It's autumn. It's seriously autumn. The occasionally sunny day, but mostly grey, the air heavy with moisture, and nothing above 10° Celsius.
The strawberries are already under cover:
That's a double layer of fleece. Should see them through till spring.
Next door to the strawbs, the Florence fennel is going gangbusters:
Late-summer into autumn is the only time to grow Florence fennel around here. Spring-planted, it bolts as soon as the summer heat arrives.
Up on the second terrace, next year's garlic supply has not only been planted, it's already up:
The shortest day of the year - December 21st in these parts - is traditionally the garlic-planting date. I start earlier in order to give them a head start before the serious cold hits. I bought White Italian seed garlic from the local Agricolo or agricultural supplies store.
And, from experience, I selected and planted only the fattest, healthiest cloves. Growing garlic really is a case of harvesting what you sow. Plant skinny, shrivelled cloves and that's what you'll harvest.
Next door to the garlic, for the heck of it, I've established a test-planting of Savoy cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli:
It's a test because I didn't bother trying to grow anything - apart from garlic - over last autumn and winter. The fact is, the garden is south-facing and sees no sun at all after early October because the sun, low in the sky, never gets above the medieval wall that forms our back fence. Such is the price of a medieval back fence.
In the same experimental vein, I've planted an early variety of broad beans:
They will cope with the low temperatures, whether they'll cope with the lack of sun is a different matter. Thus far, fair enough. And, yes, I need to weed.
The English Spinach, next door to the broad beans, are equally in need of a weed:
Meanwhile, on the top terrace, L'Artista's penchant for black figs has been addressed:
I established this baby from cuttings taken from a friend's black fig tree earlier this year. I've also planted it in what amounts to a bottomless box - the roots contained on four sides by large tiles buried on their edge. The theory goes that containing a fig's roots produces a more compact tree and superior fruit production. We shall see.
It, along with its mates, spent its first couple of months on the terrace in pots of barely moist potting mix, out of the hot sun, partly enclosed in a plastic shopping bag to create a sympathetic, slighty humid growing environment.
Eventually, with root structures developed, the plastic bags came off and the babies were left to develop:
The one on the left is the one I've planted. Of the other two, one is for a friend's garden and the third is a spare.
Roll on the black figs.
And roll on spring!