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December in the Garden

Tomato Fruit

Well…Summer………It has just started and I am sickened to have a tomato plant graveyard on my lawn. I have just pulled out 5 tomato plants that have been infected by a mold I think is caused by the unseasonable cold and damp conditions. Five plants is huge! Huge because I have already removed 9 others prior to now for the same reason, 14 in total.  What a waste.  Despite this, one of the first ones I planted has fruit ripening on it. That makes me very happy!

I am eagerly checking the fruit on a daily basis to make sure that all is well. Also, I must admit that, I think I probably had too many plants in the area. Creating the gaps now allows me to space the plants a little less densely. 

between beds 1 and 2

I grew them from seed and they had grown and started to flower, which then rotted as mold and black spots spread across the plant. I can not begin to imagine the absolute devastation that a farmer must feel when harsh weather conditions wreak havoc on the crop that sustains their family and life. 

This post is a regular monthly garden update with a wonderfully talented group of gardening enthusiasts around Australia and the globe called The Garden Share Collective, hosted by Strayed From The Table. Take the time to visit some of the other gardens. They are all inspirational.

My garden this month, despite the terrible weather has really moved along.  After looking at last months pictures I am surprised by the growth.  

Strawberry bed

The strawberry plants are spreading out and have a great deal of new growth. The tomatoes and eggplants in the same area are also progressing well, although I am yet to spot any fruit maturing on those.  

The pumpkins are being trained to climb upwards and are looking healthy and happy. I have three plants in the area so may need to remove at least one but will wait and see how they progress.

Training pumpkins up

After 5 zucchini plants were eaten and 2 more nibbled I have added 2 new plants that I was gifted to a different bed. I was beginning to think I was going to get a Summer with no excess of zucchini this year.  Summer is not Summer without a glut of those 🙂

The soil in the big tractor tyre that I use for growing potatoes has the most amazing soil. It also has a million Slaters in there.

I decided to give some beetroots and carrots a try in there as the potatoes have finished.  The Slaters loved the little plants. They have left me half of what I planted. Now we have had training! My kids have set up a smashing station and they find them and squish them. Gruesome but totally justifiable.  I take offence to anything that messes with my garden! 

Killing Slaters

The corn is progressing well. The plants are all of various heights as the germination rate was lower than I expected. I added seeds on 4 different occasions in order to fill the space I had designated to corn. This is not such a bad thing I guess as it will also space out the harvest when it is ready.

The leeks in that garden area are ready to collect but I am pondering what I will use them for. For now they will stay where they are. There are also potatoes ready to harvest but I will also leave them to continue to get a little larger and just grab what I need. 


The little fruit trees that we planted as bare rooted in Winter are all looking healthy.

We removed and destroyed all of the leaves that showed signs of leaf curl from the Peach and it seems to have improved.  I also removed all of the immature fruit to allow the plant the ability to recover.


I have not planted much this month just some more carrots, beetroots, lettuce, tarragon and chives.


We have now harvested almost all of the onions and garlic that we planted. I have picked kilos and kilos of onions and so many shallots I have no idea what I am going to do with them all. I planted them on our return from a trip to Thailand where I learned to cook many Thai recipes that use them – but I have so so so much! If you have any good shallot recipes let me know 🙂

I did read, and need to find a post I saw a little while ago about preserving garlic. I would like to try a similar thing with some of the shallots. If that fails I will finally head off to the local food swap that I have been meaning to attend for months and months now. 

I have a row of garlic plants still in the ground. The bulbs are smaller than I would prefer but I will harvest them if the weather stays dry in the coming weeks. They have all other signs of being ready. At this point water should stop to them but the constant rain has kept the soil damp. I am nervous to leave them in much longer in case they start to rot.

The garlic, shallots and onions that I have harvested have been plaited and are hanging under the deck and in the garage. They will stay there to dry for a few weeks before being moved to under the house. There should be enough onions and shallots for the year but I will need to buy garlic down the track as we use it in almost everything and this year’s crop is a little smaller than I expected.  I will be making a batch of my Onion Chilli Chutney in the next week or so to use up some of the onions also. I would also love to try out this glorious sounding soup from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. It has been on my “to do” list since last year. 

The removal of all of these onions, garlic and shallots has created some lovely space in the garden beds.

Garden bed 1

I am going to wait to see how the weather tracks over the coming couple of weeks before adding more tomatoes and capsicums.

Nov Harvests

  • Artichokes
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lemongrass
  • Lettuce
  • Onions – many kilos
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Shallots – a few kilos
  • Spinach

Update on last months to do list:

Last month in my garden I was a little distressed by the Slater attacks, the leaf curl and other issues I was having.  I must have had a bad day when I was writing that post as although these things mostly remain I have persisted and things are turning around as the first days of Summer have presented us (finally) with some warmth.  

I have netted the raspberries and we are collecting a small number of these glorious berries each day. The large straggly rocket plants have been removed and new ones are now growing well. 

There has been no further work done on the backyard this month. 

This month:

We are having a short break over Christmas. If you are taking a break you may wish to review my post from last year on tips to prepare your garden for an absence.  Last year we had a long 5 week absence over the hot Summer period.  The post outlines how I prepared my garden for my absence.

