November in My Garden

This is the first month that I’ve participated in the Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie from the Strayed Table.  The idea is to share what has been happening in your garden over the last month, what is currently on your to do list and also what challenges you’ve faced or need advice on.  It’s all about encouraging gardeners, especially novice gardeners like me (I wonder how long I can claim that, it’s been a few years since I started gardening, but I certainly don’t feel like an expert at all).

As this is my first contribution and my garden is fairly new I thought I would start at the beginning, with photos of my garden when we moved in four months ago.

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Since then Mr Good and I have designed and built a series of raised beds, erected fences around them to keep the dog off, built a cage for the spuds and a frame for the climbing beams.  I’ve planted seeds to grow in my small greenhouse over the colder months – with varied degrees of success.  I was gifted some wonderful tomato seedlings.  I’ve pulled weeds from the entire bed running along our eastern boundary, finding some stray mint plants as I went.  I’ve planted a pear tree and some beetroot seeds in the front garden.  Learned how to prune roses (I need to go harder next year!), sprinkled a collection of flower seeds and planted some cuttings in the front garden and along the side of the fence and have started a new garden bed in the front running along the veranda.  This will be home to a couple of pelagonias and geraniums I grew from cuttings a couple of years ago, plus some other flower seedlings Miss Four and I planted in a seed tray a few weeks ago (again the selection and scattering was quite random so who knows what will come up).

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As for what’s being planted in the vegetable garden beds in the back yard, I have planted one entire bed (the smallest) with three types of strawberries, eleven plants in total.  The second smallest bed now has beans planted at the back to climb up the frame against the shed wall and four tomatoes in front of them (one each of the following: wild sweetie, green zebra, Janne  Flame (?) and brown berry).  I also scattered some basil and lettuces seeds in front and between the tomatoes.

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The two large L shaped beds have not been entirely planted out yet and the plants that I have put in are something of a mystery as my ingenious labeling methods wasn’t so ingenious and now I have no idea what is what.  I have a tray with zucchinis, cucumbers and pumpkins planted in it and I’m pretty sure the two that I’ve planted out are zucchinis but to be honest they could be any of them.  The rest of them need a little longer in the seed trays before transplanting.

The rest of my seeds have either come up and then withered (the tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums) or haven’t germinated at all (corn, rocket, lettuce and leeks).  I think this is mostly because they were at the top of the greenhouse where it gets too hot.  I need to get a piece of shade cloth or something to give that top section a bit of protection.  I also experimented with planting seeds in egg cartons as I’d seen a few others do, but nothing came up at all.  They seemed to dry out really quickly.  I thought it would be the opposite with the cardboard absorbing some moisture and then releasing it back to the plants later.  Apparently not.  Again these were at the top of the green house, so it’s perhaps worth another try with them lower down.

Finally I have a pot of basil going well in the green house which will eventually live on the deck when the plants are a little bigger and several sage and rosemary cuttings growing nicely which will be transplanted into the front garden.

Still on my to do list is to install an irrigation system (argh, sounds expensive!) so that I don’t have to water everything by hand and so that we can use a timer to water while we’re away in December.  Obviously the rest of the beds need to be planted out which I will do direct with seeds and see how they go.  I’m thinking of corn, tomato, eggplant, capsicum (late I know, but I thought I’d experiment), more lettuce, rocket, pak choy plus some flowers including sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds and a few others.  The front garden is still very much a work in progress and my plans change constantly.  At this point I intend to remove the grass gradually and plant our the entire space, except for a path from gate to front door and to allow access to the gas and electricity meters.  The planting will be a mixture of edibles and ornamentals with a cottage feel which will suit the house.  I’d love plants suggestions suitable to the cold Ballarat climate.

The challenges have been many so far, but mostly relating to finding the time (preferably without a two and four year old helper) to do the big jobs I want to do.  The weather is also something I’m slowly adapting too.  I think I planted my potatoes too early (they’ve been in for several weeks and haven’t popped up yet), plus I was slow getting the cage around them and the dog took a liking to sleeping on that particular bed.  And obviously I had issues with the greenhouse – which I need in this colder climate to get some seeds started – that I will hopefully overcome soon.

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17 Responses to November in My Garden

  1. renlikesred says:

    Wow! You’ve achieved so much, well done! It looks great 🙂 I hope all those strawberries serve you well, imagine that! The girls will be in heaven! Have you used those tomato cages before? I’ve been wondering about using them as last year I was forever staking and restaking my tomatoes which never produced much and were in a terrible sunless spot. I hope for better results in full sun this year 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks Ren, we’re getting there. I can’t wait to look at it all when there’s lots of growth rather than the bare earth or straw we have now. I can’t wait for the strawberries, I hope we have a glut, though keeping the girls from eating them all might be the biggest challenge. Haven’t used the tomato cages before either, I’ll let you know how I go with them. Staking them is a pain and yours will love the sunnier position.

