Hallelujah, we're back in the garden again

18 April 2016
It was a late start this year but we've finally got the first plants in the ground. Hanno has been digging and enriching the soil for the past week, so most of the garden beds are ready to go and well equipped to help us produce a lot of organic vegetables, herbs and fruit in the months ahead. When we moved here 19 years ago, the clay soil over the entire property was rock hard.  Through a lot of work we've changed that clay into beautiful fertile soil simply by adding a lot of organic matter to it - mostly manures, compost and mulch. Every year Hanno builds on progress made in the previous year and between crops, more organic matter is added. By doing that the garden has remained fertile and productive.

We started off a week ago by digging up the Welsh onions. I sat under the sun umbrella in the garden and sorted through the onions, removing grass, seeds and weeds. I cut off the green tops and put them in a bag to use in the kitchen, then the onions were planted again in a new bed. They're growing really well now and have already put on new growth. We've added parsley, sage, rosemary cuttings and self-sown basil in a small area that will give us herbs for the next year. In another bed Hanno's planted kohlrabi, beetroot, turnip seedlings and swede seeds and yesterday, curly kale, Asian greens and ruby chard were added to another bed.

Sorting through the onions to keep them going for yet another year.

After they were cut in half, the bottoms were planted and the tops used for various meals in the kitchen.

The onions were rehydrated in a weak mix of seaweed concentrate and water before planting.
And here they are in their new position, and have already put on new growth.
Two bananas suckers planted in the vegetable garden.

When Shane was here recently he dug up one of our bananas and transplanted it to the vegetable garden.  We kept forgetting to water it in the old location and haven't had backyard bananas for a few years. Now it's got a place in the vegetable garden and with water and organic fertilisers, it should take off like a rocket.  The raspberries have been cut back to the ground to encourage a winter crop, the lemons and oranges are growing well and will be ready to harvest soon and we've just harvested 5.7kg of rosellas and removed the shrubs to make way for new vegetables and flowers. I'll write a post about them when I make up the jam and cordial. Have you grown rosellas this year?

We removed the two year old rosemary bush that was taking over its space and I took cuttings for planting in a few weeks time.
This rosemary cutting is a tip cutting about 4 inches long. I've stripped off the lower leaves, leaving only the top, which I cut back to reduce transpiration. I planted up a cutting I took a couple of months ago. This cutting will be ready in about 6 - 8 weeks.

It feels very good having vegetables growing in the backyard again. There was a time when we grew produce all year long but now we take it easy in summer and stop planting late in the year. We usually start planting again in March which is when the weather starts to cool down a bit.

So now part of the daily routine will be to check on the gardens and to water and weed when needed. It's a very pleasant part of the day when I'm out in the garden. I still need the umbrella to protect me from the sun but in a month or so, it will be cooler, the sun will be lower and I'll be able to do without the umbrella. I'd really love a pair of binoculars so I could watch the visiting birds more closely from my shaded vantage point, but for now I'll use my eyes and be content with what I've got.

Tell me about your garden or your garden plans.


I'm coming to the end of my book publicity commitments and I can tell you the final four venues.  This week on Wednesday 20 April, I'll be at the Cooroy Library from 10am - 11.30am, next week on Wednesday 27 April, I'll be at the Noosa Library from 2pm - 3.30pm. I'll have books for sale at those events and I'm happy to sign books.  Then on Saturday 30 April I'll be at Rosetta's Books in Maleny from 10am till about 11am. It's a casual affair, I'll be drinking tea, talking to whomever comes in and answering questions. If you're around on that day and fancy a cuppa and a chat, I'd love to meet you there.  The final event will be at the Toowoomba Library in June and I'll remind you of that date when we're closer to the day.