The Earth's energy is settling, the outer growth cycle is finishing and it will soon be time for the Earth and us, to rest again.
There is a shift in the weather, a wildness blows in on colder winds and there is a sense that summer is over. We begin to feel the pull to prepare for the winter months as new possibilities begin to reveal themselves.
The life force goes into swelling the fruit and the seeds within the fruits. It is a time of nature's wild abundance and a natural time to give thanks for all the abundance the Earth has given us this year. We give thanks for our personal harvest, our friendships, the adventures we have had, all that we have loved and appreciated, honouring our losses too as part of the whole.
Sowing Native Winter Greens
Cleavers, Corn Salad, Salad Burnet, Winter Cress
It seems crazy to be sowing seeds at this time of year, but this ensures edible greens you can pick in the winter and early spring. You need to get the seeds in by early September so the plants can get started while the weather is still warm. Some can be sprinkled directly in the ground, others benefit from being sown and planted out in a cloche or in tubs up by the house where you can keep an eye on them.
Pick the sticky seeds and sprinkle them in large pots for an early spring crop. If cleavers is treated like a crop and picked frequently, then an endless supply of the delicious tips keep growing. The plant is contained and doesn't get the chance to ramble all over the garden.
If you haven't a dedicated bed for self-seeded plants then sow the seeds now for early spring crops. They can be sprinkled in cloches for added protection or in any bed that remains largely undisturbed from now on and will catch the winter sun.
Sow these in pots for an early salad crop next spring. They keep growing throughout the winter. The more you pick, the more fresh leaves appear. Don't put them in the cloche as they don't need it and take up too much room in the spring.
Sow now for plenty of fresh winter and spring leaves.
Fruit Chutneys: Apple and Elderberry Chutney
Experiment using this basic recipe for chutney:
900g (2lb) of elderberries (removed from the stalks)
450g (1lb) apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
A handful of sultanas
1 large chopped onion
1 pint of vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pan combine the ingredients:
2. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, crushed peppercorns, chopped ginger, crushed mustard seeds and mixed spice.
3. Bring to the boil and simmer until it thickens. Test the flavour and adjust to taste with more or less salt, pepper or sugar.
4. Pour into jars that have been sterilised in a hot oven and screw on lids.
5. Tighten the lids again when cold, label and date.
This is an extract from Glennie Kindred's book, Letting in the Wild Edges. You can buy a copy from our online store at http://www.green-shopping.co.uk/letting-in-the-wild-edges.html. To check out Glennie's other books see http://www.green-shopping.co.uk/books/pp/glennie-kindred.html