Now for my seemingly weekly project update and general gardening gossip. It’s getting to that exciting time of year where not only are the seedlings doing their thing in the hothouse, but some are getting to the stage of needing to be planted out into the garden. I’ve also decided it’s time to throw some seeds at the earth and see what comes up. Having sown loads into the hothouse and some into the ground I’m now realising that some forethought and planning might have been wise as I’m not sure where I want everything to go and am either going to be left with seedlings and no space for them, or the opposite, having tried to squash things in a little I’ll find myself with bares spots. It will be interesting to see which way it goes, next year I’ll plan it out first – maybe.
In terms of the Diggers seeds for the project, I’ve haven’t got a great deal to report. The lettuce and tomato are not yet ready to plant out. Actually I’m surprised how long they’re taking to develop considering how quickly they came up. Any ideas how long I need to nurture them under cover before planting out? I was thinking another two weeks, but I’m not sure even then if they’ll be mature and strong enough. The beans (which I’ve only had a 60% germination rate with so far) were looking so wonderful I’ve already put them in the ground with a tee-pee structure to grow up and loads of mulch. I’ve also put a couple of sunflower seedlings in the front of this bed for some colour. These were also in the hothouse, but were starting to look a little yellow, so decided to plant them out and see how they do. The other half of this bed I think will be pak choy – these weren’t Diggers seeds. Nearby I also finally got around to planting some cuccumber seeds. I decided to go with six seeds – the packets says around 90% should germinate so that should be plenty considering I usually plant 2-3 seedlings a year and get lots.
I have made a start on the three sisters garden bed, having measure out the 1.2m (or four feet) square area and fenced it off with rope to keep a certain two year old and dog out – not working quite as well as I’d like on this front though. I then planted eight corn seeds in a circle. Frustratingly now I have to wait until these come up and grow to about 10cm before moving onto step two – which is planting the Diggers bean seeds next to the corn so they can grow up the stalks. I’ve also put some corn in the hothouse which has germinated really well, so if not all the seeds in the garden come up I’ll replace them with seedlings. Not sure what I’m going to do with the rest.
The carrot seeds that I planted out a couple of week ago are starting to poke their heads through the soil, though only in very small numbers. This bed also has beetroots seeds, planted a little earlier and doing better so far, and peas climbing up the fence at the back, which are starting to look really good and have a few flowers on them. I’m pretty sure some sort of creature is getting into the bed, but I’m not sure what it might be. There always seems to be little holes dug in the earth and the mulch looks like it’s getting tossed around a bit. It’s a raised bed with a wire fence around it so it can’t be the dog, it could be the cat but I’ve never seen him in the raised beds at all. A horrid thought is that it could be rats/mice as the cat brought a nice BIG specimen into the house on the weekend – I have a dreaded fear of rodents so this went down really well. I’m not totally convinced it is rats as nothing else in the garden is being effected and even the peas at the back of the bed aren’t disturbed. Whatever is doing it though I’m afraid might ruin my chances of fresh picked beetroots and carrots in January. If I have room after I’ve planted everything else out I might try more somewhere else.
What I’m currently very excited about is some seed potatoes a friend gifted me, left over from her own planting. I had been wanting to try these but after getting all the seeds from Diggers I thought I would leave the potatoes until next year to try. Anyway, I was given four little spuds – forgotten what type they were and I didn’t keep the packet, but they were described as all purpose – and popped them in the ground near the three sisters bed. I’m planning to construct a little cage around them once they come up and then build the soil up in the cage.
This weeks harvest has been most exciting with the first of the broadbeans being picked for a broadbean and bacon risotto. Along with these I picked plenty of silverbeet (and gave a bunch to my neighbour as it really is too much for us alone) mostly used in a pumpkin, silverbeet and feta pasta dish, more broccoli – and to think I was intending to sacrifice this to the bugs, goes to show what a little neglect can do for a plant! – and turnips for soup. Mr Good did ask what century we were living in, but quietly ate what was served up from all this garden goodness. Of course plenty of parsley was used, some rosemary, mint and self seeded lettuce also.
Lastly I bit the bullet earlier today and started to pull out the broccoli to make room for some seedlings – I’m thinking zucchini as they’ve done well in that spot before. I have been so surprised by how many little side shoots of broccoli I was able to harvest once the main head had been cut so have been reluctant to pull it out just yet. I thought today though that most of the plants had past the best so they went. I left a couple that might still produce a bit especially now with the extra room and sunlight they’ll be getting. Even these though have a limited life span left before they too will meet the compost heap (which I’ve also just started, in a very ad hoc way, not even an actual bin yet!)
I’ll leave you today with some photos of the goings on in my garden and the wonderful harvest (as I love seeing these on other blogs) and get back to an intense game of peek a boo with Baby Good.