IN geographic terms, Bass Coast Shire lies in what is called a temperate climate. The good news for gardeners is that this means a long growing season – virtually all year round.
Even through our cold winters, cabbage, cauliflower, swedes and many others continue to grow. Fruit, berries and nuts can also be produced as the pages of the calendar are turned. There is not a month when something can't be picked, even if it is only a lemon at the most meagre time of the year, which is around October.
Based on the last sentence, I consider my own harvesting to begin in November with the arrival of red currants and raspberries. Both crops last well into December with almost daily pickings.
Hazelnuts fall through February until early March when the first walnuts begin to fall. During this time, beans, beetroot, lettuce and the other summer vegetables continue to be available. Pears are ready to pick. Cling peaches and more apples also ripen in March. One of my favourites, Chilean guavas, ripen in March-April. By the time the walnuts have all fallen in mid-April, the chestnuts start to appear on the ground and more apples are ready. Cherry guavas, yellow guavas and feijoas are now on the grazing menu and all three produced until mid-June this year. These fruit also make a delicious jam if your tastes are so inclined.
Potatoes can be planted in August and most summer vegetables in September during which time the stone fruit blossom brings the bees. As mentioned earlier, by October, we're down to lemons. It may still be cold and wet but, with the days being noticeably longer, there's light at the end of the tunnel. What's more, red currants and raspberries are only a month away. So ends and begins the cycle.
What I've outlined above represents a significant amount of self-sufficiency in the way of food and nutrition as well as gratified taste buds. I forgot to mention leeks, gooseberries and black currants, and celery that can be added to winter soups. These soups can be made almost entirely from what's in the back yard. Then there are all the fruit and vegetables that I have yet to hear about which would be happy residents of our Bass Coast climate.