Garden Share Collective – September 2013

veggie patch

Another month, another In My Kitchen (to follow) and Garden Share Collective post. Doing these monthly, only reminds me how fast time is flying by. It’s spring!

The Garden Share Collection is just that, a collection of vegetable patches across Australia, New Zealand, England and the US, hosted by Lizzie at Strayed from the Table.

I encourage you to view my previous posts HERE to follow my garden progress throughout the last couple of months.

Regular readers would know, my husband is a horticulturist and works at a busy garden nursery. The first weekend of spring is the busiest of the year. Garden enthusiasts come out in their masses, stocking up on seeds, seedlings, punnets and pots. Compost and fertiliser are sold by the tonnes.

He comes home exhausted, often forgoing his lunch break to serve customers and water plants. I know while the days are getting longer, more hours of sunshine and warmth, I can’t rely on him much to help around our own backyard. This baby’s all mine to manage.

Working from home on my new job means I’m tied to the computer and phone indoors so during my lunch break and once 5pm hits, I’m itching to pop on my gum boots and head outdoors.

I do however have a little apprentice. She too likes to don her gumboots and grab her shovel to help Mummy

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potatoes growing in hesham bags

Our Kipfler and Pontiac potatoes are quietly multiplying in their hessian home, it’ll be another month or so before we unearth them and marvel at our crop

Purple Kale plant

Purple Kale plant

Our purple kale plants are in overdrive, producing so much kale we can’t keep up! Kale is on the menu daily and no one’s complaining.

Brussel Sprouts plant

Our brussel sprout plants we sowed from seeds don’t seem to be doing anything! I don’t know if they’re not happy or they’re just taking their sweet time. They’ve been in the ground for 3 months now and were in punnets another 2 months earlier.

peas on lattice

Our sweet peas and broad beans continue to chase the sun.  They’re started producing flowers, peas and beans to follow!

Broccoli plants

broccoli plant

Our broccoli continues to produce broccolini, never quite forming one large head, instead producing masses and masses of broccolini stems. They seem to multiply overnight and like our kale plant, we can’t keep up.  Fortunately the white cabbage moth seen circling the neighbourhood is yet to discover the plants and my crop is completely organic, spray free. Hoots cousin Hooty watches guard.

Silverbeat plant

The pesky possums and bandicoots discovered the silverbeet like I knew they would, munching my crop right down to the stems. Another net was purchased and now protects my patch.

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I had a tray of carrot seeds going in my laundry, basking in the suns warmth by the window. All 200 of them survived the cut, turning into seedlings. I planned on planting them out stage by stage over a week but my crazy girl had other plans, tipping the tray upside down. I was on my knees scavenging and saving as many seedlings as possible. They all had to go in the ground, pronto.

It took 4 hours but they were saved! I planted a carrot in pretty much any spare bit of soil I could find.  In the beginning, I ensured they were planted correctly, spacing them out and lowering the plants roots down into the earth as straight as I could to ensure we get correctly shaped carrots. By the 30th or 40th carrot, I was just shoving them in. My back was breaking and I had another 150+ to go. I just hope it was worth the effort and we get a great crop in 12 weeks time!

Grosse Lisse tomato plant

Along with the carrot seeds, we planted some Grosse Lisse tomatoes seeds. We never expected all 32 plants to take off. I couldn’t help but laugh and think of Glenda at Passion Fruit Gardens and her glut from 17 tomato plants. What are we going to do with 32 plants? I think we’ll give some plants away to family and only plant 10 or so plants in the yard. The seedlings are still too young to be transplanted into the ground so we’re still babysitting the tray for now.

Stevia plant

Another throw out from my husband’s nursery was this Stevia plant. The main branch had broken and there was no way this baby was going to sell.  Mr Wog brought it home, fed it and within a couple of days, new leaves had emerged! I will be planting it in my original garden bed over the weekend. I have no idea what to do with the leaves or how to use it. Any suggestions welcome!

baby spinach and rocket plant

lettuce plant gone to seed

Our rocket and baby spinach plants continue to reward us daily with their leaves. We enjoy a rocket, spinach and lettuce salad daily with our dinner. Our coral lettuce plant however has started to go to seed, no matter how many times I snip away the flower stalk, it produces another one overnight. Time to replace the plant with another. They lived for 3 months and provided us lettuce leaves daily so a well-earned retirement is in order.

dolma leaf grape vineOur grape vine has started to leaf up well, I reckon another month and I’ll have enough leaves to make some dolma 🙂

Romanesco Broccoli Diggers Club

I bought a Diggers Club punnet of 6 heirloom Romanesco broccoli plants for $1 at Bunnings recently! I couldn’t believe they were marked down. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the plant, they were only wilting from lack of watering. Surely it would’ve taken the staff less time to just water the plant then write up a sticker with a new price tag and flog it off? My gain! Even more surprising was that Bunnings is selling Diggers Club seedlings. I was under the assumption that this was an exclusive members only club and only available for sale directly though subscription.

