Autumn is a time of abundance, when days are mild and the summer harvest is coming to its end. Our tomatoes have ripened and been picked but the last still linger to sweeten salads. A rogue plant has been this season’s favourite, a yellow tomatoe that is fleshy and sweet. Purchased as ‘Sweet Bite’ we were expecting clusters of red cherry tomatoes. This yellow marvel was one of the first to fruit and will be the last served at the table late autumn. I will save seed and try and grow more next year. Let’s see what evolves. An unnamed wonder.
We have extracted our honey, harvested pumpkins and the larder is full of passata and traditional chutney.
These last mild days are great to sow early winter crops. The soil is warm and plants can reap the benefit from mild temperatures before the days shorten and the chill sets in. The broccoli I planted just 6 weeks ago is beginning to head and the first of the dwarf snow peas are ready to pick. Young leeks planted from seedlings are starting to stand straight and will soon offer a first pick, baby leeks for the plate.
Best of all, I have planted a very late crop of ‘Uncle George’s Beans’. These beans have been growing in our garden each summer for nearly 15 years. They are remarkable. A dwarf French bean they will continually crop if regularly picked. I always set seed aside when I grow them and I’m keen give seed away, they are such good performers.
I planted ‘Uncle George’ during early spring but the last crop of ‘Uncle George’ was planted in late February. They are in a spot protected from wind and catch the mid afternoon sun. I picked my first crop today, 375g of beans, with many more to come. I wonder how late they will continue? I know this will depend on the night temperatures over the coming weeks. There are tiny beans and flowers still appearing. I have spread some coffee grounds to deter snails from the lush growth, the tiny shellbacks are always a problem when the weather cools.
This wonderful bean was handed to me in an envelope with just 20 seeds inside. My work buddy and gardening friend, Macka, had been given them by another gardener. He had been growing them for 15 years before offering them to me. According to Macka the beans originate from up along the Murray River. It was his friend’s ‘Uncle George’, a farmer, who was the original grower of the beans. A chain of gardeners. Growing beans, harvesting the crop and handing the seed one to another.
I cannot begin to calculate how many beans I have harvested and shared from those original 20 seeds handed to me.
Just last weekend we shared a table with friends and I took an offering grown from the garden including Kaboocha Sunshine pumpkin, Sweet red hungarian peppers, Beetroot both red and white, garlic, parsley and a sprinkle of marigold petals. All topped with a good load of Uncle George’s Beans. Delicious.