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Posts Tagged ‘growing vegetables at home’

It’s taken over six months, but we’re finally reaping the rewards of our garden on a daily basis.  And reward really is the right word – I never knew it could be so satisfying to wander outside and fill a small basket with vegetables for dinner!

We’re by no means self-sufficient, but at the moment we’re able to source almost all our greens from the backyard.  Hopefully we’ll be able to add tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes to the list soon.

The absolute winners in the garden so far have been the perennial leeks.  Christine, bless you for putting us on to these!  Since we bought our initial five plants from Cornucopia Seeds in July, these little treasures have multiplied like mad.  When we pulled out the young leek you see above, we were able to replant nearly ten baby leeks that were budding off her.

The sprouting broccoli plants, which have provided us with weeks of constant greens, are now going to seed and the chickens absolutely adore them.  Very soon the peas and broadbeans will be finishing up, and that bed will be emptied out, ready for planting with corn seedlings.  As corn is wind pollinated, the seedlings need to be planted en masse, or they won’t produce cobs. We’ll have two whole beds of corn soon (110 plants!), and I’ll be watching for the arrival of Shoeless Joe Jackson. If you build it, he will come…

We probably haven’t thinned our carrots out enough, although we are getting some reasonably sized baby carrots, including this interesting mutant…

Cabbages haven’t been a huge success, although a couple did finally start to form small pointy heads.  We’ve decided they take up too much space and take too long to grow for our garden – and no-one particularly likes them!  Next year we’ll plant more cavolo nero (kale) and kohlrabi instead…

Pete had intended to leave the rhubarb uncut this year, to enable it to establish properly.  As a result, the leaves on some of the more mature stems grew to nearly 60cm (two feet) in diameter! My husband, in his infinite wisdom, then decided they had been left too long, and harvested these  old woody stems. It took a bit of experimenting, but in the end we were able to turn them into quite a nice rhubarb and tomato ketchup…

Pete made a simple but very delicious risotto for dinner tonight – carnaroli rice and chevapi sausages, with leeks, celery, carrots, peas and beans from the garden, all cooked in white wine and tomato water stock.  It was a fabulous way to end the day!

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’ … The Talmud

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Congratulations, Soy!  Linda’s book will be on its way to you soon!

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I can’t believe how fast our garden is growing!

Here’s what the first bed looked like in late August…

…and here it is today.  Over the past five weeks, we’ve harvested broccoli, a dozen lettuces, kale and several beetroots from this bed.

The cabbages haven’t been a great success – we planted them too close together, and possibly a little late.  As a result, they’ve been making lots of leaves, but not forming a tight ball.  They haven’t been going to waste though – the chickens absolutely adore them…

The broadbeans seem to be growing before our eyes at the moment!  We can’t decide whether to eat them young as Linda suggests, or to wait until they’re a bit bigger and shell them..

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Bed number two was newly planted when these photos were taken just over a month ago…

…and it’s grown prolifically! In amongst the jungle of pea shoots, you can see kale, cabbage, broccoli, as well as carrots and lettuce.  We’re following Linda Woodrow’s plan from her book, The Permaculture Home Garden, which very cleverly allocates part of the space in each bed to growing feed for the chickens…

The baby pea pods are forming.  I’m very new to gardening, so I didn’t realise that each flower would turn into a pod.  Now I’m excitedly counting the flowers to see how many peas and broadbeans we’re going to get…

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The dwarf peach and nectarine trees seem to be making lots of fruit, although it’s unlikely they’ll all develop…

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Garden bed number three has potatoes, capsicums, eggplants and tomatoes – this single cherry tomato plant has grown like a weed and is threatening to take over the whole bed…

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We have a blueberry plant growing in a pot, waiting for a permanent home, and somewhat surprisingly, given our temperate climate, it seems to be  fruiting!  Maybe it has something to do with all the bees who visit our backyard now…

In a patch of soil where the chicken dome was originally situated, a small crop of wheat is growing from the uneaten grain mix we were feeding to the girls…

Today’s harvest of sprouting broccoli will be eaten at dinner tonight, simply dunked in boiling water and dressed with a little butter and salt..

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I thought you might also enjoy seeing how the chickens are travelling..here’s Rosemary glaring at me for spying on her while she was laying…

…and Queenie, being very vocal and reminding the others that she’s the boss!

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If you live in Australia and would like to undertake a garden project like ours, we have one copy of Linda Woodrow’s book, The Permaculture Home Garden, to g!ve @way (the funny characters are an attempt to avoid the search bots – I want to g!ve the book to someone who actually reads our blog!).

I was buying a copy for our friend Ian the Chicken Whisperer, and couldn’t resist picking up an extra copy for you.  Linda’s book is tailored for Australian gardens, and is full of brilliant and inspired ideas – you can dip into it for suggestions, or go all out and follow her plan completely as we have.

To εnter, please leave a comment (before 14th October) and tell us  which state you live in and what your favourite vegetable is. And apologies to our international visitors, but we can only ship to Australian addresses this time!

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Joanna’s beautiful garden photos inspired me to take some of my own.  Here’s a glimpse of our winter garden…

The dwarf nectarine and peach trees are flowering…

The first vegetable bed is growing well. We’ve planted kale, spinach, cabbage, beetroot, celery, parsley, lettuce, broccoli, and broadbeans.

Broccoli…

Lettuces…

The second bed has just been planted out.  In addition to more of the above, it also includes peas, carrots and shallots…

The peas are thriving!

The garlic are growing steadily in their laundry tub home – in total we have about forty plants…

The three rhubarb crowns are thoroughly enjoying their semi-shady spot…

The asparagus are still in pots, but growing well.  Spice Girl gave us a single pot, which we divided into seven smaller plants.  We still need to find a permanent home for them…

Our incredibly robust chilli bush has continued to fruit all winter, albeit sparsely…

Bed three is now ready for planting – tomato and capsicum seedlings are ready to go, along with the chitted seed potatoes…

Edit: Our large prunus tree has never fruited, so we have no idea what type it is, but it flowers prolifically every year.  Here are a couple of photos for Heidi..

What’s growing in your garden at the moment?

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