The Garden Share Collective July 2014

I'm back onboard the GSC this month after taking a break in June. There's been lots of weeding and maintenance work - winter hasn't really reduced our workload any, the jobs are just different (and we're covered in mud, instead of sweat!). We've had many days, especially in the last two weeks, that have been grey and rainy - real winter weather with our first serious frost happening on Friday just gone. The dams are filling up and the ground is squelchy underfoot, meaning gumboots are a must. I've been ducking in and out of the garden in between poor weather, and the weeds have gotten a little out of control since up until mid June, we'd had pretty mild weather. So much so that I harvested some ripe tomatoes in the first month of winter and got to have Avo and Tomato on toast, 'in season'!

We've been doing some planning too - our planting plan for the rest of the year and into next is loosely done, with dates and crops marked according to recommended seasonality for our region and the moon. We are lucky enough to have hot houses here, so we'll be getting our summer crops going early in there - August/September will be big planting months.

// Planting //

Not too much the last month - we did plant some Purple Podded Peas and another Pea variety, as well as some Red Russian Kale, Red Veined Sorrel, Purple Bunching Shallots (not so successful, It's turned abit too cold I think), Cos Lettuce and Mizuna. We also planted some Mustard direct into the market garden as a green manure crop - we've had some of our chickens down there working away on old beds cleaning them up, and then using power harrows and a bed former to create three new 40 metre long beds. These are the beds we've sown with mustard - in spring, we'll slash the mustard down and then cover the beds with black plastic until we are ready to plant out our summer crops into them.

// Harvesting //

Kale, Apples, Spring Onions, Broccoli, Spinach, Quinces, Pomegranate, Tomatoes (crazy), Rosemary, Garlic Chives, Chilli.

// To Do //

Lots of weeding! I have abit of planting out to do to, with some Cos and Kale, Snow Peas, Onions, Purple Sprouting Broccoli all ready to go out in our large undercover food forest area. We're also going to try to plant some carrot, beetroot and parsnip out in the market garden under a clear plastic cloche. We're ready to move our chickens again, which will mean we have another area to form for fresh beds. This month is also the month I need to get onto all the pruning - a few grapevines, apple trees and various young fruit and nut trees. We've got some horseradish to harvest and replant, some comfrey and nettle tea to spread out on the cauliflower and cabbages, and a couple of blueberry plants to go out too.

So, lots still happening - I'm most excited about setting up a cloche row and testing out how that goes. We're also hoping to combine our two chicken flocks (the 'young girls' and the 'old girls', but I'm a little wary of how this will go...they'll all of a sudden be a group of 20 joining a group of 17. Anyone have any chicken-wisdom they can share?

The Garden Share Collective is a monthly collection of posts collated by Lizzie over at Strayed from the Table from gardeners across the globe, sharing their veggie patches, potted gardens and windowsill herbs…Go and check it out! “Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably.”