This post is part of the Garden Share Collective, a group of gardeners from around the world who photograph and write about what they are growing each month. The theme for May is ‘leaves’.
Think about your summer or early autumn food garden. Colour is everywhere. Voluptuous, rosy tomatoes brush up against swollen black eggplants and mingle with peppers in every shade from golden-yellow through orange, green and red, to nearly black. It’s like a work Christmas party out there, without the alcohol.
Then think about the winter food garden. Apart from the yellows and orange of ripening citrus fruit, the only colour is green. Boring, right?
I agree, or at least, I did, until I wandered around my garden today and noticed the wide variety of foliage on the edible plants. I admired the ruffled green of silverbeet leaves, the curvy dark green bok choy leaves, the yellows and greens of peach leaves, the glossiness of citrus leaves and the soft and ferny fennel fronds. Against the grey of the brooding sky, the vivid greens truly ‘popped’.
A winter food garden can be just as beautiful as a summer garden, if a little more subtle. To ensure that your cool season garden is as beautiful as possible, try the following tips:
- Pick more colourful versions of plants. For example, choose red and yellow stemmed chard rather than the more common, white-stemmed version
- Grow several varieties of leafy plants. You could mix frilly mignonette lettuces with oakleaf lettice and freckled cos (romaine).
- Think about height: have a backdrop of tall broad beans or climbing peas
- Structure your garden in pleasing rows or aim for cottagey abundance — it’s up to you!
- Mix in some cool weather flowers like nasturtiums. Not only do the flowers add colour to your garden, but you can pickle the seed pods like capers and eat the flowers and young leaves in salads.
Every month, participants in the Garden Share Collective share what they are planting, harvesting and a to-do list.
For once I’m not planning to buy any bare-rooted fruit trees this winter. I just don’t have the room.
I will continue to plant vegetables to fill up spaces cause by harvesting.
I’m currently harvesting:
- Asian greens
- coriander and other herbs
- several varieties of lettuce
- green onions
In June, I plan to:
- tidy up garden beds, feeding weeds to the chooks
- check citrus trees for gall wasp
- start winter pruning fruit trees