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Autumnal joys; saving seeds, harvesting veg and garden prep

This week at Growing in Harmony...

We've had some unseasonal weather at the garden, it's been unusually warm for the time of year but we've also had lots of rain so one of our projects has been to waterproof the duck area. We know that ducks like the wet but there are limits and we think ours might draw the line at soggy food!

As harvest time continues we still have some of our kalettes to pick, they're a fab little vegetable, a cross between kale and sprouts and we'll be featuring them in our unusual veg video later this month.

Another video due for release this month is all about seed saving. This year we're really focusing on collecting the seeds from the things we've grown so that we can use them again next year and take a step closer to the permaculture ideals that we love. Seed saving is a really sustainable approach that reduces costs as well as environmental impact.

Our video features seed saving from lettuce, cosmos, marigolds and fennel but we are also saving some of our beans to plant again. We've allowed the runner beans to dry on the plant before picking them and they're now ready to be cooked and eaten or saved as seeds (or even used as a decoration, the speckled purple beans are so pretty!). We've done a similar thing with the little white Hutterite beans which make a lovely creamy soup. These ones originate in Ukraine and were brought to America in the 1600s by the Hutterites, hence the name.

As well as saving our own seeds we're starting to look through the seed catalogues to see what else we'd like to plant next year, this is one of our favourite tasks of autumn and we love seeing all the varied options available.

Meanwhile over at Skinningrove we've taken down the framework of one of the old polytunnels which has given us space to make a Hugel bed, a type of raised bed that is built up with sticks, leaves and things you might put in the compost and topped with a layer of topsoil or more compost. It's the first time we've tried the Hugel bed method so we'll look forward to seeing how it goes!

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