The vegetable garden - change of seasons

11 August 2009
I love our garden. There are certain times of the year when being out there seems to be the only possibility. We are in that time now - when the stark coldness of a Winter's day is replaced by a more gentle warmth, and even in the late afternoon, the garden holds more of the promise of Spring than the reality of Winter.

Now the garden is a mixture of Winter's kale and Summer's tomatoes. Soon all the cabbages will be gone and it will be all salad vegetables and green beans. The days are getting warmer now but the nights are still cold. That reminds me that I have to plant up more tomatoes seeds, more lettuce, more beans, more chard, more everything.

The tomato bushes are the weakest they've ever been but they're still producing tomatoes. I wonder if that is caused by the fluctuating temperatures or a wilt disease that will be rampant as soon as the warmer weather hits. I noticed new tomato flowers yesterday afternoon as I wandered the green aisles of my outdoor supermarket. Hanno has mulched around the tomatoes and probably added more potash and blood and bone; hopefully that will see them through until I get the new plants ready for planting out.

We have a good lot of white cabbage almost ready for picking. We usually only plant out the sugarloaf cabbage because it's fast to mature but this year Hanno tried regular cabbage and it's grown really well. Obviously that's something we'll do again next year. I'm looking forward to fresh coleslaw, some fried cabbage with onions and a batch of sauerkraut that I'll get on to go as soon as we harvest. Sauerkraut is really easy to make and very nutritious, if you haven't tried your hand at it yet, I'll take plenty of photos when I do my batch and you might like to give it a go.

Yesterday I came back inside with an armful of some of the best silverbeet (chard) we've ever grown. The leaves are very study, the darkest of green and very shiny. We ate those cooked leaves last night for dinner, with steamed pumpkin and a little curried beef that had been cooked with onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Delicious! It's not a meal you'd find on any restaurant menu but that's the beauty of home cooking, there are no rules. It just has to taste good.

There are plenty of vegetables to keep us going over the coming months. There are rows of buttercrunch and iceberg lettuce, leeks, garlic, zucchinis, celery, Welsh onions, capsicums (peppers), the first of the green beans, ginger, turmeric and herbs- right now we have parsley, chives, oregano, thyme, mint, marjoram, yarrow, comfrey, pineapple sage, curry plant and bay. Soon we'll be planting potatoes and sweet potatoes. There's always something happening out there, always something to do and something to pick.

It's coming round to harvest time for our northern friends. How has your garden grown this year? If this has been your first vegetable garden, please tell us all how it went. Will you continue next year? For my southern hemisphere friends - we're all getting ready for Spring. What will be in your garden this year?

And finally, look what else I found while I wandered about yesterday afternoon. Sitting on our old couch, which is now on the back verandah waiting for Shane and Sarndra to pick it up, was this handsome old timer. He was enjoying the late afternoon sun and watching me wander around the garden, after spending the day building a retaining wall near our big shed. Like most homesteads and productive homes, there's plenty to do around here and always a comfy place to relax when day is done.


  1. The cabbages look beautiful! Have you ever tried to make Kim Chee? I want to grow cabbage next year just so I can make some!

    As far as next year...oh yes I will garden. This year has been interesting...and a great learning experience...and I'm already planning out next year's plot! We're expanding and adding more to our repertoire....can't wait!

    And thanks for stopping by my blog and giving some helpful info about my sweet chickens. I appreciate that! I thought for a minute that one of my Barred Rocks was going to lay...she was scratching around in the hen house near where the other girl laid yesterday. Then she came out squawking LOUD. I thought she was telling me to come look at what she'd done. But...nope. No egg. Not YET!

    Have a great day!

  2. HI Michelle, the lovely kimchee, a regular reader here, has given me a recipe for kimchee. I am hoping my son's Korean girlfriend, who is a chef, will help me make my first batch.

  3. Hi Rhonda
    Our summer cabbage are just about ready to start eating. This year is the first time we have had the space for them and I can't wait. Most things have grown well but we have had a few failures. The tomatoes succumbed to the blight and had to be burnt and the peas just didn't do anything, mice, slugs, rot?
    We are already planning for next year, more beans and carrots less squash.

    May your day be good.


  4. Hi, Rhonda. I've been enjoying your blog a lot. I do wish that I could have succession planting year-round the way you do, but we have to make do with what we have.

    It is definitely harvest time in Canada for some things. All green leafy things for sure, and also raspberries, cherries, beans, zuchini, brocolli. Tomatoes, potatoes, squashes will have to wait.

    I may try a couple of cabbages next year because I do like a bit of it, but I don't like it boiled and neither does the rest of my family. Coleslaw is nice though.

