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Farewell Spring Vegetable Garden 2014

Garden Share Collective December 2014


new season zucchini

And so it begins! Summer has arrived and the usual suspects are progressing beautifully with the promise of abundance and non stop produce up until the end of Autumn. Our vegetable garden has been progressively expanding for the last three years. It is probably time to draw a line in the sand now and stop where we are. I have hit my personal record for the number of tomato plants without trying. I could put more in if I wanted to but restraint has intervened…..I think that 40+ plants is more than enough. I understand that for a backyard vegetable garden this number of tomato plants sounds quite ridiculous but I can assure you that they will not be wasted. They will all be collected and enjoyed fresh, baked, with capsicums in a chunky salsa, dehydrated, frozen, made into Mr Fresh’s favorite chutney and maybe some sauce.

This post is part of a collection of monthly garden updates hosted by Strayed from the Table. It comprises vegetable garden enthusiasts from around Australia and the world. Be sure to check out some of them from the links below.

In the garden at the moment Summer favorites capsicum, corn, cucumber and tomatoes are growing strongly. We have had a couple of Tigeralla tomatoes ripen to harvest but overall the plant pictured below with an abundance of fruit has been very slow to ripen.



Tigerella Tomatoes

The garden beds are starting to staring to fill out as the plants grow and spread. I have begun a regular cut back of the nasturtiums as they commence invading the garden bed and the rhubarb. If the bees didn’t love them so much I wouldn’t grow them. Soon the pumpkins that are planted below them will grow and take over the space thus keeping them more contained.

Spring garden

End of Spring garden

top garden bed end Spring

The borage has begun to flower and is doing it’s job, the bees love it. I over-planted the pot so will move the zinnias to the garden beds.


The chia plant looks like it is ready to be picked and dried so that the seeds can be removed.  I will do a small batch this week to ensure that it is actually ready to be picked and there are seeds inside the pods. I have not grown it before so am not 100% sure if now is the time to harvest or not…

Chia Plants


In the past few weeks we have been harvesting:

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Herbs – basil, chives, coriander, mint, oregano, spearmint, tarragon, thyme, Vietnamese mint
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Leek
  • Peas
  • Raspberries
  • Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries

The image below shows the vegetables and herbs that I took to the school fund raising cake stall at the polling station on the weekend.  It contains three varieties of kale, spinach and some herbs. I was going to remove the kale this month, and I did take out 4 plants but the others are strong healthy and abundant and I use the young leaves often in family meals. I have left them in for now and will see how they go as the weather gets warmer.

Spring garden harvest

Our garlic plants have all been harvested over the past few weeks, except for a dozen that were planted late and are still very small. I harvested them in three batches and braided the first lot yesterday that had been drying in the sun for almost 2 weeks. The remainder will be braided in one – two weeks once they have also spent time drying out in the sun. I will also mince some to store a little longer than the braids will last.

Garlic braids


Last week I planted some more fennel, lettuce, and spring onion. I added a dwarf pear tree to the pot that had been home to an avocado tree that died in the heat. I discovered 6 self sprouted tomatoes and a couple more pumpkins among the plants so if they fruit well there will be a record number of pumpkins and tomatoes this year harvested from the garden.

I am not planning on adding anything to the garden this month ( I know I do say that quite often but really, really, really, nothing will be planted!)

To do this month:

All of last months jobs, including mulching were completed and I am now switching into maintenance mode.

This means:

  • I will water when it is hot, keeping a close watch on the plants that are small and still becoming established
  • Continue to weed
  • Remove laterals from the tomatoes and continue to train and string them as required
  • Continue to train the pumpkin plants, nasturtiums and cucumbers on their frames as they grow
  • Collect the start of the Summer produce and using it in the kitchen and over the festive period
  • Prepare the garden for a short absence by covering it in the event of any extreme weather days
  • Braid the remaining garlic when it has dried
  • Dry chia plants to see if seeds are ready
  • Relocate the zinnia plants that are in the pot with the borage

How is your garden growing? What are you hoping to harvest for Christmas?





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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Barbara Good December 1, 2014, 2:33 pm

    I love your nasturtiums even if they do tend to take over. And 40 tomatoes, I’m tipping your yard/veggie patch is just a little bigger than mine. Hope it all goes well, especially while you’re away.

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 7:04 pm

      Thanks Barbara, the garden survived a 5 week absence and I am set up a little better now so I am sure it will be fine over our break. I do love the nasturtiums too, they are pretty but just soooo very fast to spread!

