The Barbara Good Project #3

Time for a quick update on the Barbara Good Project.  I haven’t managed to do a lot in the last week or so, and certainly not as much as I had planned, but hopefully I’ll rectify that this weekend.

On the seedling front things are going exceptionally well in the mini hothouses.  The lettuce seeds which were sitting on an 87% germination rate have hit the 100% mark with all seeds coming through.  I’ll give these another two or three weeks in there and then plant them out.  At that time I plan to put some more seeds into the seedling trays, in order to have a continuous supply of lettuce for the warmer months.

The tomatoes are also going really well after a slow start, though the germination rate isn’t quite as good as I would have hoped for.  The Amish Paste Tomato currrently has a rate of about 75%, Diggers stated it would have a  93% germination rate, though given the small numbers I’ve planted so far I think it’s too early to call.  The other tomato variety, the Principe Borghes, is doing better at 86% which is exactly what Diggers claimed.  At this stage these plants are still really tiny so will need a good 2-3 weeks more before they’ll be ready for the big wide world.  In total if they all survive I’ll have 11 tomato plants, far more than the two or three I usually put in.  Somehow I think I’ll be inundated with tomatoes.  I think some will have to go into pots and the rest in one of the new garden beds.  That should account for about 8 plants, the rest I’ve decided to donate to a friend – it’s always nice to be able to share the products of ones labour in the garden isn’t it?

The last of the Diggers seeds in the seedling pots (ie toilet rolls) are the stringless pioneer beans.  So far I’ve only managed at 60% germination rate on these ones which is a bit sad, but those which have come up look fantastic.  I think these will go into the garden either this weekend or next.  I’ll also be planting out a bunch of these directly into the garden very soon.

About a week ago Miss Two and I planted roughly 90 carrot seeds using a method I read about on someone else’s blog – so sorry but I’ve forgotten who this clever person was, but thank you for the tip!  Basically I made up a paste of flour and water, painted it in rows on paper towel and stuck the seeds to it, thus eliminating the need to thin out the seeds.  You then plant the whole piece of paper towel – I made up three of these. 

So far these haven’t emerged from the ground, but the beetroots that went in a little earlier have just started to pop their heads through so I think it’ll take a while longer.

That takes care of all the seeds from the Diggers collection that I’ve done anything with so far.  On the cards for the next week is the cucumbers to be planted directly into the ground.

In other gardening activities, I’m planning to start a three sisters vegie plot this weekend.  I heard about this a while ago, but in a serendipitous moment I’m reading Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brookes which is set in America in the 1600s.  It details the native Americans tradition of planting corn, beans and pumpkins (the three sisters) together.  The idea is that you plant the corn in a circle, wait for it to come up and get to about 15-20cm then plant beans next to them.  When the beans come up you train the runners up the corn stalks.  Finally a week after the beans have some up you plant 6 pumpkin seeds.  The pumpkin spreads out among the corn and beans and keeps the weeds out.  This all should fit into an are of roughly 1m square.

Finally I thought I’d give you all a quick run down of what’s in the garden already.  We’ve been picking lots of silverbeet and broccoli – I’ve been quite surprised how much broccoli you get after picking the main head.  The turnips have started being made into soup (last night’s dinner was a vegetable and white bean soup including homegrown turnips, broccoli and silverbeet, gotta love that).  The first of the broad beans will be picked this week, they’re still a little small, but I want them like that rather than being too big.  The stalks are completely loaded with beans, so I’m sure some will get the chance to get to full size.  The peas I put in a couple of months ago look fantastic, but I need to build a taller structure for them to grow up.  In front of the peas I’ve planted beetroot and carrot seeds – beetroots are just starting to come through and have done much better so far being planted direct rather than into seedling trays, so thank you for those that gave me that advice earlier.  The coriander planted into pots has shot nicely, though I’ve got a terrible track record with coriander so we’ll see what the end result of these ones are.  The remaining seeds in the trays include zucchinis, basil, pak choy, more beetroot, corn, marigolds, sunflowers, eggplant and capsicums.  These are mostly doing well, though only one eggplant has come through and no capsicums – any ideas on these ones?  Should I plant some seeds directly for these ones?  As with most of the seedlings they all need a few more weeks to mature, but boy will I have a lot to plant by mid October.  And lastly on to the fruit trees, the plum is definitely the stand out, she’s an absolute beauty.  The Jonathan has started budding, but there’s not much happening with the Granny Smith – pretty much sums up their positioning.

To finish up what seems like a mammoth post, I need some advice.  I have a small very shady section of one of my garden beds, next to the silverbeet.  I’d like to plant something edible there, but so far nothing has worked.  Any suggestions?  I’ll but sure to poke around some of the great gardening blogs around to check out what’s happening in other’s plots, but I’d love to hear about the activities here as well.

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6 Responses to The Barbara Good Project #3

  1. Liz says:

    Eggplant & capsicum take awhile at this time of year so may still come up. I wouldn’t sow them direct just yet the soil probably isn’t warm enough (and there are a few cold nights forecast). If you think those seeds have rotted then sow again in protected seed trays. I have a shady area in one of my beds and the most productive thing I’ve grown in it has been parsley. I have also had some success with ginger (don’t know where in Melbourne you are – where I am is protected and frost free). I posted on ginger awhile ago. If it gets some sun then watercress, lettuce,chervil & coriander would be worth a go. Alternatively you could sink pots in it to restrain the roots and grow mint.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks Liz – I’ve just been posting on your blog, I’m pretty sure we live quite close to each other actually, in the Northern Subs. I’ve been watching this spot a lot lately and it really gets pretty much no direct sunlight and I’ve got the parsley growing in the other shady spot. It might get a bit more sun in another month or two I think, so I could try planting out some coriander when the seedlings get a bit bigger, otherwise I’ll give one of your other suggestions a go.

  2. Andrea says:

    Hi Barbara, Wow you have been busy in the potting corner/garden over the last month! great to hear you are having success with your seeds, so rewarding when they germinate. Arrived home on Monday and can’t believe how cold it is!!!! wheres the spring sunshine? And you deserve a medal braving this weather to visit the show!!
    Another herb which does’t mind a bit of shade is dill, good luck with your shady spot. Ciao!

  3. Barbara Good says:

    Welcome home Andrea! I’ve missed reading your blog, now I need details, how was Italy? You’re right about the cold, we’ve had some very chilly days lately, though it wasn’t to bad at the show, cold wind, but sunshine – the days after were terrible though so we picked a good time to go.

    Think I’m going to experiment with a few different herbs in that shady spot and see what lasts. I don’t use dill much, but I could always change that.

  4. Andrea says:

    Thanks Barbara, Italy is a truly beautiful country and i had the most amazing (best ever) holiday which i will post about over the weekend to the sound of even more rain!! Go the Cats!!!!!

  5. Barbara Good says:

    Yes, definitely Go Cats!!! Anything but the pies again! Raining here too. I’ll look out for your post over the weekend.

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