I will not be planting anything this month – I will not be offended if you do not believe that 😉  

I will be monitoring the tomatoes and other plants, weeding and adding some liquid fertiliser if the weather is dry. 

Have a great month in the garden and a happy and safe festive period. I hope that it is a wonderful time for you and those that you love.

My next garden update will be in February.




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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Louie December 2, 2013, 9:58 am

    Its such a pity you lost 14 tomato plants, hopefully the surviving ones will provide you will a huge bounty to make up for it. I’m amazed that you can grow enough onions for a year, that is awesome and almost enough motivation for me to give root vegetables another go despite my terrible track record.
    I hope you enjoy your Christmas break 🙂

  • lizzie @ strayedtable December 2, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Despite the losses your garden still looks great. Thought I would share with you my garlic recipe for pureed garlic. I make up a huge batch and keep it in the fridge and just use spoonfuls when needed. Last time I had 1kg of garlic, a terrible job to peel them all, but you have extra hands that may help, mind you a little of the skin is not too bad. Ok, 1 kg of garlic, 2 tbsp of sea salt, 4 tbsp lemon juice. I just blend that up. The lemon juice stops the garlic from changing colour and the salt is a preserver. hope that helps.

  • e / dig in hobart December 2, 2013, 12:16 pm

    lush lush lush! i really envy your garden. you have a wonderful variety which must make harvesting, cooking and eating such a pleasure.
    i feel your pain though at pulling out the tomatoes. it is heartbreakign when something fails.
    fainlly i agree with you – summer is not summer without an overabundance of zukes!!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2013, 2:19 pm

      Exactly 🙂 I adore picking dinner from the garden, I am truly grateful to be able to so and share it also 🙂

  • Becs :: Think Big Live Simply December 2, 2013, 2:07 pm

    Oh I feel your pain – I only put toms in again this year after a 2 year break because I lost them to a horrid mould or wilt. It’s heartbreaking (especially coupled with fruit fly!) Fingers crossed mine survive this year. The tyre is a great idea for the potatoes.

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2013, 2:17 pm

      Thanks Becs, it is painful as I see them as a garden staple, each year I have been planting more and more. Maybe it is a sign for me to not get too ambitious! Fingers crossed that all is rosy with your this year. Good luck. Thanks for dropping by. K

  • Helen December 2, 2013, 4:33 pm

    So impressed by your past month’s harvest Kyrstie, well done! I smiled when I read that you have leek, one of my favourites to eat and just got some seeds that I’ve sowed into a container. Haven’t done much research into planting them so just going to cross my fingers and hope it’s not too late a season to try growing them?? Sad news about your tomatoes by the way, that’s incredibly unfortunate I would be so frustrated!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2013, 2:15 pm

      Thanks Helen. I added a link to a post I wrote about growing leeks for Dimity. That may help 🙂

  • Lisa the Gourmet Wog December 2, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Bugger about the tomatoes and zucchini’s Kyrstie, you never know, you might get some self sown ones over the holidays and get that glut after all!!

  • Julie December 2, 2013, 7:49 pm

    You have so much happening in your garden, makes me feel lazy in mine. Shame about the toms, I would be seriously disappointed!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Don’t feel lazy! If you have one and you enjoy it that is what counts most 🙂

  • Lizzy (Good Things) December 3, 2013, 7:11 am

    I spy the rhubarb in your garden and am green with envy! What a bounty you will have, come the warmth. We still have very cool overnights here too. Incidentally, love the idea of training the pumpkins up!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Thanks Lizzy, I actually have been picking the rhubarb and have today just sent a bunch over my neighbors fence 🙂 The pumpkins worked well that way last year so fingers crossed it is repeatable. K x

  • DimityC December 3, 2013, 10:34 am

    I can’t imagine how devastated I would be if that happened to my seed raised tomatoes! Hang in there!
    Question for you… how big are your leeks and how long have you had them in there? I have had mine in the ground for nearly two months, but like you, the weather here is only just starting to be consistenly warm. And how many zuchini and onion plants do you need to produce a glut? A glut of anything edible would be a dream come true for me!

    p.s are your lovely boys available to hire out for slater demolition in my vege patch? 😉

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2013, 2:12 pm

      Hi Dimity,
      I have actually just pulling most of them out yesterday. They are not as large or thick as store purchased ones (I am not sure if that is due to variety or another reason) They started to develop flower heads so I pulled them as I think I read somewhere that can make them tough. I have had mine in the ground over the whole of winter and Spring. They have a growing cycle of 18-25 weeks. You can read more I have written about growing them in this post I wrote a little while ago: http://afreshlegacy.net/growing-vegetables-leeks
      For my little family two zucchini plants give us loads! Onions – good question, I haven’t counted them but at an estimate maybe 50 plants? That lasts use for a long time as they store well and I do not use alot of onion in cooking. Slater demolition…sorry the kids are fully utilised 😉 Happy gardening, no matter how much you grow it all makes a wonderful difference. Thanks for reading. Kyrstie

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