26 May 2014

garden share collective: june

I don't feel sad about winding down the veg garden after summer, and letting it (mostly) hibernate  over the winter months.

In fact, it feels more in tune with the seasonal changes to do so. The days are getting shorter and darker, the garden beds are seeing less sun as it is lower in the sky, and the soil will be getting colder too, along with the air.

So it has been satisfying to pull out the last of the beans and skeletal tomato bushes, lift up the makeshift duckboards I used as paths, wiggle out stakes, and lean the trellises against the back fence.

So yes, even though the garden is approaching its dormant period, I have been doing a little work. I also plan on engaging my friend B's partner J to dig over the soil and help me bury in a couple of bags of finely pulverised fowl and sheep manure and mushroom compost I brought back from dad (the car still smells). As a big chunk of my growing area is reclaimed from the lawn, I enjoy this process of feeding it up; I also recognise that it will be necessary for the next few years at least.

I've also killed off another quarter of my back lawn, ready to dig up and turn into additional planting space (tomatoes!). There are times when a man's muscles are very much needed, and this is one of them! Hopefully I will organise to get J over in the next couple of weeks.

One sunny lunchtime I went home from work, pulled on my blundies, and planted out ten little silverbeet seedlings that mum and I had gathered from dad's garden on my last visit. In the space of an hour, I'd dug over the ground where the tomatoes had been (this bed gets the winter sun most of the day), planted the seedlings, installed protective guards around them (old plastic pots with the bottoms cut off), seasolled them and gave a little sprinkle of snail bait. And took a photo for you!

The next day was also sunny, so, on a roll, I again went home at lunchtime (I'm less than ten minutes away from work by car) and cleared the front of that bed of the yellowing parsley. What long, tenacious roots! Realising my kale seeds were seriously out of date, I sowed the lot in a row in front of the silverbeet; I figured I'd either get the lot or none. Well, after a decent wait, it appeared the answer would be none, so I bought a fresh packet and tried again. Who else reckons the first lot will now come up, and I'll be forested in curly kale?

I guess at this late stage I won't be harvesting any kale until spring, but it is good to have it back in the garden; I have missed growing and cooking it. And it thrives on frost, so it is a sturdy plant to grow in these climes.

The garlic is continuing to grow its fine ribbony green shoots in these growbags (below). Its quiet progress is reassuring as we enter winter.

But I am peeved to tell you that something - probably something slimy with a shell on its back - got to my green golfball-sized capsicum before I did - before the bloody thing was anywhere near ready - and ate half of it. So the capsicum experiment has ended on a sour note, and will probably never darken my garden beds again.

Don't forget to see others in the Garden Share Collective. Click on the logo in the column at right to see more green thumbs.

31 comments:

  1. Oh sorry to hear about the capsicum. Damned snails .. I have a 'mouse / mice' problem at the mo. They are enjoying digging massive holes in my raised beds. Yes, it's kind of nice, to let winter do its thing .. ! :)

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  2. thank you for your condolences, frogpond :-)
    mice, oh no! mum and dad - and all their neighbours - are having mice-in-the-house problems. eek! outside is one thing, inside quite another. anyway, i hope you get onto them.

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  3. Always look forward to your very cheerful (and usually earliest!) posts. Enjoyed this one too. :)

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  4. oh, thank you linda!
    i'd rather be super early than late. i'm like that with buses and planes as well :-)

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  5. Hi Elizabeth, the veggie garden's dormant for the winter but love the sound of the kale. When I was in NY I tried a kale and raspberry muffin at a cafe. I tried to replicate it now I'm back home..my daughter and I liked it but not my husband! I heard on the radio the other day that kale is in short supply not that it's become so popular as people are learning about it's health benefits. I think it's wonderful that you live so close to home you can pop in at lunchtime to tend to things. Disappointing to hear about the capsicum, but oh those snails, the nemesis of every veggie patch! Have a great week and thank you for your comments on my blog I do so enjoy reading them and love your writing style.

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    1. oh, thank you so much catherine for all your kind words. it means a lot to hear you (and others) say that.
      but... kale and raspberry? i don't know about that! when i think of kale, i think garlic and soy and ginger... not berries (then again, we eat zucchini cake, don't we). i kind of think of kale as the new brussel sprouts or broccoli; it's so good for you but is definitely an acquired taste. i've eaten bought kale and found it tough; that would definitely turn me off the stuff.
      you have to post your kale and raspberry muffins for us to try!

