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!
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.
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.