Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Broad Beans

I had never grown broad beans before this year, I had tried them once many years ago and didn't like them so I never bothered with them.  
Since becoming a vegetarian earlier this year I found I needed to expand the variety of vegetables I eat so I decided to give them another go and I'm glad 😊 I did. Apart from the fact that they are easy to grow, and the flowers have the most amazing fragrance and the bees love them, they are delicious! What's not to like?

There are several varieties that you can grow, the type I grew this year was Early Long Pod and despite the fact that I didn't sow until July they still did exceptionally well. 

Next year as well as growing the Early Long Pod again I want to grow the Crimson Flowered variety too if for no other reason then the  gorgeous flowers.

Have you grown broad beans before? What was your experience with them?

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

October, Where Did You Go?

Well, that was the shortest month ever! I know this year is flying by, but October seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.
It's been a while since I did a garden update and it's time I rectified that. October, and September for that matter have been strange month's weather wise, very wet, cold and windy, but despite the unseasonable weather the plants in the veggie garden have been doing their own thing and apart from the garlic I'm really pleased with the harvests I have been getting.

The asparagus this year were a little less prolific than normal, but nonetheless delicious.

The peas on the other hand went a little crazy due I think to all the rain we've had.
Of the four different types of podding peas I grew this year my favourite was the Telephone peas, the Purple podded were also very nice so these are the two that I will be growing next year.

I trialled growing potatoes in pots this year and while it wasn't an outstanding success it wasn't a complete failure either.
On the plus side, they were the most delicious potatoes I've ever eaten, so creamy and I will be growing them again next winter.
A mix of Kestrel, Red Delight, Dutch Cream and Kipfler.
I grew Broad Beans for the first time this year, they are covered in flowers which the bees love and they have been visiting every afternoon.

 It looks like they have done a good job of pollination as there are a lot of beans developing.

While the plants have been busy growing I've been busy in the greenhouse sowing seeds for spring/summer.
So far I've sown seeds for pumpkins, zucchinis, cucumber, rockmelon and watermelon. The pumpkins and zucchini were planted out in the garden yesterday and the cucumbers have been planted in a large pot down near the house where they will have a bit more protection from the summer sun, the watermelon and rockmelon still having some growing to do before they are planted out.

Seeds for tomatoes (seven different varieties), capsicum (three varieties), and eggplant (two varieties), have been sown, but they haven't all been successful. Only three of the seven tomatoes germinated, one of the eggplant and none of the capsicum. I have re-sown four seeds each of the ones that didn't germinate in the hopes that I will get at least one of each.

Bean seeds (Borlotti, Brown Beauty, Tender Delight, and Butter Bean) were direct sown into the soil and while they all germinated the earwigs have had a field day with them and not all have survived, those that have are growing well, but I have sown more in pots in the greenhouse and will plant them out when they are big enough. Leeks, shallots, sage and Thai basil are all slowly emerging too.

So there you go, October in the garden, despite the weather it was an especially busy time and I am looking forward to reaping the rewards of all my hard work in the coming weeks. What's been happening in your garden?






Saturday, 29 October 2016

Veggie Garden Inspiration

We all love our vegetable garden to be productive that goes without saying, but is it possible to have a vegetable that is not only productive, but beautiful as well. Below are some ideas that just might help to achieve that.

First Impressions

Create a beautiful entrance to your vegetable garden with an arbour, gate and fence.
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Add A Focal Point With A Garden or Potting Shed

All gardeners need somewhere to store their plant pots, potting mix and gardening tools, but that doesn't mean that garden/potting sheds have to be boring boxes made of corrugated iron, they can be anything you want, pretty, whimsical or cottagey .

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If you don't have enough room for a large shed what about a tool shed.

They can be simple,
An old dunny (outhouse) has been given a new purpose.
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or extravagant,
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or something in between.
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Add Vertical Height

Whether you choose to DIY or to buy commercially made, an obelisk or a trellis can add some much needed vertical interest to a garden.


Layout - Forget the Rectangle

Instead of laying out the veggie garden in rectangles try adding some curves.
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or maybe triangles.
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Visual Interest

Plant out blocks of colour with lettuce, kale, bok choi, or cabbages for some visual interest.

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Add Seating

You've put a lot of hard work into your garden so if you have the room why not create a seating area in the veggie garden, somewhere to have a cuppa or a glass of beer or wine and enjoy it.
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Plant Flowers

Don't forget to plant flowers, they make all areas of a yard instantly beautiful.
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And when you've planted the flowers why not add a home for the busy pollinators in your garden.
I can just see this nestled in amongst the perennials growing in my insect garden.
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So there you are, just a few ideas to inspire you to add some beauty to your vegetable garden or perhaps you already have, if so I'd love to hear about it.

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know

Thursday, 29 September 2016

What's My Gardening Philosophy?

