2014 winter garden – taking stock

Last weekend I ripped out a lot of the remaining winter veg, and composted everything up ready for the summer seedlings to go in. I think on balance it’s been a very successful winter, especially since it’s the first season for our veggie garden. We’re eating heaps more veggies, and are saving plenty of money – especially on high price items like herbs.

Lessons Learned:

  • Next year I’ll net the brassicas in autumn to avoid the worst of the cabbage moth.
  • The back bed doesn’t get any sun for about three months in winter. Next winter I’ll try putting the silverbeet and leafy greens back there and see how they go.
  • I have to get better at succession planting.

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Successes

  • Mini worm farms – they are full of baby worms! And I often spot worms in the actual beds, so they are venturing out as well.
  • Wicking beds. I filled the beds once all winter – rain did the rest. They’re awesome. Barely any weeds. At a good height for this heavily pregnant lady.
  • Carrots (grown from seed – I planted a punnet too and they were pretty dismal). I was sure my carrots were a failure, until I went digging around and found heaps of good ones.
  • Snow peas
  • Broccoli – the broccoli went to seed pretty quickly, but we ate all the flowers as well, so it was a good producer
  • Leafy greens: rainbow chard, cos lettuce, rocket, black russian kale. All excellent.
  • Celery – the celery harvest has been epic and ongoing. We have WAY too much celery.
  • Rhubarb – so much for waiting two years for a good rhubarb harvest, ours was great after only a few months.
  • Radishes
  • Chioggia beetroot – and whatever the yellow ones are called. But the red ones were disappointingly small.
  • Holiday house potatoes – epic harvest.

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Failures

  • Backyard potatoes. Only got a handful of decent spuds. Trying again for spring spuds.
  • Native fingerlime. Killed it.

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Undecided

  • I’m pretty sure my garlic will fail this year – the back bed just doesn’t get enough sun in winter, and they’re covered in aphids despite my best efforts.
  • Leeks – looking quite promising.
  • Onions – less promising.
  • Red cabbage – of the six I planted, I got three small heads. Meh.
  • Brussels Sprouts – sprouts are growing, but I’m worried they won’t stay tight. I’m not sure when to harvest, they’re still pretty small.
  • Broad beans – they were fine, but not a bumper crop, and they got blown over in a storm so their lives were prematurely cut short.

Summer seedlings go in this week – a bit early perhaps, but as the babby is due in a month, I thought it’d be better to get it over and done with before I’m too busy!

Harvest, er, Wednesday

We went to Perth for a week to visit the in-laws, so it was exciting to come home and see how BIG everything had gotten. And how many caterpillars had infested the brassica bed (hint: LOTS). Our garden path is now coated with the green smears of ex-caterpillars.

The peas are starting to make peas, and the carrots are starting to thicken. All the garlic is up, and the lime tree is covered in blossom. The garden is growing!

Last night I harvested chioggia beetroot, celery, radishes, lettuce, and parsley to go in a salad, as well as a few sticks of rhubarb which we had stewed with ice-cream for dessert.

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Harvest Monday: Experimental Potatoes

Back in July, I found two wrinkly, sprouting potatoes at the back of our cupboard, leftover from a Ceres veggie box. Despite it being totally the wrong time of year to plant potatoes, I stuck them in a pot, covered them with soil, straw and manure, and then left them alone. They popped up very quickly, and were perfectly happy until most of them were destroyed by hail and wind. But a few bits of greenery survived, so I continued to leave them alone, until today.

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Eight big ones, eight medium ones, and 14 babby ones. We shall feast on potato salad tonight!

For more Harvest Monday goodness, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions.

Harvest Monday: GARLIC

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Here it all is! I have learnt some good lessons for next time. I planted all the cloves I had, instead of just the fat ones. This led to lots of small heads of garlic. Next time I shall plant in raised beds where the soil is more fluffy, and only the fattest cloves.

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The Purple Monaro was by far the most productive. But all in all, a pretty good first garlic effort, I think! I’m going to cure and plait the nice fat heads, and peel and freeze the rest.

Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions for more Harvest Mondays.

Roses and garlic

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Spring is such an exciting time in the garden. The bare sticks that we put into the ground in winter have turned into roses! They have the most gorgeous citrusy scent.

And I have pulled a couple of experimental garlic plants. Some are nice and fat, and others are small and weedy. But they’ve all fallen over and look very sad and limp, so I think I’ll harvest them this weekend.  Or should I wait? They’re not getting much sun now, as the raspberry bushes have leapt up.

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The concrete for the studio is being poured next week!

Taters

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Studio Update: it is pegged out. Now we are waiting for the concreter. I’m not going to meet my target of having the raised beds in by Cup Day, but hopefully some time in December, so it won’t be too late for a summer crop of tomatoes and capsicums. Fingers crossed!

I’m a bit late planting potatoes, but our summers seem to be dragging on into April these days, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time to make some nice fat tubers. I’m growing in two potato grow bags, using a Diggers combo pack that I’m splitting with my mum. So seven different varieties – Nicola, Pink Fir, Pink Eye, Royal Blue, Low Carb, Dutch Cream and Malin.

I mixed sugarcane mulch, compost and manure, and added rockdust, coffee grinds and potash. Filled the bags about 1/2 way and planted my spuds between 10-20cm deep. Now we wait.

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