  • Julie's garden blog December 1, 2014, 3:56 pm

    Gosh your garden is lovely and so much more advanced than ours. You are harvesting so much food – how wonderful. I have never grown chia either, it will be interesting to see how it goes. Your garlic looks fabulous – ours is due to be hauled out any day now!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 7:03 pm

      Hi Julie, good luck with the garlic. We have had alot of rain since I pulled it out so half of it I am struggling to get dried as I keep having to cover it to protect it from the rain. Have a great month.

  • lizzie @ strayedtable December 1, 2014, 8:28 pm

    Wowsers! For some reason your garden has over taken mine. Those eggplants and corn – my goodness jealous over here. We really lack water at the best of times and I think that I might just need to start being less stingy with it. Your garlic harvest is quite impressive too. 40 Tomatoes is nothing if you are storing them for the cooler months. I am glad you have them going. I have just done a batch of passata today to store through winter.

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 7:01 pm

      Hi Lizzie, I am sure that is not true. Your garden is way more productive and massive in comparison. I am happy with the set up this year though and looking forward to bumper harvests (fingers crossed!) We go through a ridiculous amount of passata over Winter!

  • Kate @rosehipsrhubarb December 1, 2014, 9:28 pm

    I know what you mean by maintenance mode; that’s where I am at the moment too.

    Your garden is looking very impressive. I’m amazed at your garlic harvest. Mine always seems to die off before I harvest anything.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how you cook and preserve your tomato crop. 40 plants is a very good effort.

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 7:00 pm

      Thanks Kate, it is alot of garlic but I add it to almost every meal so I am sure it will not be wasted 🙂

  • e / dig in hobart December 2, 2014, 10:16 am

    wow, I could cook so many delicious dinners with your harvest list! how wonderful!
    one can never have enough tomatoes. the possibilities are envious.
    enjoy your gardening!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 6:59 pm

      Thank you e, yes I agree, never enough tomatoes, they are the queen of back yard vegetables 🙂

  • Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons December 3, 2014, 9:04 am

    There can never be enough tomato plants, 40 seems about right to me. I wish I had more space (and sun) to grow them. Lovely garden.

  • Michelle December 3, 2014, 10:05 am

    I love your garden, so many fun things going on there with different containers and levels and such. Forty tomatoes is a lot, but removing the laterals will certainly keep them in check. I’m going to try that next year instead of letting them fill big cages, I think it will help to keep the diseases at a more manageable level plus it will allow more room for more varieties.

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 6:57 pm

      I have removed the laterals for the last few years and yes it does allow you to plant more plants and the plant also sends its energy to fruit production instead of branch production.

  • Michelle @ Jarrah Jungle December 3, 2014, 1:48 pm

    You have a gorgeous garden 🙂 You can’t beat growing your own cherry tomatoes, they are my favourite thing to grow because they dont mind a bit of tough love and taste so sweet and fresh picked straight from the garden!

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 6:56 pm

      I agree Michelle, other than lateral pinching and twisting onto the string my tomatoes get very little attention and they taste so GOOD! I am looking forward to my regular summer breakfast of freshly picked and sliced tomato on toast with salt and pepper 🙂

  • Anna Anderson December 3, 2014, 3:53 pm

    Wow, your garden is so much further on than ours. I can’t believe you have already harvested your garlic. Ours are still growing and will not start to die off and be ready for harvest for another month or so yet. I love the fact that you have all those tomato plants too, I’m sure you will get round to making tomato sauce at some point.

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 6:55 pm

      Hi Anna,
      Our weather is a little warmer than NZ, my Mother in Law often marvels at the things that are growing in my garden at different times of the year to hers (she is in NZ also) I will make tomato sauce for sure, with my tomatoes or spray free ones from a local farm.

  • merryn@merrynsmenu December 3, 2014, 4:34 pm

    What beautiful photographs Kyrstie. Every picture is such a pretty picture. You are lucky to have borage, mine did not self seed this year. Your zucchinis are gorgeous. Tomatoes corn and peppers are the perfect summer crop. Such amazing garlic, I am envious but happy you have grown it successfully and so well. Do you ignore the garlic or pamper it with TLC? You have grown everything so wonderfully 😀

    • Kyrstie Barcak December 3, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Thanks so much Merryn for your lovely comments. I grew the borage from seed for the first time this year and the garlic really I just ignore it, other than adding chicken poo and avoiding water just prior to picking. Thank you x

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