Garden Share Collective – March

The last few weeks of February and the start of March have been so pleasant it’s been a joy to get back into the garden.  Sadly time constraints have meant I haven’t done all I wanted but I’ve made a good start.  And as always this little review is being shared with the Garden Share Collective crew, a source of wonderful inspiration and advice, and hosted by Lizzie from Strayed from the Table.  I urge you to check out the other sharers, you’ll be sure to pick up a few tips along the way.

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The major development in the garden this month is all down to the very clever Mr Good, who finished off half the recycled brick paths around the raised beds he also built for me.  When we moved into this house last July there was a fairly useless paved area near the clothesline.  Both were in the way of future veggie patch plans and also had to be dug up in order to run electricity to the back shed.  We opted to keep the bricks and Mr Good cleaned them all, scraped the cement off them and has reused them as our paths.  It’s so nice to walk around the beds – dodgying the sprawling and monstrous tomato plants – on proper paths as opposed to muddy or dusty dirt pits.  There’s still more to do, but we will need to source more bricks for those so it might be a while off.

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My new garden paths – can you see them under the sand that needs to work its way into the gaps.

As for the plants, everything is going well now that the extreme heat has left us.  The tomatoes and strawberries are ripening well and I’m picking them every couple of days.  I also have heaps of runners coming off the strawberries.  I’m thinking of getting these to grow in pots and the snipping the running off when the new plant gets going.  I need to dig this garden bed up and then deal with the rampant kykuyu grass before I can plant it out again.  I assume this is a job I should leave til winter when the strawberry plants won’t mind being moved.  The early tomato plants are also starting to look pretty ragged and probably won’t stay in the ground too much longer.

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Believe it or not, these are all sprawling out-of-control tomatoes.  I did a terrible job of staking them this year!

The zucchini has had a couple of spurts putting out half a dozen big fruit at once, but has now slowed to just one or two a week.  The cucumber on the other hand went berzerk and at one point I picked ten or eleven cucumbers in one week.  I’m still picking five or six a week.  After such a slow start I sure am pleased it finally got there.

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The corn is only days away from being picked.  I thought it would have been ready a little earlier, but the sneak peaks I took still looked a bit insipid instead of a creamy yellow.  I hope I haven’t left it too late now.  I’m going to try picking one or two tomorrow night and cook them on the BBQ with some beef kebabs.

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The potato bed is look very much the worse for wear?  Should I dig these up now or wait until they die back even further?  And the greens, except the ever reliable silverbeet (chard), have all either given up after the long hot or gone to flower.  The herbs on the other hand have been going well, I’ve been picking lots of basil, piles of mint, bay leaves and a little parsley – a plant that never really got going this year, time to replant I think.

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I’ve been enjoying the flowers we have on show this month too.  Gorgeous cosmos, marigolds and especially the glorious, vibrant zinnias I have growing out the front.

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The girls and I have finally started seed planting for our winter garden, also a little later than I would have liked.  So far we have planted sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, red cabbage, kale, spring onions and rocket.  Still to plant is some parsley from seed a collected at Mum’s last weekend, purple sprouting broccoli, normal broccoli, mini cauliflowers, mini cabbage, more silverbeet, turnips, fennel, beetroot.  I have been much more careful with the labelling this time around so all going well I’ll actually know what is what when it comes to planting out.

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On the to do list for the coming month is more planting of seeds and caring for seedlings if they come up.  To be honest I’ve never been that great at getting seeds to grow in seed trays, or if they do they get ‘stuck’ and then die as tiny wee things that never really grew.  I’m much better at planting direct, but that would require room to plant them.  Some of the garden beds will probably get cleaned out this month too and then replenished with sheep poo and more pea straw.  Mr Good has plans for a watering system – how fabulous – which he will do as I clear the beds out and before they get planted again.

I need to thank everyone for the advice from last month about my struggle lemon tree.  I took your advice and gave it a good feed with citrus fertilizer, mulched the top of the pot and keep the water up to it.  Mr Good has also been playing his part too if you catch my drift.  I’ve been adding worm wee or seasol to the watering can every week or two as well.  It has definitely picked up, the leaves are lovely and green and it has started to flower again…. but it hasn’t really put on any new growth of leaves which I had expected it would do before flowering.

Well that’s my month in the garden.  What’s yours been like?

