Garden Share Collective – November 2013

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How is it November already? Unfortunately Sydney has decided to chuck a little tanty and forgo spring, prematurely offering us summer instead. I wish I could be happy about this but given that our street backs onto a National Park and that we are in the midst of a bush fire crisis, a cooler spring would be most welcome. Surely our wildlife and plants must be confused too.

For a quick recap on this series, or if you’re new here (Welcome!), please take a moment to read through these 6 short posts.

I’ve mentioned our bandicoot and possum family before, the bastards who trawl our backyard at night time and eat our plants. Last month I heard a bit of rustling in one of the Camellia bushes we have and there it was. One very cute little possum, munching down a white Camellia flower bud, guilty as charged.

Now, when i saw this little guy, first instinct was to go ‘Awww how cute’ then the reality hit. This was the critter who had not only been eating my flowers, but also the vegetables that were meant for us. My next reaction was to clap my hands really loudly, like if you were trying to shoo away a seagull, but it didn’t scare the little guy. I screamed and clapped loudly again. Nope, nothing. The possum kept eating away on its Camellia bud, completely ignorant to my tactics. I started waving my hands around like a maniac, nothing. I thought maybe the flash on my camera might shy him away. Yeah right.

This little dude was one brave possum. I, however, must have looked like a fruit loop to my neighbours, screaming, clapping and acting like a retard on my front porch.

possum in camelia tree

Here’s that same tree during the day. You can see how close it is to our front door.

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Fortunately though, the bird netting we installed last month has been working at keeping the critters away from our patch. I suppose I can sacrifice a few Camellia flower buds in order for them to stay away from our vegetables!

Our silverbeet:

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and kale…

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We planted some ‘King Purple’ climbing bean seeds and within a few days they were already chasing the sun. They remind me of graceful flamingos

purple king beans

Our String Beans we planted last month have started flowering, however we are yet to see them fruit

french beans

After a long 6 months growing period, we are finally harvesting leeks! We have around 50 still in the ground!

leek plants

We didn’t get much luck again with out carrots, they just seem to grow in the most absurd and deformed shapes. Never mind, my daughter loves pulling them out and having a giggle at the funny shapes.

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It’s taking longer than we originally thought to give our raised pallet garden beds a permanent spot in our garden. Because of our unlevel land and slope, we’re going to have to make a retaining wall to one side and at the back, the raised garden bed is no longer ‘raised’. In order for them to be at the same level and be straight so when we water, the soil doesn’t puddle or slide out, we had to cut into the grass. Hubby is still working of the beds in the front however the back two have are good and ready to go! The plan is to have tomatoes and eggplant’s in the back, and cucumbers and zucchini’s in the front.

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I hope I can have a picture of the finished and final product for you by next month. Our seedlings are crying out to be planted already!

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The leaves on our kipfler potato sack hessian bags started to yellow and die. I thought it was the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Sydney (we’ve skipped spring and gone straight for summer!) that killed our plants, but my husband assured me that wasn’t the case and it just meant that the potatoes were trying to tell me they want out! It’s harvest time! I got the scissors out to rip open the bag but it wasn’t necessary, as soon as we tried to lift it onto a wheelbarrow, the hessian sack had completely disintegrated and turned to mush.

potato hessian bags

We managed to lift it somehow and sift through the soil to find these gorgeous little potatoes.

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I was disappointed at our harvest. For some reason I had grand dreams of kilo’s and kilo’s of potatoes and from the 200 grams we planted, we harvested about 1.5kgs worth. This won’t deter me, I might wait for a few of them to sprout, so some more research and try again next month. My Pontiac Potatoes leaves have started to yellow but they’re very much alive still so hopefully in a couple of weeks when I rip open their sacks, we’ll have better luck with them.

kipfler potatoes

Thank you for joining me on another Garden Share Collective post, brought to you by Lizzy at Strayed from the Table.

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Happy Gardening!

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69 thoughts on “Garden Share Collective – November 2013

  1. Lisa, I’ve pretty much given up growing anything. A few years ago I was growing roccoto chillies and the possums quite happily munched away on them. There are very few humans that I know that can do that. Its like they had no chilli receptors in their collection of taste buds. Good luck with the vegies, its looking great.

    • Don’t give up Stuart and don’t let them get away with it!! My chilli plants were all chewed up too, until we used bird netting to keep them out. It’s been a few months now and my garden is back and thriving! The netting only cost about $10 from bunnings and we used bamboo stakes to keep them up.

  2. That possum has some cheek.
    Your daughter looks so sweet (and happy) with her carrot harvest. There are some good ones there!
    And what a beautiful butterfly in amongst the silverbeet!

    • Thanks so much Danielle! There were a few goodies amongst the crazy deformed ones!! The butterfly is a fake, on a solar powered wire that spins around, its great at keeping other butterflies and moths away because they’re territorial and if they see another one around, they won’t lay their eggs on the leaves 🙂

  3. Your seedlings look great, fingers crossed the possum leaves them alone when you get to plant them in the garden beds. Hope you are staying safe in the fires and get a cool change in weather before Spring officially ends.

  4. Your garden is looking very healthy and productive, despite the weather and the (very cute!) possum. And you’re right, those beans really do have a look of flamingos standing in a line in your veggie patch!

