After feeling very annoyed with the garden last week I basically needed a miracle to get me motivated to finish off the second patch, so I could get it ready for planting, which needs to happen soon, because Mother Nature waits for no-one.
That miracle came in the form of Annie Smithers beautiful new book - 'Annie's Garden to Table.' It has only just been published but it is a beauty! Honestly- I finished it in just a day and a night and it chronicles Annie's growing and producing for a year. She grows 95% of the produce required for her restaurant Bistrot in Kyneton, Victoria and has some funny little tales, as well as some tales of woe and to top it off, some beautiful recipes to use the produce up. It is the perfect gift for anyone that likes gardening or food, or even the thought of gardening and producing their own food. RRP is $49.95 and it's worth every cent and more.
Annie has what I consider to be quite the idyllic life. A restaurant in the country, using all her own produce with some lovely sounding friends and a very helpful gardening man. I am pretty envious! She even has animals and I have wanted some livestock and poultry for as long as I can remember. Luckily the book is very inspiring- because I needed inspiring to plough the field (completely weed and dig up the second patch.) which is what I did yesterday, by MYSELF, which is why it was tedium on a stick.
You may not have been able to tell (ha ha) that I have absolutely no idea about what I'm doing, so it would have been good to have someone that could have told me that I didn't have to completely weed the whole garden by hand and then dig it up when the dirt was dry.
Nope, you are supposed to have the garden wet to turn it over because it is much easier. Also, someone to help plough would have been helpful! I had to cart about 20 loads of weeds and grass to the ute. Now, I think all that is left to do is get the PH testing kit out (okay- I actually have to go and buy one) and perhaps throw a bit of manure around the place. Then I can start planting my next patch. I've already been preparing some little things to pop into there- ginger and garlic, it is your time to shine.
Anyway, certain people called Dad and Gfather reckoned that I should have 'just round upped the whole bloody thing and then left it to settle for a while.' Really and honestly - they know that I am committed to the organic cause and most of the time they are too, but I think they were just giving that point of view because they couldn't be bothered to help weed it and dig it up and they didn't think I could be bothered to do it on my own. Boo to you two- no produce for either of you for two weeks as punishment.
Speaking of produce, Patch 1 is going quite a bit better than last week. All of a sudden the eggplant bush, (which I was at the end of my tether with) has about 10 fruit on the plant, with only one or two being affected by whatever that weird black hole worm thing is.
I'm still trying to find out the actual bug so that I can find an effective way to kill it. The traps underneath the plant have caught a lot of flies and bugs, so I think they are actually helping. Either way, I'm now hopeful that we will get some fruit off the tree, which will be the first vegies to come off the plant that are actually suitable for using.
There are some lady buggys around on the plant but also some creepy other bugs, so I'll have to keep a watch out.
I ripped out all but two of the capsicums, because they have been nothing but trouble and even my traps don't seem to have helped with the fly situation. I was going to cull the whole lot, but noticed a little bit of green growth on the bottom and wanted to see how they go. If there is no improvement in a week, they are going too. I've tried absolutely everything I can think of and still have not had even one capsicum come off the plants, so it is time for them to go.
The old bean plants also started to yellow up, lose most of their leaves and the beans they were producing were quite woody, so they came out too. I had already planted a few new bean plants which have sprouted some beans that are much crispier, so we will see how those plants go. I think the weather should still be hot enough.
I've planted a whole heaps of new lettuce and snowpeas. The lettuce should be good because it won't go to seed so quickly in this weather. It is very dry down here though so I will have to make sure to keep the water up to them, or they will become puny little plants and die rather quickly. Hopefully the snowpeas start fruiting soon- there is nothing sweeter and it is still warm enough to enjoy them in salads for the time being.
The sky has been beautiful but we really need some rain, a few inches and soon please Mother N.
The strawberries are flowering but the birds seem to be quite keen- so I might even construct some sort of scarecrow to keep them away. A scarecrow will be a delightful addition to the patch I feel.
The sweet potato is going gangbusters on the surface. I hope that it is not using too much nitrogen to produce the leaves, because I don't want the potatoes underneath to suffer. I've heard this can be quite the problem with carrots and parsnip too- so it's best to put some manure on those plants that is slow release rather than fast release (which would be better for something like Spinach because you are using the leaves of the plant.)
The brassicas have a few holes on the leaves but seem to be growing quite well. For those of you who do not spend an amount of time watching gardening australia dvd's - the brassicas are basically the cabbage family - so cabbage and friends like broccoli, cauliflower, rapa (which we do not see much of here in Aus), mustard greens etc. Annie's book has encouraged me to be more creative when cooking produce - i.e. using a lot of the plant that you wouldn't think to, and there were some interesting recipe for brussel sprout leaves if you are running low on other greens.
I'm trying to get into using this old compost heap that we have, but I think it needs a bit of renovation and some more variety thrown in there. I'm going to get onto that as my next project, after my cheese making which I will tell you about in another blog post.
By now, I've definitely cemented my spot as the best gardener in my immediate family. That is because there is no one else doing any gardening at the moment. You would think this title would allow me some kudos and would mean that I can probably think of the best positions to plant my own plants in, but that is not the case. Apparently Dad's know best, even when they don't know best (even when their children are in their mid 20's.)
Dad and I are having a little tiff because he just wants me to 'put the bloody things in the ground (from the seedling container)' but I wait until I have an entire row that can house them. Honestly, this is not just some Slap Dash operation and the patch is also a thing of beauty. I will not have lettuces planted willy nilly, and the ginger and garlic have assigned spots in the new patch, so they will not be going anywhere else. Case closed.
Those are my cutest pink shorts after a day working in them. Muddy butt to say the least.
Tell me readers: What do you find to be tedium on a stick?