What I've been up to...

10 November, 2013

This week has been surprisingly busy. Given we here in Victoria, Australia had a public holiday to celebrate a bunch of horses running around a track and therefore it's been a shorter working week than usual, it still feels like there just hasn't been enough time to do it all.

Unfortunately the blogging has been one of the first things to be let go. Ah well. Better late than never.

But even though I haven't been blogging, I have been gardening. This is what I've been up to:


There are two areas where I grow raspberries; one in the space between the house and the garage, and one in the front yard along the fence line.

Both require netting for me to get any crop at all.  I use a combination of cheap garden arches, posts, bricks, string, wire and ingenuity to beat the birds to the crop. I have found just netting the plants themselves too annoying to then remove the nets to pick the berries, and sometimes the birds eat the berries through the nets when they touch the plants, so I make big net cages so I can get in and pick, but the birds can't.

Hahahahaha. Take that birds!

Also netted are my early cropping strawberries. This area is about 6m square and I have been harvesting 99.9% of my strawbs so far this year from this patch. Being so early, the birds also plunder these too, so they are also protected. I find the later cropping areas (they get less sunlight so seem to crop more around December) don't need to be netted, as the birds don't go for them as much. Maybe by then there is more native food. Or they're just bored of strawberries. More fool them.

As you can see there are plenty of strawbs to be had.

Also netted is the only cherry of my 6 fruiting cherries that has set fruit. It is the oldest so I guess that's why. Last year I had 7 cherries from it, from memory. There looks to be about 20 on it this year. Last year I employed individual fruit protection, but I can't be bothered doing that for so many, so I've just very messily netted the whole tree.

The fruit appears safe enough.

There are other fruits that still need some protection systems to be put into place, but as these will be cropping later I have left that at the end of the to-do list.

Fingers crossed the birds don't get to these just to spite me.

Other jobs have been planting out tomatoes.Thanks to my neighbour Tim who gifted me these ones.

I have planted each one out with a stake and a cut drink bottle, so that I can water directly to the roots of the plant.

I also put out about 6 different types of basil seeds in the same area. Hence the totally non-organic snail pellets to ensure they don't completely get eaten to the ground when they germinate.

And lastly, I've harvested this years garlic crop. Given last years pretty pathetic effort I wasn't sure what I was going to get this year. The garlic was planted in a spot that gets sun pretty much all day, and was regularly given dirty duck pond water for extra feeding. They grew nice and green, but I knew this was no guarantee there would be anything worthwhile underground. Now that the leaves were starting to die back I figured it was time for harvest.

There are four types of garlic from left to right: (left, next to artichoke) a garlic I simply labelled 'home'. I now can't recall if this was saved from last year, or whether this was some garlic I picked up at a farmers market then decided to plant; (on right side of artichoke) 'Rose du Var', which is a hardneck variety. However, mine didn't flower. That said, I could see some reasonably looking bulbs hovering at the surface so was hopeful of a good crop.

Next on the right is a white type of garlic - unfortunately the name has completely washed off the label (despite supposedly being a waterproof marker) so I don't know what variety this one is. It is the least died back of them all, and when I started pulling I got this.

So I have replanted the pulled one and am letting them stay in a little longer. I'm not confident this will make much difference to the end crop result, but am unwilling to admit defeat by harvesting such pathetic looking bulbs.

Lastly along the row is a variety called 'Italian Red'. It is almost impossible to see as the stems had almost completely died back. This is a soft neck variety.

Here's how they performed:

The home garlic on left is obviously the winner, with in the centre 'Rose du Var' putting forward a few good looking bulbs, and on right the 'Italian Red' looking pretty average.

These will get dried and then plaited for storage.

But now there is space for more planting. 

Time to tick another task off the gardening to-do list.


  1. Oh, all that fruit! So wonderful, and I love the netting solutions, very creative, and I hope, effective. You have been madly busy, well done. I love the neat fruitfulness of your garden, it is very pretty.

    1. Thanks! As for the netting solutions, they do say necessity is the mother of invention...

  2. Wow, you HAVE been bust. The netting looks very daunting, hopefully the birds thing so too. My hardnecks didn't flower either but DID need pulling. I plaited them today and am feeling very proud of myself ( or proud of my garlic rather!). Love your pale Nigellas in your photos - I love flowers in a veggie patch. I am impressed by the quantity of strawbs you have, how many plants do you think you have?

    1. Yes, I hope the birds see the nets as a fait acompli rather than a challenge to overcome. I love the nigella's too - I have some blue ones scattered around as well. Sadly none of your poppy seeds have come up, but who knows, maybe they're just waiting til next year. The plants in that area might number around 50-60-ish - I'm guessing here. They have multiplied a bit and are a little crowded. But still productive.

  3. Your strawberries look so good! I didn't know strawberries fruited this early in the year, what variety are they? I think I need to get some.

    1. Jan, I'm sorry to say it but you're missing out. Get some strawbs asap; they are one of the best things to have in the garden. This variety is Cambridge Rival and they are delicious. I've grown Red Gauntlet (bland, not worth it, but crops well) and Hokowase (died before I ever got a berry), and also have Alinta (good croper, nice large berries but not as tasty as CR).

  4. Love your netting! I have grand plans of netting in entire areas next year - need to put the structures up while the trees are dormant (for ease of access) methinks.
    All your fruit looks gorgeous!
    - Christine

    1. Yes, I totally agree it is better to net areas than individual plants. The cherry netting was pretty ineffective as the birds were able to eat the fruit though the net. I like the impedance of putting up supports when the trees are dormant; that will be much easier. Thanks for sharing the idea!