It’s the middle of spring and we are kicking off another round of the Garden Share Collective. With spring in the air here in Australia, I expect to see plenty of seeds and seedlings gone in the ground and maybe a few good crops of veggies too. Take a peek at all the other gardens around Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom for some green thumb inspiration at the bottom of this post.
September for me at the farm has been one of debate. We are not on town water and only have small 5000 liter tank of water on our house shed which is 200 meters away from our garden. It is currently 3/4 full, though after last years no rain for four months we are sitting a bit better than last year with water levels. We had a storm through two weeks ago dropping 27mm of rain overnight which gave the plant much-needed nitrogen (from the storm) and a big drink to soak their roots. Since then we have had days 34’c with northerly dry winds blasting through. My boss just told me that we are expecting a 37’c day on Monday – eek. So I will be going to a library with air-conditioning I think, to read all the posts from other gardeners this month.
I made the executive decision not to plant a thing this month, seeds and all! With no rain on the forecast and my neighbour bringing over water when he can 2 – 3 times a month to help water my plants. I decided it is time to let some things go and sacrifice. I have kept all the seedlings alive though – well just.
Last month I planted out my zucchini seedlings and the weeds that came up along with them. I gave away all the stinging nettles to friends, as I am still not sure about having them in the garden. I think I maybe still a bit traditional about what is food and what is not. I might sway eventually to green foliage foraging one day. Until then, I will stick to things I know how to cook.
Since last month’s post the zucchini’s have grown ten times as big and I even picked a zucchini today (Friday). Its our first one for the season and it looks like there is plenty more on the way which is good news. Our corn has also grown big and tall since the storm came over, I have never seen corn look so healthy, so lets hope that it actually produces some corn for us.
POTATOES: At the start of June Roy and I planted out eight rows of potatoes, in hopes of getting a huge haul to sell as well as keep for another planting. Sadly the plants started out really well, then got taken over by weeds and then died. They look tiny sick and sad looking (above left). We decided to dig them out we manged to dig out over 20 kilos of kipfler and pontiacs. Most are smaller than our 50c piece, a few were big, some were extraordinary specimens of potatoes. Looking at the clay soil after digging them out, the spuds had not even helped to break it up, so Roy and I spend a day weeding, spreading mushroom compost, worm castings and then to cover it in a thick (I mean really thick) layer of mulch. What we are hoping is that over the summer months that the clay starts to break down and worms will do some magic to the soil underneath. We want to plant out these rows in February.
Below you can see our second lot of spuds planted late in late July, last month they emerged from the ground. The foliage is dark green and luscious looking. These are dutch cream potatoes and this month they have started to flower . The bushes are thick and dense and are as high as my knee. Roy and I are looking forward to digging these guys up as we have a good feeling just by looking at the plants that they are healthier than the last potatoes. Fingers crossed.
Below my lovely farm helper (Roy) in the old potato patch with all the weeds and dead potato plants.
My purple king beans – this is for Melissa Loh. I transplanted these beans from my boss at the start of August and they struggled to do much – beans really don’t like being transplanted. I have a feeling our soil and beans are not friends just yet. I really need to do a PH test to see what the levels are. Mind you some have started to climb over the last two weeks, I am optimistic still. I picked a good handful from them last week though.
Above: I planted three rows of beans/legumes in August direct to the ground with seed. One row was adzuki beans, another, mung beans (above) and the other a mix of dragon’s tongue (bush) and snake beans (bush). With the storm we had this past month it sparked something with the mung beans and they have come up six weeks since planting. I love seeds for this – they are so surprising.
Below: Bok Choi, my Asian greens last week started to get attacked by aphids – I had never seen this before. Finally the lady beetles that were eating my spuds realized that their favourite food was only two rows down. I have left all my Asian greens to go to seed, to see if they come up through the garden. I am not sure these seeds will regrow as I bought the Asian greens as seedlings from our supplier.
The last four weeks we have picked like mad, it has finally slowed down now the weather is warming up. We are getting plenty of tomatoes (cherry cocktails, black russians, black cherries) with this warmer weather. We have picked beets, mushrooms, beans, kale, silverbeet (it has slowed due to the heat), asian greens (tatsoi, bok choi, choi sum) are now all finished until I fix up my garden bed close to our shed with a shade cloth. We also dug up all of our potatoes 8 rows of them. It was a mix of kipfler and pontiacs. Mind you we really did not get as much as we had intended. The last lot we planted in July are looking better and healthier so we will be digging them up this month.
With the last of my winter veggies dying off, I have kept some broccoli seed from my strongest grower and some of my shallots that are now monsters. So if anyone would like some shallot/spring onion or broccoli seeds send me an email – email@example.com with your address and I will send you some.
At the moment we are chasing some broad bean seeds – preferably from Queensland – so the will with stand the heat and wet as we intend to plant them in Feb next year.
Garden Share Collective Members
Eight Acres – QLD
Clear Mountain Living – QLD
Jeanie in Paradise – QLD
If you would like to join the Garden Share Collective send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org