29 Sep 2013

garden share collective: october

It’s been a long time coming, and some days I wonder if it has arrived at all, but – welcome, Spring. In the last month, we’ve had some gloriously mild weather (‘mild’ may not sound like much of a compliment to you, but believe me, it is). A few sunny warm bright days in a row, and humans and gardens alike are happy.


Then of course, Mother Nature likes to remind us who’s the boss. One week, my poor garden got hit hard by three heavy frosts in a row — yes, in September — which really knocked back a lot of ornamental seedlings and shrubs.

But after garden and gardener have both been dormant, now we are waking from our winter hibernation and getting ready for some consistently-warm weather (hopefully. Fingers crossed).



Yes, this is a girly garden. Old pink tights to tie up the stakes. Of course
 

I've hammered in my trellises (and dad gave a second round of pounding, for good measure). I’ve spread some golden sugar cane mulch over the beds – not for keeping the soil moist and warm, but purely for the fossicking pleasure of the neighbourhood blackbirds. It’s an endless dance (perhaps you know it?) between them kicking it out onto my pavers and pathways, and me scraping it back into the garden beds (repeat ad infinitum).

I’ve started sowing a few peas and beans: dwarf and climbing varieties; snow peas, borlottis, blue lake. Touch wood, peas and beans are usually reliable crops in my garden.

I'm very proud of my broad beans:

Aren’t they beautifully sturdy?

I’m also proud of my first ever crop of purple sprouting broccoli (or PSB as we hip and down-with-it gardeners say…). See the first pic in this post? It’s so striking! I cut the tender stalks off carefully, as there are usually a couple of new ones at the base ready to succeed them.
Unfortunately, the florets lose that glamourous deep-violet shade once cooked, but they seem to stay a darker green that the normal stuff. I’ve enjoyed PSB in only a couple of meals so far — just barely steamed or sautéd and tossed with some cassarecce pasta and some olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. When the produce is this beautiful, to do any more would be a travesty.


The tatsoi gone to seed. I was going to pull it out, but mum convinced me to leave it for colour and for the bees.

My dormant herbs are also reappearing. I thought I’d lost my lemon thyme (a favourite of mine), but I found some lurking beneath a fragrant cloud of freesias. Another favourite, chives, are also resurfacing in the garden and turning up in great handfuls on my dinner plate.


The newly mulched garden. In the background you can see the growbags of garlic and (hopefully) beetroot, then curly kale, self-seeded mizuna, and parlsey.

I have also planted my passionfruit. It too got hit by the frosts (my protective wrapper clearly inadequate), but I have been applying the seasol and hopefully it will recover. I did notice a small tendril coming forth. So again, keep your fingers crossed.



Finally, and on a less positive note, the warmer weather has brought an unwanted visitor to the garden: aphids. There is no living thing on this planet that I detest more than aphids (rats are equal parts fear and hatred, but tipping into the fear zone). Aphids stir up an illogical amount of loathing and anger within me.
This year I am trying to be zen about it and seeing if I can put down the pyrethrum — there is nothing more satisfying that drowning/blasting off a thick blanket of aphids from a favoured rosebush, accompanied of course by a dark laugh. I’m going to try and leave these evil sap-suckers to the afore-mentioned Mother Nature and her army of ladybirds and actual feathered birds to clean them up for me. I have already seen a pair of blue wrens pick away, but they really need to step it up some and eat more.

To do this coming month:
  • Sow more broad beans, for staggered crops.
  • Check the beetroot seeds. I would have thought they’d have popped up by now, so I shall have a poke about to see what is happening – if they are germinating or if they have rotted.
  • Get moving on the companion plantings.
Don't forget to see others in the Garden Share. Click on the logo in the column at right to find more green thumbs.



Couldn't resist showing you this stupendously large sliverbeet leaf. Wow!

30 comments:

  1. Things are looking very busy & productive in your garden e, love that big silver beet leaf...so healthy and green :)

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    1. hi jane (sorry for late reply),
      yes, it's starting to pick up in my vegie garden - it finally looks like something is growing in it!
      the size of the leaf bought out the child in me. "look how big compared to my hand!" :-)

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  2. Looks great, I think I'll have to try this PSB!
    I see your giant silverbeet leaf, I like it, it is very big... but I think I'll be able to top it this month ;) (not that it's a competition, I've just got the biggest silverbeet plant I've ever seen growing in our new garden).
    Lovely post as always.

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    1. oooh, jacqui, i'll have to check out your silverbeet - we all will!
      i adore PSB. it takes up a lot of space in the garden - big leaves - but it's worth it for the gorgeous purple florets. it's a great change from the normal broc.
      i'm heading over to your post now.

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  3. Hi E...I'm lovin the PSB.
    Your girly garden looks amazing - great use of straw and pink tights. Clever Girl!
    I love your mum's idea of leaving the tatsoi for the bees, very pretty but I have got to say, I love your silver beet. It's a beauty!
    Well done...you have created a treasure trove of goodies to enjoy!
    From,
    SB...with a silent P. :)

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    1. thank you SB - it's pretty seeing the pink ties in the garden as well as the other flowers around the vegie garden's periphery.
      and it's late in the day, so it took me a few minutes to work out the silent P :-)

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  4. I love the way the herbs take off in Spring. Fingers crossed for you that your passionfruit is ok. Have a great month.

