Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spring rains & warm days

This last week has been very warm and humid, with showers pretty much every day. As a result the veggies are putting on a lot of growth very rapidly and some are even starting to flower!

Peas a-flower

Most of the tomatoes are in so far and I'm growing 5 varieties this year: Giant Syrian, Aunt Ruby's Green, a large Italian beefsteak, Zebras and a Currant tomato mix. I' really looking forward to having fresh tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some fresh bread - Heaven! Most of the tomatoes will be used for making sauce (except for the Zebras and Currants which are salad tomatoes) and paste that we will use for pizzas and pasta sauce mostly.

I'm amazed that everything seems to have taken off this last week! It looks like the beans are growing before my eyes!
Beans, Peas and Zucchini almost doubling in size in a week
Its nice to see them all growing well now after having such a slow and disappointing start.

Ollie, my little pup is settling in well, but he has managed to eat a whole lot of chicken manure and I wont mention what it has resulted in!

As a bit of inspiration, I thought that I'd share some pictures of my mum's great little veggie garden. She manages to grow a whole lot in a very small area in a way that is more casual than a more traditional productive garden. Her great success this year has been Zucchinis and peas of which she is already getting substantial harvests. I visited her yesterday and managed to pinch 5 little Zucchinis, some of the last broad beans and some rosemary that she was cutting back. I think I will make some Zucchini slice or fritters perhaps for sinner with some salad leaves and radishes from the garden... hmm, great idea!
My mum's raised veggie garden full of zucchinis, rocket, lettuce and peas.
And to finish - a picture of my bounty from mum's garden.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spring has SPRUNG!

Its been quite a while since posts but I have been wanting to sit down and write but life seems to have moved into the fast lane!
The most time consuming part of my life lately has been the new addition to the family of the 4 legged kind! Meet Ollie, my new lovely little blue brindle whippet! In the few weeks I have had him he has shown that he loves being in the garden, sniffing out all the rabbit trails and chasing the unfortunate baby magpies! He is not very camera friendly unfortunately, so I don't really have any better pictures! Hopefully this will change soon!

Baby Genoa Fig, Aloe arborescens & sneaky Ollie next to the shed!
 We have also had very unseasonal weather here in Melbourne and so the garden has been very confused. For one, we have had more rain then I can remember ever having had, and we are still having cold days mixed in amongst humid warm ones. The plants seem to be a little confused as one week they will throw off at least 3-4cms of growth and the next week it almost looks like they have gone backwards - and don't get me started on seed germination!!!! Things just aren't germinating! Brand new seeds just hang around in the soil waiting for spring to start forgetting that technically it already has!

Tomato seedlings trying to grow!
The last few days have been lovely and warm getting up to the high 20's (that's Celsius too by the way) and things seem to be looking up!

With all the rain that we have had, the creek at the bottom of the garden has given Joel and I a couple of decent scares. We live on a floodplain and are only 50cm or so higher than the creek bank so when it rains we know that once it breaks the bank it wont take long to get to the house. We have worked out that the peak flow just a couple of weeks ago was 6 metres and we still had 1m off breaking the bank so at least now we know that if the warning is for 7m we needs sand bags for the house quick smart!

The creek at 6m high peak flow.
Even so, the rain has been very welcome and the roses are coming out now and are looking very happy. This lovely rose is an old fashioned scrambler that seems to like being against the house where the walls absorb the sunshine, keeping the soil warm at night. This is probably the only plant in this garden that we inherited when we bought the place that I like!

The rest of the garden is just weeds masquerading as lawn, mulch, gravel, and pine trees! I still find it hard to believe that this house was built in 1940 and none of its previous owners ever tried to build a garden!
There were however, 4 very large terracotta pots in the garden when we moved in which I have managed to plant out with some rosemary grown from cuttings from my mum's lovely plant, that have been placed either side of the laundry door. I've under planted them with some thyme and sown some oregano seeds, hoping to have a lovely fragrant, mediterranean herb harden within a short distance from the back door.
I hope you can appreciate the lovely and even brick paving to the laundry door! It must have been laid straight on the soil for it to be this uneven! Still, I cant complain, at least I do have a path from the house to the laundry!

In more exciting vegetable related news I have indeed been able to harvest veggies (I use the plural loosely) from the old veggie bed up the back including 1 purple radish and 2 (yes i said 2!!) snow peas. I harvested a butter lettuce but the slugs managed to get into the heart and turn it to sludge. Upon investigation, I discovered that the slugs had managed to ruin ALL of my lettuces so out they came and into a bucket of boiling water they went - and then into the compost of course! (is that inhumane? I don't care, slugs don't deserve it! that's probably cruel...moving along)

Look at that harvest!
The peas also seem to have some kind of fungal infection and I haven't been able to identify it other than some fungal spot... I'm not sure either whether it could have come from the pea straw mulch or the seed stock (which it shouldn't have). The plants seem to be going OK, but its just the lower leaves that are effected.
They are in a bed with corn, beans and zucchini which are all growing reasonably well now although they have been very slow in coming! Still, its nice to see the lovely green leaves and know that we should be harvesting in the next few weeks!
This morning I applied a very liberal amount of blood and bone and chicken poo, so hopefully with the warm weather the next few weeks my veggies will be thanking me and rewarding me with a plethora of reproductive parts! (sounds evil doesn't it!)

Hopefully there wont be too long before the next post!

Happy gardening in the sunshine!
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