Welcome to this months Garden Share Collective, hosted by Kate from Rosehips and Rhubarb and Krystie from A Fresh Legacy. This months theme is PHILOSOPHY.

My gardening philosophy is to keep things as simple and easy as possible by cutting down on the amount of work that I need to do in the garden, and only growing the vegetables that my family and I enjoy eating.

Growing vegetables can be hard work if you let it be, so here are a few things that I have found that have made it a little easier for me. 

Install a watering system - Watering (especially in summer) takes up a lot of a gardener's time, and I don't know anyone who enjoys standing out in the summer heat watering the gardens to keep plants alive, installing a water system not only cuts down on the amount of time you need to spend in the garden, it also cuts down on water wastage.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch - I cannot stress enough how important mulch is in the vegetable garden or any garden for that matter. It helps keep the soil cool, which creates a good environment for earthworms who in turn help break down the mulch which enriches the garden's soil. It helps to keep the  soil moist, which means less time spent watering, and it suppresses weed growth which is always a good thing. *Gardening Australia's Peter Cundall does advise against mulching onions as they need the warmth of the sun to swell and ripen. 

Invest in insect netting - If you don't like the idea of using pesticides in the veggie garden then you may want to buy yourself some of this, it will not only stop the White Cabbage butterfly laying her eggs on your brassica plants, but it will also prevent a myriad other insects devouring your vegetables. Old net curtains bought from your local op shop will work too, as long as it has a very fine weave.

Only grow what you like to eat - Those glossy purple eggplants might look delicious hanging on the plant, but if no-one eats them, they will only go to waste, the same goes for trying to grow veggies that aren't suited to your local growing conditions, so save yourself the time, money and stress, find out what your family likes and dislikes and do some research on your growing area before you plant anything. 

So, that's my gardening philosophy, I guess it's nothing new, but it works for me, and I hope you find some of it helpful.

Harvesting

Lots of peas, Oregon and Melting Mammoth snowpeas, Purple Podded, Telephone, Early Crop Massey, Blue Bantam and Sugar Snap peas. 
Oregon snowpeas.

Purple Podded peas.

Early Crop Massey and Blue Bantam peas

Harvesting them has been made considerably harder by an unexpected guest.
Mother Blackbird sitting on the nest she made amongst the Telephone pea vines.
And the eggs she is sitting on.
I harvested the last of the cauliflowers which was small but perfect.

Also in the picture is the last of the asparagus. They did not do as well this year as in previous years and I only picked enough for a couple of meals, it could have had something to do with all the rain we've had over the last few months, but I'm not really sure.

My only other harvest for this month wasn't edible, but it did make me very happy.
Sweet peas, so beautiful and their fragrance (especially the white ones) is divine.

 I had forgotten how much pleasure growing your own flowers can bring and I will be making sure that these won't be the last for the year.

Sowing

The last lot of seeds I sowed was in early August and not one seed germinated, I blame it on the seed raising mix I used, it was a lesser known brand and it dried out very quickly. I have since bought a better quality seed raising mix and on Tuesday I sowed not only this month's seeds, but last months as well. I won't bore you with the names of all of them, there was a lot, I just hope that they germinate this time. I also direct sowed five varieties of bean seed.

Things to do

Lots of waiting happening at the moment. Waiting for seeds to germinate, waiting for the seed pods to form on the broccoli plants, waiting for eggs to hatch and baby birds to fledge, and waiting for peas to finish their growing season, so there isn't a lot I can do in the garden at the moment. As soon as all that happens, I will be able to sow the corn, the pumpkins and the salad greens. I am growing tomatoes, capsicums, chillies in pots again this year, hopefully next year I will be able to start growing them back in the garden again, and as I've never had any luck growing cucumbers in the garden I will be growing them in pots as well. I need to get the chick peas in soon as they need quite a long growing season, hopefully that will happen this weekend.

That's it for this month's Garden Share Collective, If you'd like to know the gardening philosophy of other GSC members drop by Krystie or Kate's blog. See you next month.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Pea Update

The peas are coming on nicely now and over the next two weeks I am expecting a glut of Purple Podded peas,  

but for now I have to content myself with snow peas.

These are Oregon snow peas and after giving them another chance this year I have decided that they're just not for me. They aren't as sweet as Mammoth Melting, the peas develop very quickly and if you're not quick to pick them, you end up with podded peas instead of snow peas.

The Blue Bantam and Early Crop Massey (both podded peas) are doing OK, not producing massive amounts, but enough.
A combination of Blue Bantam and Early Crop Massey.

The Telephone pea vines are covered in flowers and pea pods and should  give a reasonable harvest and I'm hoping the Sugar snaps will too.

My favourite pea by far this year is not even of the edible variety, but their fragrance, and their lovely colours more than make up for it.



I didn't know that sweet peas came in white I will definitely be saving seeds for next year.

My biggest mistake, and one I won't be repeating next year, was planting the rows of peas too close together. They are now all tangled together and trying to separate them is a pain.