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2 September 2010

In the vegetable patch

You all know I love Winter but it's the second day of Spring today and we're in those transition days from cool to warm.  It's an absolute joy now to walk in the garden, looking, picking, tying back, clipping and even weeding.  My favourite times in the garden all through the year are very early in the morning at first light, and late in the afternoon when the trees on the neighbouring property shade our garden.  Hanno was out all day yesterday driving a group of ladies around the thrift shops.  I was in charge of the garden.  :- )  We're going out of our main growing season now and heading towards a time when we'll harvest a lot of tomatoes.  In november or December, Hanno will stop planting and although we'll continue harvesting over summer, no new plants will go in.  

This is what it looks like now.

These are the new tomatoes Hanno planted outside the garden.  Hettie, our cat, lays in the straw almost all day, sleeping.

There are a few types of Chinese greens here including bok choy, tatsoi and minuba.

Frilly lettuce is planted next to the Chinese greens and in between those crops we have a lush crop of chickweed.  I tend to think of that as a crop because we use it to feed the chooks.  They love it.

The elderberry is flowering.  I am going to take some cuttings and propagate this to give us enough berries to make champagne each Christmas.  We won't do it this year, but from next year we should be right.

Tomatoes and lettuce.

Garlic and zucchini.

New bok choi, tomatoes in the background, leeks in the top left corner and new cucumbers on the climbing frame.

In the next garden over, a big clump of parsley in the foreground, more lettuce, silverbeet (swiss chard) and the white flowering coriander/cilantro.

The same garden taken from the other end.  Here you can see Welsh onions and climbing green beans, just starting to attach themselves to their frame.

Same garden, looking back into the main garden.

Yarrow in the foreground, celeriac, silverbeet/swiss chard, kale and snow peas.  I will harvest all that silverbeet today and have it frozen by early afternoon.

Looking back onto the Chinese greens again, this time with the orange tree, bay tree (cut back) and passionfruit vines in the background.

And while I wandered around, watering and checking, eyes were upon me.  Notably those of Quentin, our Light Sussex chook.  She is upset that I am in there and she isn't.  Potatoes will soon be planted in that bare patch near the chook fence.

Our garden isn't big.  It's divided up into six beds, with herbs growing in pots near the bird baths.  Outside the fenced garden we have a lemon tree, which grows in the chook run, as well as passionfruit vines, bananas, mandarin, pink grapefruit, avocados and loquat trees.  This is more than enough food for us, and to share with family and friends.  I hope all of you who are starting gardens now or who are thinking about it, dive right in to the world of home grown vegetables and fruit.  The difference in freshness and the superb taste of backyard vegetables and fruit, is enough to keep you going year after year.  Happy gardening everyone!


  1. I love when the veggie garden looks like yours does now! We're colder than you so I just have some winter brassicas in just now, but all my seeds are potted up and ready for planting in about October, then it's busy busy! Your Asian greens are gigantic!!

  2. We are just going into Fall here in the Valley of the Sun, and I will begin planting my winter garden. I don't have nearly as large an area as you, since I live in the city, but I manage to grow a lot of veggies and herbs nonetheless. Karin

  3. What do you put on your garden? I'm leary about insecticides, but was decimated by grasshoppers this past summer. Thanks.

  4. Kelly, when it is warmer, we'll be under grasshopper and caterpillar attack. We use an organic bacterial control called Dipel.

  5. What a lovely garden you have! Early morning really is the best time- so cool and fresh.
    Summer is just ending here- the Fall winds are starting to come in the form of a energetic breeze, and the apples are reddening on the trees. Our garden is just finishing up- it's time to dig potatoes, the onions are tipping over, and everything else is just finishing up. It is pretty large and getting bigger next year, but gardening is something I love (plus the benefit of good food) so it is worth it. Hope you keep posting garden pictures once in a while- they are some of my favorites, and it will be nice to see someone has growing things elsewhere when I'm covered in snow.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  6. Thanks for sharing your garden. I've been planning ours & hope to get some in as soon as the seeds arrive. Where do you get your seeds from? I decided to use the diggers club this year, but is there elsewhere you would recommend for heirloom seeds?
    Enjoy your beautiful weather - we're in for more rain down here (south west NSW) but it's great for the crops which are finally looking fantastic after years of drought!
    Have a lovely day

  7. Renata, we use Green Harvest, there is a link to them on the right side of the blog. They're local to me but they give excellent postal service and have very good germination rates. You could also try Eden Seeds.

  8. Your vegie patch looks fabulous! I bought some moo-poo yesterday to get my vegie patch going!:-)
    I love your blog, it inspires me all the time!

  9. Your garden is fabulous. I am wondering though how cold your winters get and how hot your summers get. Basically what the climate is like where you live. You have so much growing for early spring. Thanks!

  10. it looks beautiful!

    mmmm, chickens never see it because we eat it ourselves, lol. juiced, it makes a great energizing drink, it can be thrown into salads, casseroles and soups and makes a great healing salve too (great for eczema and psoriasis, especially when combined with plantain).

    my garden was a total failure this year so i enjoy seeing others successes!

