Spring in the garden

Spring is ramping up into summer now. The days are long, the evenings warm and I’m thinking I’ll need to take a hat on my walk to work from now on. With the return of the sun the garden has roused itself and the food growing has begun in earnest.

I’m spending more and more time out there, planting out seedlings, picking things to put on my plate and aiming to keep the mulch in the garden beds and the grass in the lawn. My resident blackbird family disagree with my philosophy of mulching the veggies, preferring instead to spread the stuff over the pavers and lawn, uprooting the occasional seedling in the process. Still, they’ve developed a taste for snails and for that I am grateful: as much as I’d prefer a few native blue-tongue lizards to do the job I’m in the middle of suburbia and can’t provide good lizard habitat.

The garden here is the biggest one I’ve ever taken on, and I’ve surprised myself by already filling up all the existing garden beds and the new one I dug at the bottom of the yard. I’ve planted potatoes and oca, and they take up quite a bit of space! Also in are peas and beans (the peas self-sowed, as did one type of bean, so I’m not sure what I’ve got yet), beetroot (doing well), carrots (doing badly), lettuce (another self-sower) rocket, rainbow chard and the first lot of tomatoes. 

Meanwhile, the late seedlings (mostly replacements for what the snails ate the first time) are sitting in an old fish tank on my dining table, waiting to be planted out this weekend. There’s a load more tomatoes, sprouting broccoli, dill, parsley, sunflowers and my coddled tiny eggplants that will go into pots in the greenhouse though I doubt I’ll manage to get fruit of them. Since I’m all out of garden space already I guess I’m going to be digging up more lawn. Luckily my landlord doesn’t seem to mind and lets me do my garden thing (at least so far).

For the blog

Some things do incredibly well here. Red winter kale continues to come up everywhere, as do borage and calendula. The spuds are thriving and the beans are shooting up quickly. Other things aren’t doing so well, like the strawberries that put out lots of leaf growth but aren’t quite getting enough sun to flower well. The lack of sun has also set some plants back a little: my pea plants are tall and strong but are only now really getting going on flowering, while friends are already harvesting theirs.

Still, it’s beginning looking like a real garden out there. The neighbour’s house might shade it more than I’d like, the soil is still lacking in organic matter and the blackbirds may frustrate my efforts at keeping everything neat and tidy, but it feeds me, both literally and metaphorically. Time in the garden helps to ground me, and the physical work with obvious results is a powerful antidote to the day job, spent sitting behind a computer for far too many hours. Tending the earth has helped to keep me sane while a nasty knee injury has preventing me from hiking and motivated me to get outside and active through stressful times. It’s a very good thing I’m enjoying it, as there’s plenty more work to be done.

Spring has been beautiful in my garden, and now the summer has begun.

Leek apples

What’s growing in my garden this summer? Plants marked * are self-sown or were here when I got here:

  • Apples*
  • Beans (mix of fresh eating & drying varieties)
  • Beetroot
  • Bok Choi
  • Broccoli, sprouting* (also seedlings I’ve grown myself)
  • Carrots (barely!)
  • Calendula*
  • Celery*
  • Chard, rainbow
  • Eggplant, casper
  • Kale, curly*
  • Kale, red winter*
  • Leeks*
  • Lettuce* (read & green oak & two other mystery non-heading varieties)
  • Strawberries*
  • Oca
  • Peas* (mystery varieties)
  • Potatoes (blue sapphire, pink fir apple, cranberry red & banana that I put in, plus a white variety* that self-sowed)
  • Raspberries* (one here, one I’ve planted)
  • Rocket
  • Rhubarb
  • Purslaine
  • Salad burnett
  • Sunflowers
  • Tomatoes
  • Wide assortment of herbs (mixed origins)

Tell me, what have you got growing?

6 Comments on “Spring in the garden

    • It looks like being a long, hot & dry summer here. We’ve already had a few days over 30oC – a rarity for Hobart. I need to rig up a basic grey-water system ASAP if I want to keep everything alive.

      • That is a bit alarming, isn’t it, given everything else going on? Ours was also hot and dry. The drought ended at in early August, but it was too late for some crops. It continued through the whole summer in much of the US.

  1. Raspberries! I’d love to grow them, are they hard? It’s sort of irrelevant as I can’t really grow them on a deck but still, one day.

    I doubt you’d have to even go the greengrocers much with that feast in your garden? It’s so impressive!

    • Raspberries aren’t difficult. They’re closely related to blackberries, which are a total weed! They do need a bit of watering and good feeding though, and keeping the birds away from the fruit. Mine are a bit young to fruit much though. Next year will be better (if I’m still here – they joys of renting…)

      I’m hoping to provide most of my own veg this summer, but I don’t think it’ll happen. Many of my plants are smaller than they should be, or not flowering well and the hot, dry weather is knocking them around. Most disappointingly, my self-sown peas have turned out to be sweet peas and not an eating variety, so I’ll be buying peas instead (because fresh peas are a true joy). I also only have 3 carrots coming up! Still, I’m self-sufficient for salad greens and hopefully the tomatoes will take off in the heat and start bearing fruit!

      The garden’s really in it’s infancy here. There’s a lot I inherited but the soil needs work and the planting needs better planning. If I’m still here next summer the harvest should be excellent!

      • Despite all the heat hardly any of my tomatoes ripened on the vine. I couldn’t understand it. I kept them well irrigated and they looked healthy. An online friend in the Chicago area experienced the same problem, so I believe the drought caused it.

        I brought a lot of green tomatoes in before frost and they ripened nicely on the windowsill. I just threw out the last few cherries this week because they were starting to dry up, and not in a good way. So I had windowsill tomatoes for almost two months.

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