Garden Share Collective; October 2013

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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.

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Planting

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.

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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.

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Below my lovely farm helper (Roy) in the old potato patch with all the weeds and dead potato plants.

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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.

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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.

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Harvesting

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.

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Seed Swap

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 – liz@strayedtable.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

 

AUSTRALIA

 

Eight Acres – QLD
The Life of Clare – VIC
Chantille Fleur – QLD
Dig In Hobart – TAS
A Fresh Legacy – VIC
Melissa Loh – QLD
Merryn’s Menu -NSW
Claire K Creations – QLD
Gourmet Wog – NSW
African Aussie – QLD
Sunny Corner Farm – NSW
Think Big, Live Simple – VIC
Chloe’s Garden – VIC
Dusty Country Road – VIC
Flame Tree Flowers – QLD
Gustoso – QLD
The Shady Baker – NSW
Country Life Experiment – NSW
Greenhaven – VIC
Brown Paper Belle – QLD

Clear Mountain Living – QLD

Jeanie in Paradise – QLD

NEW ZEALAND

 

Our Wee Farm
The Fig Tree
Frog Pond Farm
Sharon’s Patch
Peaceful Green Day

 

UNITED KINGDOMT

 

he Landrovers Owners Wife
Life in Mud Spattered Boots
The Garden Deli
Dale Cottage Farm
Shabby Chick

 

If you would like to join the Garden Share Collective send me an email liz@strayedtable.com

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22 Comments

  1. I love looking at your garden Lizzie. You do such an amazing job for the obstacles that you content with. Your crops are fabulous. Fingers crossed that you get some rainfall this month. Your tomatoes look glorious, I can’t wait for mine to fruit but it will be months away! Thanks for hosting this great event. I am off the the garden it is a glorious day. See you next month.

  2. Hey Lizzie … gosh you have been busy. Your garden looks amazing as does all your wonderful produce. Not great news on those spuds though. Yes grow that soil … Fingers crossed for rain for you, how easy it is to take things for granted. 🙂

  3. Your garden is looking great! We’ve been harvesting lots of carrots & beetroots, among other things lately. I love going up to the garden early every morning, sometimes with the camera, and spending quite a while wandering through it. Our garden is full of native bees at the moment and lots of other good bugs as everything has gone to flower!

    Happy gardening,
    Sarah

  4. your harvest pics are beautiful, lizzie.
    your post is a great reminder fo the ups and downs of gardening, and the power Mother Nature has to throw us things – like hot winds and no rain – that we have no control over and are hard to manage. it is sad but sometimes it is the only thing you can do – not to garden. it will save you heartache and no doubt money as well.
    ps it seems every garden share post i’m reading is featuring aphids and ladybugs!

  5. I feel for you with your shortage of water. I expect it might get hard for us soon too. Summer is fast approaching. I love your corn! It looks amazing!

  6. Despite the obstacles you still have a great harvest, we have the opposite problem of too much water! The milk bottle trick willwork on anything with aphids, flowers or vegies. TRhanks for visiting and hosting this as it is great to see what others are up to.

  7. Wow what a bumper harvest Lizzy! You are certainly making do with your clay soil situation and your garden is thriving. I hope you have better luck with your dutch cream potatoes!

  8. Great stuff Liz! Your garden is so far ahead due to your extra warmth…it is amazing to think we are gardening in the same country sometimes.

    You have captured your garden beautifully in your photos, especially the zucchini flower and the aphids on your Asian greens. Your tomatoes do look glorious just as Kyrstie said. Limited water can make gardening difficult cant it…with your skills and persistence I am sure you will get your garden through the dry times. Thanks for hosting 🙂

  9. PS I made your mulberry frangipane this afternoon and cooked it in our wood oven…delicious and so quick and easy!

  10. What an impressive garden! The corn looks wonderful and hopefully it will come to fruition. The harvest looks fantastic as well. I hope the rain comes for you soon, we’ve had lots lately, but I’m sure that will stop very soon.

  11. You’re doing well to harvest so much despite the conditions – 37c is a temperature we don’t see even in the height of a hot summer, so I can only imagine how you manage to garden when you get that kind of heat in spring! It’s interesting to read about all the different kinds of beans you can grow… and you’ve reminded me that I need to get some broad beans in soon.

  12. Great to hear you got a bit of rain this month, your corn is looking great as well, I unfortunately tuned out whilst weeding and pulled out my corn seedlings this month so will have to start again.

  13. What a beautiful garden you have! Impressed with all the hard work you put into it.

  14. Your harvest looks beautiful Lizzie! Good luck with those potatoes, how demoralising it must’ve been with the last lot. Thanks lots for hosting the garden collective too, really enjoying sharing garden views.

  15. Wow, it’s hot up your way! I guess that happens in QLD… Bit of a bummer about the first lot of potatoes. Hopefully the second lot will perform better. Still it looks like you’ve had plenty to harvest lately. I won’t even think about tomatoes for another month or so what with the odd cold night still a risk. That corn does look great.

  16. I love how inspiring you are, Liz. Everything is looking so wonderful.

  17. Your garden looks amazing! I’m so jealous of your large scale produce! I can’t wait until our gardens producing a but more!

  18. Sorry you’ve had so little rain – bummer. We’re about ready to put our garden to bed. We had a very late crop of tomatoes – most didn’t ripen until early September, which is odd. And most of them were rather small, alas, but quite good. I’ll be digging up some herbs and potting them to put in our kitchen windowsill during the winter. Fun to hear about your garden – thanks.

  19. How healthy is your produce Liz! Your tomatoes, potatoes, beetroot and beans are amazing. So lush and healthy. It would be nice to have more water, our water bill has soared this last quarter, with summer yet to come. You have such a large area to nurture as well. Everything you grow is wonderful and I love reading about what you have planted and what is to come. Your corn is growing magically 😀

  20. Will you be trying potatoes again in those rows in February? And your purple king beans have definitely climbed a lot higher than mine. And I love that you’ve used a gate as their trellis. Out of the 4 I’ve got, only 1 has just learnt to snake its way up the stake and none have flowered, much less fruit. And yay for ladybugs!!!