2 May 2016 12:33pm – Vegie Patch Updates

Its been such a busy past few weekends that I haven’t had a chance to update, but now that everything is slowing down and settling into cool season patterns, here’s a quick blurb:

The finger limes, avocado and greens (2x mixed lettuce, 1x silverbeet, 1x spinach, 1x blue dwarf kale, 1x purple kale, 1x basil) that we bought at the markets back in March are doing great, the avocado has put on a stack of new growth and we’ve been harvesting fresh, crispy greens for dinner every other night.




I’d cleaned out and topped up the other vegie beds with compost, manures and mulch before I’d gone house-sitting, and came back to find pumpkins everywhere and the nero kale full of bud worm :/ sigh. The pumpkins and other weeds soon found their way to the chooks and the kale got a thorough going over, with me picking off as many as I could, with tweezers, feeding them to the chooks also and spraying the centres of the poor kale with pyrethrum. A few weeks later, and the 4 survivors have a new flush of leaves:


With the leek and spring onions transplanted from what was going to be, and is now, the peas and snow peas bed (legumes and members of the onion family don’t grow well near each other) and into what is this season’s carrots and beetroots bed (although onions and legumes don’t get along, carrots love onions (the smell of the onions deters carrot fly) so they make great companions), it was time to start planting out this year’s cool season crops: dwarf snow peas on the northern side of the reclaimed fencing frame in Bed 3 and greenfeast peas along the back. And two weeks later:


(The two larger plants on the right are volunteer borage, which I’ll leave in place because they’re not in the way, the bees love the flowers and the leaves are good chook fodder)

In the tom bed (Bed 4), I planted out eva purple ball, thai pink egg, rainbow cherry and roma tomato seeds. The purple ball and pink egg seeds had expired so all of them went in, to finish off the packet, and although I didn’t have much hope for them, 6x purple ball and 1x pink egg have come up!


The others are doing well too, with 2x rainbow cherries and a multitude of romas also putting in an appearance:



Then 3x butter beans and 3x edamame (3 seeds in each hole so I could thin to the strongest) were planted into Bed 5, leaving heaps of room for successive plantings. Two butter beans are looking good, but no edamame have appeared as yet. Although I’m a bit disappointed, because I LOVE edamame, I’m not entirely surprised either – this packet of seed seems to have been a bit of a dud.


Then came more multi-purpose (culinary and bee forage) herbs from the markets: 2x basil, 2x parsley, 1x lemon balm, 1x sage and 1x marjoram. Because this particular herb grower has a tendency to over populate their pots, I know that if I buy from them I can split the one pot into multiple plants, or groups of plants, and get more bang-for-my-buck. So each of the basils were split into 3, giving me 6 groups of seedlings. Four were planted out into the tom bed and 2 into the herb/kale end of the carrot bed. Likewise the parsley was divided into 4 groups and planted alongside the basil in the tom bed. The sage, lemon balm and marjoram were planted whole into the bean/edamame bed with the marigolds, and in front of the roses and turmeric outside our window. There is already a raging growth of rosemary, catmint, lucerne, catnip and alyssum in this garden so its become like a bee food area :)

Then it was time to clear out the area where I wanted to plant out the coffee seedlings, extending our ‘coffee plantation’ from 3 to 8 plants. The arrowroot was transplanted into a new bed over near the fence where the wind won’t be blowing it over anymore, the largest of the cassava was harvested and all the feral moraya seedlings were weeded out. Then I let the girls turn over the mulch for me:



If you’ve followed this page for a while, you’ll remember the charcoal experiment that I did last year, before planting corn? Well, before I planted the toms into that bed this year, I had a good dig around and found that everywhere the charcoal had been added, the soil was lovely and friable, and clearly holding moisture and structure a lot better than the other beds, so I decided to extend the experiment this year and added some charcoal to the new arrowroot bed near the fence before replanting the arrowroot, the (now) carrot/beetroot bed before planting, and also dug some into the new coffee patch and each planting hole too, before planting out the 5 little coffee seedlings and watering all three areas with wetting agent. The coffees were then mulched with old horse manure and fallen leaves, and the 4 smallest were covered with up-turned mesh drawers to stop the chooks covering them with mulch as they scratch around:


A week, and a good amount of rain, later and all the new little coffees have new leaves:


Then it was time to repot the berries and davidson’s plum, clear out the loganberry (it had become weedy and was becoming more work than its few berries were worth, so it came out and now we just have the thornless blackberry in that pot), prune the blueberries lightly and move them across a little so they’re not getting damaged when we open the chook run door.


Then, finally, planted out some bull’s blood beetroot, mini white turnips, red radish and paris market ball carrots into Bed 2. So far the turnips are firing ahead, as are 2x radishes, the carrots started to appear yesterday, and the beetroot today:






But there’s no rest for the wicked! Now its time to go check the compost bins and feed the worms :)

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