First planting of the year – and sweet potato greens

At last. The first planting of 2013 over at the allotment. We’ve had some good rain and the daytime temperatures have dropped to a lovely 28c degrees so hopefully the weather will be kind to my little seedlings.

Much of my allotment has laid fallow and under a thick layer of mulch for weeks during the worst of the summer. Recently I have been over there feeding the soil. I’ve dug in heaps of organic fertiliser, rotted manure, blood and bone, and liquid fertiliser from the horse ‘poo’ barrel at the farm.  I should have the happiest worms in Brisbane in my little patch of dirt.

It was lovely to lift off the sugar cane mulch this morning and find the soil so beautiful and friable.

The first seedlings

The first seedlings, curly parsley and mignonette lettuce

You will see from the photograph, if you notice the little labels, that I cheated a bit. I will be sowing seeds and raising my own seedlings but my impatience reared it’s ugly head this morning. After all, that’s what Bunnings nursery department is for. So I took myself over there. I bought little punnets of silverbeet, curly parsley and that pretty green mignonette lettuce.

A small punnet each may not look like a lot to gardeners in the UK who tend to have much larger allotments but once they spread out they’ll soon fill the space up.

Parsley, lettuce and silverbeet planted

Parsley, lettuce and silverbeet planted

I finished the job with a good dousing of Seasol liquid seaweed to help the seedlings get over the shock of transplanting and then put the mulch back around the plants.

Over on the other side of the allotment the sweet potato which seems to cope beautifully with the extreme weather we’ve been having is really flourishing. You can see from the holes in the leaves that the grass hoppers have been having a nice feed off them.

Incidentally, on the subject of sweet potato leaves I have been told that if you pick them when they are young and tender they are good to eat, either raw or cooked.  I’ve been googling the subject of sweet potato greens as I write this post and there is heaps of information out there. Try this link for a start.

Mmmmm. Perhaps the grass hoppers will have to learn to share – maybe I’d like those leaves on my dinner plate too!

Sweet potato

Sweet potato

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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