  2. This is coming into our 2nd season with our gardens so there are a few things harvestable. Our purple sprouting broccoli is at the very end of its season, most of it in yellow bloom. I need to harvest the seeds soon. 🙂 Our 3 varieties of broad beans are ripening up – Dulce which are nearly ready to pick, red flowering and black flowering, both which are just setting beans now. I have 3 beds of garlic which worry me as I’ve had what I think are onion maggots in 3 bulbs (pulled out and disposed of) and the rest may or may not have them too. I’m worried that we may harvest nothing. 😦
    I have a bed with leeks and onions too. The leeks are delicious and have beautiful fat heads which make our omelettes simply divine and some of the onions have nice bulbs too. Most of them didn’t grow though so I think I need to sweeten (lime) the soil next time before planting them. Lessons learned. 🙂 The potato onions are coming along too as are the carrots between their rows which are only an inch high.
    Out the front yard we’re getting our hugelkultur beds in place. They’re raised beds built up on wooden logs which rot down, sequestering carbon and returning it to the soil. They hold moisture too. 🙂 We harvested our first strawberry from one of our pondside hugels this week too. Delicious!
    The greenhouse has spuds everywhere (tried to get a jump on the season), 2 more cauliflowers to ripen (I picked another last night), several trays of seedlings, a higgelty pigglety mix of tomatoes, a few Parisien Pickling cucumbers, some rosemary, parsley (2 varieties) agastache, basil, cucumbers and more. I hope to plant some out soon.
    I know it sounds like we’re getting lots from the gardens but it’s been quite small amounts really. Still, it’s exciting and all coming together. Dinner last night was almost exclusively from the gardens (the last beetroot, a cauli, a leek, chooky eggs, broccoli sprouts – added cheese and milk for cheesy broc and cauli and then omelettes) so that feels pretty good. 😀

    • Barbara Good says:

      Love the variety, and I’m sure you will get large quantities in time. I love the three different colours flowering broad beans, I’ll look out for them next year. Onion maggots don’t sound good at all, not something I’ve encountered before. It would be a real pity if you lost all your garlic, I’m still eating the bulbs we grew last year, but only have two left so will have to start buying it again soon. I’ve been meaning to plant some more leek seeds, I’ve never had any luck at all with them, but I love leeks so I will continue to try.

      Your dinner sounds great, it such a satisfying feeling when so much of it comes from your own hard work.

      • It is so exciting to know that almost all your dinner comes from your garden isn’t it. I hope we can get Anna the goat into kid soon as it means we will have our own milk and I pick up my cheese kit today. Quiche in future will have everything home grown except the butter (goats milk is naturally homogenised so the cream doesn’t separate like cows mik) and the buckwheat flour (which we can definitely grow).
        My leeks I sowed in the ground in the greenhouse and I think that helped. I’m lousy at remembering to water daily so punnets dry out too fast. A mister system for the greenhouse is on the cards one day though. Onion maggots ruin the bulb as they eat it. The flies lay their eggs near the base of the leaves and the maggots hatch and eat down. I can’t plant alliums in that bed now for 6 years I believe. And there is precious little I could find to treat them organically. 😦 Holding my breath I tell you.

      • Barbara Good says:

        ‘Growing’ you own milk, now that really is a step in the sustainability journey.

  3. Gustoso says:

    Your garden is progressing well. Welcome to the group.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks Gustoso, I’m happy to be a part of it, to gather a bit more knowledge and get motivation and inspiration from others. I’ll be over to check out yours later tonight.

  4. Wow! Barbara you have achieved such alot in a short space of time. You will have amazing fresh produce to collect in no time 🙂 Great to have you join the group. I look forward to following your progress.

  5. Welcome to the GSC family!! I can’t wait to see your progress over the next few months, you’re certainly off to a fabulous start 🙂

  6. donnadoll74 says:

    It looks great! You’ve done so much in four months, and with little ones too. Well done!

  7. I love watching a new garden get transformed, looks like you will have quite a lot of veggies once things start taking off. Learning about a new climate is always challenging. Even where I grew up and from when I was living in the city is different to where I am now. They are all ins a 200km radius but micro-climates exists and they have really made me think more about what to and what not to plant when. If you think your put your spuds in too early because it was cold, they should be ok as long as you have not had heaps of rain and they rotted in the ground otherwise there is still a good chance they will come up.

    • Barbara Good says:

      I hope I’ll have lots of veggies Lizzie, that’s the idea and I can’t wait to ditch my weekly trip to the green grocer and just head out to the garden instead.

      We have had a lot of rain since I planted the spuds so they could have rotted in the ground. Having said that I have noticed a few pop their heads through in the last day or two. I hope there will be more to com.

  8. Louie says:

    Looks like you have a great set up with the garden beds and have achieved a lot so far. I empathize with the dogs laying in the beds as my two seem to be forever sneaking a wonder through ours as well 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one with a wayward dog in the back yard. I’ve just stuck a bunch of bamboo skewers in the garden beds, pointy end up, to try and deter our dog. Let’s hope it works.

  9. Welcome – I am a newbie myself 🙂 Wow I am impressed with what you have achieved with two little ones in tow. I think dogs lying on your vegetable beds might be more destructive than my toads 🙂

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