  11. Greetings from Ireland. I am so happy to find your blog, and captivated by it. Our daughter is married to an Australian, and living in Brisbane. I am going over for the month of October,and so interested to see what grows in Brisbane.Can't wait to buy fabric,craft supplies, go thrifting, and meet up with some bloggers. Unusual to see Elderflowers. Why not make some Elderflower champagne now with the flower heads. It is my favourite. Here is my recipe to suit what you have.
    4 flower heads ,3/4 lb sugar, 1 tblsp cider vinegar 4 pints of cold water, juice and rind of 1 small lemon. - Put all ingredients into a bucket. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and leave for 24 hours, squeesing the flower heads occasionally. Strian and bottle in screwtop plastic bottles. Ready to use in 3 weeks. Keep in cool dark place. Enjoy! I will email you.

  12. just thought I would take a moment to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I grew up in a household where my mom's motto was "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without". Over the years I have lost sight of that way of living. Thanks to you I am getting back on track. :-) I love the recipes, soap making, bread making, knitting etc. All things dear to my heart. Your lovely photography adds so much to your blog. Keep up the good work.

  13. Hi Jennifer, we live in the sub tropics at the base of the Blackall Range which is one of the ranges that make up the Great Dividing Range. We never have frost or snow but it does get cold. Winter mornings drop to between 2-5C but the days are usually sunny and rise to around 20C. In the summer it's very humid and hot. The average summer temp is the low 30s, but that spikes into the 40s at times. Basically we grow food all year long and the only thing that stops us is the bugs. They build up a lot over summer.

    Thanks for the info about chickweed, Tansy.

    Tiggywinkle, I thought we needed many more heads for champagne. Thanks for the recipe, I'll try it.

    Thanks Linda.

  14. That was great information on chickweed, thanks! It sounds like we have the same climate although ours might be a little colder but not by much. We had great success with the garden this year and the only bugs that are proving themselves bothersome are whiteflies... if anybody has any suggestions to get rid of them...

  15. Looks so inspiring. Fall planting goes in over the next two weeks. Looking at this will help me till the soil. Enjoy the fruits of all of your hard labor

  16. Your garden looks so lovely, Rhonda. Betweenthe blistering heat, the deer and the squirrels, i gave up on our garden. It really wasn't worth even putting in this year. Ah well-there's always next year.....

  17. What a lovely virtual tour, Rhonda. Thank you!

  18. My name is Yentl from the netherlands and your my inspiration.
    Tnaks to you my live is much better!!
    Thank you for everything!
    A big hug from Yentl

  19. Just as you are moving slowly towards Spring, here in England Autumn is certainly on the way. The mornings are much cooler and there is a mist hanging low over the back field. We are all back to school today so veg gardening will have to wait until the weekend now......

  20. Rhonda, The recipe I've given you is for your 4 heads(bracts) of elderflowers. Wait till they are fully open and snowy white. I have made Elderberry Wine with the berries in the Autumn, but I just love the champagne better as a summer drink. You'll love it. Your veggies are amazing.

  21. Rhonda, I think that you and Hanno are a formidable team! Your garden is a dream and the young veggies hold such promise of good home-cooked meals to come. Looking at the pictures of your raised vegetable patches, I was wondering what material you used to surround them? Best wishes.

  22. Yesterday evening as I sat in my front yard sipping some homemade wine a lady walked by and admired my vegetables I had planted in the front yard. I have done this for 3 years now and each year I expand it and all the comments have been positive even though I am the only one growing edibles in the front yard. This lady told me she had convinced her husband to let her plant tomatoes in the front yard next year because she had told him I was doing it. Hurrah! I hope it catches on!!

  23. I love pics of gardens. Give me ideas for my gardens.

    Here in Ontario Canada my gardens are slowly shifting to fall. My tomatoes and cucumbers have finally succumbed to blight (got a good crop regardless) and the fall lettuce seeds are just starting to pop up. Next week I'll be pulling a bunch of spent plants and the gardens will looks pretty bare but this has been the best year yet for produce. Love home grown food.

    I'm planning to add a few more veggie patches next spring. Can't wait.

  24. Rhonda Jean: Such a healthy, beautiful garden. You must embrace weeding :-) I need to get in the habit before it all gets out of hand. TIGGYWINKLE's champagne sounds intriguing!

  25. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden with us! I love to see pictures of it, and to be reminded of the seasons. We're just coming to the end of the summer hear, and starting to head into autumn. I'm harvesting the few things I've grown in my little space, and planning some remodelling works to make the garden a more cheery place to spend time!

    I look forward to seeing more pictures over the spring

  26. Your garden all looks so beautiful!

    We are nearing fall and our garden is looking bare. I hope to have a long fall so we can continue to harvest tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and some of the spinach I recently planted. Likely though the snow will fly in a couple of months, so I have been busy preserving our garden produce.


  27. mm, wish i had more of that warm weather during the winter.
    "dinner table habits" there is quite a bit of research out there to suggest that sitting at the dinner table as a family, no tv, no phones etc is very beneficial, not just to the family unit at the time, but to the long term mental health of children. those that do have better social skills than those who dont, and less behavioural issues. we always sat at the table together. no cell phones of course when i was a teen.


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