Garden Notes – Raspberries and Rocket


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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is a close-up of the trays with their labels cut out of an old ice-cream container.

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Finally, I wanted to show you the raspberry canes on the left-hand side of the photo below.

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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.

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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?




Garden Planning


After a few weeks of mostly wet weather, our vegetable garden is pretty well non-existent.  While the weather was fine on the weekend, I took the opportunity to examine what is left.  The cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes all need to be pulled out.  There are a few corn growing and I don’t know whether the cobs will mature but I will leave them for the time being.  The same goes for the button squash which have weathered the wet conditions much better than the zucchini.  There is Greek basil still going under all the weeds so that will stay.  The cherry tomatoes are wild and threatening to take over the garden.

I also was able to pick some figs.  There are a lot more on the tree so I am hoping to get enough to make some fig jam (my favourite) and perhaps to try drying some as well.

2012-02-06 01Next weekend I hope that the weather is fine and we will remove all of the old plants and start preparing the beds for our winter crops.  It is time to get some more mushroom compost again and hopefully some mushrooms as a bonus.

Although it is still most definitely summer it is time to get prepared as we have a relatively short and mild winter.  I will be planting onion and leek seeds this week as it takes about 10 – 12 weeks before they are ready to plant out and that takes us through till the beginning of May.  Although I have grown onions successfully in previous years, our winter is not long enough for the tops to die down and dry off.  I have to pick the onions with the tops still green so they do not store well.  I have diced and frozen the onions previously but this year I hope to dehydrate at least some of them.

I checked the seeds that I have to see what else I need to buy.  I keep my seeds in a container in the refrigerator.

2012-02-06 03I buy my seeds from Green Harvest so am going to spend some time checking out the catalogue.  Fortunately for me, Green Harvest are located in Maleny, near my home so I can pick up my order in person.  I need more broccoli seeds and am going to try to grow cauliflower and cabbage from seed as well.  I may have another go a growing carrots which are my nemesis.

2012-02-06 02My ideal is to plant my first crop of broccoli seedlings around St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) so I want to get the seeds planted as soon as possible.