Well, it’s officially late summer now and as much as I hate to see the end of the hot weather, it looks like the more extreme temperatures are behind us. It was a really intense summer, at least in the south eastern part of Australia, and although some of my plants didn’t like that so much, I think it really helped others. My garden is full of growth and it’s been so exciting watching my little green babies getting bigger every day. So I decided to do a little garden update for you, to let you know how everything is going.
For those of you not so into video, here are some photos of some of my plants. First up, my beans. These are the Australian butter beans that came from the seeds I got at The Diggers Club on our day in Dromana. I planted them direct in the garden bed and almost all of them have sprouted. In fact, I’m a little concerned I don’t have enough space for the amount of bean plants I will have in a few months’ time. I honestly didn’t expect all the seeds to sprout, which is why I planted a few around each stake. So….um, yeah. We’ll see what kind of full on bean situation I have on the next update.
Next up, pumpkins! I also bought these seeds from the Diggers Club in their heirloom pumpkin variety pack. There were four kinds (Queensland blue, jap, triamble and Australian butter), so even though I didn’t know which seed was which I sorted them into different varieties and planted them in the four mounds I made. Three of the varieties are going strong but one barely sprouted at all – I found just one small sprout but then the next day something had eaten the leaves. My best guess is that the birds got into the mulch and accidentally uprooted the seeds (I have found a few split seeds on the soil surface). Also, the little sprout who got his leaves eaten is still technically alive – just no leaves. So I’m not sure what’s going to happen there.
Also, you will notice I mulch with pea straw. One of the reasons I haven’t been mulching more is that I have found it really hard to source mulch that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic! I have gone back and forth on this, wondering if the benefits of the mulch would be worth the plastic, but honestly, I want this to be a zero-waste garden and I just didn’t feel right about it. Fortunately, my father sourced some pea straw from a nursery a short drive away that uses only a few strands of plastic twine to keep the bales together. So obviously it’s not perfect but a huge improvement on the alternative.
My pak choy is doing really well! Those of you who have been following my vlogs on my main YouTube channel as well as my second channel that I was using for Vlogmas will have seen that I saved heaps of the pak choy seeds at the end of last season (when the weather got warm my pak choy bolted immediately). Let me tell you, regrowing pak choy from seed is not only easy, it’s very high yield! Plus, pak choy grows year round. So I started some seedlings in old punnets and put about 12 of the plants direct into the garden bed. They are doing really well and now I am working to extend the bed to make more room for the other plants who are now a little too big for the punnets. I am going to be having pak choy coming out of my ears soon!
My parsley is also doing really well. I will be honest, I don’t use this plant in cooking as much as I could or should, and sometimes I forget about it, but it’s great to know it’s still there and ready for me. It’s looking like a pretty happy plant.
Bonus piece of useless information: I found a carrot growing right in the middle of my parsley the other week. Whaaaaaat! I have never planted carrots on this side of the garden bed and have no idea how it got there. All I can imagine is there was a carrot seed that got caught up in all the parsley seeds at the nursery, or something.
Plus…my tomatoes! They are growing like wildfire. Two of the plants are so huge now they are actually taller than me and I had to tie them to the fence. They are producing tomatoes just everywhere, more than I can handle. I’m trying to save seeds from these as well but I’m a little nervous I haven’t saved them correctly so we will see. Hopefully in another year or so you’ll see a post from me with more information about tomato seed saving.
The red fig and the lemon drop varieties are particularly strong and delicious! And they’ve really upped the amount of raw food I’m eating. I have a tub of tomatoes sitting on my kitchen bench and every time I go past it I grab a few and have a snack. I’m loving being a tomato grower!
There is more going on in the garden – for example, the amazing capsicums you see at the start of this post – but in the absence of more photos, you’ll just have to watch the video.
I also have the ongoing problem of mice in my compost heap which does suck. They aren’t living there, I believe they live in the neighbour’s yard and they come under the fence to raid my bin, but still I would like them to stop dropping by. I will work on making it an unpleasant place for them. Besides, I have the assistance of another neighbour’s cat, Maxx, who comes over a few times a day to investigate. So far he has caught two mice and I hope this is enough of a deterrent to the others.
As a vegan I’m not sure how comfortable I should be with the fact that Maxx is killing them, but I suppose this is the most natural thing – definitely more natural than killing them with poison or traps, which I refuse to do. I know that “humane” traps are an option but I am nervous about using these as if you don’t check them frequently enough (for example, overnight), they can actually die anyway or at least fret for a long period of time. So really, what I am hoping for is that Maxx’s presence is enough to keep them from coming back and so far it appears to be working. I will let you know how it all goes.
How is your garden going, whether it’s late summer or winter where you are? What advice do you have for me with mine? Let’s discuss it all down below!