We certainly have had quite some rain recently and with more on the way apparently. Whole days have been spent inside – never a good thing for either Miss Two or myself. We have been pulling out movies that haven’t been watched for ages. We have been baking, drawing, cutting and pasting, and even snuggling in bed in the afternoon (no sleeping disappointingly, I really felt like a nana nap that day) reading books. Today was different though. The sun was shining, Miss Two went to childcare and I didn’t have any emergency teaching work after spending the last two Fridays back in the classroom for the first time the three years! So I finally got to spend a bit of time in the garden after weeks of just doing the bare minimum to keep things going or harvest what was ready.
I am woefully behind in my plans for a winter crop, there is going to be a very serious hunger gap in this household, it’s a good thing we’re not reliant on my gardening ability to feed ourselves (it seems I’m far from actually becoming Barbara Good). So today I pulled out the seed tin, gathered my seed trays and seed raising mix and set to work. I may not be harvesting anything until Spring, but at least I will have something eventually. I’m feeling a serious case of deja vu here, isn’t this exactly what I did for my Summer crop? When will I learn to get to work earlier if I want to eat from my garden in any significant way?
Oh well. So what did I end up planting today…. let’s see. Into the seed trays went two types of peas, onions, broccoli, lettuce and the parsley seeds Andrea sent me last year. My parsley all went to seed and dried up so I pulled it out. Usually I have no problems with it self-seeding all over the herb bed (and everywhere else for that matter) but for some reason this year nothing has come up. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to redo the herb bed, the soil must be seriously depleted by now. The only thing left in it is a very hardy rosemary bush. I’ll get some manure and compost to dig into it then plant it out again. I’m thinking of parsley (obviously), sage, thyme and chives. I’ve got mint in a pot and basil around the tomatoes. Are there any others I should think about putting in?
I currently have a few cleared beds having pulled out the zucchini, beetroot, carrots and lettuce that had bolted so space for planting isn’t an issue just yet. I have loads of cos lettuce in another spot, so I think where the lettuces were I’ll put in the onions. In another big bed (well big for me) I’ve decided on root vegetable crops, I hope they’re happy living along side each other. I planted out a row of parsnips, beetroots, turnips and two rows of carrots. Again the carrots were from Andrea’s seeds and I’m hoping I have more luck with them than my previous attempts at growing carrots. I know they like it moist so all this rain coming our way should suit them. I’ve also covered the carrot rows with a towel which should stop the area drying out. I’m thinking of planting the peas at the back of this bed when they come up, as there’s already something for them to climb up. Do you think that would work, do root vegetables and peas get along? There’s also one stray cucumber plant at the end of the bed which isn’t doing much at the moment. I’ll let it go for a while to see if anything happens with it (my other cucumbers have found a second wind so to speak) before pulling it out and adding an extra row of beetroot and turnips. Following Suzanne’s advice I’m going to try to plant beetroots at regular intervals (my new favourite vegetable I think) so I can have a constant supply and similarly with carrots if I have more success this time.
The other bed I have empty at the moment is where the zucchinis were. I’ve been reluctant to plant anything there just yet considering how badly the zucchini performed this year. I thought I would add some compost and manure, leave it for a month or so and then plant some broad beans to add nitrogen. Does this sound right or should I be doing something else, leaving it to fallow for longer perhaps?
Speaking of compost I thought I should update you on this little experiment I had a go at earlier in the year. In the end I filled about six pots with kitchen scraps, covered with potting mix and then planted on top of them. Two pots had tomato plants in them, one had an eggplant (and a stray potato) and the rest had flowers (zinnias and sweetpea). The flowers have done fine, though the zinnias did die due to neglect while we were away, the eggplant is happily flowering and setting fruit, but the tomatoes WERE NOT HAPPY. They started off fine and even produced one tomato (one between both plants), then they started to shrivel and slowly died. Tomatoes, it seems, do not like living in compost. Though I did read the other day, that adding one banana skin to the bottom of a tomato pot is supposed to help provide them with food while they grow – I’ll be trying that one next year.
Sadly, I still did not get to spend anytime with the tomatoes, they seriously need a tidy up. And the potatoes are definitely ready to dig up too. Hopefully there will be a well timed sunny break sometime over the weekend between swimming, a first birthday party, a friend visiting, shopping, visiting the toy library, going for a couple of runs etc etc.