seat has been built and is close to being finished.


Dry stone rock wall is being constructed very slowly.


A brief rain event. It was very beautiful, but too short. Caramel coloured sunset.


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