Retro Gardening – Exciting Developments

Winter is a funny time in the cycle of the vegetable garden.  While most plants go into a fairly dormant phase there are a few vegetables that thrive at this time of the year.  So in my hunt for those elusive winter loving veg I have filled one whole bed with gorgeous broad beans and half of my largest bed with turnips – turnips for goodness sake, what am I going to do with turnips??  As well I have burgeoning silverbeet, glossy, green and looking the picture of healthy eating.  Sadly I put in quite a few spring onion seeds which have yet to make an appearance.  I’m not sure what happened there, but I will not give up on them just yet.

While perusing the patch late last week I noticed two exciting developments.  One was this

That’s right, the broadbeans have flowers.  By my reckoning that means we have potential beans not too far away.  Now in my haste to fill the vegetable patch with nourishing winter fare I did very little research into the growing phases of the broadbean.  Firstly the flowers were a bit of surprise, obviously I knew that flowers would appear before the beans, I was just unsure what these flowers would look like.  They’re rather pretty in an understated sort of way.  I’ll wait with baited breath for the next surprise, where exactly will the beans appear, how long from flower to bean and how many beans should I expect from each plant?.  All is yet to be revealed, at least to me.  The broadbean recipe hunt continues, any suggestions?

The second exciting development are these

Baby turnips, those shown in the photo are only a fraction of the ones that have come up.  Apparently turnips love winter and despite being potentially in the worst spot in the garden they have come up in good numbers.  It feels like these babies came up within days of being planted and this was the primary reason I decided to plant them, almost instant gratification – a rare thing in gardening.  All positives, but there are two things that worry me.  One is that turnips require thinning, you can’t possibly leave them growing in clusters like this, there is just no room for the actual turnip to grow.  I hate thinning, it stresses me out, what if I pick the wrong ones to pull out and am left with the duds.  It feels a little like choosing between your children, well perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but you see where I’m coming from.  I’m a gardening wimp, there is absolutely nothing ruthless about my gardening style, but thinning must be done so I will soon brace myself and start the cull.  The second thing that worries be about turnips is that I am totally clueless as to how to use them in the kitchen.  I have never cooked with or eaten this vegetable and beside watching Big Ted cooking turnip soup on Playschool my knowledge is completely lacking.  Some serious research required here.

Finally a little update on my sacrificial broccoli.  I had given these up for dead thinking there was no way they could overcome the savaging they received from caterpillars.  However, thy seem to have made something of a recovery as can be seen here

I’m not going to count my chickens having had my broccoli bolt to seed without producing a head last year, but I am at least encouraged by their progress.

On that note, I will return to my turnip research.

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2 Responses to Retro Gardening – Exciting Developments

  1. Chookie says:

    I too struggle with thinning out my plants. I have even said that it is like choosing between children. So instead I try allowing them to grow to a fairly large size and then transplanting them. Then I don’t feel so guilty when they die.

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