    My blog is mixed with gardening, sewing and kid stuff, but you're more than welcome to surf around. I'm loving the process of learning to be more self-sufficient.

  5. Rhonda so many of your post are inspirational, as I am sure you know by now. But sometimes the inspiration is in the little things you write. Today for me it was "the best silverbeet we have ever grown" from that I gather that sometimes even you guys have things go not quite to plan.

    When you are up to your eyeballs in things to do it is lovely to be reminded that sometimes the journey is easy, sometimes there are roadblocks along the way and sometimes you get "the best silverbeet we have ever grown".

    For the millionth time - thank you.


  6. I would love to have a good, easy (at least somewhat) recipe for kimchee. We have a Korean grocery near us and I do purchase it, but would love to be able to make it myself.

  7. thanks for your comment today on my blog. i love to see what you have growing - as always I am amazed. You inspire me to get out there and grow some more.

  8. I don't have room (in the sun anyway) for my own garden at home so this year I got a plot at the community garden. It's only 10x10 and I have it packed with lots of veggies. I learned a few things this year, either a bigger plot next year or less stuff. So far I've harvested green beans, peas, zucchini, and broccoli. I have lots of green tomatoes and can't wait for those to ripen! Our season will be over in just a couple months when the garden will have to go to bed for the winter and it will seem like a very long time until I can plant again, sometime next late May. I always enjoy seeing what you are growing. I hope some day to have enough sunny space to have a garden at home.

  9. We have been eating zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, and green beans out of our garden like crazy! We've also had a decent amount of tomatoes. I've canned green beans, pizza sauce, zucchini bread and butter pickles, froze broccoli, and put up some freezer cucumbers. Still looking forward to some peppers and even more tomatoes! I'd like to plant a row of lettuce yet to extend our season a bit but will see what happens. Fall and winter will be here before we know it. My garden wasn't the huge producer I had hoped for but did give us a lot of fresh food and quite a bit of preserved food. That's the beauty of getting your hands dirty -- fellowship with the earth that benefits your sout (and kitchen!)

    Kristina in Nebraska

  10. We're in Missouri, USA. Almost all of our spring planting has been harvested - lettuces, chard, collards, radishes early in the summer, then zucchini, cucumbers, peppers in mid-summer. We still have tomatoes and eggplants producing, but that's it from our early planting.

    I had planned on spending today planting cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, more chard, more lettuce, more radishes, beets and parsnips for fall. It rained all day, so it will have to wait until the first workable day...maybe Wednesday.

    This was our first garden and yes, we'll definitely be doing it again next year!

  11. Good home cooking beats all!
    I am just starting to pick peas and the beans are just around the corner. Have been munching lettuce, spinach and chard for a while now. Tomatoes are still green..just last week I spotted a nice healthy green pepper.
    I had to reseed my garden due to a cool spring but all is coming along nicely just a bit later than usual. Oh and I can't forget little patch is yielding a bumper crop.

  12. Thanks for today's tour of your garden, Rhonda - it's always lovely to see possibilities for our own.

    I was going to start my spring planting this week but am in a bit of a bind. We were told late last week that the landlords are selling our house! If a new buyer comes along we'll only have a month to find a new place; nowhere near enough time to harvest anything. Any ideas for planting take away vegies, especially my beloved seed potatoes?

    Cath in Sydney

  13. Ahhhhhhhhhh Sigh..
    It all looks wonderful ,like alot of work But rewarding and nourishing work!
    We are only just starting to prepare our Granes to be set up for vegies.
    The kids have loved growing small pots of Carrots and spuds..
    But a whole garedn is going to be a joy!

  14. Good morning Rhonda. What a great photo of Hanno, thanks for including it. I did some small time planting this winter and am pleased to report that we have had lots of different lettuces. cabbages, peas, broccoli.
    I read a great tip from Jackie French on how to work out if the soil is warm enough for tomatoes -- sit on it on your bare bottom. :-)

  15. Mary S. in North CarolinaAugust 11, 2009 10:23 am

    Planted potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash and okra this past spring. Tomatoes weren't as hardy as last year and we have had to battle squirrels taste testing them. Our biggest problem was squash bugs on the yellow squash, zucchini, and some pumpkin plants that volunteered! We've tried everything except guinea hens which will be our new purchase next spring. From two cantaloupe plants, we harvested about 30 cantaloupe plus the two the turtle got! Now we have black beans, October beans, and crowder peas coming up and the kale and collard seeds will go in the ground when our 90+ degree days are gone later this week. Tried my hand at raising loofah--had several blooms but no vegetables as of yet. By the way, you and Hanno make a handsome couple. You are such an inspiration! Thanks.