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  6. Good luck with the kale seeds... you'll be needing some leaves to try out those kale and raspberry muffins!

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    1. i know, they are so intriguing, aren't they GD! catherine has certainly thrown it out there...

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  7. I hope you get a kale forrest. I've always wanted one myself.
    So sad to hear about the capsicum disaster. Bloody snails.
    Good luck with the new garden beds, I look forward to hearing all about them.

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    1. thanks bec. i secretly hope i get a kale forest, too, and i am eating kale and raspberry muffins, kale smoothies, kale cocktails... :-) kale crazy! i'm going to stop with the silly alliteration now.

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  8. Arggh, darn snails have been eating all my little cabbage seedlings too, nothing seems to stop them. I really enjoy the lull over winter too, the seasonality is wonderful (I don't think I could ever be a Qlder!)

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    1. today i could be a QLDer, becs - it's grey and miserable and about 7 degrees right now :-(
      ohhhh, and my heart goes out to you and your munched cabbage seedlings.

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  9. I love the lengths you've gone to to keep those snails away from your seedlings. If they get through your barricades, they deserve a good feed I guess.

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    1. well, that's one way of looking at it! and as you know sue, i'm not averse to stomping on the buggers. all's fair in love and gardening :-)

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  10. Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments. Your post makes me think I must treasure summer now that it has arrived as it's all to fleeting. Hope that the mollusc who munched your pepper is lying in a corner somewhere suffering from severe indigestion :)

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    1. hi anna! and thank you for visiting dig in :-) yes, we really need to savour the sunshine, don't we? we had a chilly weekend here - saturday was only 3 to 9 degrees! i vaguely remember walking around barefoot and in a sundress, months ago...
      thanks for the snail support :-)

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  11. You could try some crushed egg shells for the snails around the base of the plants. You are expanding your garden - Nice, look forward to seeing how that goes.

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    1. thanks lizzie. though all my eggs shells go to mum and dad at the moment; they learnt recently (at a permaculture workshop, i think) that you wash and crush them up and feed them back to the chickens for calcium. so i have bags of of washed eggshells in the freezer for them :-)

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  12. I have kale for the first time in my garden. Thought I could make kale chips for the Figlets! I love a bit of digging too. Great when I get a chunk of time to get stuff done. You really were on a roll with your silver beet planting

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  13. good morning sarah. i've never tried kale chips - my fave way to enjoy is sauteed, with plenty of garlic and ginger.
    and yes, time is the rare commodity, now our winter days are drawign in. no gardenign after work :-( are NZ winter days short and dark too?

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  14. Hi Elizabeth, just popped in to say hello, will work on those kale and raspberry muffins, I agree such an interesting out of the box combination!

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    1. catherine, i think there will be quite a few of us heading over to your site for those intriguing muffins! can't wait!
      however as my seedlings have only juuuuust emerged, delicate little things, it will be a few weeks - or months - before i can try your recipe. but i'm very curious! thanks for lettng me know.

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  15. Our garden is about to be all planted out - we really have to consider not having anything in over Summer as it is too heartbreaking!

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    1. wow, we are very much opposites then, aren't we jeanie? this is the great thing about the garden share collective - learning how varied our gardening experiences are, even within the one country.

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  16. Eep, sorry to hear you lost your capsicum to a snail. Sounds like a couple of us gardeners have lost much anticipated crops to pests this month.

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    1. hi michelle - yes, such as the trials we gardeners must face! it's a tough business sometimes :-)

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  17. Sorry to hear about the capsicum! How disappointing. Sounds like you've been doing a lot in the garden. I hope your silverbeets survive and thrive. I love it, such a good garden staple. Wishing you a forest of curly kale...

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    1. aw thank you jacqui - that's the nicest thing anyone has said to me today!
      maybe that is the new gardener's salutation: "wishing you a forest of curly kale" :-)

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  18. I am like that with seeds, although it is worse when I sow them and and dont label them..... I have some plants that look as though they might be kale...... Sorry you lost that capsicum, that can be so frustrating.

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    1. thanks AA - everyone's sympathy here has helped me move through my grief over the capsicum :-)
      and i have also learnt the hard way to label rows of seeds! over summer, i thought i wouldbe able to distinguish between podding peas and snow peas...nope!

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  19. Thanks for the garden update. I look forward to seeing your progress.

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