Welcome to another Garden Share Collective post and mini-tour around my vegie garden. I must tell you how much I look forward to these posts, sharing my progress and woes with you. It's especially lovely now that my garden is looking just right. Lately I have been standing in the backyard, surrounded by bees and blossoms and lush greenery; if the sun is out at the same time, it's a glorious time of the year. So it's wonderful to welcome you into my garden right now.
We have just had 'show day' (or, the opportunity for an extra-long four-day weekend for public servants like myself). Common wisdom is that you don't plant your tomatoes out til after show day, when (theoretically) the frosts are over for the year; show day itself this year was bitterly cold with a beautiful blanketing of snow on the mountain, so make of that what you will. However there seem to be some risk-takers around; Tino on Gardening Australia planted his tomatoes a few episodes ago, and about a fortnight ago, the tomato-planting fairy visited while I was at work and did this:
Yes, dad came over and planted four of the seedlings he had raised. Two are black krims, probably my favourite tomato variety; a mamma mia, a good reliable one, fingers crossed; and granny's throwing tomato, a new variety for us this year. All big hearty tomatoes, perfect for thick slabs on a summer sandwich, or on a plate with basil and mozzarella and a dribble of olive oil, or in the sauce pot for cooking. Hurry up, planties! I have plans for you!
Dad even put up plastic wrap to shield the plants from the damaging winds we've been experiencing this year; are they worse than previous springs, or have we just forgotten how ferocious they can be?
Where there's a tomato, there must be ... basil (mmmm, pesto). So a day or two later, I planted some basil seedlings (also from dad) inside the plastic with the tomatoes.
This is the big family experiment this year: growing basil in the ground, with the tomatoes. Mum and I usually grow our basil in pots, where they can catch optimum heat and sun (mum's, for example, is usually up against a brick wall to capture the reflected heat). In all, I have one, two ... seven plants dotted around the garden, but only two in a pot. So wish me luck.
What I don't want in the garden is this intruder: stinging nettle. Can you believe it?!
It's the spiky dark green plant in the middle.
According to Jane on the Gardening Australia website, the presence of stinging nettle is a sign of rich fertile soil, so on the one hand I am chuffed, but on the other hand - literally - I did not enjoy my brush with a very very small plant, which left my skin puffy and itchy and hot. But I'm still unsure, incredulous even, about how it got here - I've never had nettle before, and it's not like I'm a dairy farm (Jane reliably informs me nettles grow amongst cow pats. Thanks Jane).
So one of show day's chores was to don my leather gloves and carefully pull it out. I then buried it in a section of the garden I'm not working yet, as a bit of green manure.
Here are my beetroot, in the growbag. Do you remember last time I was despairing that they had not germinated, and that perhaps I needed to re-sow? I did. And now all of the beetroot has germinated. There will be some thinning out required!
Below is a lovely pic of my dwarf broad beans, two generations. The first lot are only about 45 cms high; I had actually forgotten it was a dwarf variety, and was getting anxious over their stunted nature. But like normal broad beans, they are a very sturdy plant, and are already covered in those lovely white flowers with the black eyes. Broad beans for Christmas lunch?
This picture also reminds me that my struggle with the blackbirds continues. Every day I come home to find half my mulch covering plants or obscuring walkways and stepping stones. I wonder if the neighbours hear me mutter 'bloody blackbirds!' ? They are forgiven though because they are such beautiful warblers, and constant company around my garden.
Finally, here is a bunch of my PSB. The plants are nearing the end of their productive life (once done, I will pull them out and give them to mum's chooks, as they like cruciferous leaves); fat florets like this are getting rarer. This was the first time I grew PSB and it was a real success, so I shall definitely grow them again next year - and probably more than two plants. Mine is a small backyard vegie garden, with limited space, but I can make room for something so delicious, striking and productive.
To do this coming month? Really just maintenance: water, seasol, plant new generations of peas and beans and mixed lettuce. My garden space is pretty much taken up now, except for a couple of rows saved for those later plantings of peas and beans.
But most important thing to do: enjoy the garden.
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