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