The Barbara Good Project #1

I’m putting ‘Simple Monday’ on hold this week so I can tell you all about the official start of the Barbara Good Project.  If you’ll remember I recently bought a collection of seeds from Diggers, advertised as providing TWO TONNES of food from thirteen packets.  Like others I am quite skeptical about this, but decided it was worth the challenge and will track and write about my progress here.

After nearly two weeks of waiting the seeds finally arrived.  I was hoping it would come with a bit more information, like how much space is required to get said two tonnes.  My plot is quite small, though the entire garden is now dedicated to vegetables, so hopefully that will be enough.    Unfortunately the seeds came with no extra information, so I guess that means it’s up to me how I tackle the two tonne challenge.  The exact claim from Diggers was this ‘With 13 packets of seed you can grow 120kg pumpkin, 21kg beans, 824kg tomatoes, 560 lettuces, 268kg cucumbers, 42kg carrots, 22kg peas, 115kg parsnip, 247 broccoli heads, 840 onions and 60 bunches of silverbeet.’

I’ve divided the seeds into a couple of groups, some to plant in seedling trays, some to plant direct in a couple of weeks when it’s a bit warmer (though today was absolutely beautiful), some to do a combination of both and finally some to worry about later (ie the Winter veg).  This is about as organised I as get, it’s a bit ad hoc in terms of how much of what I plant and where they’re going to go.

Those going into seedling trays are:
Lettuce Italian Lollo Mix (87% Germination rate) – there were two packets of these seeds in the collection
Tomato Amish Paste (93% Germination rate) – Heirloom
Tomato Principe Borghese (86% Germination rate) – Heirloom

Those being planted both in seedling trays and into the ground:
Bean Stringless Pioneer (89% Germination rate)
Pumpkin Waltham Butternut (90% Germination rate) – Organic
Cucumber Armenian (94% Germination rate)

Those to be planted direct:
Carrots All Seasons (96% Germination rate)

And those I’ll worry about later in the year:
Silverbeet Fordhook (84% Germination rate) – organic
Pea Greenfeast (85% Germination rate)
Parsnip Hollow Crown (85% Germination rate)
Broccoli Green Sprouting (90% Germination rate) – organic
Onion Creamgold (85% Germination rate)- organic

So in a nutshell my aim is to get as much production from these plants as possible in order to test the two tonne statement – and the more specific claims.   I’ve included the germination rates from each packet according to Diggers to see if I can meet these goals as well.  My growing-from-seed experience is somewhat limited and hasn’t always been successful though I do seem to be getting better.  As the project gets going I will track my own germination rates and weigh any produce that I pick.

Despite having potentially tonnes of food coming my way, I also decided to go and buy some other seeds for vegetables that I just can’t live without and that were not included in the collection.  These included zucchinis (I was surprised these were not in the collection to be honest), sweet corn, capsicum, eggplant, pak choy and corriander as well as some basil and marigolds for companion planting and some sunflowers for their cheery nature.  I planted out the beetroot seedlings I had in the make shift hot house to make room for the new seeds, however I didn’t have great success with the germination of these and the seedlings that did come up are a little spindly so I don’t hold out much hope for them.  I’ve planted a few more beetroot seeds to see if I can better my results this time.

As I didn’t have these seeds at home I had to force myself to make a ‘quick’ trip to the nursery, what a shame.  Believe it or not, this was my very first trip outside the house on my own since Baby Good was born four months ago!  The freedom of being able to just grab my handbag and walk out the door was liberating, no nappy bag, no pram, no car seats to worry about.  I promised Mr Good that I wouldn’t be too long (as he was trying to work from home at the same time), but I did get a little side tracked and came home with a new mini hothouse, some more seed raising mix, liquid fertiliser, potting mix and a blueberry bush and a bay laurel (two plants from my wish list that I just couldn’t pass up).  By the time I picked all these up I knew I’d been twice as long as I said and that Baby Good would be starting to grizzle for a feed so a raced home forgetting the specialised fertilizer for the blueberry – which needs a low pH.  Looks like I’ll have to make another trip soon, that could be dangerous!

The Beautiful Blueberry

The Lovely Bay Laurel

In other exciting garden news the plum tree planted three weeks ago is going gang busters with little shoots all over it.  Still no action from the apples, but they’re not in such a good position so I expected them to be a bit slower to get going.