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    1. thanks kyrstie - the passionfruit is my big worry at the moment, so thanks for your best wishes too! happy gardening to you too.

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  5. I am always amazed at the variation in climate you have in Tasmania. I cant beleive that you grow passionfruit either - that is a tropical plant! I hear betroot seeds like to be soaked in water for 24 hours before planting to give them a head start.

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    1. hello AA... i think the passionfruit will be a labour of love... my dad has grown passionfruit here, so all i can do is try. and yes, dad told me to soak the beetroot seed - AFTER i'd sown the seeds! thanks dad ;-)

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  6. That's a huge silverbeet leaf - you should be so proud. I am looking forward to trying my hand come February at growing broad beans, they do look very sturdy. I will curse the aphids for you too.

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    1. ha, thanks for your cursing lizzie. i think all gardeners are cursing right now, wherever they live and whatever they are growing! it's aphid season for sure.

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  7. Like you I am enjoying PSB at the moment, I even put it on my pizza yeaterday! With feta it was scrummy. That Silverbeet leaf is amazing. My passion fruit vine is looking yellow and sick but I noticed this morning a new shoot that ius bright green, so hand in there.

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  8. i would never think to put PSB on pizza, sharon! but then, it is a new beautiful wonder to me, and i am treating PSB like asparagus - very very simply to resect its beauty and flavour. yes, i'm in love with my PSB...

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  9. love the use of pink tights, very girly girl!! Love the purple broccoli and that silverbeet leaf, holy moly!! It's monstrous!!

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    1. i've got red tights next once the pink ones are all cut up... thanks lisa!

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  10. Hi, just love your blog. Your writing makes me feel as though I'm in your garden! yep I threw out pyrethrum, knocks out the good guys as well. I wonder if neem would be any good? :)

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    1. oh, thankyou frogpond for your kind words! i don't know much about neem. i think i just need to tough it out and hope the birds nd good insects are on the job while i'm not looking... :-)

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  11. That is one giant silver beet leaf - does all veg grow that big in Hobart?! Spring is such a great season, with everything kicking back into life and all those fresh young herbs to enjoy. Good luck with your battle against the aphids - if it all works out right you'll soon be able to hear the sound of ladybirds munching on them!

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    1. ha, sadly not deli! i'm sure f you check out some of the QLDers in the garden share you'l see much bigger and better...but it was a pretty damn good silverbeet by anyone's standards!
      and i'll listen out for the ladybirds ...!

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  12. That is a great tip about soaking the beetroot seeds before planting I will keep that in mind if I decide to give them another go. Glad your lemon thyme reappeared for you, it is one of my favourites as well :)

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  13. glad to meet another lemon thyme lover, louie :-)

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  14. That silverbeet leaf is a monster! How ever did you get it to grow that huge?!
    I love that your mum encouraged you to keep the tatsoi around for its flowers. Attracting bees is so hard for me living higher up. I'll have to leave my tatsois to bolt as well and see if it encourages them to come up.

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    1. hi melissa! pure luck.. i think actually because it has been wintertime, i probably just forgot to pick it!
      the tatsois are small enough not to be a bother when in flower/seed - usually i do not let things go to seed simply because my garden is too small to accommodate messy and un-useful plants. i think i need to change my way of thinking.

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  15. How quickly everything has grown with the warmer weather. It is a beautiful silverbeet specimen. Your greenery is amazing and that tatsoi patch should produce for years to come. Yes, lemon thyme is delightful for chicken, fish and many pork dishes plus the fragrance alone is uplifting!

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    1. merryn, do you mean tatsoi is a perennial? wow, i assumed not. i shall collect the seeds, perhaps. i have enjoyed having its beautiful symmetrical form in the garden.
      lemon thyme smells like lemonade to me, i'm always delighted by it!

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  16. Feeling very guilt that I'm only just getting to visit the other Garden Share Collective gardens. I'd never thought of using tights as ties but what a good idea - practical and colourful. I wonder if your silverbeet is what we call perpetual spinach, though mine is only a fraction of the size of your monster leaf. I too love lemon thyme, though sadly it always seems to be the ones the chooks try to scratch up.

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    1. hey anne, welcome to dig in! gettign around to everyone takes a while, we have so many great gardeners participating in the garden share now.
      silverbeet is probably known as 'swiss chard' in the UK. a plant can last a couple of years, so it's great value - especially when it throws out the monster leaves. mostly though a silverbeet leaf is about 20 cms long.
      ps in the past i have used old fishnet tights that have lost their stretch. what must the neighbours think?!

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  17. Your garden is an absolute picture, so much colour... and so many good things growing. Wow, wow, wow on that silverbeet leaf!

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    1. thanks lizzy! this is a great time of the year.
      that one leaf made a great dinner :-)

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