1st week of September:
Time to clean out the beds that had remnant Summer crops. I had left things that looked like they still had some potential to produce something. I had pruned the eggplants and capsicum thinking that I could encourage them to produce new growth and get an early start on the season, some self seeded Chinese celery had grown, the leeks were still growing slowly and there were a few of the tiny tomatoes that had come up by themselves all round the garden.
All gone now – except for a few pruned eggplants – they still look like they might do something, and the the Chinese celery that didn’t go straight to seed last year has been left to go to seed. It is nearly 2 metres tall.
To the beds I added plently of home made compost and chook poo, dug it all over and planted the Spring crops. Hopefully they will be jumping out of the ground soon as the weather is warming up now. I have heard that a vegetable garden soil takes a few years to really develop. The home made hot compost seems to be improving the texture of the soil and the worms are huge.
The Winter crops are lush and delicious. The carrots this year are straight and large, and have a nutty, sweet taste. I had never grown or really eaten turnips before growing them this season, fennel is green and lush and the two varieties of radish have done well. The garlic is still not looking good. Maybe they just aren’t going to work here. I have read somewhere that you get one clove of garlic for each leaf, I think that I am going to get really small garlic bulbs. I will look up garlic in my organic gardener magazine and see if there is anything that I can do to encourage them into lush growth.
Chinese baby broccoli has the most fantastic flavour. We are eating it in pasta, cooked for 1 minute in the boiling water with the pasta and then the lot tossed in oil and garlic. It can also be tossed into anything else – fritattas, soups, salads . . . . Tonight while chopping some up for a pie I tasted a long stem that I was going to throw away. It was delicious, a bit like a crunchy asparagus, but sweet. The stems then got chopped up and into the tart as well.
Planted in September:
We are going away for a few weeks, so, although it is a bit early, I have planted everything straight into the soil. I won’t be here to water seedlings in seedling trays so the directly seeded vegetables will either make it or die. The drippers will come on everyday and I have mulched lightly with sugar cane mulch to help retain the moisture. The days have been warming up and the soil temperature is getting warmer, so we will see what happens.
- Beans – Sex without strings, first time for beans.
- Beetroot – We discovered beetrootlast year and now I have planted different varieties to mature in succession. We mainly ate it raw, but it also got juiced and at the end of the season I pickled the last of it. So good for you, fast to make a salad and tastes good.
- Sugarbeet, matures in 120 days
- Globe, matures 90 days
- Burpees golden, matures 60 days
- Zucchini– planted a little futher apart than last year (I will eventually believe the seed packets and plant at the suggested spacings)
- Black beauty – didn’t get any last year so am giving this one a last go
- Du Nic – a very tasty and reliable round zucchini
- English Spinach – just scattered around – quite over bending and planting in neat ordered rows by then.
- Asparagus – two crowns – that look a lot like dried, shrivelled, octopus, with their legs spread across an earthen mound and then covered up and mulched. They are in their permanent home – in a small fenced area outside the arches. Apparantly they will grow there, happily for years. We can’t eat any in the first year, each spear has to be left to go to fern and strengthen the plant.
- Potatoes – five bags of certified potatoes and the left overs of what was in the drawer and shooting. These are now in the Vegetable garden extension.
The newspaper and straw worked really well. There are no weeds in that section of garden now. I just laid the potatoes on the ground – spaced 25cm apart in rows 75cm apart, covered them with another 50cm of fluffed up lucerne hay, spread compost over the lot then a few bags of chook poo, then topped up with another layer of hay, all watered in well. Then we had to build a fence and a gate to keep out the ducks and geese that had taken to spending the day basking in the sun on the nice warm straw. I am going to put a few bags of donkey poo over the lot soon but am a bit worried about whether it gets weeds, so may compost it first.
- Capsicum – long thin ones from seed I collected last year. These weren’t bothered by fruit fly so I saved the seed.
- Egg Plant –
- Thai Chilli –
- Salsify – it self seeds all around the garden so I have dug up some and planted them in the garden where the soil is good and is watered regularly to see if I can get roots that are worth eating
- Pumpkin – also in the Vegetable garden extension. I have three variteties. Last year I grew 6 butternut from seed and only got 8 pumpkin, so this time I am planting a few varieties, starting early, and giving them lots of room to roam. I know that I will need to make a cloche from bird wire for each pumpkin as they mature, or the rats and rabbits will eat them. I will deal with that later.
- Cucumber– three seeds of each into a mound. This was the most amazing revelation last year. They tasted so good that the one year old would eat one before making it to the kitchen. They tasted great. This year I have three varieties, planted at the end of long bed. Hopefully they will climb up a trellis nearby. If not I will put corn in the bed after the chinese broccoli is finished and it will climb up it like it did last year.
- Pickling – gherkin
- Long Green