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In The Garden – Summer 2013/14

The Garden Share Collective February 2014

 

I have been working hard in my garden since Christmas. The main reason being that we have not yet really commenced harvesting Summer produce. By the same time in previous years I have been collecting LOTS of tomatoes, zucchini and other summer produce. I have been doing my utmost to tempt, coax or bribe the plants to defy the weather. I have been weeding, mulching, fertilising, trimming, inspecting in detail, covering it with shade cloth, removing shade cloth, sighing, shaking my head and maybe swearing a little. 

IMG_8698

The difference this year is that we have had a cool start to the season followed by some extreme heat days.  It has been either too cool, or too hot for plants to grow and vegetables to develop. With just one more month of Summer remaining I have my fingers crossed that we will have some stable weather that allows produce to grow and be harvested.   The heat has damaged a few plants that I failed to protect, but all in all I have a process to protect my garden on extreme heat days that works well. I have not lost any plants. 

At the end of last week I finally collected more than one or two little tomatoes. It was a highlight of the month!  Expectations for Summer crops are HIGH and we have a larger space planted than last year so it has been incredibly frustrating to see no results from that.

Garden share collective Feb 2014

In saying that (in a whinging voice) the garden looks great. It is not as crowded as it usually looks at this time of year. All of the plants are hearlthy. Some of them that traditionally suffer at this time of year, such as coriander and mint are thriving. The corn is ready to start harvesting this week also.

Mint

I planted two pumpkins and have been training them to climb up a large frame, they have covered it and are now starting to explore the yard. There has also been more than a few rouge ones pop up from the compost that I added to the garden beds. The ones that I did not pull out are also starting to wander around the garden!

Pumpkin Runner

Pumpkin Runner2 (1 of 1)-2

Pumpkin Runner

This post is part of The Garden Share Collective, a group of bloggers from around Australia (and the world) who all create a monthly update sharing their love (and the challenges) of a productive garden.  The aim is to inspiring others to get started, or to grow more.  Be sure to visit those in your area to see how their gardens are progressing. There is much to be learned from each person’s different approach to gardening.

I missed last month’s update as we had just returned from holidays.  We visited New Zealand. I was lucky to two amazing examples of productive gardens during our time there, including the new home of my in-laws. A lovely family holiday topped off with a healthy dose of garden envy 🙂 

Planting:

In January I planted: 

  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Blackberry
  • Carrots
  • Chick Peas
  • Coriander
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato

In February, I will be planting seeds of lime basil, chives, parsley, more coriander and rocket. Most of these will go into the herb patch.

Planting Seeds

It is late in the season to be planting more corn but we had an empty tractor tyre to fill and with nothing to collect at the moment, if they do not develop I have lost only the low cost of the cheap seedlings. If they grow to be harvested I will have some extra fresh corn to enjoy and maybe freeze. 

The sweet potato is an experiment as my previous research indicated that it would not grow well in this region. The tractor tyre provides great heat insulation as it warms up during the day. I decided to take a punt and just see what happens. 

Planting beetroot, carrots, and lettuce is part of my regular cycle of maintaining a supply of these items for our kitchen. You can read more about how many of each plant I suggest planting here.

Harvesting:

I have been collecting lots of fabulous coriander and other herbs such as sage, thyme and lemongrass, spinach, beetroot, a cucumber, a few tomatoes, capsicum, kale, rhubarb, lettuce.

Harvested Fresh food

To Do in February:

I am hoping that the main thing I will be doing this month is:

  • Collecting lots of vegetables from the garden!  

Other jobs this month include:

Train Tomatoes

  • Restock the herb patch

My herb patch is looking a little sad at the moment after the heat destroyed the parsley and oregano. 

  • Remove/re-home the strawberry plants and replant the area with something more productive and useful

The 18 strawberry plants that I put in at the start of the season in a new garden bed have not lived up to my expectations so as much as it pains me to do so they will be removed and I will be looking at what I can replace them with.   With a Strawberry farm close by we re better off visiting there to pick what we need when they are in season.

