Saturday, 22 March 2014

New project: the vege garden

I've started a new project: the vege garden! When we bought the house I saw immediately the perfect spot for it, on one of the retaining walls at the side of the house. It's been too hot the past months to do anything, although I was very antsy to get started. I got punished for planting a couple of new plants in another spot in the garden - they all succumbed in the hot weather, so I decided to stay put and do nothing till we got into the cooler months.

Portulaca Sundial Mango, a nice succulent for the rockery, they say. I've planted heaps of them to liven up a narrow retaining wall at the back of the house. They're doing well.

Yes, we've still got our Spanish pots. They've seen a bit of the world. Pelargoniums are in it at the moment. Nora loves touching them.
Well, the time has come, it's autumn, temperatures in the early twenties, now and then some rain, so I couldn't wait any longer. One little hurdle is that the patch-to-be is still planted with fairly big, prickly trees. I mentioned this to one of my friends here, because they were doing some work in their garden, and they're happy to dig ours out and plant them in their own garden. A nice win-win situation. So a plant transfer lunch is coming up soon.

These plants need to be dug out
In the meantime I found my vege garden plan from New Zealand back, and decided to use it for here too. A lot of time went into that plan, to sort out the veges I wanted, and where to put them, when to sow, when to harvest, etc. Officially, climate-wise we're living in the same temperate climate, so I should be able to use the same veges and sowing times as in NZ.
Because I couldn't wait till the trees have been dug out, I bought little seedling boxes, seed, seed-growing mix and started sowing those plants that are suitable to sow right now: it's the good old winter veges like broccoli, leek, brussel sprouts, onions, lettuce, endive, and baby beetroot. And when those trees are out I can sow a few more winter veges directly into the soil, like kale (boerenkool), radishes, rhubarb, parsnip, swede, carrot, kohlrabi and fennel. Exactly what I had in NZ. And I didn't get further than that, because we moved house. But this time I'd like to complete the whole circle, so eventually we'll also have potatoes, capsicum, corn, courgette, tomatoes, cucumber, beans, passionfruit, apple, and some citrus and berries too. Yeah...

Seedling boxes
I'm curious which veges will succeed and which won't. In NZ I couldn't get the carrots to grow, the broccoli got eaten by butterflies - rather, caterpillars, the leeks were good but thin, the radishes were a success, although Age hates radishes so I won't sow these anymore, the sprouts got eaten by the same caterpillars, the endive worked well, we had lovely parsnips, although thin, the swedes were good, the fennel too, as well as the beetroot. A shame that I made beetroot-relish from all my lovely beetroots, because it was a terrible relish recipe and we threw that in the bin.

So a new adventure is starting.

The first seedlings have emerged after not even a week, and I've thinned them to the strongest ones. They can now grow a bit more before planting them out - and for that to happen we need the trees gone. And the soil prepared. When it's all done I'll have 10 beds of 150cm, with 30cm paths between each bed.
According to my garden book you need six of these areas to provide year-round vegetables for a family of four - a total area of about 100m2. Wow. Not aiming for that :-)

Sprouts, broccoli and lettuce