Thanks for joining me in another Garden Share Collective series, see you in the garden next month

xx

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The Garden Share Collection – August 2013

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Welcome to round two of the garden share collection, a lovely series of vegetable patches from all over the world, championed by Lizzie from Strayed from the table.

You’ll find a bit of a background to my vegetable patch, and round one here

So what’s new in this Wogs backyard?

Well, we’ve been attacked. By the crazy little nocturnal Possum family who love to forage around our back yard, and eat what WE should be eating.

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Damn you beetroot-parsley-basil-chilli-capsicum-loving possums.

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Our street comes to life after hours, with bandicoots eagerly digging holes in our lawns every night, rabbits breading and running amok and possums, who up until now were yet to discover our raised patches.  Thats what you get when you live on a street that backs onto a huge reserve.

bandicoot digging holes in lawn grass

Mr Wog brought home some bird netting that we have now covered our veggie patch with, however that was only good for 5 days. The bastards decided to chew through the plastic and still managed to make way for our parsley! Sly, sly, sly.

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So out came the trusty yarn and I’ve managed to band aid the hole. I’m not sure how long it will last, but we’ll make do until we figure something out.

They are yet to discover our newly created vegetable patch with our winter veggies thank goodness.

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So what’s new in the 2nd patch? Our edible purple kale has certainly taken off, and our peas have discovered the lattice, climbing north and chasing the sun. Broadbeans have also been added into the patch.

purple kale

climbing peas

Mr Wog came home one day from work with 4 punnets of throw out Rainbow Chard. Each punnet had 6-8 seedlings. They were throw outs because in the retail garden nursery world, if a plant has signs of damage, yellow leaves, sun spots etc they are not deemed shelve quality and get thrown out. Much like the demand for supermarket ‘perfect’ fruits and vegetables. This annoys me greatly and I could write up a whole post on this subject, but for now I’ll just say I’m grateful to have a husband who works in a nursery and has a great head on his shoulders. We have put them in the bed next to the regular silverbeat and kale. I have no doubt these little beauties will survive and It infuriates me that they would have been doomed for the green bin otherwise.

Rainbow Chard throw outs

Rainbow Chard throw outs

Our grape vine leaf who up until now has been dormant has come back to life with a beautiful new leaf growth. This grape vine has sentimental value to my husband, the tree belonged to his dear Grandma who had passed it onto her daughter, and now my husband. The grape vine has been uprooted from house to house through the generations and continues to live, producing masses of beautiful leaves, used to make dolmas, a hearty Armenian stuffed vine leave with rice and lamb mince.

dolma grape vine leaf

Our chillis remain black for now, except for one ‘lady in red’. We haven’t had enough sun in Sydney over the last month for them to colour up properly, so we continue to enjoy black chillies.

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Our ‘Pixie’ Lemon Tree shows little sign of disturbance since we transplanted her last month. There are a few yellow leaves, however she is producing new flowers and hopefully fruit soon.

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We are experimenting with potatoes this month. I’ve planted up Kipflers and Pontiacs in sacks. Mr Wog bought the potato seeds from work as he said while potatoes you find at the shops sprout, they have more than likely been sprayed to to be safe we’ve bought special ‘seed’ potatoes.

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I spent a good Saturday morning separating one old flat leaf parley pot and as a result was able to pull out almost 40 separate plants!! It’s amazing how one pot can multiply and produce so many pups! I hope these thrive and don’t immediately go to seed. Time will tell 🙂

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The Compost Bin I received for Mothers Day is almost half full. We continue to throw in all our kitchen scraps and it has broken down nicely. I think the mixture is too moist though and lately I’ve noticed a trillion little flies, buzzing around inside. I’m not sure if they’re fruit or vinegar flies or how to get rid of them. Is this suppose to happen? I’ve been googling some information and it ranges from ‘spraying’ the heap which I don’t want to do, to adding more newspaper to dry them out.

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Meet Hoot. Hoot had long straight shallot hair growing on top, but the black aphids destroyed the plant before we were able to reap the benefits of her hair cut. We decided to give Hoot a perm this month with curly parsley. A girl needs a new style every now and again 😉

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See you in the garden again in September!

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The Garden Share Collection – July 2013

Gourmet Wog raised garden bed

I am so excited to do this post, the first of many I hope! I am joining in on the fun of showcasing my Sydney veggie patch as part of Lizzies Garden Share Collection initiative, a collection of veggie patches across Australia and the World.

It’s a great way for us to collect ideas on what to plant, at the season of the city/climate you’re in and contribute in all the fun.

