Just like that, Autumn was over and the Winter Solstice has passed. Our summer crops of eggplants, tomatoes and zucchini lasted well into Autumn until the first frost in the middle of April, we will be planting them again for next summer. Autumn felt a bit rushed, like we were busy trying to harvest and preserve the last of the summer crops, as well as getting prepared for winter and spring. Whilst I got lots of seedlings started in the shed, I may have missed the boat in getting them planted out, so they wont be productive until end of winter – so far the hardest part of being more self sufficient is planning what to do when in the short term, and trying to manage the longer term projects, and build infrastructure.
We’ve preserved zucchini by grating and freezing, tomatoes by making tomato sauce, passata, and tomato paste. I’d love to experiment with roasting and drying next year, but so far it’s been lovely having our own produce.
We’d been planning quite a formal orchard, but after much research we decided to try out a food forest that can link up to a more formal orchard (if we decide to go that way), or more likely give us more room to extend our veggie patch and link both. So far we’ve planted Apples, Apricots, Pears, Peach, Nectarines, Figs (sourced locally from an old tree from Sullys at Reidsdale), Blueberries, Bay trees. Planning to add in suitable citrus, transplant some of our old plums, nut trees, add in some nitrogen fixers and some lower layers of food production like strawberries, other berries and whatever else takes our fancy. It is a lovely sheltered and fertile spot and we’ve plans to add some areas to sit and enjoy.
Horse wise we’ve been using rotational grazing to move the horses every few days. In future we’d like to follow the chickens along behind the horses, because at present I’m spreading the manure with the paddock drag, which whilst fun, takes up a bit of time, particularly in winter when the dung beetles tend to be less active.
Busy planning our spring and summer plantings!