In early December I attempted to prepare my vegetable garden for a five week absence. I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that I came home to a vegetable garden with living and producing plants. You can read about the preparation I did in the garden prior to our holiday here.
This is my garden before I left on holidays:
This is my garden yesterday:
(Photo taken from the opposite direction but of the same space)
As you can see, my garden is alive and producing. I have a fabulous supply of zucchini, herbs, chilli and tomatoes. The corn is almost ready and the eggplants and pumpkins are maturing well.
The primary reason for this I attribute to the three wonderful mum’s from my mother group who managed to water my garden in between their own busy schedules over the Christmas period.
I learnt, or confirmed, from my period away from the garden:
- Mulch and fertiliser application prior to leaving on a holiday is a must-do activity
- Gardening is rewarding and creates pleasurable memories for children
- Growing your own produce provides new flavour experiences and new cooking activities/meals
- Picking produce grown in the garden changes the way that you and your family eat, and the foods you eat
- Small (heirloom) plants need care and attention
- Plant one regular variety seedling of each vegetable you enjoy eating in addition to the heirloom varieties. They are generally more hardy and give you a higher chance of a crop
- Regular planting of salad greens and vegetables is required to maintain a constant supply
- Left to their own devices, weeds will strangle and destroy your garden
- Left to their own devices in limited space pumpkin vines can deprive other plants of light and space
- Chickens are not a good match for my family. We have given away our last one to a family with a new group of similar aged birds. I will be planting more vegetables next year in the space instead
- If I see a space in the garden that should have something growing I am equally anxious and excited!
I did not maintain a regular planting schedule due to our holiday and as a result, do not have my usual Summer abundance of salad greens. There are also many gaps that I would have otherwise filled.
This is what I am doing in my vegetable garden now:
- Removing yellow leaves from tomatoes, trimming laterals and securing long stems
- Building up soil around the base of the corn plants
- Removing dead leaves from pumpkin plants and continuing to train climbing tendrils
- Spraying zucchinis with milk solution
- Looking for a new supplier of organic garlic bulbs to plant
- Crop rotation principles to determine what I can plant as Summer plants end production
Have you left your garden for an extended period? How did it fare?
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