  5. I also feel a little disappointed when I harvest potatoes. I always hope there will be more. But… it doesn’t stop me from trying again for that magical crop 🙂 Your leeks are amazing! What did you do to get them white so far up the stem? Did you bank up the soil around them for the whole growing time? I think I had better check on mine to see how ready they are.

    • I ate the potato’s today and the taste well compensated the little amount we harvested! Certainly quality over quantity!!
      Yes we banked the soil on the leeks over the months. They were planted in trenches about 20 cms deep. We pulled them all out today. I was planning on keeping them in ground and only using them up when we needed them but they’d all gone to flower and the stems had turned very woody and inedible, so I’d rather harvest them and keep them in the fridge. Leeks for lunch and dinner over the next fortnight!

  6. The trouble with possums is that they have such cute and pretty faces, it’s hard to be angry at them for long. We used to have them nesting in our roof and because they’re nocturnal, all night long they’d thump about driving us mad. And then they urinate! And then you get that smell! For little guys they sure do give a lot of grief. I love how your garden is growing. You’ll have having plentiful harvests very soon for sure xx

  7. hello from another garden sharer! i love your kale with the purple spines. so pretty! does the colour stay once cooked? and i bet the flavour of those freshly dug spuds more than compensates for the small harvest size. i am imagining them steamed with loads of melting butter…

    • Thanks so much!! The kale variety is ‘Winter Wonder’ and they unfortunately don’t stay purple when cooked. I cooked up the potatoes today and they were AMAZING!! Much better than store bought hands down xx

  8. Those little potatoes will be absolutely delicious. Ooh I can almost taste them!
    Looking forward to seeing your new beds all planted out. I know how you feel about the possums but I’m glad the netting is doing its job. Very jealous of your kale. Once again mine has been totally eaten down to dirt level 😦

  9. Okay, the possum is cute but I’m happier if they are in someone else’s garden (not yours). I’m so envious of all your dirt. everything is paved here or has some fancy plant in a landscaped bed. They obviously didn’t plan on growing anything here. 🙂

  10. Our first crop of spuds were the same we planted 10 rows of them and we only got about 20kg out of them. The second crop of two rows were bigger spuds not chats and weighed 20kg. We put it down to the soil.
    It will be great to see your new raised beds complete, you will have a huge backyard veggie garden. I am a little jealous of your beans – they look so healthy, I can’t seem to grow them well here, once again – soil.

  11. I would be happy with that potato harvest – we have had very dire results in our attempts! Sweet potatoes, however, we can get heaps from just scraps (and the leaves are edible – bonus).

    Would a water gun work with your visitor? Great that the netting worked.

  12. Hope you and your family are not affected by the fire.
    My deer and your possums think alike, no amount of yelling, hand clapping or stone throwing will make them go away.
    Your garden is coming along nicely, I see bumper crops in the future.

  13. Your leeks look good. Ours are really spindly this year, which is rather disappointing as they’re usually the crop that lasts us throughout the winter.
    Lovely to see the progress of your garden – doubtless you’d like to see the possum progress very quickly out of it.

  14. Good to see your garden doing so well, Lisa, though I wish you and the rest of your country could get some rain. The fires are horrific! In my limited experience with possum, clapping hands does little, nor does hitting it with a rake. They are determined creatures. Glad to see that your bird netting is working. Just look at the beautiful kale & silverbeet! Can’t wait to see the raised beds finished and planted. I don’t know about your country’s labor laws but isn’t that Cutie a little young to be harvesting crops? 🙂

  15. Your potatoes look great and you’ve grown such brilliant leeks, mine are a tad on the pathetic side. Could definitely compete with you on the deformed carrots too, I’ve grown different colours (heritage varieties) and my daughter likes the purple & pink ones, surprise, surprise! Lovely garden.

  16. Oh your leeks and silverbeet are awesome – I have trouble growing both of those up here in the tropics. We spend a lot of time keeping the garden fenced in against bandicoots, and luckily dont get possums.

  17. Your possum is adorable! Sorry I know how pesky they are … when we lived in Sydney they ate everything and they had to cross open ground to get to our yard too. Your greens are brilliant, the potatoes are delightful and brilliant success with your leeks. My bunny would love your carrots Lisa x 😀

  18. Pingback: The Garden Share Collective, November | Strayed from the Table

  19. Lisa, I am sorry that you have hassles with possums but they sure are super cute!
    I love your garden updates and you are doing so well despite your disappointment of few potatoes than anticipated. Your garden is a continual work in progress and I am looking forward to seeing your raised beds planted.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  20. I love, love you pallet beds, can’t wait to see them all planted up. And hopefully you keep those critters out of your patch, let them have a few flowers. As for the spuds, I’ve always had more success growing them in the ground rather than in bags or pots, don’t ask me why. Hope the Pontiacs have a better yield.

  21. when I lived in London I discovered the squirrels eating the flowers on my Magnolia tree, I feel the same as you do about your Possums!
    And looking at your spring, or should I say early summer garden with all the seedlings ready to be planted makes me feel a tad jealous but at the same time happy ! Happy gardening x

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