Keep eating

I have been working my way through pickling and gardening blogs this morning (as is usual) and thought this post in A Gardener’s Table was fun.  Love her comment  “when your kale begins to bolt – keep eating”.

As I cannot bare to see good food wasted – I like this sentiment.

I only discovered this blog this morning and I’m reading my way through it – even though I should be hanging the sheets on the line! …..

Seven weeks without rain

Just heard, it’s official, on the news today, 7 weeks without rain in Brisbane.

Amazingly enough the vegetables in my allotment, and the attached community garden, are producing an abundance.

We have achieved this with watering of course, but we also take mulching seriously to protect the soil from drying out.  The mulching also saves on water which we learned from the big drought here a couple of years ago, is precious.

The mulch I use in my allotment is sugar cane which the farm buys in bulk and we can purchase individually at a good price. I have also bought this from the gardening department at Bunnings. I am not sure how thick is the recommended depth (if there is one!) but I lay a couple of inches (or 5 centimetres).  I made sure I give the soil a thorough watering before I add the straw and that will give a good protection from the hot dry weather, it also deters weeds which is another plus.

I think it also helps that I have worked hard at increasing the health of the soil in my allotment by adding lots of compost and a good dose of well rotted manure, when I transplant seedlings I soak them in Seasol to get them over the shock. It’s my belief that a healthy soil with plenty of humus has helped grow resilient plants too.

Either way, Mother Nature is doing her bit and keeping my plate full. I’m grateful.

I have been digging through my photographs to find the first pics I took on the day I took over my allotment in July 2010. It is 8 square metres. I then took over a second 8 square metres next to it a few months later.

First allotment July 2010

With the big fork and a big smile

Laying compost on my new plot July 2010

I have noticed that I’m still wearing the same gardening hat. It’s a bit faded now.

From my kitchen window

I am becoming quite interested in photography and to dip my feet in the water I have joined in Deb’s Scavenger Hunt.  This week the subject is “From my kitchen window”.  I rather like this view as I look up to Teneriffe Hill (which is a good job as it’s the only view from my kitchen window!).

I will probably start a separate blog for photographs that have no relation to my allotment. But just for this week – here is my entry. Taken with my iPhone.

The view from my kitchen window

The saga of the new carrot bed

I won’t rest until I’ve knocked carrot growing on the head over at the allotment.

I am convinced that there is nothing like the taste of a fresh carrot pulled from the ground and eaten within a few hours. I am picking a few carrots from the allotment at the moment but when I think of the number of seeds I planted ….. don’t start me!

So this fine Monday morning I took a trip to Bunnings Hardware Store and bought a fresh packet of carrot seeds and a bag of washed horticultural sand (to lighten the soil).

I had to find a space for the new carrot bed somewhere within my 16 square metres of allotment. I have read that onions are great companion plants to go with carrots so I decided to put them alongside the garlic bed as garlic is “a species of the onion genus”. I read that somewhere.

I have also read that you plant carrots after a heavy feeder crop. No problem there, I had a bed of flat leafed parsley that was as high as an elephants eye and going to seed. And it was next to the garlic bed.

A perfect spot.

All I had to do was rip up the parsley. It had grown huge, and I already had the new row of parsley growing nicely so I could afford to despatch it to the compost bin.  So I thought. But by the time I had removed it all I ended up with a huge armful of parsley and it smelled wonderful. “Can’t waste that” I thought. So I put it in the car and will chop it and freeze it this afternoon, fine to put into my soups.

The rest was easy, I added the sand, raked it over, watered the seeds in and covered the bed with a layer of shade cloth to save the seeds drying out as they germinate.

Now I just wait.

I had just finished my labours and was packing up when who should walk across the farm but Tatiana from New Farm Library who also runs the Gardening Group there.  I showed her (modestly!) around my little plot and never passing up a photo opportunity I picked this (magnificent) cos lettuce for lunch and Tatiana took a pic.

A cos lettuce from my little plot

Spring has sprung

It is the first day of spring and it’s a perfect spring day in Brisbane. Fine and sunny, it’s now well over 40 days since we had rain.

So I took myself over to the allotment armed with the hose pipe to give the plot a good watering. My last visit was just three days ago and I was surprised to see that some of my veggies seem to have had a growth spurt in the meantime.  Very satisfying to see, but I was surprised how they have come on because although I have been watering, it’s not the same as a good downpour.

Then I took a leisurely stroll around the community garden with the camera.

Flowering brassica

Flowering broccoli

The harvest, cos lettuce, Italian kale, silverbeet

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