15 October 2008

Out back in the vegie patch

While I was at work yesterday, Hanno planted up a lot of seedlings for our summer garden. When we first came to live here 12 years ago, we only ever planted in autumn and winter because the bugs and heat of summer made gardening too much of a chore. Things have changed now; we changed the way we thought about our garden, we changed how we shopped and our garden changed with us. We eat from the garden every day - sometimes our entire meal comes from our back yard. Last night, for instance, we had silverbeet (swiss chard) omelettes - freshly picked steamed chard was added to our backyard eggs, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of fresh chives. I would usually add a salad but was too tired to make one so I served the omelettes with a dollop of tomato chutney that I made about three months ago. Delicious!

The garden is important to us and allows us to eat healthy, organic food at a fraction of what it costs to buy it in a shop.

We eat a lot of tomatoes. These are beefsteaks and the first of them should be ready in about two weeks. Nothing beats the taste of heirloom tomatoes. If you've never tasted them, you're missing out on a real treat. They are real tomatoes, that taste like tomatoes should taste. Tomatoes at the store are gassed to produce a rich red colour and although they look good, they're often hard and tasteless. You never have that problem with the heirlooms - particularly the salad varieties like beefsteak, oxheart, Brandywine and German Johnson.

More tomatoes have been planted along the new lattice. These are oxhearts and Topic, which we're trying for the first time. They are supposed to be a good hot weather tomato.

And, you guessed it - more tomatoes. These little babies will be producing well into January, as long as the sun doesn't frazzle them. We do have sunshades for the garden. We didn't need them last year because we had a mild summer, but they're on standby.

Further over near the chook house we have corn at the top of the photo, more chard, and seedlings of capsicum (peppers) and beans. We grow a lot of chard and green leafy vegetables because we always share it with the chooks. They love green leaves and it makes the yolks of their eggs a rich golden yellow.

Between us and the chickens we plow through this stuff. Silverbeet, and most leafy greens, are rich in iron so being non meat eaters, it helps us keep our iron levels healthy.

And finally, just to show you that we are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, our failed nectarine tree. Remember when we wrapped it up? It didn't work. After the first storm, gaps appears and the fruit fly got in. Every nectarine is riddled with fruit fly grubs. The chooks will happily eat every one of these fruit. We, on the other hand, will have none. Hanno thinks the trees are too much trouble and want to cut them down. I'm still undecided. We have some peaches protected from the fruit fry by exclusion bags. I think that one bite of a good peach will convince me not to get rid of the trees. We might just have to beat the fruit fly at their own game next year. I'll keep you posted.

I'm going to be away for a few days. Tomorrow I have to go to a conference related to my voluntary work. I'll be back on the weekend. I hope you all have a good week. Thank you for visiting and for your support with the co-op. I'll see you again next week, my friends.



  1. Your garden is so lovely. Thank you dharing pictures of it. Also thank you for the instructions on seasoning a flower pot, I had wondered about this.

  2. Hi Rhonda. Yes those fruit flies are frustrating to say the least. My Dad use to mix a little vegemite and water together in a jar, punch holes in the lid and then hang it in every fruit tree. Lordy it stinks but he says it works. Might be worth a try. I think he used about 1 teaspoon of vegemite and enough water to turn it into a slurry consistency.

  3. Hi Amy, thank you. :- )

    Bron, we've tried the Vegemite mix, and a dozen other things, but here in the sub tropics, it doesn't work.

  4. Hi Rhonda Jean...
    You are such an inspiration to me... We have started our first two raised beds for our fall/winter veggies. I am excited to see just how good they are doing already! After this years luffas are ready I plan on making a nice place for them other than the garden plot next year! :)
    Thanks so much for all the time you take in your blog. I look forward to your posts to help keep me looking towards a healthier lifestyle. (((hugs)))

  5. When my garden grows up I want it to look like yours!!

    Thank you Rhonda I almost forgot to get more tomoatoes to put in so I have a continuous crop. That is my problem at the moment I keep forgeting what I should do week to week. I think I need to add it to the diary plant out more lettuce or more tomatoes I guess it doens't really matter if you get a heap of them there is always chutney and sauce!!!

    Have a wonderful time away.


  6. I laugh looking at your garden - here in NZ tomato plants are best not planted in garden until our Labour weekend (end October) - and look at yours grow!

