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October/November is not the most glamorous time of year, at least not for the productive gardener.  Its all about clearing away the corpses of summer produce, spreading muck and disinfecting glass.  Its a balance of tidying away the past season and preparing for the next.  This year especially it is the season where we put more into the garden than we get out, in the High Bank garden the harvesting has slowed to a trickle.  There is a certain charm in the cleansing and renewal of the season, particularly on the crisp clear mornings we’ve had this week, but when the border displays more brown than green I can’t help pining for spring.

There is one job however that i do look forward to at this time of year, the autumn ritual of seed shopping.  Time to light the wood burning stove and pour a couple of glasses of single malt (this years tipple being Bruichladdich, one of my favorites, a well balanced and smooth whisky with just a hint of smokiness.)

It used to be a couple of catalogues and a notepad and pencil but these days the catalogues have been replaced with the laptop screen and almost exclusively the online catalogue of one seed producer, the real seed company.  A small seed company with great ethical credentials, they only sell the seed from plants they’ve successfully grown themselves, and if they’ll grow at their mid Wales home then we can be confident of them in our milder south Shropshire base.

It is great to fantasize about the vegetables we’d like to harvest next year, to reminisce on the successes we’ll try to repeat (not so many in 2012) and the new varieties we’d like to experiment with.

There are a few seeds that we’ve saved ourselves but due to the mixture of varieties we’ve grown this year there would be too much cross-pollination for many of the seeds to reproduce true to type.

I shall enjoy the evening, it is the only task of the year where you can cradle a glass of whisky and legitimately still claim to be working the garden.

Sky a beautiful clear blue, temp 8c.

Time for Bruichladdich over ice.