MARCH TO MAY 2015
30.03.15 Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year and we’ve had some good rain off and on to keep it productive in the garden and refill my 5000lt tank. Some days can still be hot with the odd day up there in the 30’s wilting everything. A good soak of the roots helps the plants to recover for the next day.
The main difference this autumn has been the use of Tim’s well composted horse manure from out Somerset Dam way. Beautiful stuff and the plants are loving it.
Once the current crops are finished it will be time to replenish the beds. I have a huge pile of composting grass and garden clippings (thank you Brad the mower man) and a small mountain of bags of composted horse poo. Will add some sprinklings of Granite, Basalt and Dolomite for a bit of added mineral and replant with winter crop seed and seedlings.
Some old favorites doing well – I’ve managed to grow three corn crops this hot season. One of my favourite veg to eat and it keeps so well in the freezer – no waste.
A portion of one of the corn crops. Straight into the freezer wearing their natural coats and they come out very usable.
Some new additions to the garden for which I have high hopes:
Around May last year I picked up my breeding stock of 24 snails from Glasshouse Gourmet Snails and introduced them to their new home.
The snails hibernated through winter, woke up in spring and started mating like mad producing thousands of little tiny babies. Yum – Escargot recipes were researched.
But, I had my problems. A determined rat kept eating holes through the shade cloth and stealing the maturing snails. I kept plugging the holes but the rat kept getting in. Friends came around and helped me put rodent mesh on the outside of the box. Then the heat hit. The combination of rat attack and heat reduced my stock to nearly zero.
Luckily, some had escaped into the general garden and set up home on the opposite side of the yard near a large tub of water which I euphemistically call “The Pond”. They seemed to like it there, with occasional forays out into the yard when it rained heavily. I would come out with the torch at night to check on them and leave offerings of their favourite food – cuc, carrot and ground chook food.
With the cold weather coming again I felt it time to collect the remaining snails and rehouse them in the now almost completely fixed snail farm for their hibernation period. I managed to find 20 very large snails, a good number considering I had accidentally stood on about 5 of them over the summer period. They’re really quite delicate and easily killed. They don’t recover from a broken shell!
So here they are, ravenously eating their way through my offering of various greens (they’re quite particular and like Okra, A Choy and brassicas best – didn’t touch the Betel, dandelion or pumpkin leaves), carrot, cuc and ground chook food. Anyone would think they had been living off the land for the last few months! Let’s hope they appreciate how cushy they get life inside the box with food and water laid on and stay put.
Here near Brisbane winter is a peak growing time in the vege bed. It’s the time we can grow our traditional crops such as brassicas of all sorts and tomatoes. The White Cabbage Moth, White Cabbage Butterfly and the dreaded Fruit Fly take a holiday and leave us in peace for a few months.
Last weekend I had the joy and filthy exhaustion of re-doing two of the three beds for the cold seasons crop. Pretty much the only time I do any hard yakka in my no-dig garden apart from moving the pile-o-grass that the mower guy leaves for me on the front verge.
New season is so exciting – trying to find the space to grow old favourites but also fit in something new. I prefer to sow seed direct into the bed. I used to grow a lot of seedling but tend to buy them from the markets these days.
Planted last weekend. Some of the seed is a few years old so fingers crossed.
- Cardoon – Cynara cardunculus Rouge D’Alger
Carrot – Muscade, Nantes, “Red Core” Chantenay
garlic – local variety
spuds – store bought sprouting
cabbage – Couer de Boeuf des Vertus
Bean – climbing purple (did not come up), Kentucky Wonder
Snowpea – Oregon Giant
Sugar Snap Pea – climbing
lettuce – various – purple cos, Oriental, + +
Mangel Beetroot – Yellow Eckendorf, Beetroot Burpees Golden
Strawberry Spinach – Chenopodium capitatum
Collard Greens –
Radish – Champion (ready to start cropping 05.05.15), Purple Plum (planted 06.05.15)
Cauliflower – Snowball (did not come up) replaced with seedling from the market
Cress – American Upland
- broccoli – seedling from the market
- Swede – American Purple Top (planted 06.05.15)
First day of May and it’s perfect gardening weather – nice and drizzly with intermittent showers. I have had to cover the snail farm with a sheet of plastic as oddly enough, they really don’t like it too wet and all this rain could drown the eggs.
It’s now been a few weeks since I planted various seed in the list above. Plenty of time for them to show themselves willing to be productive or not. Some of the seed may have been a few years old so no surprise.
The Purple Bean still hasn’t shown itself so it has been replaced with some Kentucky Wonder. The carrots still haven’t sprouted so I spread “Red Core” Chantenay over any space that was empty. I’ll either end up with heaps of wonderful things to eat or very little at this rate! Would much rather over plant than under plant.
The Snowball Cauli also haven’t shown themselves. Luckily I bought plenty of cauli seedlings from the market the other week and they are going great along with the broccoli, rocket, silverbeet and Roma toms. A couple of the Roma toms have been hit by cutworm (? hard to verify – could be slater or wood roach) but on the whole the majority of seedlings are growing perfectly. Fingers crossed.
I’m sitting here, a bit damp in my jumper, house pants with the comfy tie up waist and Ugg Boots on a day that passes for cool in Brisbane having just polished off some ham and eggs and toast with home made Rosella Jam with a big mug of hot chocolate milk while listening to the gentle drip-drip of rain outside. Bliss. I was going to go out but this is too good to leave. A day to archive in the memory.