  • Spray zucchini plants with milk solution
  • Review the garden bed plan I created last year to determine what needs to happen in the coming months.
  • Plant more seeds if necessary
  • Move the tomato seedlings that have just popped up from compost to a more suitable location
  • I hope to be able to identify a few of the other plants that have popped up in the garden. I am hoping there are some melons growing as we planted watermelon and rockmelon. I do no have high hopes that they will do much with the end of Summer approaching but in the garden you never know your luck.

 What is happening in your garden this month? Have you had any surprises pop up that you did not plant?

Are you harvesting lots of Summer produce?  

Kyrstie

 

 

 

 

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Linda February 3, 2014, 7:19 am

    Looks wonderful (and cool!). My tommies were almost exactly the same as yours – I have a funny feeling from memory we are about the same latitude. I did some calculations from the last eleven years, and our average date to boil down the first excess tomatoes after that time was 30 January. This year I boiled down yesterday, on 2 Feb. However my romas and grosse lisse are not a patch on previous years, but it may have something to do with the late green manure crop. The mighty red and one san mazarno are going gang busters, but not yet ripe. I need to pay more attention to whether the last two are supposed to be early or later varieties.

    Have you noticed people get excited about tomatoes more than any other vegetable?

    Corn I picked two weeks ago, but I got them in early.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Kyrstie Barcak February 3, 2014, 7:38 am

      Thanks for dropping by Linda and sharing your dates. I will head over to have a look at your garden later this morning. I think the excitement around tomatoes is that they are a staple food, so can be used often with pride 🙂 they also have a taste as opposed to many store purchased ones!

  • Sarah | The Sugar Hit February 3, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

  • Lizzy (Good Things) February 3, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Kyrstie, your garden looks so lush and green! We are still in the very high 30s and early 40s C here in Canberra, so my poor tomatoes have been a massive flop… and all but one of my six cucumbers, has simply died! Even the grapes fried on the vine! Love your gardening hints and tips!

  • e / dig in hobart February 3, 2014, 3:12 pm

    look at how lush your garden is! your escaping pumpkin vine is wonderful. i feel so dry and poorly compared to your garden of eden.
    i agree with you; even though i’m in hobart, we had the same conditions – the season took a long time to warm up but since then it has been very hot.

  • Africanaussie February 4, 2014, 9:58 am

    Your garden is looking wonderful and lush. I think this summer must have been very hard to maintain a garden. Your beetroot looks yummy – I have never been able to grow beetroot for some reason. Funny how we always hanker after something we cant have 🙂

  • lizzie @ strayedtable February 4, 2014, 11:13 am

    Your garden does look very lush and full of growth. I hope all the work you have put in pays off for you this month. I am glad we are not the only ones struggling with our weird Australian summer this year. Today it feels like winter is on its way – a scary thought when I want more summer veg before it gets too cold.

  • Merryn@merrynsmenu February 4, 2014, 3:20 pm

    How divine! Your pumpkin vine is HUGE and those tomatoes look amazing. Your beetroots and cucumbers are very healthy and Kyrstie I love the look of your mint in the old wheelbarrow, picturesque and practical 😀 x

  • Maryanne February 4, 2014, 5:42 pm

    I’d like to subscribe to your blog please but not sure how to

  • Barbara Good February 5, 2014, 2:33 pm

    We haven’t had much in the way of summer produce either. The cherry tomatoes have started coming on and we’ve had lots of zucchini, but that cold start followed by god awful heat really wasn’t great for the garden. I don’t think I’m going to get any capsicum or eggplants at all, they just didn’t get the start they needed and my cucumber hasn’t produced anything yet either. You’re corn must be a little ahead of mine, cobs forming nicely but still a few weeks off. Hope you’re second crap goes well, from memory I’ve planted corn as late as February when we were in Melbourne, here in Ballarat I think it would get too cold. Good luck also with the sweet potato, the truck tyre bed sounds like it might give the warmth it needs.

  • Melissa Loh February 20, 2014, 1:33 pm

    I am so utterly jealous of how healthy and lush all your plants look! No wonder your harvest expectations are high – mine certainly would be too with such promising growth.

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