  16. Dear Rhonda,
    Your garden is encouraging for me!
    In the past 3 years I have started into vegies, even though I have gardened all my life.
    First year started with just pots of cucumber, few lettuce, pepinos and some pathetic tomatoes! But it's a learning curve.
    In Perth this winter I've removed a bit of my very small lawn(live in city) but have great spinach too. Also planted bunching onions, leeks, snowpeas(only flowering at present)Pak choy(wonderful fast growing). So ooopsss, here goes a bit more lawn for the summer plants!
    Am going to try more tomatoes, apple cucumber, radish, capsicum and lettuce. My lettuce last year were Cos and always bitter. I watered them everyday, maybe you have a tip?
    Happy Vegie Gardening to All!

  17. Our veggie patch usually does well, but alas not this year! We planted carrot and parsnip seeds three times, and each time the heavy rain ended up flattening the rows and washing away the seeds and seedlings. The tomatoe plants are loaded, but not ripening because of the cold wet summer we are having. I am thinking of trying to ripen them in a brown paper bag does that really work???

    We planted 3 flats of peas, and the rabbits only left us with 6 plants out of the 144 plants.

    But the letuce has done well, and we are hopeful that we will have brussel sprouts, though they are at least a month behind as well.

    The green peppers have done well because of the weather.

    So I try to focus on the positives (like the cucumber) and not the negatives (everything else it seems)

    When I look out the back and see that the pigweed is 3 ft high as all the plants in the center either didn't come up or else were eaten by deer and rabit (bye bye peas and bush beans) I feel like crying!

    So the freezer will not be full like it was last year. But this is life, and we are blessed to have a farm stand with local produce so that I can can and freeze local at least if not our own.

    So that is how our garden didn't grow this year. we are hopeful that next year will be back to the usual production and perhaps we will be building a fence to keep the rabits & deer out!

  18. Oh dear my last comment was very blue wasn't it! so sorry, just after a few years of ideal gardening conditions in our little space this year has seemed like such a waste.

    Thank you for keeping me upbeat and dedicated to the garden!

  19. Lovely Rhonda Jean...I just realized you put a link to my blog in your sidebar! Thank you so much...I'm honored!

    I look forward to reading about your kim chee adventure! Next year, I'll be right behind you!

  20. So I am assuming since you have such a beautiful garden during the winter that you don't have a very cold winter. Here in CO we pretty much lose everything in our gardens after the first frost which usually comes in Sept. Unfortunately, if it wasn't for the frost, we probably could have a garden until late Oct or so. Last year it was sometime in Oct before we lost our gardens to the frost and cold weather. It would be nice to have fresh veggies of some kind throughout the year, but without a greenhouse and even with one, it doesn't happen here.
    Your gardens are very beautiful and all of your veggies look great. I have just now started harvesting some ripe tomatoes and zucchini. I dug my potatoes a few weeks ago and got around 10 pounds or so, but that is good considering I didn't even plant a pound of seed potatoes. I put 4 quarts of sweet peas in the freezer and I am sure I will can some tomatoes before the season is over.

    My husband is not a big veggie eater, but he seems to eat more that comes from 'my' garden, except tomatoes. He will never eat them.

    Thanks and love your blog.


  21. Hello Rhonda - I love your garden. It reminds my of my childhood garden. Currently we are growing potatoes in a tub (recycled)and mushrooms in a box. But I have promised the children that when we move we will have a large vegie patch.

  22. O Rhonda, I'm a little bit jealous because you are looking forward to Spring! We are almost at the end of Summer here and I am NOT looking forward to darker, colder en wetter days :(. This summer has been so wonderfull, we had lovel weather.
    But he, it's not over yet, so I'll enjoy each summerday that's left to the fullest.

    You made me laugh with your picture of Hanno sitting on the veranda. You write about him with so much love...


  23. Hi Rhonda!
    It's been a while since I've been by...we've had a very busy summer!
    Our garden is doing wonderfully! It's our second attempt (last year's was pretty dismal....we moved, and planted late, and didn't get much out of it). We're in a new place again, but this garden has done great!! Everything it big and bushy with lotsa veggies!!
    Take care
    Melanie in Canada

  24. Hello! I have so enjoyed your blog and digging through all the wisdom you share.
    This year I planted veggies in my garden. We enlarged it last year and developed it into a bit of my own sort of English garden. Things are beginning to take off now but several of my veg died off early. Most were seedlings I grew indoors...the sugar snap peas didn't last long, either dying or being eaten. The tomatoes are doing quite well but peppers and broccoli not so well. Ah, but it's all a learning experience right? I'll have to care for the soil a bit this fall and hopefully in the spring things will grow a bit better. I'm in Minnesota USA.
    I began to plant things because very early this year I found that I'd become allergic to all the chemicals in food. It caused me great pain and the doc thought I was developing Rheumatoid Arthritis...but tests were all negative and they had no answers. I began to search for the answers myself and found them...once I hit the right track I went from being disabled to feeling fairly close to normal in 2 weeks.
    So my food journey has lead me onto a journey into living simply and wholly. I thank you for sharing what you have learned...I am learning SO much from you.

