For a busy family, growing food in the backyard seems so simple and essential when the crops are blooming. From March to November last year, the garden produced so much silverbeet, lettuce, cabbage and parsley, as well as several crops of butter beans and green beans – enough to fulfil most of our ‘greens’ needs.
Post Christmas holidays the garden is run down, the only edible greens are a couple of clumps of parsley. It is tough to keep the plants alive through the heat of summer. Now the first rains of February have broken the spell, it’s time to plant, grow and eat greens from the backyard again… and never buy anymore silverbeet!
Flat-leaf Parsley, a great low maintenance summer staple
TaDa! Instant garden! Well, it has taken 8 weeks for plants to grow from seed to this:
Butter beans and rattlesnake beans are flowering.
Bok Choy is beginning to flower, not so great as this indicates that it may just bolt to seed, rather than getting lush, green and leafy – Note – better to plant the bok choy in autumn next year, as it is growing too fast now!
Garlic tops are looking fabulous, though it is hard to tell what is happening below the ground.
Silverbeet plants are growing well, as are the snow peas.
Several tomato plants are thriving, though it is interesting to note that the plants that were planted into a hole lined with home-made compost are bigger than the others.
Carrot seeds were sown directly into the garden 2 weeks ago and are popping up.
The mandarin tree, which had a heavy prune in August is shooting new greenery and has many flowers beginning to set. I have been feeding it up with compost and worm wee at this time to give the tree enough energy to produce fruit – I think the fruit will take at least 6 months to produce. I am very excited, as I have not had a mature, fruit bearing citrus to care for – though have planted many citrus trees that others are now hopefully enjoying.
Kafir lime, which was a housewarming gift is also going very well, and leaves are regularly and creatively featuring in the cooking.
Parsley that was also a beautiful gift, along with a basil plant and coriander is thriving now it is planted in a garden bed. The original basil has been replaced with several new plants grown from seed, and I have just killed my second coriander – oops. Jobs – Scatter coriander seeds all around the garden to improve chances of survival – we eat lots of it!!
Already planning my first meal from the garden – a silverbeet and bean salad with basil- which will be only a couple of weeks away. Yippeee!
I have planted the seeds of seasonal vegetables that i’d like to eat. At this moment I have planted seeds that would normally be the summer crop in Melbourne – tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, beans, watermelon, etc.
My gardening style is rather intuitive – lots of trial and error. I do hope to learn some tips from local gardeners and understand a locally appropriate crop rotation plan.
Seeds are planted in small pots, using an organic seed raising potting mix from the local produce store.
With some watering each day, this should give me about 3 weeks to build the veggie garden – nothing like a bit of pressure to get motivated!