DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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10 June 2014

The garden is thriving


Our garden is doing good things this year, thanks to Hanno and all his soil prep and maintenance work. We're eating from the garden most days and it's still overflowing with healthy abundance. I have a bag full of green beans in a plastic bag with a little water in it, sealed off from the air and when I checked them a few hours ago, they were still crisp and green. Just the thing for the green bean salad I want to make for tomorrow's lunch. We'll also have potato, egg and herb salad, just picked red and green lettuce leaves, rich red tomatoes and beetroot. Everything, except for the potatoes, will come from our garden. Our potatoes are growing but they're still about two months off being harvested. I'll serve that salad with the leftover roast pork I cooked for Sunday lunch, and a bit of mayonaisse I'll make from scratch before serving. There may even be warm rye bread with caraway seeds just out of the oven. The possibilities are endless.

Borage is one of the many flowers attracting pollinators to the garden.

I feel rich having a garden. It's so easy to go out and pick herbs for a pot cooking on the stove, or tomatoes for a sandwich, or oranges for a snack or juice, but those simple acts are enriching and empowering and give us the best food possible. We are rich.


We are lucky in that we can grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables here.  We have snow peas, broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages growing because of the cool nights and tomatoes, capsicums, beans and herbs growing because of the warm days.  In the photo above you can see the first of the cauliflowers peeking out. There are also beans, peas, onions, garlic, potatoes, kale, daikon and much more. Sunny and Jamie will be back at the end of the week and it will be such a pleasure to share our vegetables with them again.


Above are cherry tomatoes growing like a house on fire, while furthur over, to the right on the photo below, the large Rouge de Marmande tomato have dropped most of their leaves after producing delicious tomatoes for the past six weeks. They'll be pulled out in the next day or so and will be replaced by sweet peas and Brandywine seedlings. In the meantime we'll survive on the tomatoes in the kitchen, as well as the cherries and Amish Paste.




The chooks feast on a sprouted lettuce. They love eating whatever is thrown over the fence. Except, that is, for Jezebel the big Australorpe girl standing there staring at me.  I took about eight photos and in all of them she's just staring. She's my favourite girl at the moment. I love walking behind them so I can see their downy bottoms from the back. They all look as if they're wearing big black bloomers.


They are the potatoes straight ahead, with beans and passionfruit on the right and cabbages on the left.  In summer, that trellis will provide some good shade for the chook house.


This is part of our parsley patch. It's a good year for parsley. A tip for those who want to grow parsley, buy good heirloom seeds such as Giant of Italy and sow plenty of them in pots. Often it will take a month for parsley to germinate but they can be helped along by watering (once) with a pinch of Epsom Salts in a litre of water, or by soaking the seeds in hot water the night before you intend sowing.  Tend them well in their pots, don't over water, parsley hates too much water, and when they're about two inches tall, transplant them to a full sun position in your garden, close to the edge of the garden to help with frequent harvesting. When the parsley season comes to an end, it will send up a tall flower.  Allow that to develop and turn into seeds. Harvest all of the seeds, and sprinkle some around the garden for the following season.  If they like the place they're growing, parsley will self sow and you won't have to wait for it to germinate in pots again.


The tiny speck in this calendula is a native bee. They're stingless and usually live in holes in tree trunks. These bees produce a delicious concentrated honey that the aboriginal people call "sugar bag".

We are so lucky to have the land, skills and mindset to grow our own vegetables. Not only do they feed our bellies, they feed our souls too. Walking out into a garden I've helped to plant and nurture gives me the feeling of wellbeing that many companies try to sell in the form of vitamin pills and holidays abroad.  Wellbeing is a simple concept though and it's available to everyone who has a flourishing garden and the will to be part of their surroundings.

Don't forget we have a busy Sustainable Backyards section over at the Down to Earth Forums. Robyn and Vikki are the moderators there but we all chime in when we can. If you have any gardening questions, go there and ask. There are many good gardeners there willing to share what they know.


22 comments:

  1. What a beautiful garden! Are you able to grow year round? I understand June 1 was the first day of winter for you. Winter in Missouri is brutal! We can only grow in the garden from about April to early October. I am hoping for a green house one of these years! :) Thank you for showing us your bounty! I truely agree with the "wellbeing" statement! Wish we could bottle that and sell it, right?!

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    1. Yup, all year round here (I'm 'nearish' to Rhonda- about 100km south). Winter can actually be a better season for growing 'summer' crops like tomato. Less bugs and disease. The temperature range for this 'winter' week is minimums of 57F and maximums of 74F.

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  2. We're currently planning our rooftop garden and I can't wait to have access to all that produce without leaving the house. We are planning for a stingless sugarbee hive too, for pollination and honey. I love being connected to the seasons via gardening and food. And it's so therapeutic!

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  3. Your garden is looking great Rhonda -- good work Hanno!

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  4. This time of year is pretty sparse here. We're gradually harvesting our potatoes, but we have had several frosts already, and the vegie patch struggles. I've pulled out the summer crops and improved the soil, planted some broccoli seeds (heirloom seeds), and am getting ready to plant the peas.