    Have a wonderfully blessed day!

  25. This year was... a learning experience. I learned that weeds grow really fast, and HUGE in good soil. I learned that compost piles can get very heavy and hard to turn. I learned that my daughter enjoys sitting on my back while I weed the garden (ouch!). I also learned that while organization is great, you can learn from chaos too. I learned from you Rhonda, to live a Deliberate Life, not just a simple life. The inspiration I get from your page, and the readers who comment on your page has encouraged me to try again next year. So thank you, all of you! Because as I look out at the chaotic jungle that is my backyard, I fear what is to come.

  26. Well, I wasn't able to plant a garden this year but I've started planning for next year! I knew a lot about vegetables but had no idea about all the herbs I could grow, and their many, MANY uses! We are trying to save money, so I'm growing the ones I use the most, and the ones with multi-uses such as potpourri, tea, medicinal, and culinary. :D I'm so excited! I think my husband's mother thinks I'm nuts...but oh well! I believe that home-grown food tastes so much better than the pre-packed "food" from the stores. My DH used to work at one, and he said that they keep bottled water in the back room for up to 6 months, and THEN put it out to sell. :O What else waits back there with all those preservatives? :S Thanks so much for your posts- they are so packed with helpful info!

  27. I have enjoyed reading today's post and readers comments.

    This year we have made some raised beds and planted many veggies; yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers,green beans, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, green onions, onions, radishes, jalepanos, spaghetti squash, butternut squash...hmmmm I think that is all. A bit over zealous maybe?:)

    Since this was our first year we are learning a lot, especially with trying to keep things as organic as possible. We have had a super duper problem with a thing called a stink bug and currently are trying to find a homemade remedy for this. Any suggestions?

    Take care and enjoy your day:)

  28. Rhonda,

    Your winter is like 15 minutes long! Tomato plants *survive* winter? Apparently you have no -25 C nights in your corner of Oz, nor eight months of frost to contend with! I'm glad for you. Our growing season is about 100 days and I'm in a "warm" part of Canada.

    We are picking a small bowl of tomatoes daily. I've picked a half-dozen green peppers. I have one small watermelon which I hope matures before freeze-up. The squashes all fell victim to powdery mildew, so our harvest was three zucchini, but I picked half a dozen okra pods last night. This is a TRIUMPH. Not enough of a triumph to serve battered and fried, but enough to add to a soup.

    There's always next year! Next year's garden is going to be *incredible* and will stay that way until oh... mid July, when reality arrives . :)

    Deb in Canada:

  29. I planted tomatoes and hot peppers this year. The heat in June got the tomatoes, so I had a less than stellar crop. I'm looking to try to start a fall crop. Since I'm on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, we get another shot at veggies. The peppers have grown and grown and I am now resorting to freezing the excess. I think it's time to start planning and planting our fall garden. I'll have to look on our charts to see what to plant, and take a stroll down the street to see what my wonderful neighbor has on his list to plant too.

    Your garden is lovely, as are you and Hanno. Thanks for all you do.

  30. I'm planning the usual tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, sweet corn, beans, pumpkin and so on for summer, but atm it's still cool-weather planting in Sydney; we can start planting tomato seeds in September, but they have to be cosseted through the cool nights, and later plantings usually overtake them anyway. I'm trying a few new varieties of things this year and will note them on my blog.

  31. WOW! What a beautiful garden you have! I'm so inspired to put in some winter greens and cabbage. I live in the American mideast, so we have definite summer and winters, as well as frost. I'll have to do some research to find exactly when to start putting in cold weather veggies. Love your blog!

  32. Rhonda,
    Lots of nice garden pictures. We've been having some really wild weather lately. Two days and a night of 40 to 60 mile per hour winds...and they were hot winds! My garden is still standing, but it looks a bit like someone was running through it crazily. I thought the picture of Hanno was really sweet! What a nice place to rest after finishing a big job. What did he use to build the retaining wall with?! Do you have pictures?? Well, I'm going out to the gardens and find something for our dinner...wish me luck!
    Hugs, Aunt Bea

  33. I've always wanted a garden - we have so many pine trees in our yard, the needles fall and kill anything living below. The only place I had was where we put our clothes line.

    I have planted lettuce tomatoes in pots and have been fairly successful - but usually I help my mother with her garden!

    Have a wonderful day!


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