It has been an odd summer in the garden, not really super hot like last year, although February isn’t over yet. I’ve used far less water, partly due to some welcome rain, and partly due my wonderful new wicking beds. These work on the self watering principle and they use a lot less water than other watering systems. My rainwater tanks also haven’t run dry like they usually do.
My tomatoes are finishing up earlier than usual, and are making way for a second crop of beans and beetroot before the autumn and winter planting of kale, broad beans and peas.
I had a smaller crop of peaches this year due to my aggressive winter pruning of the tree, so I only ate them fresh and had no excess for preserving. But luckily my neighbours have an apricot tree that had an absolutely bumper year. I preserved about 25 jars of them and split them between us. They also made jam and I have several jars in my cupboard that they gave me.
This year I let the self-sown pumpkins survive and I have surrendered most of the back yard to them as they ramble over everything. I’ve been rewarded with several large pumpkins. I have harvested one already and I can spy at least another six under the vines, so there will be some pumpkin recipes coming!
I also have a big crop of eggplant and peppers, which is very exciting as I have never had a lot of success with them. I put this down to my wicking beds keeping them constantly moist.
My zucchini plants have succumbed to mildew and, being a glutton for punishment, I have planted a few more plants so I can get some more before the season is over.
I am currently awash with tomatoes and I’ve been eating them roasted, fresh, with beans and over pasta. I will make some kasoundi with the last of them.
And today I ate my very first (and only) bunch of grapes from my vine. 🙂
I love spring.
I love the longer days, the change of light and warmth and the new growth in the garden. But most of all, I love the hope and promise it brings after the grey winter.
Right now my garden is full of tiny fruits and vegetables that are bursting out everywhere. Some I can eat now, and some will be ready in a few weeks or months. Some I have waited patiently for my first crop, like cherries, artichokes and asparagus, while others are making a welcome return like peaches and apples.
This season I converted my raised beds to wicking beds, which are basically gigantic self watering pots. They are miraculous. They use very little water and remain moist all the time. The growth in the veggies is phenomenal. I’ve never had silver beet with leaves 30cm wide.
Here is a photo tour of my garden at the moment.
Roses, a veggie bed with lettuces, leeks, kale and some tomato seedlings, gigantic silver beet, tiny limes, new leaves on the kaffir lime, artichokes and asparagus.
Strawberries, teeny pears, loganberries, raspberries, cherries(!), grapes, apples and quinces.
Here’s to spring!
It’s late autumn and all the hard work of preparing my garden after the summer harvest is now done.
That included removing all of the old plants, chopping them up for composting and then shovelling barrow loads of old compost onto the beds, spreading rock dust and digging it all in.
But it doesn’t mean the garden is bare. I’ve put new plants in, lots of winter greens, broadbeans, spinach, silverbeet and peas and I have some others growing in a seedling tray ready to be planted out in a couple of weeks.
I find winter a bit grim, with short days and cold weather, but there is always the promise shown by shooting greens of good things to come. The other is the upside of comfort food. There will be plenty of food for soups, stir fries and pasta during the next couple of months.
My neighbour’s climbing rose is also putting on a beautiful unseasonal display and is spilling over my fence.
That’s enough to make anyone happy.
Here are some photos.
Kaffir Lime leaves
Lettuce, rapini, red kale and cabbage seedlings
My first lime!