The spring vegetable garden

12 September 2013
After a fairly poor season in the garden last year due to cloudy weather and too much rain, this year it's ideal, although a bit drier than we prefer. We've scaled back a bit this year and haven't planted potatoes but they've been replaced with mushrooms in a box in the bush house. This year we're taking it slow because energy levels and injuries have slowed the main gardener down a bit. We're still growing as much as we can though and only what we eat. The good thing is that everything that was sown, has blossomed and we have a thriving patch that we're eating from every day.

Behind that leaf, the first of the Lebanese cucumbers.
 The last of the winter strawberries - we bought these "Joy" runners from Green Harvest.
We polished off this bowl before the day was out.

 Waiting for leaves and damaged strawberries to be thrown over the fence.

We have a lot of parsley growing and I use it nearly every day. Sunny is a big fan of parsley too, so we make sure we have enough to share. Recently our flat leaf parsley went to seed, we're still eating the side leaves but Hanno planted a new seedling last weekend.

This is a mixed bed of silverbeet, daikon radish, various types of lettuce, onions, parsley and ruby chard.
 Bok choi is eaten by all of us - including Sunny and the chickens.

Daikon radish - I was told this was in short supply in the shops over recent months. Lucky we had plenty here.
 Above and below - purple topped turnip.

And here at her favourite resting place is our old cat, Hettie Waintrope, private investigator (retired). She's 16 years old now and doesn't do much except eat and sleep. She loves sleeping here under the elder tree during the day. I'm going to harvest these elder flowers on the weekend to make elder cordial - a summer essential.

Hanno will harvest our year's supply of garlic tomorrow or Friday. It will dry out for a while and then be stored in the kitchen. I have one garlic head left from last years crop. We'll plant up another crop in February/March next year, using cloves harvested from this year's crop. The never-ending cycle continues.  That is the same bed the strawberries have been growing in so apart from pineapple sage, parsley and a chilli bush, the bed will be empty. But not for long. It will be dug over, manures, compost and worm castings added and seeds sown for corn, beans, daikon, cucumbers and more lettuce. He'll also plant up a stand of sunflowers in another bed so we'll have those nutritious seeds on hand for us and the chooks.

If you have a garden, or a backyard with the potential for a garden, I encourage you to try your hand at growing some food. No matter how much money you have, you cannot buy the freshness of vegetables from your own yard. You'll know exactly what's gone into growing them and what has been added. Here we use only organic methods and have been producing fruit and vegetables this way, on and off, for over 30 years. Another good reason to grow your own is that you'll be getting the full measure of the land you live on if you make it productive. If you're not sure how to start, leave a comment and let me know. If there are a few of you, I'll do a post about starting a vegetable garden from scratch.

There is nothing to compare with walking out into the fresh air every afternoon to pick fresh vegetables for the evening meal. Whatever is left over is shared, frozen or put up in jars. It's an enriching pastime and a wonderful way to live. Are you a new gardener? Have you been growing vegetables for a long time? What have you planted this year?