Busy, busy, busy...

23 March, 2016

Its been a long time since I last posted. I think this is the longest break I've had from posting since I started blogging way back in 2011 and it feels strange to not be writing about what's been going down in the garden.

But unfortunately, due to some family commitments, the spare time I'd usually be taking pics and writing posts has been non-existent. But tonight I actually had a few minutes to myself, and so got out into the garden to take a few pics about what I have been doing.

Time in the garden of late has been limited to scraps of time to do the most pressing tasks that really can't be put off. There are lots of flexible garden tasks, but some are demanding and if not done, mean no harvest.

Most urgent of these tasks has been the planting out of the January sown brassica seedlings.

Some of these went into two of the backyard wicking beds, which are covered by one of my fruit tree nets.

Another two lots (only one pictured below, behind the leaf amaranth) went into the front yard beds, with a bunch of compost and manure to ensure the seedlings are well fed and can grow big and strong.

As an aside, this is the first time I've grown amaranth and I'm loving it as a spinach substitute. Unfortunately the red colour fades with cooking, so you still get a green cooked leaf, but it's pretty in the garden and tasty on the plate.

Copying milkwood permaculture's shade creating trellis (which was the point of the cherry tree espalier and young grape vine to cover, but obviously beans will be a lot quicker) I late sowed climbing beans and used the same string lattice as a climbing structure.

As the seeds germinated pretty well and were starting to reach, I really needed to get the net lattice up quick smart to give them something to climb up.

They are doing well and flowering despite the heading into the autumn cooler weather, and I'm hopeful of a half decent crop.

At least the idea has been proven to work, so I think I'll be repeating this one a little earlier next year to get full use of the shade benefits for this part of the house which faces north and gets pretty warm in the peak of summer.

Another immediately if not sooner task was netting the only mid-season espaliered apple to set fruit: the Red Cleopatra.

I haphazardly slung a net over the tree, which has so far dissuaded any birds from having a go at the two apples left (there were three, but I ate one when netting it - rather tasty but I'm interested to see what a few extra weeks does to the flavour).

The thornless blackberry had been growing great guns but was growing through the net, so it clearly needed to be de-netted and tamed.

This is what it looks like now, which is a lot tidier and I can actually walk along the gravel path and not be attacked by blackberry tendrils.

I think next year I'll try a bit of shadecloth over the top of the net structure, as the top parts got sunburnt and the berries shrivelled.

Next to the blackberries shows a task yet to be done, but it getting higher on the to do list: pulling out the dead tomato plants and further tying up the remaining few that are still green, flowering and setting fruit.

Only the Gardeners Delight and Sweet Bite toms are still going, but I'm going to encourage them as long as I can.

The wicking bed tomatoes also got pulled out, but some with strong new growth got pruned back and left, to see if anything comes of them.

The eggplants in the bed seem to be slowing down, but are not dead yet. We will see if any further crops come along.

The polytunnel got a makeshift cucumber support, and the dried climbing beans from the first early sowing in the backyard wicking beds got pulled out and onto a cloth that happened to be handy then into the polytunnel to dry out for seed saving.

Speaking of seed saving, I pulled out some leek heads when I cleaned out the cucumber beds, and chucked them over a bowl to further dry out and collect the seeds.

The afore mentioned cucumbers were well and truly done, so these got pulled out. The self sown tomatoes in this bed were still very much alive, so I've further staked them to see what else we can get. I've planted bought celery and silverbeet seedlings in this bed to fill in the gaps, and tidied up the leeks that were already there.

And that's as much as I've been able to do.
Put together it seems like a fair bit, but at the time it felt like scraps of time and never enough to get done what I wanted to do. But the garden is still growing despite my lack of time and attention, and the crops from past work keep paying off with plenty of harvests and more to come.


  1. tour photos have such a beautiful soft light this time - early autumn morning?
    bek, i love that your posts remind me of things I need to do! look into my winter brassica crop, and throw a net over my self-sown capsicums, which are slowly ripening, to protect from birds.
    and I think you HAVE done a lot - be kinder to yourself :-)

    1. Cheers e! Actually it was early evening light.
      Wow, self sown capsicums! I always feel capsicums are difficult to germinate and not kill, so to have self sown ones is amazing!

  2. Those little bits of time in the garden add up! I love amaranth and put it into my salads, but have never tried cooking it.

    1. Hmm, I shall have to try it raw then! Cheers.