The Garden Share Collective November 2013

There's been lots of pottering this month, and lots of watering..which I'm sure has been integral in maintaining my sanity. There is little I love more than coming home from work, making a cup of tea and heading out the back door to wander around the plants, check on how they are tracking, what's growing, what's suffering, what's been attacked by some pest and, most importantly, what can I pick for dinner?

It's one of the things I never really appreciated until this year, the effect having a garden can have on your actual body, your level of connection to yourself. It's something that is difficult to describe really, and I'm sure not everyone who gardens identifies with it. People talk about getting lost in flow, getting lost in their hobby..well, I get lost in the day to day maintenance of my garden. I heard an interview on the radio recently where someone was speaking about an emerging field of psychology centred around garden therapy, and it's potential to assist in the healing process of the mentally ill and the quality of life for the elderly and children with conditions that fall under the Autism Spectrum - can I get a HELL YEAH! It's gaining traction in Australia, and I think that's flipping fantastic - maybe I can start a new career?! (joking. sort of...)

I've learnt a couple of gardening lessons this month - when it's said that bean seeds shouldn't be watered much after sowing until they shoot because they rot easily, it's because THEY ROT EASILY. I only had 2 shoot out of 6 I sowed at the start of the month, and when I dug around a little, I discovered the remaining four were all mushy. Note to self, don't sow beans into egg cartons. Sow into something with better drainage and only moisten the soil a little. Needless to say, beans are on my To Plant list this month

I also learnt that if you recycle the worm tea coming from your worm farm back through the worm farm a couple of times, the beneficial microbes intensify and the power of your worm brew is compounded. Makes sense, no? This also seems to have had the added bonus of making my worms SO much happier and more active, they are charging through the veggie scraps I pop in there, and are much more lively and visible when I peel back the worm matting at the top of the farm. Happier worms = happier plants = happier gardener. I've been making sure to save them all the pumpkin scraps too - did you know they go totally c-razy for pumpkin? Yep, they do!

What else has happened this month? Well, the spinach is juuuust about done, I'm holding it back from going to seed, but it won't last much longer - time to make way for some rainbow chard, which apparently won't bolt...anyone else had experience with it? I'm still picking buckets of lemons, and the apple tree is in full foliage again - I even have a couple of little apples forming, which will probably drop soon due to lack of fertilisation. The olives have started to flower, and are absolutely drenched with little blooms. I'm putting the amazing flowering of the olives, lemons and lavender down to the stinky 'weed tea' concoction I fertilised them with at the end of winter (I'll be sure to do an entire post on it next time I make one up).

The lettuce and rocket are picking up growth with the warmer weather, and the big pot of Pineapple Sage and Bush Basil which I transplanted last week are looking happy. The radish is shooting too, and I've planted my first two tomato seedlings into the No Dig Patch. The others won't be far behind. The basil is growing and the chilli plant that miraculously survived our frosty winter is awash with fresh green leaves. Things are needing more water, and it's definitely time to top up all the mulch to help them out alittle.

Planting

Rainbow chard seeds, and some more beans. Mixed lettuce seeds too, and probably time to sprinkle a successive planting of radish seeds under the current seedlings to try to ensure a consistent supply. I'm pretty bad at 'consistent supply' (a market gardener I am not!), so we'll see how it goes.

Harvesting

Spinach, kale, pineapple sage, garlic chives, spring onions, chives, thyme, mint, Warrigal Greens, French Sorrel, rocket and baby cos lettuce leaves. And, of course, lemons!

To do this month

Prepare the ground with horse manure and my first ever batch of home made compost (hooray!) for the cucumber, zucchini and pumpkins, and plant them out. I've gotten a bushier variety of heirloom pumpkin to try and I'm going to train the cucumber and zucchini up trellises to save space. Tomato seedlings into the patch; spring onions into the side garden. Remove spinach, and probably cabbage too. Tip prune the apple, lemon and olive that are in pots.

So there you have it - the November wrap up. What's growing in your garden this month? Had any success with Rainbow Chard over warmer months? See you back here next week - I'm going to share with you one of my favourite products I've found that helps me Live Simply (and greenly)!

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."