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13 Responses to Garden Share Collective – March

  1. My parsley didn’t work well this year either. Everything else looks like it went well for you though. What have you been making with so many cucumbers? Hope your corn was amazing 🙂

  2. Sounding similar to yours but much less productive. My zuke has been a steady producer, no gluts, no monsters (although a couple got away from me a little) and I’m picking strawberries and cherry toms regularly. I’ve harvested spuds and have a lot more to come (I hope). My back veggie patch looks lie it should around Christmas time with lame tomatoes, pathetic pumpkins and although my corn has cobs, the bushes are all about 50-70cm tall and I’m not feeling too hopeful. 😦 Still, I’ve come to love gardening this year and learned a heap so not all lost. I too have strawberry runners, I’m harvesting buttercup pumpkins and still looking for female flowers on my other pumpkin vines. The summer was either too cold or too hot and the warm times too short. No pumpkin crop for me but they did improve the soil for me so not a total loss.
    I too have planted winter crops. I bought some punnets at Bunnings on Saturday (I just can’t resist) and I have onions, leeks, spring onions, red cabbage, green cabbage, cauliflowers and green brussel sprouts planted out and I sowed seeds for green and purple sprouting broccoli, heading green broccoli, green, white, purple/pink cauliflowers, red cabbage, green cabbage and red and green brussel sprouts too. My hubby and Jas both love the sprouts. I’ll be planting out potato onions in a few weeks and garlic will be in soon too. I think I enjoy winter gardening more than summer gardening to be honest. No cabbage moths to fight, less watering needed and by far and away less maintenance. 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      I found one of those monster zukes this afternoon – I certainly missed that one on my regular inspections. Our spuds are going to be harvested this weekend I think, not holding out too much hope for them though. My corn has been great – had more tonight YUM! Wonder what’s going on in your back garden? Not enough sun, crap soil??

      So glad you’re enjoying that garden so much, it really is relaxing isn’t it. Impressive that you’ve planted winter crops already, hope they do well for you. I too like gardening in autumn/winter more than spring/summer. Can’t say I’m with your husband on the sprouts… unless they’re cooked in lots of butter and bacon (how healthy). What are potato onions? I’ve never heard of them.

      • Potato onions are just onions but they grow and multiply like potatoes do. Plant 1 bulb and harvest heaps. I had 1 bulb multiply into 19! Yes, smaller than normal brown onions but I can live with peeling 3 onions in place of 1 for the sheer ease of growing them. No fiddly seeds, no tiny strands of grass-like onion seedlings to deal with, just a nice big bulb.
        My back garden is both. Crap soil and there is a large tree that shades a lot of the garden but even so the plans in the sunny areas aren’t thriving so I’d say soil. Put in heaps of work today though and feeling like I’m on my way to better soil now. And the neighbours told me the tree is coming out. 😀
        I too love winter gardening a whole lot more. No standing for ages watering and worrying about the water billand drought stricken veggies all in 1 thought, no scorching days to roast plants down to the roots and a whole lot less insects to deal with. 🙂

      • Barbara Good says:

        Oh, I totally need those onions. I’ll have to hunt some down.

      • http://www.yelwekfarmoca.com.au
        Let them know I’ve sent you. 😉 The brown ones I have bring tears to my eyes just like a standard onion does and the white ones make the best salad onions or pickling onions. I’ve been making fermented cocktail onions (http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/03/52-weeks-of-bad-a-bacteria-week-12-pickled-lacto-fermented-onions/ like sauerkraut style pickled onions) from them and they have been so well received we have literally sextupled our white onion planting plans. Yep, instead of 200g I planted last year I have in the order of 1.something kilos of them to plant out! Between that and our extended garlic plans… No vamps here. 😀

  3. Rachel and Jamie says:

    Looks like your crop survived the heat better than ours! Most impressed with your cucumbers, but what did you do with them all? We still haven’t sown our seeds, but will hopefully get to them this weekend. We bought some new ones from Diggers that we haven’t tried before – parsley/parsnip, purple broccoli and green cauliflower. Hopefully, they all grow well!

    • Barbara Good says:

      The cucumbers snuck up on me and came in in a flood. I made ten jars of cucumber pickles with them! That should see us through the year along with some zucchini pickles and green tomato pickles. Good luck with your new seeds.

      • We are currently making our way through tons of watermelon. This weekend I made watermelon rind pickle. Apparently it tastes great with cheese and wine so I couldn’t resist!

  4. Your corn is taller than the fence – that is awesome. It is definitely time to start planting for winter after our lousy summer this year. I would love a watering system – do keep us posted on that.

  5. narf77 says:

    My parsley is having a hard time for some reason and is straggly…I have a plethora of green tomatoes and like you, my corn is just about to be harvested. I LOVE those colourful zinneas and if you need a hand digging up those spuds I will send you my Garden Chook…she is doing a sterling job of uprooting EVERY BLOODY THING in my garden 😉

  6. Pingback: Garden Share Collective: March 2014

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