    We are getting organic fruit & veges delivered each week & we are having fun eating our way through them. It's really interesting having only what is in season - we are all enjoying it.

    One day hope to get a greenhouse so we can eat out of season or have garden all year round.

    Love Leanne NZ

  7. I tried a new heirloom tomato which I am very pleased with this year - Black Krim - wonderful taste - dark skin and lovely red inside. Definitely grow more next year.

  8. It's fall here in Arkansas (USA) and I am wrapping my summer garden up. I look forward to moving to the country and having such a large garden.

    You must be in the southern hemisphere, but I've looked around your blog and can't figure out what country you're in. I'm guessing Indonesia, New Guinea, northwestern Australia?

  9. Hi Chas dear. I hope you get some good harvests from you fall/winter garden.

    Thanks Daisymum. Continuous planting is the most difficult part of growing, I think.

    Leanne, we can grow most things year round here. Our limiting factor is heat - when it's over about 35C, tomatoes won't set their flowers, the silverbeet falls over and the lettuce turn up their toes and set seeds. Good luck with your crops this season.

    Thanks Lizzie, I'll remember the black krim.

    Kilgor, I'm in Australia, about half way up the eastern coast and just north of Brisbane.

  10. Your garden is always fabulous and so inspiring.

  11. Ohhhh, tomatoes. I have just planted my main crop tomato (seeds), a little late for Sydney but we have been away on holiday. There are Black Krim in the heirloom mix, so I hope some of them fruit. Fruit fly hit us badly in Jan-Feb unless it's very dry, in which case the tomatoes don't fruit well anyway. Best wishes to all the tomato growers!

  12. Hi Rhonda - I just cant beleive I found your fantastic blog!!!! its so inspiring and I am loving the ideas we can try here at home. I live in the west and was one of the early pioneers of the voluntary simplcity movement here(back in the early 1980's) that never really took off at the time. Now it may do as economic times have changed vastly!! Things seem to hva ecome a long way since those days. I Will be popping back for more goodies and ideas here - I am so excited about being here - can you tell?? lol!!! cheers from the west Krissie

  13. I've had a lovely time looking through your blog (I came here via One Red House). Having recently started our own vegetable garden I agree with your comments about heritage vegetables. In addition my children just love watching the plants grow (and the slugs drown themselves in the beer we leave out for them...)

    Thank you for sharing your world with us.

  14. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I love your blog. I wonder if you have a good planting calendar for SE Qld - I am in Noosaville and am not sure of the best time to plant various veggies in this climate.

    More rain today - yippee!

    Cheers, Lee.

  15. The reaccuring theme that seems to keep running throughout all your posts in your blog seems to be simply an abundance of LIFE. YOur family, your animals, your garden,and your caring for Earth.

    Everyday I try to learn more about living with less to have more. I am slowing down and yet getting so much done.

    Just reading about you and Hanno going about your day to day lives is a real inspiration and the garden is just amazing.

    Thank you for giving me a peek each day!

    Caryn~ Texas, USA

  16. Hello Lee, you're not too far away, but we've had no rain yet. :- |
    Here is a good guide from Eden Seeds:
    http://www.edenseeds.com.au/content/planting.asp BUT! I have to tell you that you should be able to plant what ever you like - excluding the winter vegetables (cabbages, brussels, cauliflower, peas, spinach etc) all year through.

    Welcome Megan and Winterwood. :- )

    Caryn, I'm pleased you're getting something from the blog.

  17. Last night for dinner we had chard omlettes because we have lots of chard in the garden at the end of our growing season. We also had sliced tomatoes, the very last of this year. I like to think we are in opposites sides of the world yet we had the same dinner for the same reasons. We will be cleaning up our garden this weekend and putting it to bed for the winter as you are planting for spring.
    Happy Gardening.

  18. I am inspired every time I read your latest posting.

    And the same goes for the other blog!

  19. I love how beautiful your garden is -- not just functional.

  20. I hope you are having a wonderful time at the conference. What a wonderful garden you have, it is inspirational to me (who writes sitting in a tiny London flat, but dreams of gardens, crafting and oh so much more)!

  21. It was nice to see your beautiful vegetable garden. Swiss chard is one of my favs though I have always been wary of eating too much because of oxalic acid though I am not sure what risk that really is. We eat a tonne of beets, orach, spinach, and sorrel too.

    Our garden is about to go to bed under the white blanket of winter snow shortly.


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