First update for the Barbara Good project and while it’s still very early days there are definitely positive signs for the future. Firstly I took Ali’s advice from my previous post and contacted Digger’s for some more information regarding the collection of seeds I purchased from them for this challenge. The lovely Jackie got back to me and let me know that she had popped a couple of things in the mail to ‘inspire me’. Today I checked the letterbox and discovered these,
a ‘Sow What When’ poster and a booklet on growing edibles. So according to Jackie and this information vegetables grow best when they get at least 6 hours sunlight a day and plenty of water. I have some areas which would get that much or more sun, but other areas are not so ideal. The water issue isn’t a problem as we have two decent sized water tanks, I checked them today and they are both basically full so should see us through easily with a few extra top ups over the summer months.
In the booklet there is a suggested layout of garden beds, four beds 1m by 10m. I can only dream about such neat and organised garden beds. My backyard is an odd U-shape which is much longer and triangular on one side and short and squarish on the other side, but with a path dividing it in two and a clothesline on one side. The bottom of the U is a concrete area with a pergola over it which adds to the shade over some of the garden. The end result of this odd design is garden beds which are all different shapes and sizes. On top of this I’m not much of a planner when it comes to gardening and tend to just plop plants or seeds in wherever there is room at the time. In other words there won’t be four neat 1m x 4m garden beds, but I will use the guide to try and add some order to my plantings to make the most of them. And the what to sow when poster will be very useful in determining the perfect times for a Melbourne climate to put my seeds and seedlings in.
Speaking of seeds and seedlings, I checked the seed trays yesterday to see what was coming on. From the Diggers seeds I only put in the lettuce, two varieties of tomatoes and a few beans (experimenting with these, the rest will go straight into the soil). There’s no action yet on the tomato front, but it’s been less than two weeks so I’m hoping they’re still coming. Almost all the lettuce have come through, I calculated the current germination rate as 87% which is exactly what the packet said, can’t ask from more than that. This weekend I will be putting in some of the carrot seeds into about half of one of my raised garden beds (about 1.5m x 2m), I planted beetroots into the rest of bed and a row of peas at the very back – not sure if this is a good combination, but we’ll soon find out.
I planted quite a few non-Diggers seeds in the seed trays as well and some of them are starting to pop their heads through, including pak choy, more beetroots, sunflowers, basil, marigolds and sweet corn. I will also sow some of these direct in a couple of weeks. I’m still waiting on several others including zucchinis and capsicums. Boy my garden is going to be full, fruitful and beautiful if all my hard work pays off.
And finally, the weekly harvest is starting to look a little more promising and varied from now on in. On top of the herbs which are a year round constant (parsley, rosemary and chives anyway), cos lettuce (which I treat as a pick and come again until it goes to seed) and silverbeet which I’ve been picking for a couple of months now, I am now getting quite a bit of broccoli, once the main head is picked the little side ones continue to grow and I will soon be harvesting the broad beans. The very tall broad bean plants are loaded with beans at all stages of development, however some of the leaves are covered with what looks like little brown insect eggs. I don’t know what it is and so far it hasn’t effected the rest of the plant so I’m going to leave it be for now, but if anyone has any ideas or advice for what I should be doing, please let me know. The turnips are maturing quickly now too and I’ll pick a few for a vegetable soup this weekend. I really wish I had have put these in earlier as it’s not exactly winter soup kind of weather any more, but never mind, I can always freeze it for later.
Just thinking about all this planting, tending and harvesting has me dreaming of all the different veggies I could/should be picking in a few months.