Category Archives: vegetable gardening

I’m still here

I know, I know. I’ve been so busy with work and things that I haven’t had the time. I’ve also applied to go to university next year to do my Bachelor of Nursing and have been looking into doing Cert III in horticulture because obviously nursing and horticulture go hand in hand.  I have had the time to continue my endeavours in the garden, however and much is happening.

I am harvesting salad leaves daily, mostly mignonette lettuce, sorrel, young broad bean leaves (yum!), watercress, radicchio and a bit of mint and spring onions and basil.

I have also been able to harvest several zucchini, three eggplants and plenty of tomatoes and by the looks of things there are plenty more to come.  The broad beans are absolutely dripping with inch long beans and I can’t wait to harvest them in a few weeks.

I planted two raspberry canes about a month back and they have already started to produce flowers.

The purple congo potatoes in grow bags are big and bushy and healthy. They actually make a rather attractive container plant in my opinion.

I am really quite impressed with everything growing as my garden is very sunlight starved due to four large conifers in my front garden, and about 10 in my back garden. Then there is the enormous gum tree that towers above everything. I will do a post on the different produce I’ve grown, the amount of full sun they get (if any) a day, and how well they’ve produced if anyone is interested.

Until then, there is much to do in the garden and I can hear nature calling me. Happy gardening.

XX Brookie

Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”

It’s so cold! What is going on here? I live in Qld for criminy’s sake! 6.5 degrees? Blah. In spite of the cold I did do some work in the garden today. Along the border of my property is an ugly garden bed full of what  I think are called Moses basket because the flowers look like little baskets. I don’t like the plant. So I pulled them out. Then I forked in some compost and well-rotted horse manure and planted out my green mignonette lettuces and fordhook giant silverbeet. I was thinking about getting the rainbow ones but I have so many silverbeet seedlings (maybe 30) that I think it would be silly… or maybe not. You can freeze it. But my freezer is tiny. I will also plant my grosse lisse tomatoes here and my black beauty eggplants and a bunch of other stuff that needs to go in the ground or die.

Anyway here are some pictures of some of the stuff growing right now.

Watercress. So easy to grow and so good for you. Mine are growing happily in a container in the shade. No need for running water.

Broadbeans also growing happily in the shade. I have never tried these before so I cant wait to harvest them.

Snow peas or mange toute. I don’t know if mine are growing really slowly or if I am impatient because I love them so much.

Celery – another happy shade dweller.

Row of bok choy. Why are the leaves going funny?

Popping corn. Can I eat it like normal corn or do I have to dry it and pop it? How do I do that?

Radishes – The Unenthusiastic Gardener’s favourite.

I don’t know if this is button squash or Lebanese zucchini. I’ll find out soon as they have many little flower buds on them.

And finally the beautiful marigolds growing in half 2l coke bottles. Upcycling!

That’s just a few bits and pieces from my garden.

XX Brooke

Garden update

The seeds that I planted on May 19 are coming along nicely. Silverbeet, lettuce, beetroots and tomatoes are a bit leggy. Not too bothered by the silverbeet and lettuce since I’ll just plant them deeper when I put them in the garden, and I kind of like the tomatoes having a long stalk because I can plant them deeper and the stalk will develop more roots, making a stronger plant. That’s my excuse, anyway. I am kind of concerned about the beetroots, though, as I’m not sure if they will develop properly. We’ll see what happens.

Every single plant that had powdery mildew has completely recovered. There is not a sign of mildew or any damage, so this is fabulous.  The tomatoes haven’t completely recovered from the blight but I didn’t really expect them to. They are still growing and producing fruit, and they aren’t getting any worse so I think I may aswell continue to remove badly damaged foliage and spray the plants once a week. There’s no point ripping them out.

The carrot seeds I planted about 3 weeks ago have finally germinated. Lucky for them, too, since I was close to emptying the container and starting from scratch.

I planted some more seeds today, aswell. More broad beans (my first ones have got their first flowers), purple king beans, blue lake beans and rattlesnake beans, strawberry temptation, beam’s yellow pear tomatoes, sweet corn, fennel and some other stuff I cant remember.

Cut worms ate about 80 percent of my capsicums and chillies. I still have about 5 of each so I guess it’s ok. Sort of disheartening that 2 months of love and care can be destroyed in one night by something smaller than my finger, but that’s gardening I suppose.

I shall perservere.

XX Brooke

Slugs and snails and puppy dog tales

For anyone suffering from slugs or snails eating your garden, I suggest trying to mulch it with straw. My bok choy was being absolutely slaughtered by the slimy little buggers and now that I have used straw to mulch them they are looking almost pristine. I don’t know why, but it’s working.

This is the worst plant. The rest is hole-free.

My dogs keep exploring my vegetable beds. I yell at them to get off and they stop, look at me and wag their tails. Then they go and explore the vegetable beds some more, crushing cabbages as they go. Perhaps they are munching on slugs and snails.

XX Brooke

Identity crisis

My garden has broad beans in it.. they are growing well. They are growing fast and they are green and bushy and lovely. But they only get about 2 hours of direct sunlight a day. Should I transplant them into a sunnier position or leave them where they seem quite chipper? I don’t know! It’s all too much. I would like to take to these damn pine trees with a chainsaw and be done with it. Never have to worry about sunlight again. But I can’t. Stupid rental house.

Look! My first eggplant flower. I think it’s one of those purple and white stripey ones.. or it could be a white one. Or a black one. I don’t know. I should have labelled it but I can see that it is an eggplant..plant. So I didn’t think it necessary. Now I am confused. But thrilled. It’s beautiful!

What a sweet little sweetheart.

The only thing that is producing foods is my chilli. I don’t know what kind it is. Some form of wild chilli I believe. I found it in the garden. The chillies are very soft, tiny and EXTREMELY hot. But the flowers are pretty. It doesn’t seem to exist on the internet, any how.

Another thing, can anyone identify this chive? My mum had it for at least 10 years before she gave it to me. It has flat, strappy leaves rather than the straw leaves that I find in nurseries and people’s homes. It’s got a nice oniony, chivey, non-garlicy flavour.

Here are it’s flowers

I really must get some of those chives with the purple clusters of flowers. They are so so so so pretty… Anyway, I have to go hunt down the news papers my partner hid so I can go and weed-proof the leaf vegetables. Take care.

XX Brooke

Seeds, glorious seeds!

So today I planted a large variety of seeds. I made a seed raising mix from compost, cheap potting mix, vermiculite, and dynamic lifter.

I put the mixture minus the vermiculite in the food processor (I’m odd, but I am the naughty gardener after all) to make it a bit finer since the potting mix was quite chunky and so was the compost. This method has served me well in germination rate but I wouldn’t recommend it for any neat freaks or germophobes out there. A time-consuming task that results in dirt all over my kitchen and a cranky partner but a nice mix that will make me some happy little plants.

I planted the following

Lettuce – Green Mignonette

Tomato – Grosse Lisse

Beetroot – Crimson Globe

Onion – Red Rossa

Silverbeet – Fordhook Giant

Okra – Lady’s Fingers

No pictures because who wants to see a photo of a bucket full of dirt? Not I.

Next week I will be taking a visit to the demolition yard to find some materials to make a nice big container for planting carrots and other root vegetables, because I’m cheap and don’t want to spend a fortune on some fancy container from Bunnings. Oh the excitement! I love thrift stores and tip shops and demolition yards.

That’s all for today.

Take care!

XX Brookie