Out with the old, in with the new..

23 November, 2014

Before I got to the stage of growing pretty much all my own fruit and veg, I always thought that there were two distinct garden seasons: summer and winter. The planting out for the summer or winter garden (depending on which season you are approaching) always seemed to be a distinct event, with the remainder of the season being all about maintenance.

That's not at all how I garden now.

One of the things I like about gardening is that the garden is in a constant state of transition. Today the transition was from old cauliflower bed to rockmelon bed.

This bed sits in the front yard and is one of the few areas that gets full sun in winter, making it ideal for any kind of brassica. In the middle of the bed sits the Ziegler plum, with the idea that when the tree grows to full size I'll have summer dappled shade for any underplantings (necessary in our climate with summer days exceeding 40 degrees C with increasing regularity) and that the underplantings provide mulch for the fruit trees. Being deciduous come winter I still get the advantage of full sun. And I just love the idea of a food forest.

I had let one of the caulis go to seed. Ok, I confess, I actually didn't pick it in time and then it was too late, so I let it go to seed. But no matter, I get seeds. It was the only brassica in flower at the time, so I have some hope that I'll actually get some proper cauliflower seeds and not some weird brassica hybrid, but we shall see.

I cut this plant off and will let it dry out.

Cauli gone to seed.
I've also found that saving my own seed lends itself to an easy way to recycle plant labels. I have found the best markers are the small white plastic markers written on with pencil. They don't fade and are less easily dug up by birds than other plant markers I've used.

So when I collect plant seed, I put the label with the saved seed, rather than recycling it in with other plant labels. Thus I know what seed it is, and come time to sow it I have a ready to go plant label. Win!

Another win was a few onions that came up, this being the onion be last year.

Anyhoo, back to the rockmelons.

Two varieties of the four rockmelons I'm growing this season were planted out at either end of the bed which is roughly 2.5m square (it's an oval shape so I can only estimate). These rockmelons were grown from seed and raised in the mini greenhouse.

To prepare the bed I first dug it over with a fork and then dug in some manure. I then planted the seedlings out in threes (as they were grown in the pots) about 40cms apart.

I'll wait and see if the look like they need more space before I decide if I will or won't thin them.

But they currently seem to be co-existing quite comfortably.

To do something with the space between the melons I've thrown in some beetroot seeds. They should be something I can crop as baby beetroot before the melons completely take over the bed.

I then heavily mulched around the melons and lightly mulched the beetroot seeds. Rockmelons particularly need a lot of mulch, so don't be stingy!

To stop this mulch being rearranged by the local birds, I then covered the bed with wire lattice.

I particularly like using this wire lattice as I can bend it around the odd shapes of the bed edges, and it is a little less obtrusive than the plastic stuff. I find plants grow through it quite easily, and I'm also thinking that this will allow the rockmelons to grow above the mulch, possibly aiding airation and reducing mould diseases and keep the fruits from getting bug eaten. We shall see.

Right now they just look jailed, but they will escape I assure you.


  1. Aaah...I had to look that one up. I had never heard of rockmelons before - we call them cantaloupes. Learn something new everyday...

    1. Yes, we call them both here. I have no idea where the rockmelon name comes from, but I always found it an odd descriptor. Who wants to eat a rock like melon???

  2. For us we have a spring, summer, and fall season. Where winter is frozen solid. But things are always in transition in the garden. Well except winter. Mother natures dictates that one.

    1. You make me feel bad when I say winter, because I know what I call winter (a few frosts in the 0-2degree c range) doesn't in any way compare to a true winter of snow like you get. I kinda like that your winter would give an enforced rest from growing for a bit. Not sure I could handle those cold temps though!

  3. ha, some bloke on gardening australia talked about five seasons, and we laughed. here in tassie you have winter that goes from march to december, then you'll have maybe a few weeks of summer (if we're lucky) before we move into autumn (which is the best season ).
    i love your simple but clever idea of putting the tag in with the seeds. how great is that!

    1. Haha. Having only visited tassie for short breaks I will take your word for it. But I've only been there in January. Cheers!