Spring at last,

Today is warm and blustery, typical for spring in Canberra. Before the expected cold change hits this afternoon I took the opportunity to plant some cold tolerant seeds out. This included beetroot, lettuce, kailaan (a brassica) and snowball turnips.

I have tucked them away in a plastic bag, to make a mini-greenhouse for them.

A quick update on the chicken greens – as you can see below they are growing away nicely. Time to plant out some new trays.

And a final picture from my spring garden. Daffodils and jonquils against a backdrop of wattle.

Winter garden

 In the cold foggy light of a winter’s morning the back garden certainly seems rather forlorn and bedraggled.

Backjune

The beds have been cleared and the pile of dirt in the background is where we have been harvesting our water chestnuts, a very unpleasant wet and cold task which has yet to be fully completed. A few fennel bulbs survive in the bed where the beans were growing in late summer. Our two best clumps of asparagus (foreground) have been cut back to stumps.

Backjune2

However just nearby is our herb bed (the semicircle in front) with some lettuces growing away and just behind that a sea of you garlic in protective milk carton collars. Behind the garlic are some rows of baby bok choy which came from our friend M. Further back is our still productive carrot bed. To the left again are some snow peas that are still producing the odd pod.

Miniturnips

In front of the snow peas are some Mini White Turnips, which certainly don’t seem to mind the cold.

Out the front the legumes are leading the way.

Peasjunefront

The Purple Podded Peas I planted in the last days of April are now coming up well and hopefully will produce a great spring crop. The Welsh Bunching onions, behind them, are from last summer and are starting to run to flower. They are great in that rather than pulling them out completely, you can cut them off at the base and they will re-shoot.

Frontjunebroadbeans

The broad beans I planted at the same time as the peas are also up and growing, in front of them is very reluctant crop of mini cabbages which I don’t think will go anywhere. The red plants are chicory and more Mini White Turnips are planted next to them.

Enough computer work. I’m off to don some woolly socks and head out to deal with the remaining water chestnuts!

Out of sight

Well there’s been quite a gap since I last got to the computer to write a post. Life has a way of getting in the road of both gardening and blogging at times!

We have been working hard in the garden tidying away the last of the summer veg. The tomatoes have been transformed into Green Tomato Chutney and the frosts of the past few days have wiped out the remaining basil bushes. At least the rocket plants are growing away strongly.

Green_tomato_chutney

Winter plantings have been going in. I’m going heavy on planting turnips this year. They are very rewarding in that the seed will shoot within 3-4 days of being planted, but the snails will make a feast of them if you don’t keep an eye out for them. Apart from the seed I’ve also planted some seedlings of baby white turnips which are sailing happily through these frosty mornings.

Turnipseeds

Broad beans and purple-podded peas have also gone in, but they haven’t emerged as yet. Our self-sown parsnips are growing rapidly and some small ones will be available for eating quite soon.

However our major activity has been getting the chook shed and pen finished. This Sunday is the Canberra Queanbeyan Poultry Club Purebred Sale and we plan to be there to buy some girls for the garden! As you can see from this photo taken yesterday, we have quite a bit of work to do to get things ready!

Chookshed

Fingers crossed and work boots on!

PS if you are after an idea of what you can plant at this time of year check out the Cold Climate planting guide at the top of the home page.

Autumn Digging

You may be surprised to hear that I have actually managed to get in some gardening amidst all our other recent exploits, but its plant now or have a slow start to spring. I’ve been working on the front garden bed which feels like less hard work than digging in the back garden  – a completely illusionary feeling as it turns out.

About two weeks ago I started on the least weed-infested part of the bed, clearing it to plant seeds of beetroot and purple sprouting broccoli, or PSB as I shall refer to it from here on in. By the way did you catch the latest episode of the Hairy Bikers Food Tour of Britain, they were in Worcestershire and everyone kept referring to the aforementioned veg as “purple sprouting” the ‘b’ word didn’t even get a mention. But I digress.

Everything is coming along quite well with only a few plants so far becoming slug snacks. I also have one tomato bush in the bed – the lone survivor of all the ones I tried to grow from seed this year. Then there was the other half of the bed….

Omg

Thankfully TB came along and gave me a hand with digging out some of the worst of it. This ‘summer’ with all its rain has certainly bumped up the weed quotient in the garden. Not surprisingly working in the front garden attracts visitors. My first just popped in quite casually and started helping clear behind me.

Helper1

I can’t say that the second visitor, while friendly, was quite as welcome. Spotting a chance for some neighbourly interaction the Staffordshire Terrier from up the street came bounding across my newly seeded beds to get a pat. After which I decided to put some sort of structures over the beds in the hope of some degree of protection. At least at seed stage there wasn’t too much damage. In this area I’ve planted seeds of onions, Welsh bunching onions, and some Spring onions, Cimi di rapa, also called turnip greens, which are an Italian brassica very similar to broccoli, and some turnips.

I was also somewhat surprised to see that a new ‘branch’ has sprouted off last year’s Collard Greens (think of it as a loose-leaf cabbage, that’s it in the very front of the photo below) which I had saved for seed production. Apart from the seed I’ve already collected I see that it has also dropped some seeds which are spouting away nicely.

Planted

The finished garden bed ready for winter, ta da!