Sunday, November 23, 2008

Will summer ever start?

Picking this week: Cos lettuce, radicchio, chicory, the last of the leeks, garlic (Russian and normal), thyme, silverbeet.

Planting this week: 3 x tomatoes, beetroot (seedlings and seeds), dwarf runner beans (seeds), lettuce, parsley.

Still eating: pumpkins harvested in April (last one this week, made roast pumpkin risotto).

No pictures today, alas.

Odd, odd weather this week. Not hot, rain threatening but not actually falling. I wish it would just warm up a tad, and rain, to give these vegetables of ours a hurry on.

Perplexing times in the vegie patch. It is nearly the end of November and the seedlings I have planted over the last two months ago are growing very slowly. Tomatoes I planted at the beginning of October anticipating tomatoes for Christmas are lucky to have grown an inch. So much for that.

Meanwhile, a capsicum I planted in October has grown very little, stands about 6 inches, has flowers and yesterday I picked off a capsicum that was growing. I want it to grow to a decent size before it even begins to think of putting on fruit.

I have done everything by the book so far I thought. I’ve cultivated, added compost and poo, watered and fed with liquid fertilizer religiously. I’ve mulched thickly with lucerne hay, at great expense to the management. And still, by and large, the seedlings are sitting there , pouting.

My theory: the odd weather. I mean, it’s November and I am still wearing trackie-daks. When you clear off the mulch and feel the soil underneath, it is still rather cold. I wonder if I cleared off the mulch whether that would encourage the plants to grow. Trouble is, the weeds will invade. And if there is one thing I HATE it’s weeding.

Bought some more seedlings yesterday: three tomatoes ( 2 x Grosse Lisse, 1 x Black Russian), green mignonette lettuce seedlings, beetroot (one of my favourites, but no one else’s alas), another Italian parsley seedling (because the one I planted six weeks ago went straight to seed). These will go in the part of the garden that I cultivated a few weeks ago with compost and sheep poo. If the weather warms up perhaps these will grow a bit more quickly.

The tops of the garlic I planted in April are finally dying down, so I reckon I’ll be harvesting garlic over the next week. Not a moment too soon too. I’ve been using store bought garlic for the last six months or so. It’s not so bad if I can find Australian garlic, but the last time I went garlic shopping the only thing I could find was that scary Chinese garlic, you know, the stuff that sprouts as soon as you unpack it. The chemicals they must use to grow this stuff doesn’t bear thinking about.

I also bought a packet of alfalfa seeds yesterday, and started a crop of sprouts last night.

Meanwhile, the fruit trees look promising. The plums and peaches are not as loaded with fruit as they were last year, but hopefully this year, with some assiduous (eco-fiendly) spraying for fruit fly and some strategically placed traps, we might actually get to eat some. The figs tree has loads of tiny figs on it. The apple trees are full of fruit, and for the first time, the pears have some fruit as well. Most amazing of all, the plumcot has three fruits, the first it has ever produced!

Must get around to planting some pumpkin seeds soon. I think I’ll just make a heap near the vegie garden and then stick some seeds inside and see what happens! It worked last year.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back in the Garden

I've been terribly slack I know. Never mind. The winter months have been quiet in the kitchen garden this year. Apart from fennel, silverbeet, radicchio and cabbage not much has been growing. The garlic I planted in April is still there. I'll probably harvest it in a month or two.

Spring has arrived, and the pace has picked up. About a month ago I planted ready for the summer: tomatoes, beans, lettuces, capsicum, basil and parsley, zucchini and cucumbers. Today I added, squash, more lettuces, eggplant, another basil (we love pesto) and sage.

Harvesting this week: potatoes (mainly out of the compost heap), lettuce (cos and rocket), silverbeet and leeks. Also eating straight off the tree, mulberries.