Hallelujah, we're back in the garden again

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.


  1. Today my hubby and I planted our first three rolls in our veggie garden. Lettuce, radishes, carrots, and Kale.
    Coffee is on

  2. I am enjoying the beginning of my own planting season in Brisbane. I delayed planting a few weeks as the weather was still so hot but now I'm over at the allotment every day and having a lovely time. The root vegetables have been sown; kohlrabi, beetroot, carrots. As I have very limited space they are planted alongside the alliums; leeks and spring onions.
    I have a small row of potatoes. Leafy greens are Fordbrook Giant silver beet, red leaved silver beet, lettuce, and Asian greens. I also have planted seedlings of cauliflower and broccoli, chilli and capsicum. Parsley and thyme.
    My allotment space is 16 square metres so I plant a little of everything and they all crowd in together. I give them the best start I can by making sure that during the summer that little patch of ground is filled up with manures, compost, drenched with worm juice and comfrey tea. And I let it lie fallow during the worst of the heat.

    On a different subject - I started my Google blog because I was having difficulty leaving comments on Google blogs using my Wordpress blog. As my Google blog has been lying fallow for some time now I'll have a go at commenting using my Wordpress blog "Allotment Adventures with Jean". Here we go…

  3. I'm going to try and make it to Malena

  4. I'm in the northern hemisphere-Idaho USA. Today I started seed in my little portable greenhouse on the back patio.

    15 seeds each: 2 eggplant cultivare, lemon cucumbers, enlgish cucumbers, zucchini, spaghetti squash, delicata squash and 32 beets. I'm going to start 32 beets every 3rd week until the seed is all used up.

    We had frost early this week and we can have frost for another 3-6 weeks. I love my little greenhouse as it saves me much money-not buying plants, which I used to do.

    I will buy my organic tomato and pepper plants from my CSA farm May 8 and keep those in the greenhouse too. I plant 24-27 tomatoes (6 varieties) each year and 10-14 pepper plants in many varieties....so buying those is best for me and it helps my local farmers too.

    I love this time of year and it feels like it will take forever to harvest fresh vegetables but the time and the work will be here quickly!

  5. It must feel so good to be finished your writing so you can get back to things like growing your veggies...this week I'm going to weed my veggie boxes and plant them as well....honestly there is nothing more exciting than picking some veggies that you have home grown, money can't buy that feeling....it's been way too long that I've let the weeds get in there and as you know we have had a really hot summer so I didn't bother with the garden either. Loving reading your book too. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  6. Here in Hervey Bay I started my garden in March but lost a lot of the young seedlings to the horrid heat and humidity that we had. Everything that I re planted and put in late March and in the last couple of weeks is doing much better. I think you and Hanno had it right to leave the garden till April. March was a shocker for the heat!

  7. Hi, Rhonda. I didn't plant much over the Summer either (too hot) but have now finished putting in little seedlings of beetroot, silverbeet, lettuce, Egyptian spinach, leek, a non-hearting cabbage + sweet peas and cornflowers and "Johnny Jump-ups" too. It's a hodge podge that makes me happy!

    1. Meg, I'm a hodge podge happy gardener too. How can you not smile and realise how lucky you are when you see heartsease growing alongside primroses and lavender. Good luck with your harvests.

  8. your gardens always inspire me, they look so ravishingly delicious!
    i have 2 rosemary bushes in my garden, they have been in the same spot for about 6-8 years now. they are original cuttings from a plant my best friend had in one of her rentals nearly 30yrs ago! i've been taking cuttings from it for years & sharing them around, it's also planted on 2 of my cats, so was/is well fed & recently got some manure. the rest of the garden i'm trying to get a few more herbs growing & some vegies but am fighting mice who keep digging up the darn seeds! so far the survivors are 3 silverbeets, rocket, shallots, brazilian spinach & a few endives. the heat here knocks everything on it's butt, may have to look into the tropical type vegies more seriously to try & grow anything decent.
    great post as always
    thanx for sharing

    1. Hi Selina. I recently borrowed a magazine from the library called, "Warm Earth" and it had some great things in there for warm climate gardening. Meg

  9. Here in the mountains of NC, US, it is still freezing temps at night; however, we have potatoes, beets, parsnips, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage in our garden. Tomorrow, I'll plant peas. We spent the weekend cleaning up the yard and garden to get ready for summer! It was lovely to out without a coat or sweater!

  10. My garden is under a foot of snow! Spinach, peas, carrots, mustard greens, lettuce, and radishes were already planted out and sprouting a couple weeks ago. I'm anxious to see how it all faired after the snow melts in a few days. In the ground before the snow, I planted onions and potatoes. The garlic and rhubarb are coming up strong (ever-faithful, those two crops!) We ate the first asparagus of the season -so, so good. All the summer veggie and herb starts are still tucked safely indoors. I'm hoping to add about four more garden beds this May, and also hoping it's a good year for corn (the last two years have been terrible, and my kids ask for fresh corn all the time :)

  11. We also have a mouse problem at the moment and have observed them around and about in the garden. I am just about to plant and have packets of seeds but am hesitant to sow them directly for fear of them being eaten. Despite the heat I have only grown vegetable in summer so this will be my first Autumn planting. I plan to plant Pak Choy, beetroot, cauliflower, kale, thyme, sage and majoram.

  12. Hi Rhonda, I haven't commented for a very long time, Thoug I never miss a post!!! I just wanted to let you know that an Australian friend of mine is traveling to France with your book in her suitcase and she will give me the copy on Wednesday. I am so looking forward to reading it as your previous book is always at hand's reach and I refer back to it regularly. Thank you for sharing your experience and helping us find our own way of "simple living".

    1. I hope you enjoy it after all that traveling in a suitcase. I hope you and your wife are well, David.

  13. How lovely to have bananas in the backyard! Being in the northern U.S., I can only imagine it. Beautiful garden beds...just planted half of ours this weekend and am looking forward to seeing the plants sprout. And we got our chicks this weekend...my son said it was the best day of his life. :)

  14. I am still debating what to do in my garden this summer. We had dreadful weather last year it was just too cold for much to grow and not much did. I have a polytunnel which helps but I ran out of room in there last year! Whatever I do it is still too cold for any sowing here yet I usually wait until May for that, but my garlic is in the ground and the rhubarb is now shooting!

  15. Our weather has been odd, warmed up nice and early and I got the beds(flowers & weeds)around the house cleaned up and looking better than I have in years. Then it snowed nothing heavy but every day for weeks. No is it when straight to the 80's! Not sure what mother Nature is doing, but it sure is making me feel behind. I am in Wisconsin, US. I have a big herb plot and make teas for gifts from it. I am hoping to expand that as and plant some dye plants for my yarn and weaving business. Mostly, I am a fits and starts garden, I go go go for a while then ignore it and then find treasures and wish I had taken more time gardening.

  16. Lovely to see you in your garden again, I look forward to seeing the progress. I cant wait until we finish of the last of the structural stuff in our garden and I can work on ours. Right now we have chooks roaming in there, but soon they will be able to go to the other area.



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