I’m a less than average gardener. I don’t follow many of the rules. I get so excited in the garden that I am prone to making the same mistakes over and over and over. My partner, a country boy born and bred, puts his vegies in neat little rows and turns over the soil (when I’m not looking) with a pick. A free range gardener is a good description of how I garden. I try to follow the gardening rules but get too excited, forget what I’ve bought, forget to label, forget to document progress and end up with bits and pieces of everything! Try as I might. I cannot do it his way.
I planted the fancy heirloom varieties that I have never grown before and although spaced out in rows…not far enough! They grew into each other and despite the labels, I have no idea which tomato is which. Pink bumble bee has been my favourite, I think! I picked them all green so when they ripen I won’t know what bush they came from – DOH! By the way, bamboo stakes, though cheap are useless for tomatoes…unless you get the big fat ones. I am determined to master the tomato without pesticides. My parents grow great tomatoes by watering all the time and using tomato dust…it sh…annoys me!
Bush Pumpkins and Zucchini
The bush pumpkins kept growing and falling off until my partner started pollinating by hand. We will harvest about ten I think. More reason to plant some flowers to SAVE THE BEES! The zucchinis started off rigorously and we got a total of about 5 off two plants. Again, I got too excited and put them in a spot where they had too much competition from the tomatoes and vice versa. I couldn’t get in to the zucchinis without stabbing myself with a bamboo stake holding up the tomatoes.
Beans, Beans, Beans
These have been my favourites, so far. The purple kings are the best. They are strong producers and delish!!! The wind blew over my weak bean construction of an old clothes hanger, lattice and wire several times and the beans survived and kept going. Tower Street gets a wind akin to the Fremantle Doctor starting mid to late afternoon. We have called it the Tower Street Doctor. My green climbing beans have gone viral…well up into the Macadamia tree anyway and they are wonderful. Still…I thought I had purchased the old snake beans that my grandfather had grown but alas…I must not have. The small yellow dwarf beans have worked well where our soil isn’t so poor. We have plenty if anyone wants to take a handful or two. I don’t think they will make it to the Food Swap on the 16th.
Best Performing Herbs….
Lemon verbena by far. It’s my favourite tea of all. Perhaps I will cut it up, dress it in a pretty bag and sell it for a ridiculous price at an “Organic farmers market”!!!! Hot n Spicy Oregano is also a stand-out as is the lemon balm, curry plant and olive plant. The Fennel also goes ok out the front.
The tomatoes in the front garden (under the 20ft pine tree) did not take off at all. I have continually added organic matter to this garden but alas…the root vegetables don’t take off here either. I need a new plan of attack! I think I will need to completely cover the whole bed with cardboard and add about 30cm of topsoil and organic matter for the veg to grow in. I just thought of that while I was typing this! We can only but try! The bloody roots of the pine go everywhere!
On the verge….
There is corn on the verge. I don’t think it will perform well. I can’t get enough water to it and I am a lazy waterer. I try to rely on rain. We do use a bit of grey water but our grey water system is under construction at the moment. I have some sunflowers, borage, capsicums (that I secretly hope no one will take) potatoes, kale, several vines that could be either pumpkin, cucumber or a melon. Things are getting less trampled now the plants are getting bigger and my goal of making people more aware of where they put their size 9’s is starting to happen.
Food is Free – Panania
This sign in the front garden has finally kicked things off. I have seen people gleefully nicking stuff from the front and almost everyone stops to read it. An elderly lady asking me for four leaves of spinach. Four leaves! When you think of how much we buy and throw out because we don’t eat it in time, it really clarifies the food is free movement. I am seeing now that Councils are coming on board and putting up “recommendations” for verge gardens. Watch how these recommendations turn into regulations and then will be charged….I’m cynical, I know.
What next for the veg…
Well after sitting amongst my tomatoes and pruning and talking to them, I decided that they have had their run. Perhaps if I could have kept up with watering, pruning and fertilising I would have got more of a run. Perhaps I just shouldn’t have been so aggressive with my planting and I would have had a better run. Nature has told me in her way that excess doesn’t work! I did notice that the tomatoes growing next to the beans have worked well. Whether this is from the nitrogen of the beans or whether both plants can successfully cling to each other in harmony, I’m not quite sure. Anyway next week a makeover and I will sit with the blank garden for a bit and plan it out a bit better.