Friday 16 May 2014

Garden Update

Hello! This is just a quick update on the garden for anyone who is interested. I realised that I usually show harvest photos and not much else, so I thought it would be nice to show you how the garden is looking overall. 

I have several broccoli heads that are almost ready to pick.

 This is kale planted under an old clothing basket for my chickens to eat. The idea is that they will only be able to eat what they can reach through the wire, so they won't be able to dig up the plants! I try to feed them as many alternatives to grain as possible as I believe it is a more 'natural' diet for them to follow. I have recently discovered that they absolutely LOVE rocket so I will probably do a similar thing with that, using a lower basket.

Broad beans, broccoli, carrots, various brassicas, potatoes and nasturtiums. Yeah...I don't exactly plant in neat rows!

 In the foreground here you can see one of the seemingly least exciting but one of my favourite parts of my little garden - the spinach patch. I pick baby spinach from this regularly to use in salads. It grows quickly and is very versatile! 

 Capsicums, nasturtiums, amaranth, peas, spinach, bok choy, coriander, Thai chillies and a few little brassicas hiding in there somewhere...

 I love this beautiful calendula bush. It is so prolific! The (very makeshift) trellis has purple podded peas growing on it. 

 Potatoes, brussels sprouts and other brassicas, eggplant, amaranth, beetroot, rocket, lettuce, kale, 'Fatalli' chillies, ruby streaks mustard, perpetual spinach, carrots and...I think that's it! Yep, I definitely have very little order to my garden, but that's just how I like it! I do make an effort to consider companion planting principles but I'm pretty relaxed about it. 

Here you can see coffee grounds around the base of some of the plants. Coffee grounds help to repel slugs and snails, and also add nitrogen to the soil. Plus, they make your garden smell like coffee! 

 This is a baby rhubarb plant that I got from Melbourne University's community garden (which you can check out here if you like). I didn't realise that rhubarb sends out new plants, but it certainly does! We had too many to fit in the garden, so I got to take this little one home. It endured a brutal separation from its mother and a stint in a plastic bag in the bottom of my hand bag, but I've heard they're tough little things so I think it's got a fighting chance at survival! I planted it near some of my brassicas, as rhubarb is a good companion plant for them. 

Broccoli plants are doing well, though I planted them too close together. You may be ale to make out the tiny one on the left that seems to have come last in the competition for nutrients and space! I should re-plant it.

I think this is purple cauliflower, but it could also be purple cabbage. Yeah, I don't really do labels either. It's always a bit of a mystery as to what I'll get! 

This is cauliflower that I attempted to grow over Summer (just another 'eh, might as well' experiment in my backyard!). It was unsuccessful BUT now it is going to seed, so I will have plenty of cauliflower seeds for next season! I guess it's not a failure after all. I love watching plants go to seed, and I love having plants self seed in the garden! 

This is my half-hearted attempt at accepting the fact that I'm living in a rental home. At least when I move, it will be easy to take these plants (and this soil!) with me. It's a little concerning how attached I am to my soil, but I'm sure my fellow gardeners will understand! It takes so much time and effort to build up good soil, and mine isn't amazing but I have certainly put a lot of work into it. I may take the top layer with me in chicken food bags when I leave...Anyway, in these pots I have peas, capsicums, Chinese spoon cabbage, strawberries, a blueberry, a kiwiberry, basil, some kind of succulent, New Zealand yams, cumin and Vietnamese mint.

 This (above and below) is just a random little patch next to my shed. There are leeks hiding in there somewhere.
There are a few more sections of my garden that I didn't get pictures of this time, but I will endeavour to introduce you to them soon!

Thanks for reading my rambling mess about my rambling, messy garden. I hope it shows that you don't have to do everything 'by the book' (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and that it's better to just have a go, as I'm doing, than to miss out on the joys of gardening because you're not sure where to begin! I started gardening two years ago with some broccoli and leeks transplanted from my Mum's garden, and look how far I've gotten already. I can't wait to see how much gardening knowledge I'll have in another 30 years!

Jess x

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