The Salad Bed, before clearing

I felt like spending some time outside on Sunday morning. This was the salad bed when I went out – a chaotic jumble of plants, most on their last legs. I cleared it all out, and was rewarded with several carrots, a small beetroot, a little tuft of kale and some leaf beet leaves.


Trugful of tiny treats

The robin had been watching me closely (it’s not tame yet), so I took the remains out to the compost heap in the garden strip, and stayed out there to dig up the last of the potatoes, and give the robin a chance to investigate where I had been digging around.


Half a trug of Sarpo Mira potatoes

I half-filled my big plastic trug with pink-skinned Sárpo Mira potatoes, some of which had got big enough for baking potatoes. When I was done I covered the empty bed with cardboard for the winter; a feral cat has taken to using any uncovered soil as a litter box 🙁


Garlic, covered

Then it was back into the back garden, and I planted the empty bed with the garlic – a row of elephant garlic and the rest of the bed with Thermidrome, a variety I have had success with in the past. I moved one of our mesh cages from the broad beans (which have grown enough, I hope, to deter cat pooing) over the freshly planted bed.


Cucamelon root, Melothria scabra

One of the plants in the salad bed was a cucamelon. It went in too late to fruit properly this year, but I read recently that it was possible to overwinter cucamelon tubers, so I’ve dug it up and put it in a pot in the potting shed. Rhizowen tells me that cucamelon (Melothria scabra) tubers are edible, but as I only have one I’ll have to leave tasting them until another time.

And so I was outside for about an hour and a half on Sunday.


Wintergreen berries and Chilean guavas

I’ve now decided to try and get into the garden for 30 mins every day that I’m at home (and it’s not chucking it down with rain). Gardening activities are optional, although there’s plenty to do and it’s too cold to just sit around for the moment.

This morning I emptied the kitchen waste caddy into the compost bin and refilled the bird feeders. Then I harvested the last few Chilean guavas, and all of the wintergreen berries. They’re quite low hanging, so picking them was a bit cold, wet and mucky, but they’ll wash up nicely. We have plans for muffins and/or infusing some booze with them. Ryan is a big fan of wintergreen flavour, which is why we planted them last year. Since they were grown as ornamental plants, we left them be for a year so that any potential pesticide residues could dissipate and they would be safe to eat.

I also moved a few more plants into the potting shed, because colder weather is on the way, and sprinkled a few mealworms into the wintergreen bed – the robin had been keeping his beady eye on me again!




This blog post was written by Emma Cooper and was published on The Unconventional Gardener website. If you're reading it elsewhere you may want to navigate away from plagiarised content.

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