The Perfect Plum

All in all it has been a most productive start to Spring – though I think I’m a bit slow off the mark when it comes to planting seeds.  And on days like today it is such a joy to be outside with my hands in the dirt, Miss Two running around and Baby Good enjoying the sunshine in the rocker.





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11 Responses to The Barbara Good Project #1

  1. Suzanne says:

    I remember yelling at a teenage boy (check out chick) at Woolworths when my son was a few months old…I had left him at home with my mother and I had dawdled too long in a hypnotic swaying state with my trolley doing the supermarket shopping, my boobs were full, and my hormones even fuller and I nearly SCREAMED at the poor guy to HURRY IT UP..dont you know I have a baby to breastfeed at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He must have wondered what had struck him…I still have a feeling of forgetting something when I drive down the road now, with none of my three m’s in the car with me……….its actually like Im running away!!!
    so, the seeds which I meant to talk about, not boobs…..I always have sown my beetroot seeds straight into the ground….I then thin them out when they are growing nice and big…easier and they seems to strike better……………..good luck with all that veg…………I hope you get lots and lots from all those seeds…x

  2. Barbara Good says:

    Oh Suzanne you’re so right, it did feel like I was running away. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that rocks the shopping trolley while waiting in the cue, as if it’s the pram with the baby in it…. or am I? As it turned out Baby Good was still sound asleep when I got home.

    Thanks for the tip on the beetroots, I’ve got lots more seeds so I’ll plant the rest straight into the garden and see out that goes, though I do hate thinning, it seems so cruel.

  3. Phoebe says:

    I cant believe that they don’t have zucchinis in the mix! that’s crazy! Good luck with the challenge, I’ll be keen to see how it goes. Id love to grow so much of my fruit and veg!

    I’m with Suzanne – not with the boob thing, I’m yet to experience it, but I to sow my beetroot direct and half the time I don’t even thin! I just accept them in their deformed shape!

  4. Bruisemouse says:

    It is pretty scary when you find yourself rocking the shopping trolley and humming a soothing little tune and realising that you do not have any of your children with you. Whoops.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how your planting and harvesting goes. I love all of the plants Diggers have on offer. My plan is to get some next year, when I have a yard again.
    Good luck.

  5. Becc says:

    how exciting, the prospect of having all that produce in your backyard!
    and yes it is lovely when you can just duck out quickly, Don’t have to worry about strapping bubs in or lugging around the nappy bag!

    Very suprised diggers didnt inc;ude zucchini and corn!

    Great post and Great Blog xx

  6. Liz says:

    My partner had a day off today and I went out without the kids for the first time in ages – I find walking without a pusher really odd, also slightly inconvenient as I had to actually carry bags…..I love your project – I was just reading one of the old diggers books and in it it says the average person consumes 163 kg of vegetables in a year, I wonder how much of that is parsnip – 115kg seems an awful lot….having said that I am a big fan of parsnip soup.

  7. ali says:

    Do you know, if I were you I’d contact Digger’s and ask them. I have spoken to Lisa Kinsella quite a few times now (Digger’s are a sponsor on my blog) and I am sure she would love to know you are documenting your project. You could ask her for information?? Just an idea… I am dying to see how it turns out, I have always wanted to do this myself but my butt was too stuck to the couch 🙂

  8. ali says:

    ps Thank you for your lovely mention of my blog the other day. That was really nice of you 🙂

  9. Barbara Good says:

    Thanks for all the replies, I’m so glad I’m not alone on rocking the shopping trolley with no kids in it, though I might need to watch out for unconscious humming.

    Becc I too was surprised that there were no zucchini seeds in the package.

    Liz, looks like I’ll have far more veg than we could possibly eat, not just in parsnip, though I thought that was a rather odd choice to include, and I’m the only one who eats it in this house.

    Ali I took your advice and contacted Diggers for some more information. I’ll let you know what they say.

  10. Barb says:

    Surely zuchinni would be better than parsnips. What can you do with those things!
    This will be an interesting read, good luck with it.

    I am another that only plants beetroot in the ground. I find they grow better but I do transplant the ones I thin.


  11. Pingback: The Barbara Good Project #7 | The New Good Life

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