Sunday, April 06, 2014

Garden Share collective - April: Farmer sows the seeds, farmer grows the seeds, farmer eats the seeds...

Hello there, thank you for visiting and for reading my blog post for April as part of the Garden Share collective, hosted by Lizzie Moult over at Strayed from the Table.

I didn't think I had much to report this month, but now I've finished it, it's turned out to be quite a mammoth post with a whole heap of photos, it's more of what we need to do, so before you start you might want to get yourself a cuppa. Enjoy. I hope to come by your blogs this time around, I haven't really had the chance to properly do so yet.

The garden has suffered a bit this past month, up until a few days a go we'd had no significant rain for a while, and whilst we had enough water in our tanks(we collect our own water) to keep us going we had to decide on what remaining plants in the garden were a priority. As the top garden was almost past producing it was that area that was sacrificed, apart from the few corn plants that have now been harvested and put in the freezer. The plants were pretty poor this year, they were infested with blackfly and the leaves had some coppery looking mite on the leaves. Luckily none of this affected the corn cobs, so that was good. And the corn tastes so sweet, just divine.

I'll come back to the top garden later.

Still harvesting from the garden:
Joe tidying up some tomato plants in the raised beds

and in the shade house, looking scrappy but still getting fruit, not sure of the variety, but they are lovely tomatoes. I'll save some seeds. They're not Roma, they're not big enough.

The runner beans are still producing but I'm a bit over them, I've made chutneys, relishes and got some frozen. We'll use some now for meals when needed and the animals will do well from the rest.

Chillies, which we're picking and freezing as they come. We freeze them as they are, whole and in bags. When needed for cooking, we just grab them out of freezer and cut still frozen.

Finally we're picking capsicums, (peppers) I'm growing them in the greenhouse next year.

 Black ones! How did that happen? Wrongly labelled methinks!

The harvest picked that day, the tomatoes keep coming...there may be chutneying ahead.

Back to the top garden briefly, Jerusalem artichokes. I have no idea about these things, they are Joe's babies, I'm sure they must be ready for harvesting, they had flowers and they are gone. Do they get dug like potatoes? No idea. Also left in this bed are few potatoes.

This is probably the first year we've been anywhere near organised for planting for the next few months. We get some brassica's, broad beans and onions in usually  but not much else. This time we've gone all out and we have the Garden Share Collective to thank for that. Otherwise any posts over autumn and winter would a tad boring, there's only so many photos of weed ridden beds you can look at. So we bought some starter plants and packets of seeds.
In the box we have a selection of brassicas, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts & cauliflowers. A selection of lettuce which are going in the shade house soon to become a greenhouse. And leeks. 

Resowing spring onions and radish. New to plant: swede, pak choi, parsnip, cabbage, turnip, broad beans,  carrots, sprouts & carrots

Some seeds have been planted in the beds outside the laundry, I cleared them, dug them over and added a bag of organic compost.

In one bed I planted, spring onions, radish, pak choi, turnip and peas. One week later and already some have germinated. I put a clear plastic sheet over the top to act as a propagator, when the rain came I took it off and they've all had a good soak.

A few days later in the other bed I sowed, swede, parsnip, carrots and more peas. The parsnips have a plank of wood on top, it aids germination apparently. No sign of anything happening in there yet

 ..and finally we have onions but it's a bit early for them to go in yet, they'll get sown around the shortest day which is in June.

I want to put it more beetroot too, I don't have much luck with it. I've read though that they prefer poorer soil, we get more leaves than bulbs. I'll sow some in a different bed and see how they go.

Fruit trees
Last week we drove out to one of the better garden centres, probably the best actually, and bought a car load of fruit & nut trees. They are currently having  a huge sale with significant reductions.


Now we've had rain and more is forecast the ground will be soft enough to be able to dig holes to plant them in. Some will be within the garden itself, we have created a large border which is ready for planting. Haven't decided what will go where yet, need to look at the size they will eventually grow to, although pruning should keep them in check. You will have noticed there are two varieties of some of the trees, that's because they need pollinators.

To do
This months goals are to continue to plant seeds to ensure a continuous crop. Plant the fruit trees once their position is decided and prepare the ground.
Now we're going back to the top garden, you might want to look away!
This veg garden, the original, is the bain of our lives! We've had gravel paths, the weeds loved them! We removed the gravel and tried bark mulch! They loved that too. And whilst every thing else in the garden was wilting in the heat, the weeds were having a ball! I swear I've pulled weeds, turned my back and they've grown back, I heard them laughing too!
So changes are afoot, this is to become the main orchard and bulk planting area. The rotting beds have served us well but they're coming out, one central path is going in and it will be concrete!! Grow in that you evil things! We're picking up a cement mixer today that I bought off Trade Me (NZ Ebay)

I could weep just looking at that area, it won't take long to clear it really....I hope.

And that's it for this month, I hope things are going well in your garden.
I'd like to send my best wishes to Lizzie and her hubby for that safe 'harvest' of their soon to be born baby. May you all bloom as a family.

Until next month, ta ta for now.


  1. Seeing all those fruit tree labels made me Really Jealous! What a fabulous selection. I'm really looking forward to seeing that orchard when it's been planted. Love those little black peppers too.

  2. Wow Sue. Even though some of the garden is a bit neglected, I think it still looks fantastic. How good will those fruit trees be when they are up and running! Well done and I'm drooling over the corn.

  3. Looking good, fruit trees look good,when the coxes tree grows and produces,we will have a bag full lol dads favourites x

  4. More pickle??!! You have had a good harvest from your plot, and I would loose the plot with you on the weeding. Concrete path will make a huge difference.

  5. I too hope for a safe harvest of our baby, thanks for your well wishes. On to your garden, wow its huge! I recently pulled up our Jerusalem Artichoke after it had finished flowering however ours also looked like it started to die not still leafy and green like yours. Anyways you dig them up like spuds, make sure you do go about a foot out from the base of the plant as they do produce a lot.

  6. Look at your lovely harvest baskets full! Yum. And all those pretty new starts. What a great time in the garden!


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