The Garden Share Collective January 2014

Welcome to the first GSC post for 2014 - I hope the New Year is feeling bright and shiny for you...me, I'm not so sure that I'm quite ready for the return to normal transmission yet, I think I'd like a few more weeks off with the days revolving around meal times and afternoon kips. But it's not to be because here we are already a week into 2014 - so I'd better get on with it!

We spent a week or so away over Christmas and had experienced a string of really hot days before heading off, followed by one blessedly cool and rainy day. Our lovely neighbour popped in to throw some water about while we were gone, but I was still worried about how the garden would fare given the way the weather had been pounding it. The day before we got back was another hot one with some plants definitely more than ready for a drink, but I was pretty relieved there were no casualties. It's highlighted to me the importance of setting up any garden we have in the future with an irrigation system on timers - having the freedom to walk away for a week {or a month} is high on my list of priorities.

I had abit of a mixed bag this last month with the veggies - we harvested our garlic early December, and found it was abit sad and small. I didn't prep the area very well before they went in, and it shows. I'll keep the best heads for planting in April and learn my lesson. My beloved blueberries were mostly stolen by the black birds, even though we netted them (how? how did they get in!?). I did get a few punnets worth, so it wasn't all lost. I've just removed the netting and let the birds go for their lives now - they definitely beat me this year.

Yesterday, I picked our first tomatoes of the season - hip hip hooray! This year, I've focussed on keeping the plants more closely trained along some trellis, rather than letting them get all crazy and bushy. I'm hoping this will reduced the liklihood of any mildews or the like, and mean I can get to the fruit more easily. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed the fruit fly aren't very prolific this year. While we've had some hot days we've also had some cool evenings and humidity is low so I'm hopeful they aren't around in huge numbers. This corner of the veggie patch is a real sun trap until later afternoon and is perfect for the tommies. They were a mixed packet of Heirloom seeds, so I have no idea what variety they are. They all seem to be 'cherry' varieties though, so looks like there won't be much preserving happening.

My other success has been zucchinis - I freaking love zuchs. My yellow variety is humming along nicely. I did have a few failures though,  when we got home from our week away, a few of the baby zuchs had rot in the end...Blossom End Rot perhaps? We did have that big dump of rain right before Christmas, so I'm wondering if it had something to do with that... No matter, the plant is doing fine now with no more sign of rotten bums.

I'm super excited about my basil plants - I've got 6 Sweet Basil and 3 Purple Thai Basil - and you can bet I'll be making as many jars of pesto as I can from them. They seem to love the little spot they are in, along a colourbond fence with a brick wall facing them, making it nice and protected and warm.  I know it's not a great idea to let basil flower...but I couldn't help myself with the purple guys,  so pretty - would make a great border plant for paths.

I'm also watching the development of our volunteer pumpkin...I don't know what it is or if it'll give us anything edible, but I'm letting it do it's thing anyway. It's weaving it's way around the lavenders and olives in a side bed, which is kind of cool. I've really embraced putting veggies in throughout the whole garden this year rather than keeping them to just a designated area - I've taken the permaculture idea of 'Zones' and overlaid it on our odd shaped yard, and it has actually made a huge difference to how I see the space, and to my level of satisfaction with it. More on this in a post soon I think.

Planting

Not alot. I will probably sow a few more lettuce seeds this month, and maybe grab another punnet of Rainbow Chard, but other than that I'm going to sit tight and plan for the coming months.

Harvesting

Sorrell, lettuce, perrenial basil, pineapple sage, chives, basil, chilli, spring onions, tomatoes, chard, zucchinis, rocket and thyme.

To Do

Fertilise with liquid fertiliser fortnightly - something I've been very slack with up until now. Keep up the watering, and patiently keep training the tomatoes and beans on their trellises. Turn some new compost, and spread the last of the old compost around some plants.

January is looking like abit of a lazy maintenance month for me - I'll be happy to just soak up the late arvo sun and air while I'm wielding a watering can. What about you guys? What's happening in your gardens?

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.”