Monday, April 18, 2011

Garden Update

I have somehow managed to completely fail at blogging anything so far this year, and it's already April (how did that happen?) I guess I'm just too busy living life to write about it. Or maybe I'm just too busy working... My camera has also been a bit temperamental over the last few months, so I haven't taken as many photos as I wanted - completely missed taking a photo of the tomato bed in it's prime, which was a shame, it's not much to look at now. I'm just going to do a quick overview of the last few months, as I need to go to sleep soon for work tomorrow.

November - The vegetables are growing well and I was able to eat mesclun, spinach and pak choi. I've been eating juicy strawberries since the 8th November, they have been very productive this year and I'm glad I planted them in a bed instead of a strawberry pot (as I'd done the previous year).

Above is a box with mesclun, snow peas, beans, brocolli, pakchoi, carrots and spinach growing. The mesclun is bursting out of the square!

In November I also started laying weedmat around the boxes to keep down the grass and weeds, as I was getting a bit sick of mowing and strimming it away from the boxes. Here you can see potatoes, which I am growing in left over compost bags. I built a cage from chicken wire to protect my strawberry bed. The far bed in the above picture has broccoli, peas, and onions. It did have parsnips but they never germinated :( Think I had a bad batch of seeds.

Strawberries and raspberries - yum :)

December - I continued the weedmatting endeavour, and spent a day shovelling Otatara pebbles on top, with a lot of help from mum and my boyfriend. I think it looks almost stylish now!

The centre box has peas which you can see have shot up - they are Dwarf Massey peas which supposedly means they don't need staking, although I did give them a bit of support by making a cage around the box - primarily to protect my broccoli from cabbage butterflies and their caterpillars. I had a good, if short, harvest of peas - unfortunately the bulk of them were ready whilst I was away over Christmas and New Years. The fruit picking continues, and I've harvested my garlic (the pots in front of photo above), picking carrots when I want, and giant broccoli heads too.

January - Even though Summer seemed to have deserted us for most of the month, I at least still managed some great harvests. My experiment with cucumber fell flat though, with my cucumber plants promptly dying as soon as they went outside. Nevermind I have a solution for cucumbers for next season...

Carrots, strawberries, broccoli, peas, spinach... yum yum yum!

I also seem to be growing something surprising in my raspberry bed!

February - I came into my main crop of potatoes (I was hoping they'd be a bit earlier) and have spring onions and baby turnips too. My broccoli was almost done, and I ended up freezing a lot of later use as I just couldn't eat my way through it all.

March - This month has seen the bulk of my tomato crop ripen. They are in a raised bed by the back door and have done surprisingly well for being outdoors, although ripened later than I would have liked. Having said that, I did have some ripen before the next door neighbour's tomatoes, which are in a glasshouse. I have Roma, Moneymaker, Russian Red and Sweet 100 growing. I've made some into puree and frozen it. I love tomatoes, but there are just too many for me!

I also bought some fruit trees and planted them along the new fence my kind neighbour built as our new boundary. There are 2 ballerina apple trees, a meyer lemon and a feijoa so far. I've harvested all the potatoes from the bags I planted them in, and most of my crops are coming to the end of the season. It's also bulb planting time - I noticed last spring there was a severe lack of bulbs in my garden, so now there are tulips, daffodils, anemones, ranunculus, freesia, crocus and dutch iris.

April - The biggest accomplishment of April so far - my new tunnel house that Dad built me for my birthday!! Now I can plant even more food!

There are currently some pak choi, broccoli, silverbeet and lettuce growing in there. In summer I'll try for some cucumber again, and grow tomatoes so hopefully I will get some earlier. Unbelievably, considering how cold it has been recently, I'm still harvesting tomatoes, and strawberries. In fact I've had strawberries constantly since November, and haven't had to buy a single punnet.

At some point soon I'm going to write a post examining my successes and failures for the season and looking at where to go next. Right now, though, I have to go to sleep!