Monday, May 04, 2009

Vegetable Garden - Approaching Winter

I spent Saturday afternoon trying to finish the border around my latest veggie garden. We harvested the last of the butternut pumpkins the week before and I have enclosed the area where they grew with grey concrete blocks to match two previously created gardens.
Demonstrating my usual DIY aptitude, I built a low, crooked retaining wall. Hopefully next weekend I can correct the mistakes I made and straighten it up. I think the extent of the crookedness is emphasised because the garden is in direct line-of-sight from the back door.

Taking the photo at night helps to hide the shoddiness of my work.

At least now, through trial and (multiple) error, I have a clearer idea of how to do the job right and can hopefully improve the appearance.

I’ll probably make this new garden into a no-dig area, building up various layers of organic materials which will hopefully break down into a reasonable quality soil. The first layer will be a combination of chopped up pumpkin plant and part-ready compost. On top of this I’ll start with layers of newspaper, composted cow manure and straw. Time will tell how successful this approach will be and how long it will take before it’s ready for use.

The beds I created earlier (the borders of which also need a bit of maintenance) seem to be going well. The first was started with beetroot, pak choy, snow peas, and sugar snaps. I also used an area close to the back to plant some excess Russian garlic cloves and the last of a packet of radish seeds. The radishes were picked and eaten over the weekend.

One row of beetroot looks like being the best I’ve grown, but the second row is too close to the pak choy and is being overwhelmed by pak choy leaves.
The snow peas look very healthy but aren’t yet producing many pods. The sugar snaps are a total disappointment, and have barely grown more than 6 inches. I’ve never had much luck with Sugar snaps.

In the other bed we had a very good crop of beans (as mentioned previously) and I’ve now reclaimed part of the bed to grow broccoli. After an initial caterpillar attack the plants are now growing well. A couple of applications of derris dust seem to have solved the problem.

Immediately behind the broccoli I sowed two rows of mini-turnip seeds. On Saturday I saw the first signs of germination, so they seem to be going well. The Kohlrabi seeds I sowed into punnets at the same time aren’t yet showing the same promise.

Sometime soon I’ll have to find somewhere to plant out the two types of onions that are now ready in punnets. I have a lot more onion seed to sow including a new packet of Barletta that I recently received from the Digger’s Club. We had a lot of success with onions last year, especially with Barletta. Unfortunately onions take so long to mature that they tie up an area of garden for several months. Successful management of garden space is not one of my strong points so slow maturing things like onions and garlic can be a problem in making the best practical use of my garden.


Jamie said...

Hi Onesimus
Thanks for visiting my blog and your info on the garlic growing, so I thought I'd pop on over to see how you're doing at your blog. I feel envious of all the space you have, and it looks like you're using it all very well!
One vegie I noticed you mentioned, kohlrabi, is interesting me right now. I've never grown it or cooked it, but I was planning to have a go at both this year. Apparently it's another Brassica, so it's a good winter veg. It's meant to taste like turnip, so it'd be good in soups and stews. Apparently it needs high-nitrogen fertiliser, steady moisture, and it's best to harvest them young and small – about tennis ball size. That's about all I know so far!
Cheers - Jamie

Onesimus said...

Hi Jamie,
I have only recently started looking around for other blogs related to gardening (preferably Australian) and yours was one of the first good ones I found.

I think space is in the eye of the beholder.
My block has been shrinking ever since I moved into the house.

After living in a Sydney home unit for 13 years the block seemed massive. But now, even with the removal of a large Cootamundra Wattle, a peach tree and an orange tree, the back yard seems smaller than when we moved in.

My ambitions always seem bigger than the resources at hand - but then again they are also bigger than my practical abilities.

I've known about kohlrabi for many years (my wife and I once played a game where we needed to come up with the name of a vegetable beginning with "K") but I've never grown or eaten one.
I got a packet of seed from the diggers club a few weeks ago as part of my membership and I'm keen to see how they go.
They'll hoepfully go well in one of my wife's winter casseroles.

Good to hear from you,