It’s Hot down at the Plot

Do you know the musical “Annie” where she sings “The sun’ll come out tomorrow”?  Well, I’ll be singing that for the next six months as I work my allotment in the heat. The mercury is rising here in Brisbane, Australia.

29° Celcius today and 32° tomorrow, same as last Wednesday, and we are only in the first month of spring. We are yet to hit the high humidity of summer.

So that’s the challenge over at the allotment. I try to get over there before it gets too hot, and I had to pack up the tools at 10am yesterday.

So, I arrived there early yesterday morning, wielding The Seriously Big Fork, dug up a couple of old woody broccoli plants who had fed me regularly for the last few months. And I dug up a few utterly exhausted silver beet (chard) that had also produced like mad all through our winter. The silver beet may have been exhausted but they still provided my dinner as they valiantly pushed up the last of their bright green leaves before I did the kind thing, dug them up, and moved them reverently to the compost heap.

IMG_3211

Now THAT’S silverbeet. This pic was taken a few months ago at the height of the harvest.

Now that is what leaves me humble as a gardener.  Those few plants I had removed were tiny seeds just a matter of months ago and had provided me with so much food for my dinner plate you wouldn’t believe.

I still have plenty growing in my allotment. Some more silver beet and broccoli, plenty of Cavolo Nero black kale, plenty of kohl rabi, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, lots of robust curly parsley, thyme, oregano, spring onions, and the whole of my garlic harvest which will be ready in the next few weeks. The leaves are just starting to die off.

I’ll drive over to the allotments early again this morning and do a bit more. As I clear the ground I’m digging in organic fertiliser, compost, and blood and bone ready for new planting.

Happy gardening.

Create your own herb garden

This morning I went to a workshop at Annerley Library “Create your own herb garden”. This workshop is part of the What’s on at Brisbane City Council Libraries program.

It was a great opportunity to create our own mixed potted herb garden to take home and enjoy.  The workshop was presented by ABC Radio gardening presenter, Annette McFarlane.

Annette is a great educator and I’ve attended lots of her gardening workshops in libraries around Brisbane. It was attending my first workshop with her that set me on my path towards renting my allotment and growing my own vegetables.

Today was an opportunity to learn more about herbs. Growing your own herbs has got to be one of the best gardening investments you can make. So often I find that a recipe will call for one, or perhaps two, fresh herbs and if you have to buy a bunch from the supermarket or fruitier you can part with $3 each with no problem. You might only want a sprig or two and you are left with the rest sitting in the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator.  Good enough reason to plant a few of your favourite herbs. If you don’t have a garden – they do well in pots, as was demonstrated at this morning’s workshop.

The first hour was spent indoors as Annette took us through the ins and outs of herb growing answering our questions as she went. We then moved outdoors where morning tea was served – and then onto the practical part when we were able to get ‘down and dirty’ planting up our herb garden.

Everything was set out on tables and under Annette’s instruction we mixed the potting mix, fertiliser and coir peat before planting up our chosen herbs into the troughs provided.

I learned so much. Here are a few pics.

Annette is explaining how to “possum proof” our herbs using a fine net.

Annette McFarlane

Annette McFarlane

This is my trough of herbs. I chose the herbs that enjoy a more mediterranean climate and are happy growing together; oregano, rosemary and garlic chives. We tested the potting mix prior to planting the herbs and found the pH was a bit low.  The white powder you can see is a sprinkling of garden lime to raise the pH.

My trough of herbs

My trough of herbs

And here is the result – a herb garden to take home. All I have to do now is make sure I take that JEAN label off before I go to the shops!

A happy gardener

My herb garden

Thank you Annette. It was great fun and I learned heaps.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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