    Winter here is a time for hibernating! But then I say this as I'm getting ready to go out to play tennis, which we do unless it is SO bad we can't force ourselves out there. Last year we had to cancel when it snowed :-(

    Actually, winter is really a time for putting in the good work to prepare for the next growing season - never a dull moment in the garden!

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  5. Your garden is looking great, Rhonda. I am still nursing along a couple of cherry tomato plants and hopefully they will survive the winter but I won't hold my breath as it is getting cold here now after a beautifully warm autumn. Our brassicas are growing well and we have them under cover this year to protect them from being decimated like last year. It is lovely to walk in the garden as you say and brightens up a cold winter's morning.

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  6. Hi Rhonda,

    your garden looks fantastic! I also feel rich when I look at my garden. I remember when I purchased my little cottage. It came with just under a quarter acre of land, which was completely empty other than a privet bush and broken hills hoist. Potential!! I stood at the back fence and looked up my yard - about 50 metres long - and felt as though I'd just won the lottery!

    Yesterday I spent a couple of hours reinforcing the chook run (against our naughty dogs), and hand watering my thriving veggie patch. That sort of happiness definitely cannot be bought.

    Have a wonderful day,

    Madeleine.x

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  7. Rhonda, you are the envy of the gardeners' world! But you are very fortunate to live in an area where the soil and climate is perfect for all you do - the rest of us aren't so lucky, although many people make do with what they have, and do very well. I'd like to see you try to do that in my area - rock with about 2 inches of topsoil. Yes I know we could build up one of those planter boxes, and I've been looking at a mini glass house thing on a stand, that one of the DTE members wrote about recently. But...you also mentioned having the mindset and I'm afraid that is something that is just beyond me. My skills lie elsewhere ; - )
    I had a chuckle at what you wrote about following the chooks around to see their downy bottoms - I love doing that too - they are so cute when they are bent over pecking at the ground!

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    1. Gina, you're right, not everyone has the same interests. We chose to live in this area because gardening is important to us. I am sure we'd have interests in common and in some areas we'd not be so aligned. It's good we're not all the same.

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  8. Rhonda your garden is lovely and so much variety. Our growing season is just getting started here. I hope to finish planting this week. I too had a giggle at your comment on the chook's bottoms. My husband says I am crazy when I say I love their fluffy bottoms. As for being rich for having a garden is so true. Good, organic, healthy tasting food in your own backyard can't get any better. Too see birds, bee buzzing and beautiful butterflies.....now that's rich! Thanks for a tour of your garden.

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  9. Your garden is looking great! Our garden is just staring to take off and it is always an adventure to how things will turn out in the garden. I love the little lights in the garden I may have to do something like that so at night it will look nice.

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  10. Wow, I think I have garden envy! We are in the process of looking at blocks of land to build on and I will certainly be jumping on your forums when planning my vege garden.

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  11. Your garden is lovely :). Mine is just getting to this stage! I posted pictures of mine this week too ;) I think your winter temperatures are warmer than our summer as I cannot grow tomatoes outside they don't even ripen in a polytunnel so they usually get used green, when and if and I grow them of course.

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  12. Your garden is absolutely beautiful and very inspiring . . . as is your blog ~ which is why I just bought your book on Amazon. :-) Looking forward to reading it this evening.

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  13. I love the pictures of your garden. They are an inspiration to me, as always.

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  14. your garden is absolutely thriving this season - looks wonderful :o)

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  15. It's so beautiful to see such a lush vibrant garden that is so well looked after. I just posted today about our end of Autumn/shift into winter. Down here we are the opposite to what you are growing, so it's Broccoli, Garlic and Silverbeet season. Although I am still picking tomatoes off a volunteer plant in our sunny north facing courtyard - in JUNE!!

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  16. I absolutely agree with the feeling of well-being, as I feel that too in my garden seeing all my hard work come to fruition. Yesterday, I picked fresh raspberries and blackcurrants for my breakfast yogurt, delicious, although I would have preferred my yogurt homemade, but that is something that I just can't crack at the moment!

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  17. Hi Rhonda. You followed Eumaeus to me and here I am finding you. Wow, a most excellent find. You're a long way from my house, but garden-to-garden we're close. Real close. Garden's grow a spirit like no other. It gathers the like minded from the four corners, and there's is always room. Everyone feels at ease. Everyone knows what to say.

    spirit to spirit, will

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  18. Your garden looks amazing. I am in a colder climate (Derbyshire in the UK) so whilst some bits of our veg patch are looking lush (potatoes and peas) others are taking a while to get going. Looking at your plot makes me very hopeful. I can't wait until our is so bursting with life.

    One question I'd love to ask is do you have a slug problem? We have just had a mild wet Winter and a fairly raining few weeks and the slugs have become a real issue - I've lost a lot of salad crops (maybe 5 sowings!) Are slugs a major predator in your part of Australia?

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    1. hello westwick. We don't have a slug problem here. White cabbage moth caterpillars and stink bug are our main enemies. We get slugs occasionally when we have a few weeks of rain, but that isn't a normal occurrence. Good luck with getting rid of yours.

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  19. I just came over from Soulemama's. Your garden looks great.

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