Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Autumn in the garden

The weather here has been so unpredictable lately it's hard to make plans to do anything gardening related. However, there were a couple of days last week that were glorious and I didn't need any arm twisting to put those other jobs that always seem to be around on the back burner for a while and get outside for a full day's work.

The last of the pumpkins were cut and are now sitting on the front verandah in a sunny spot to allow their skins to harden. They did really well growing on ladders this summer, I think I'll try the same way again next year..
Our hugelkultur bed is surprising me with the size of the plants growing in it. The broccoli is about twice the size of any I have managed to grow in the past and now I see the flower heads are starting to form. It won't be long before we can have garden fresh, pesticide free broccoli again! Whoop!


Ditto for the kale. I am totally impressed with the size of the kale in the same bed. After building the initial levels of wood/manure/compost, the seedlings were put in and have received no further love, except for a little sprinkle of water when things were looking dry..
I can feel some minestrone coming on..


After pondering over the likely benefits of planting garlic earlier or later, I decided to just jump in and do it now. I think I waited a little longer last year and we had several bulbs develop rot. I'm not sure if this was related to planting time or rains near harvesting, but after discussing it with Kirsty and hearing of her success with good size bulbs planted earlier, there was no more delaying it..
We still had plenty of cloves from last years harvest to plant out along with some gorgeous purple cloves from Kirsty's garden that she shared with me over summer.

Our rhubarb was becoming thick and crowded so I yanked them all out and thinned them down into smaller, individual plants. They were put in alongside our round beds, close to the back door. I really love this variety - I'm not sure of the name as they were gifted to me from a gardening friend, because the stems are always red!
Glorious ruby red! ♥  Love! ♥ 
I have also set aside a big chunk of rhubarb root to use for dyeing. I was reading of someone using it for adding colour to yarn which I'm excited to try!

Finally, finally we are getting lemons on our lemon tree! After being in the ground for a few years now it is at last producing good sized lemons, each year a little more than the last. Oh, the plans I have for these lemons...
Perhaps a little lemon butter, or a lemon delicious pudding. How about a lemon and poppy seed cake and maybe even one day we'll have enough to make some lemonade! Imagine that!!

More beds were cleared and I am performing a lazy gardeners technique of winter bed improvement - Sheet composting. I have basically been piling up all of the garden prunings, chopped corn stalks, pumpkin vines, seeded plants etc and am just laying them on the surface of beds.  All of the organic kitchen waste is being added as well and once there is a decent layer of organic matter, I will cover the whole lot up with a generous blanket of straw and let the bed sleep until summer.
The worms love it and move in promptly, breaking down the organic matter into beautiful, rich soil to grow in next summer. If only we didn't have a regular fox visiting, I would add my chooky girls to the beds in their dome as well! But that is not to be, until I can think of a way to have a fox proof dome...

I am loving the dried beans that are appearing. We have a jar in the kitchen and as the pods dry we pop them open, much to the youngest's delight and add them to the jar. It's really nice to run your hands through, feeling the hardness of the dried beans that might reappear in our garden next summer as growing plants to feed us and again, hopefully, continue the same cycle.


How are things in your patch?



15 comments:

  1. Your garden is looking great. Mine is rather straggly at the moment. I'm impressed with your rhubarb !ill be interested to see you dyeing with it

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    1. Hmmm, yes it will be interesting to see what colours are produced by the rhubarb root. Actually I must go and cut it because apparently once it dries it is virtually impossible to break apart! :)

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  2. Gosh everything looks incredibly healthy. I also did a sort of in bed compost pile during the wet season in my main bed and now it seems ready to produce some tasty crops. I love all the different types of squash that you grew. I remember how pretty they looked on the ladders.

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    1. It's such a great way to prepare a bed for the coming seasons, isn't it AA? Happy gardening for you up north!

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  3. Gee your garden looks good! And I see in your dried bean photo that you really DO have a green thumb!

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    1. HA! I was wondering if anyone would notice that, Linda! :)

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  4. Beautiful pics and so much beautiful produce! I am very jealous of your rhubarb. I have 2 rhubarb plants which both have green stalks. It still tastes as good but definitely not as pretty as your ruby red ones!

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    1. The red just seems so cheerful in the garden, Kimbamel - even though most of bleeds out while cooking.

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  5. Wow, your garden really is doing well. I was interested to hear that you have had success with your sheet composting, I have wondered about doing the same with all my compost etc, I didn't know it was a technique with a name, I just thought it was something that might work, so thanks for the heads up.

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    1. Yes, there are terms out there for us lazy/time poor gardeners, Busy Mum! You had it right all along ;)

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  6. Your garden is so productive! Ours has been a bit neglected this month, and we wandered outside to find giant tromboncinos yesterday. The eggplants won't ripen now the weather has turned cold, neither I suspect will the tomatoes! But leafy greens are just starting to come up, and we've had a few meals of broccoli raab. I'm looking forward to some kale - yours looks amazing!

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    1. I would love to grow tromboncinos sometime, Celia! It's seems to be the perfect weather at the moment for greens..frequent rain and much cooler weather with sunny spells in between. Enjoy your gardening!

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  7. A lemon! I wish I lived somewhere that citrus would grow. Everything else looks delicious also.

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    1. Yes, I don't feel quite so bad that the orange tree has done nothing for three years and the lime tree nearly died and was nursed back to something resembling health when there are big, weighty lemons on being offered our doorstep. ;)

      On the plus side, I'm sure you're growing things that we can't!

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  8. Your photos are beautiful! We're at the very beginning of our growing season here so I'm very envious. Luckily, today is farmer's market day in a nearby town so I'll be heading out there with my basket this afternoon!

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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