We have fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Some years the vegetables garden does better than others. A lot depends on the weather and how organised I am.
This year I have decided that I will make a concerted effort to successfully produce more of our own food. Since the hot summer is over and we finally have some moderate autumn weather I have made a start on planting.
The lettuce and kale seedlings which I planted about 5 weeks ago are now thriving full-sized plants and we are enjoying plenty of fresh lettuce. I planted red cabbage seedlings about 10 days ago and they are established and looking healthy.
On the weekend I sorted through a pile of seed packets which I store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Many of them are expired but I decided that I had nothing to lose by planting them.
There are bush beans interplanted with the red cabbage. Coriander and rocket are in the freshly-dug strip in the background of the same photo. I am excited to report that exactly 48 hours after planting them, the rocket seeds have germinated and I now have hundreds of tiny, two-leaved seedlings. Other beds have carrot, red onion, peas and radishes. If they all grow I will have a bumper harvest, if not I will try again with some fresh seeds.
Some seeds are best raised in seed trays before transplanting them. These include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery and spinach. Here they are on a temporary potting table which I created from a couple of sawhorses and a piece of pool fencing. There is another piece of pool fencing over the top in an attempt to prevent the chickens from digging them up when they are free-ranging.
Here is a close-up of the trays with their labels cut out of an old ice-cream container.
Finally, I wanted to show you the raspberry canes on the left-hand side of the photo below.
We have a substantial clump of raspberry canes from the original 4 canes that we planted about 3 years ago. In an attempt to control the growth of these we have tried to contain them using star pickets and a couple of strands of wire. When we dig up the canes which are beyond the designated area we will plant them in the vacant area beside the gate. Our goal is to have a raspberry patch stretching from the front boundary to the gate and extending 600mm either side of the fence which forms part of the garden enclosure.
Many people are quite surprised that we can grow raspberries in our climate. Ours are an autumn fruiting variety which are suited to our climate and we are very happy with the yield. This year has been the best crop so far. While we are not exactly inundated I am picking about 50 – 100g every few days at the moment and that is definitely enough to have for dessert with some ice-cream.
Growing our own food means that it is raised without pesticides and artificial fertiliser, it comes with no additional packaging and it saves us money. What is there not to love?