I’ve put the allotment to bed

Yesterday morning I went over to water the allotment and the bugs had moved in. Three days. That’s all it took. So I know that even though it’s still spring – summer bugs are here.

Fortunately I had harvested most veggies.  But I still had some kale which the caterpillars were revelling in and fighting amongst themselves to see who could eat the most. I had a couple of kohlrabi still to harvest and they were covered in a heaving mass of little white critters. Fortunately the turnip part of the kohlrabi was ok and I just stuck it under the garden tap and they were as good as new.

I have nothing to complain about because this last season, all through winter, has been my best harvest yet since I took over this allotment three years ago. I’ve frozen some veggies, I’ve pickled others, made chutneys, and I still have some left in the crisper in my fridge. I will not starve Dear Reader.

So I have decided to put the allotment to bed for the summer.

I have been working on it for a week or so, adding manure, used coffee grains, lawn clippings and veggie scraps so yesterday I finished the job off with a sprinkling of rock dust to add the necessary minerals. I gave the whole thing a good drenching with the hose pipe which will (hopefully) start it all breaking down – thanks to the piles of horse poo.

Then I used a bale of sugar cane mulch to cover the whole allotment. All eight square metres of it!

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The farm gets in a load and we can buy a bale for $7. A bargain, and it does encourage us to mulch well during the hot months to conserve water. Some of the allotment holders choose to keep going during the summer and this mulch keeps the ground cooler and at a more even temperature.

This is what it looked like when I finished the job. Nice and snug under the thick layer of mulch and the worms will do the work of breaking it all down over the next few months.

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My allotment, lying fallow for the summer. The one in the foreground, with the flowers, belongs to my neighbour. Looks like he has the same idea.

As a reminder, this is what my little plot looked like just a few weeks ago. Allotment heaven. You can see why I need to rest the soil during the summer – it must be exhausted!

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Fortunately Beelarong Community Farm never closes (a bit like the old Windmill Theatre) so I’ll join the volunteers working in the community garden throughout the summer. I’ll be blogging about the goings on there as we toil like peasants in the field battling the ravages of the tropical storms, plague and pestilence of a Brisbane summer.  (OK. So I’m a bit of a Drama Queen.)

Happy gardening.

A spring heatwave

This is it folks, Queensland summer has begun early.

We are in the middle of a heatwave with long-standing records being broken all over the place with some towns reaching 39 degrees yesterday and it’s still only spring.

Fire warnings have been issued and crews are battling scores of grass and bush fires around south-east Queensland.

Over at the allotment the pressure is on to keep my little seedlings from giving up the ghost.  Water is a precious commodity and one of the answers during drought conditions is mulch, mulch, mulch. We can buy a bale of sugar cane mulch for $7 at the community farm where I have my allotment and that’s what I use.

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Sugar cane mulch

Mulch is essential to your garden during drought conditions. (Our recent storm is just a memory.)  It will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your soil reducing your need to water your veggies.  It acts as an insulating layer keeping the soil cooler in the summer and roots like that!

The potatoes are mulched

The potatoes are mulched

I’ve already mulched the potatoes and I’ll work my way around the allotment this week.

But just to lighten this post – there is plenty of green still around the place. I’m harvesting lovely carrots but I would grow them anyway just for the pretty carrot tops.

pretty carrot tops

pretty carrot tops

Love these peas. They have a lovely snap when you break them open. Could be why they call them Sugar Snaps. 🙂

Pretty peas

Pretty peas

And I grow these Cosmos flowers amongst the vegetables, just for the insects.

For the insects

Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)

Happy Gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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