Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My urban garden...Mid spring.

I cannot believe it has almost been a whole month since my last post - maybe because I haven't really been eating at restaurants recently. But don't panic, calm down, I'm back. I've been fairly busy doing stuff, and recently chasing the fine weather interstate.

I do however, dear readers, have some dramatic news. I have 5 days of freedom left. (FIVE). I did the unthinkable and got myself a job. And I am really annoyed at the terrible weather we've had in Melbourne (the last 2 days does not count as I've been on holidays for 8 weeks - where have you been damn Sunshine?), as I had expected some fine weather to enjoy this time of mine.

Otherwise, this is a post about my urban garden. The challenge of aphids, the battle with whiteflies and the fight with powdery mildew has been an exhausting one. But after countless bags of compost, potting mixes for my "container garden", cow shit, chook shit, sheep shit, artificially introducing beneficial insects, organic oil sprays, and bicarb soda, my garden is finally starting to establish. Even though the sunshine has forsaken me, I now understand what other gardeners refer to when they talk about the "spring flush". Unnoticeable day to day, but to stop and reflect is to be in awe of the difference.

You may remember from an earlier post that I was trying to grow beans vertically in a container with holes around the sides - well here are the beans a month or two later. They have started to flower.

I am also trying to grow a number of tomatoes in 20L buckets.  They are thriving, but only time will tell whether or not they are resilient enough to survive high summer.

Truth be told, I've been planning to post about my garden for over 2 (two) weeks, but just haven't really got around to it. However, it is fortuitous such a delay has transpired - as I now have photos 2 weeks apart.

Padron Pepper

I am so excited about the Padron Peppers. I have about 6 or so throughout my garden, some in pots and some in the ground. This is the Spring Flush in action. The left photo was taken on the 29/10/2011 and the one on the right 14/11/2011. Thats 16 days.


The zucchinis seem to be happy where they are.

 Lemon Cucumbers

 The lemon cucumbers initially suffered in the direct sunlight, but have started to take off. I have cucumbers in another location that faces east, so it receives strong morning sun until about midday where it is then shielded for the rest of the day. They are thriving.

Tomatoes, Basils and Climbing Beans
A half wine barrel containing 2 tomato plants (Black Krim and Rouge de Marmande), basils, lettuces, bush beans and climbing beans. 

Tomatoes, Soy beans
I am so excited about my soy beans. I remember sowing them around the 15th of November last year but this year, I definitely have a few weeks head start.

You may remember the photo I posted a month or so back with one of my plots, this is what it looks like now. Rhubarb, swiss chard, garlic that is almost ready for harvest, coriander, bush beans, wild alpine strawberries, mint, stevia, borage, garlic chives and oh, a pomegranate tree...5-6 weeks apart (1/10/11 and 8/11/2011). 

I also have a number of eggplants growing throughout my garden and I am particularly happy about my Casper White (left below) - use the ice cream stick as comparison for size. And my pot of rif raf herbs - French sorrel, pineapple sage, chervil, dill...I've harvested at least 3 salads from my small container garden of lettuces and herbs. I absolutely love French sorrel.

In recent weeks, I've had time to reflect about so many things, and decisions to make. As distant as the connection it may seem, my urban garden is a testament of how things can change so slowly, yet cumulatively be significant. Day to day, I don't see growth, but to stop, and to at least measure progress at least once, the difference is indisputable. So here I sit, writing about my urban garden, in awe of how change can catch you by surprise - I can't help but think about how much I've changed in the last year. I am optimistic that 2012 will be a revelation.

On that note, I leave you with a photo that provides a glimpse of the Summer to come. My first tomato.

I didn't know the cultivar until now, as it volunteered last Autumn - that's right, last Autumn. I figured if it fought and survived the deadly frosts of Melbourne's winter, it deserved to be left to grow and fruit.

The fruit shape indicates it is a red fig. So I have 10 tomato varieties growing this year. If all goes well, tomatoes will be all I eat.

My backyard.

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