The Spring Garden 2015

It’s been ages since I sat down to write on my blog….far too long! But I am here now…so much to talk about….this is the second year I’ve grown the tomatoes from seed (last years’s crop). 4 different varieties – 40 plants and we’ll let some of the self sown ones grow too, so if all goes well we’ll have another freezer full of tomato puree for next year.

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The purple peach tree that I grew from seed last year is about 50cm tall with 4 main branches, it’s growing so fast you can almost see it growing. Over winter we planted a red currant, some raspberries (have fruit on them!), 2 blueberries and replenished our strawberry crop. I wish we had room to plant more berries but I’m hoping we’ll get enough to eat and may be freeze some too? How cool would that be? A Cox’s Orange Pippen, a Snowapple and a Villa Franca lemon also found there way into our garden over winter.

I bought a pair of kiwi fruit at the supermarket a while ago (going cheap – $6 for both!); they looked a bit sad but hey you can’t go wrong for $6. We potted them up, fed them and off they went like a rocket; we needed a structure to grow them on – they can be a very vigorous plant and need lots of support and space – Neil used the old trampoline frame to build a structure and one day the kiwi fruits (and a grape vine) will create another feature in the garden.  I’ve seen photos of kiwi vines growing over trellises – beautiful foliage, golden fruit hanging down, that’s what I want to see here!

Winter was a busy time in the garden, we decided to move the rose bed (14 old roses) to a more suitable part of the garden – they were in a prime vegetable growing position. To do this Neil built 2 new raised garden beds – one for the roses and a new vegetable garden. Moving the roses was not fun, we certainly hacked into them but you know what, we didn’t lose a single plant! Just how tough are roses? Very tough! We replenished our paths with a thick layer of mulch – local wood chips from the crew who trim the street trees – this really brightened up the garden.

The summer garden is still a way off, the next peak above ground planting period (growing by the moon) comes up around the 13th Novemeber; so it will be all hands on deck to plant zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, fennel, lettuce, silver-beet, spinach, capsicums, beans, cucumbers, pumpkin and probably heaps more! I’m going to try some new crops this summer – okra, spaghetti squash (pumpkin) and snake beans, it’s always nice to have some unusual plants growing; okra plants look really interesting and I would love to eat a truly fresh one for once. I hadn’t even seen a spaghetti squash until last summer and was blown away by them! They are not cheap to buy so why not try and grow them – it’s just a pumpkin after all – 4 of the 6 seeds I planted have taken and I gave the rest away…. lots of spaghetti squash this year!

Our young avocado tree produced 2 wonderful fruits earlier this year and has been absolutely covered in flowers, thousands of them; we were wondering how many flowers would produce fruit, well we are delighted to announce some babies are forming…

We planted another lot of root crops last weekend – beets, celeriac, carrots and parsnips; the last month’s root crops are up but the cat decided to have a bit of a dig and damaged some of them, so we’ve put a net over the bed to stop all manner of pests.

Had to pull up the shallot crop a bit early I think, but they were going to seed and had to be lifted, hope they are OK, they’re drying on the deck and will be ready to hang in a week or so. The garlic crop is looking good; we planted a smaller crop than usual so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that they are robust plants.

I’m loving my herbs – got some beauties – tarragon, fennel, parsley, coriander, various mints, sage, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, basil, lemon grass, lavender and chives (the garlic chives are awesome). Phoebe makes the most beautiful omelettes with next door’s free range eggs, lots of fresh herbs and cheese – simple and delicious. Is horseradish a herb? This crop will yield more horseradish than we will ever use….I make horseradish sauce and use it fresh but…

Anyway enough rambling on for one blog…till next time….



What’s happening in the garden?

Another week  has passed and at last we have a cool damp day and how lovely it is! The garden is surviving the heat and wind remarkably well compared to other gardens I have seen over the last few weeks. The high fence and density of the plants in the garden must help (as well as water of course) because we certainly cop some pretty fierce winds at times. The tomatoes are finally started to ripen- we had our first “big” pick today, the bought tomato plants are doing OK (but no-where near as good as other years), the self sown tomatoes are thriving.  We had to buy some heavy duty netting to stop the birds eating the tomatoes, they were even eating the green ones which is just not acceptable! The beans have been terrible this year, picked just a few handfuls – it’s amazing how different each growing season can be. I am enjoying the long thin eggplants this year more than the traditional large egg shape ones usually grown. The zucchinis just keep coming, I would like to know how many kilos we have picked, I made ANOTHER zucchini slice, ratatouille, grilled zucchini and have grated and then frozen some too (never done this before but I have been assured it works). The pumpkins are going nuts, not only are they rambling all through the garden they are climbing over the fences too. I do love pumpkin, it’s weird to think that in some countries pumpkin is not considered fit for human consumption. There have been some miracles in the garden this week – a self sown plant growing in the corner of the rose bed turns out to be a pomegranate. I have come so close to pulling it out many times but something stopped me – I have two bought pomegranates that cost $70 and this self sown one just pops up and in a good position; it can stay where it is I’d rather move a rose if I have to. The other miracle is the first cycad I bought that just didn’t do well, I’d moved it 3 times trying to revive it and had totally given up on it when bingo life appeared and now it’s got new fronds and looks happy.

Note the peppercorn tree pictured – this tree represents the heart of the property, we are very lucky to have such an established tree that gives our house lovely shade from the west, it’s like a gigantic living umbrella. Also pictured is our new espalier of citrus trees (lime, cumquat & pink grapefruit), the frame is attached to the garage over a walkway, we were inspired by the citrus growing over supports in Italy, it will look lovely when it fills in the wire and grows over the top to form a canopy, well that’s the plan!