November often sees a sharp decline in the variety of vegetables that we grow – as all of the summer polytunnel crops such as tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines are pulled out and replaced with overwintering salad. The less hardy veg such as courgettes and sweetcorn have finished outside and the general vigour of plants slows down due to reduced light levels and day length.

So, although this has happened this year, we are seeing our overwintering polytunnel salad and herbs growing much quicker than last year due to the mild weather. We haven’t had a “proper” frost yet which has extended the harvesting of some of our outdoor veg, but the mild wet autumn has also meant a rise in slug populations – leading to a lot of damage to our newly planted salads. We’ve been particularly lucky with slugs this year – our basil however suffered a little and although very tasty ended up mostly as pesto. This has been replaced with chervil, coriander and overwintering parsley all of which are already cropping well.

Garlic planting has been delayed until now, as it has been too wet over the last four weeks to plant. But we have just planted three varieties including lots of elephant garlic – which if this year is anything to go by they’ll be a bit of a crowd puller. We are hoping this will be a winner with our market customers especially.

We started a stall outside Town Mill Bakery in October and have been doing this every Saturday from 9am until about 2.30pm. We are hoping to continue until Christmas and then resume it in late Spring of 2012.

October also saw the arrival of four Saddleback x Large White weaners in the garden who were instructed to “de-thistle” a couple of areas which have been overrun with creeping thistle this year. We are hoping they may do a better job than us at uprooting the thistles, but will only really find out next year. Before that we are looking forward to trying out lots of different curing techniques when our pigs go to slaughter at the end of the year.

As for us, we are getting used to the dark evenings and having our days cut short. Although things never stop in the garden we find ourselves able to take a very small step back and try and rest after another hectic but enjoyable year.