I always like to read last month’s Garden Share Collective post so I can see the progress I’ve made. Well, that’s the theory! Here is my April contribution to Lizzie’s Garden Share Collective from Strayed from the Table.
As we slide into Autumn the pace of growth dramatically changes in the vege garden but there is still loads to harvest and a never ending list of Jobs To do. While I get very excited about the prospect of spring I also feel a kind of relief as I get to Autumn. It’s the comma in a long sentence of gardening effort! A time to take a breath; slow the pace down a little and re-focus.
Last month I wrote a lot about collecting seeds. I think I’m becoming a little obsessed. Seed collecting was high on my To Do List and it is still high up there! I like to go Seed Spotting round the garden. I’ve spent most of my gardening career focusing on growing from seed and it’s only now that I’ve started to become interested in collecting seeds. It’s a very grounding task; a reminder of the cycle of growing our food and why I’m growing it in the first place. Let’s face it, sowing seeds, preparing the beds, making the compost, harvesting, preserving and repeating the whole process requires a huge amount of effort and time. I mainly grow veges to provide chemical free food for my family but the other benefits I’ve discovered along the way include having access to a greater variety of veges, becoming a more intuitive cook (I use what I have and it’s seasonal) and the more spiritual aspects of gardening. There’s nothing quite like getting your hands dirty and creating something meaningful. Anyway, back to seeds….this is what I’ve harvested so far and I have loads more to go….
….German Chamomile, Basil Genovese, pink and white Cosmos, Calendular Officinalis and Calendular ‘Porcupine. The Calendular is ostensibly for the Wild Flower garden I’m planning in the paddock but I might keep some for the vege garden too.
The Basil balanced precariously on the bowl has been a source of fascination for me. I’ve learnt that you need to catch the seeds before they go brown! As you look at the stems you can see both brown and green seed pods and if you look inside you can see the seeds. It’s a bit of a fiddle to get them out which is why I’m going to let them fall out when they’re ready – I need something better to catch them in than that bowl! It’s a learning curve and one that I am enjoying.
I also collected some bean seeds from my All Time Favourite little bean “King of the Blues”. He is a beautiful purple bean; very handsome and tasty too so I’m hoping I can grow some from this harvest.
Top of my To Do list was to plant out/sow some winter veg. I have to admit I bought seedlings from the Farmer’s Market. Not ideal but Needs Must and all that. So I now have Pak Choi, NZ Spinach, Rainbow Beet (otherwise known as Chard which always makes me think of Somerset Auntie C!), Snow Peas and Pea ‘Easy Peasy’.
I was also seduced by the celery even though past celery growing experiences have been fraught with disappointment. That’s the optimism of the vege gardener! I’m still busy harvesting. I delay the Big Tidy Up as long as I can in order to extend my harvesting season. Look at my haul from today…..
Beautiful beetroot destined to be roasted and popped into juices and I’m still getting sweet cherry tomatoes and spring onions. I made a few jars of Tomato Relish but I think I need to make more to last us through…
This is the final harvest of the cute little Carrots ‘Paris Market’ and some strong and healthy looking Sweet Fennel and Parsley. This parsley will see us through winter and into Spring. It’s a Super Food which we add to many dishes.
Still plenty of berries to throw into salads from the stalwart spinach strawberry plant. I’ll definitely grow this again next spring.
Now for a little mystery…. Look at my monster of a Lemon Grass bush. I grew this from seed back in October. It’s a giant but the stems are weedy and thin. There are a few thicker specimens but they are green when they should be white. I’ve double checked that the seeds are the proper Lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus and indeed they are. I’m really, really hoping that the stems will thicken up and whiten in the next few weeks so I can prepare them for freezing.
My To do list for April is to start a mammoth Tidy Up which includes composting or burning old crops, weeding and covering empty beds, mulching and generally putting the garden to bed. I also need to clean the greenhouse and wash plant pots and store. I’m really pleased with the weed free paths in my vege garden (we re-weed matted in the spring here). I have my eye on weedmatting around the greenhouse this winter to create a storage area for the many plastic pots I re-use each year. So, still lots to do and a new seed saving obsession to indulge! Happy gardening and pop over to Lizzie’s Garden Share Collective from Strayed from the Table.