I always wanted a veggie patch of my own, and when my husband (finally) started to clean out our garden he uncovered a whole stack of buried used bricks, in all shapes and sizes and all useable. What a fantastic discovery!! I could already envision the gorgeous veggie patch we were going to have and plans got underway to build up a raised bed using the old bricks, and bags of cement that were left over from our bathroom renovation 3 years ago.

The first patch was built in March 2013 and we planted many different varieties of chilies, capsicum, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, leeks carrots, celery, rocket, baby spinach, lettuce, thyme, parsley, basil and oregano. Along the back wall is a small passion-fruit tree which will hopefully take over the back fence as they like to climb.

It has become a daily ritual to start the day with a garden inspection or ‘grand tour’ as I like to call it. I take my cup of chai tea, go outside and study any new growth that may have appeared overnight. It’s so relaxing and rewarding to see the plants, fruit and vegetable grow right in front of your eyes!

Gourmet Wog Veggie Patch

March 2013

I did along the way, take monthly photos to follow the progress of the garden.

Gourmet Wog Vegetable Veggie Patch

April 2013

Gourmet Wog Vegetable Veggie Patch

May 2013

Gourmet Wog Vegetable Veggie Patch

June 2013

June 2013

June 2013

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We pulled up our carrots earlier last month after 12 weeks in ground.

Gourmet Wog carrots

What a cracker!! I couldn’t help but laugh at the stumpy funny little carrots that were being uncovered. Regardless of shape, these beauties were the crunchiest and most delicious carrots I’ve ever eaten and unlike any other store bought carrot ever.

Gourmet Wog carrots

It’s certainly not economical to grow your own carrots when you take into consideration the amount of time, soil, fertilizer, seaweed food extract and patience that went into growing these beauties, especially when carrots at the supermarket are $1.50 a kilo, BUT in all honesty they are such fun to grow and the anticipation in what weird shape we would uncover was certainly worth the wait and time and I’ve already got a crop of carrot seeds planted in seedling trays to have another go.

Gourmet Wog Vegetable Veggie Patch

We have a small strawberry plant in a pot that stands over our outdoor setting. It produces the smallest little berries that pack a punch in flavour. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted strawberries so sweet from the shops or markets, ever. Up until early June, they were still strangely producing masses of fruit, however now that the cold and rains have set in, the plant is covered in fruit that will most probably never ripen.

Gourmet Wog green tomatoes

Our Roma tomato tree has gone gangbusters; however now in retrospect I can see why people don’t plant tomatoes in autumn for winter. The plant is flowering and producing masses of fruit, but they’ll never ripen or reach their full potential. Never mind, I, now in June, have a bumper crop of green tomatoes waiting to be pickled and used up.

Gourmet Wog Black Chillies

Our chilli plant (I forget what variety this one is! tsk tsk) goes from green to black and finally to red. It’s always a novelty eating bright black chillies with my meals. Strangely the chillies on the same plant vary in heat. I had my lovely girlfriends over for lunch and we all took a black chilli straight from the plant and into our mouths. Now, I always thought I had a wax coated tongue as my heat threshold is quite high so I confidently took a huge bite. I was crying eating my chilli while my girlfriend was so bravely munching through hers! I didn’t get it! We swapped chillies as we still had a bit left and lo and behold, hers was sweet and mine seemed to have stolen all the heat and packed it into its little body.

Our autumn patch has proved such a delight that I persuaded Mr. Wog into building a second patch, again using the left over bricks and a discovery of yet even more cement in our shed! The raised bed took my husband a weekend to build up, one Ute trailer full of ‘veggie patch soil mix’ from our local landscaping supplier at $55 for the cubic meter and lots of trips up and down our driveway with the wheelbarrow to transfer the soil from Ute to patch.

Building raised garden bed recycled bricks

Building raised garden bed recycled bricks

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We’ve planted the following winter crop vegetables; purple kale, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, peas, broccoli and some more basil. My carrot seeds began sprouting last week so they will be transplanted into this bed once they’re a little bigger and stronger.

I scored a lattice that was being chucked out – it’ll make for a great support once the peas take off and need something to climb.

We planted a Eureka lemon tree in the ground, at ground level before we completed the first vegetable patch. When we decided to create the second raised garden plant adjacent to the first raised bed, the lemon tree had to be dug up and transplanted back in the same spot, but at the raised soil level. Mr Wog said we couldn’t just fill the soil up and leave the lemon tree as is due to the fact the tree could get trunk rot. I was very upset at the thought of losing my lemon tree (it’s also where my very loved fur baby Pixie kitty cat is buried)  but fortunately the lemon tree, 2 weeks in, is doing just fine. No leaf discolouring or distress.

planting Kale and Silverbeat

The two garden beds, side by side

The two garden beds, side by side

I look forward to updating you next month with the progress and growth of our two wonderful veggie patches!

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Please take a moment to check out my blogging friends veggie patches by clicking on the above logo or clicking here