Yesterday, we finally got into the vegetable garden after an extremely long, super hot summer. It has been such a scorching, dry four plus months that we’ve been to scared to plant anything, because if we feel like shriveling up and dying in this heat then I’m pretty sure a delicate little plant might feel the same. The days are still incredibly hot but we are starting to get some decent rain occasionally. Yes, we are in Autumn but I don’t think anyone has told Mother Nature. 

Do you have a husband who likes to prune? Mr BC and I learned to compromise about this early in our marriage and I think it has saved us from the divorce courts. He prunes far less than he actually wants, and I try and turn a blind eye when he prunes beyond my comfort level. I said I try! Sometimes I have to say something.

All of that pruning dislodged a fair few insects, which the monkeys had a lot of fun with. That fascinated look of thrilled terror amped up a bit when the baby stick insect decided to take a walk on The Gentleman’s freshly shaved head. In other news we have a new family member named John the Grub, who lives in a plastic jar in the lounge room.

Mr BC loves staking and tying as much as he loves pruning, and to his credit he has nursed this Pineapple Feijoa back from a very sick state. We are all hoping that it actually fruits one day, so we can see what a Pineapple Feijoa tastes like. A you a fan of the Feijoa? They are a big thing in New Zealand, and I know I’ve eaten one but I can’t remember how it tasted. Fruit saladish?

Anyway, to the vegetable garden! My in-laws gave me some Bunnings Vouchers for my birthday recently so I went off to the garden center to see what looked good. We are technically in between seasons so there was lots of sad looking summer stuff and shiny new winter stuff like brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. After last winter’s caterpillar-geddon I’m a bit hesitant to go overboard on the brassica’s again, and to be honest, I’m not convinced Summer is actually over. I was lusting after some cavalo nero but it was caterpillar eaten and even had some moth eggs on it before it even left the shop, and I didn’t want to bring that drama into my garden. ‘Aint no one got time for that!

After carefully selecting the best seedlings I could find, I sketched up a little map showing what would go where. This is based on what area gets the most sun and where the climbing supports are. I kept changing my mind about the herbs and in the end they don’t exactly match my plan. Oh, look! It our 24th wedding anniversary today! Happy Anniversary Mr BC! xx

We garden to the layer method, made famous in Australia by acclaimed chef Stephanie Alexander and her Kitchen Garden Foundation. We prepped some extra layers months ago using manure from the local stables, compost from our compost bin and sugar cane mulch, rather than straw. I like using sugar cane mulch because it doesn’t create weeds like straw sometimes does, especially if it sits for any length of time.  Mr BC and the Monkeys sifted out another wheelbarrow full of compost for me to use to plant the seedlings out.

The garden beds are raised, and the layer method is actually no-dig, so it was very easy to get the plants into the ground. I did dig a small divot where the seedlings where to go, but I used a hand trowel and could easily have just used my hands, it was so easy. No back breaking shovel action required! After that I back filled it with a scoop of compost, put the seedling in and re-covered around it with the sugar cane mulch. Couldn’t be easier! Have I made the impression that this is very easy? Good.

Ta-da! Four Tiny Tom Tomatoes ready to clamber up the support. This area gets the most sun, so I hope they will be very happy. After everything was planted in, we watered them in with some diluted worm tea from the worm farm, just to give them a little welcome-to-the-party drink.

When I was at Bunnings I also bought some bamboo stakes, for the peas to climb up. Garden stakes can sometimes be shockingly expensive, but these six foot stakes where six for $1. Such a bargain!

We made two tee pee supports for the peas, using three stakes each, and tied them at the top with the string used to bundle them in the shop. There are two pea seedlings at the bottom of each stake, so in case one seedling fails there will still be a good chance of a well covered tee pee.

The sunniest bed. The parsley looks a bit shocked at the whole ordeal, but it is just playing possum and will bounce back in no time. Parsley likes to pretend it is high maintenance but it is not. These strawberries are from the Hills Planter. They loved the planter but the tree overhead grew a lot in the hot sun and created so much shade the strawberries stopped thriving, so we moved them.

The corn gets a lot of sun in this position and I always plant it here, because I want it to grow tall and thick and screen the bogan neighbours. I am a little concerned about the rainbow chard. Normally it is as tough as old boots but these seedlings where very soft with hardly any root structure. I’ve given them the most sheltered area and although they don’t look dead, they do look very sad. Hopefully they’ll bounce back soon.

We put in this old section of pool fence as a climbing support, and I hope the sugar snap peas love it. It’s accessible from both sides so I’m hoping the monkeys will snack on it as they play in the back yard. We’ve had success with yellow beans before so I hope they do well again. No pressure, yellow beans! Also, I’ve hedged my bets with a single rainbow chard in a different position, just in case.

It’s all a bit sad and bleached out just now, but I think as soon as the rains start we will see some lush green growth and a productive, attractive garden. It’s hard to see in the photo below but just as we finished the heavens opened and we had an absolute deluge for a few hours, which was perfect timing. Thanks Mother Nature! No more scorching sun please!

What’s growing in your garden at the moment? Is your husband an avid pruner?

xx

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6 thoughts on “Late Summer Gardening

  • 04/07/2014 at 9:07 AM
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    That looks great! My tomatoes just finished, along with the sugar snap peas and strawberries. Capsicums and chillies a bit sad this year, but still trying hard! I finallt grew beautiful aubergines this year, still a couple of shiny purple globes swelling. Zucchini forever, as usual! My "rainbow chard" – or plain old silverbeet – has lasted forever and the celery and rocket still going strong. Just had another attempt at brassicas, as the white butterfly snuck in before I treated with this new, proprietary organic product, so this time (crossed fingers!) Last lot of mesclun sowed and some new kale. My herbs are amazing, must do some more pesto before the basil finishes. I wanna try the pineapple feijoa! Feijoas are maybe my favourite fruit ever, and my three huge trees are laden and about a month off – makes my favourite chutney, too!

    • 04/11/2014 at 10:25 PM
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      Your garden sounds divine!
      xx

  • 04/11/2014 at 12:11 PM
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    my idea of the perfect garden is concreted over.

    I am pretty sure I am a greek grandfather.

    Wanna come and work your magic on my garden?

    • 04/11/2014 at 10:25 PM
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      Sure thing, you can pay me in ouzo and coffee.
      xx

  • 04/13/2014 at 8:09 PM
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    Happy Anniversary! We're just into spring, here, and planting some dwarf bottlebrush plants across the front of the house. I hope they take well. We tilled garden soil into our own and layered some compost on top of that. Fingers crossed that we beautiful flowering shrubs soon. No veggies in the back. The hen has let it be known that any and all tasty herbs and veggies will be devoured by her.

    • 04/22/2014 at 11:55 AM
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      Thank you, Lovely one! Bottlebrush are so beautiful, and they really attract nectar eating birds. Hope you get lots of visitors!
      xx

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