This year's garden - small and productive

20 August 2013
Our vegetable garden is getting there. It's been slow this year. Hanno had several health set backs and is still consulting specialists - he has an appointment today. But through it all he's kept the garden going. Some days he'd do some weeding, some days he'd just water what was growing but in the past few weeks his strength and drive have returned and the vegetable garden has moved ahead.

The main crop, the one we're both sweating on, is the garlic. I used garlic in today's main meal and we're down to one and a half heads left of last year's harvest. If it lasts another two weeks, the new crop will come in just in time. We're picking strawberries at the moment. Big, red, juicy organic strawberries.  It's one of the fruits that tastes so much better having been grown in the back yard, rather than in a field with thousands of others. If you have no room to grow fruit trees at your place, strawberries may be within your reach. They grow well in the garden but also love to be grown in containers, hanging baskets and plumber's pipe with holes cut in the side. If you're never grown fruit before, find two or three virus-free strawberry plants, plant them into rich soil, give them full sun and stand back. Hopefully, you'll be rewarded for your efforts.

The constant guardians - Lulubelle and Mary.
Daikon, wombok and tomato, with kale in the background.

I doubt we'll grow potatoes in this year, but that's okay, they'll be there for us again next year. I asked Hanno the other day how long he wants to keep the vegetable garden going and said he's happy to work on it for another few years. But we're making changes to make the work easier when we can. Recently we bought a compost tumbler; it's supposed to make a batch of compost in about six weeks. We move the tumbler with a handle so there is no shovelling to turn the heap over. It seems like a step in the right direction.

Daikon and beetroot.

At the moment we're growing, bok choi, daikon, wombok, green beans, beetroot, rainbow chard, silverbeet, tomatoes, garlic, strawberries, chillies, corn, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley - curly and flat leaf, Welsh onions, leeks and last year's solo eggplant is flowering again. We have two capsicum/pepper plants from last season that look healthy but have no leaves. I'll cut them back and see what happens. Hoepfully, they'll spring back to life again for us. I've planted sweet peas and a Buddleia in pots at the front of the garden and hopefully, they'll bring in the bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

Bok choi.

Right now is a good time to grow vegetables in our region. There are few bugs around, the air is warm enough to encourage growth, but not humid, which brings powdery mildew and its cousins. So we'll be content with this smaller garden for now and shop at the local market when we need to. I hope you've discovered the joys of vegetable gardening. It is one of life's true gifts to get your hands into soil and connect with nature.

What fresh feasts will be on your table this season?