Thursday, December 6, 2012

The great garden experiment #5

There's lots of greenery in the garden, it's been raining a lot when it hasn't been 30+ degrees resulting in lots of foliage growth + things flourishing. My diverse range of tomato, eggplant and zucchini/squash plants are all healthy and at various stages of growth with lots of flowers that have yet to bare ripe fruit. I think give it another two weeks and I should be harvesting ever second day.
Purple and green Cos lettuces, mixed capsicums and herbs are small and healthy and the corn + potatoes are taking on height. My basil so far is surviving the changes in weather and heat, it would be great for them to grow into bushes of basil for my favourite pesto and pizzas throughout Summer.
One lesson the garden continues to teach me is there is no promises of a great crop just because things start out ideal. It's a gamble and it depends on so many factors outside of our control and doing.
I've been busy pulling out old snow pea plants, parsley, kale and silverbeet that were finished and turning over three sections of my veggie garden getting it ready for new seeds/seedlings + mulch. I was lucky to take my tee pees from one section of the garden and simply reposition them over climbing beans, tomatoes and cucumbers for use for another season without having to restring them with twine a real time saver.
I'm finding my belly is getting bigger at 36 weeks + if I don't get this done now there's little hope of it getting done till mid January when my energy returns by that time I would have missed the opportunity for a season of fresh veggies to grow and be harvested. I know time's running out.

          The bamboo that was invading the broad beans has been cut down after the final harvest of our Spring broad beans and I'm leaving that area bare for the two pumpkin plants to spread there foliage over and claim for hopefully a plentiful supply of pumpkins for the colder months. Pumpkins needs loads of room and I'm not going to try to cram a lot in as they'll only take over and smoother little seedlings. Last year we had so much water that most of our pumpkins rotted on the vine so fingers crossed this year things will be different.

The garlic tops began to dry last fortnight so I dug out our garlic patch only to find half my garlic still there. At some point the neighbours cats thought it funny to dig them up leaving me with only two plentiful garlic strings of organic garlic for my efforts. It seems only I will be having garlic for next year till the next planting. I could cry at the thought of my garlic crop being a failure this year last year I produced 18 strings of garlic for presents + some for replanting when cats didn't live next-door. But there's always zucchini pickle to make over the Christmas period if I get my timing right. It these times when I realise my garden/space limitations that I dream of the farm we would love to own and all the space I dream of having.
The olive trees are flowering and as I walk by I can smell the sage, oregano and thyme growing around the trunks. It makes me want to roast a chicken in my oven and smoother it in a butter sage sauce with zucchini stuffing and roast vegetables with little new potatoes in a parsley butter sauce. Yum! Comfort food.
My climbing beans are flowering and reaching for the heavens and I've begun to attach twine between the blue staked tee pees to give them more climbing space. It's beginning to resemble a ropes course.
My cucumbers are beginning to climb on the two blue staked tee pees in front of my zucchini row and it would make Miss Two happy if I can produce enough cucumbers for her daily salad + antipasto lunches.
My garden resembles a green jungle with things nestled in together but with limited space I've got to be a little creative and there's something comforting walking out and seeing all the life contained in my little garden.
The sunflowers have come up in four positions in the garden and are at varying heights it's my hope it'll bring the bees and birds and help with pollination and create a perfect situation for summer-long bean and vegetable production.
I'm planning on seeding a carrot + lettuce bed next week near the brick wall by the front door so we have carrots and lettuce close at hand. I'm beginning to think of using plastic gutter guard secured with sticks to try to keep the cats from digging things up. It's so frustrating to put in all this work with little result because my garden's become a playground for Jack the Ginger cat that's befriended Miss Two as a playmate and his two siblings.

How are your vegetable patches going? What's growing, what's struggling? I'd love to hear all about it, leave a comment or email us some photos that we can share. If you have any advice about how to deal with cats please tell me. The citrus lemon peels have been great at deterring them from my beans and zucchini's plants but there has to be more I can do.

Happy gardening everyone!

X Mummafox
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