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Spring in sight

by Darcy Robinson
A Gardener's Diary
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Bumper bean crop and the jo...
A plague of aphids strikes
A mild winter brings things...
Massive pear harvest follow...
A wet cold summer means slo...
Vege gardening with a baby ...
Spring in sight
Summer's bounty
Winter fun
Summers End
The first year

Spring                  With the feeling of spring in the air my thoughts are once again turning to this years vegetable garden.  Time to get out all the seed packets left over from last year and seeds collected during the season and see what gaps there are.  Perhaps even time to get a few lettuce seedlings under way and try for an early crop from the glasshouse.  I missed planting braod beans in autumn so they are also at the top of the list.

Lettuce and salad greens from the garden are definitely what I miss most at this time of the year and one day Iíll sort out a system to grow them over at least some of the colder months.  HmmmÖif the chives are sprouting perhaps it would now be worth trying some of the hardier greens like mizunaÖ..

Over half way through the winter and the days are already starting to draw out.  Always a reminder that spring is on the way.  Weíve been having some great weather, frosts but followed by clear, sunny, often warm days which always turns my mind to the garden.

The veggie garden is doing very little at the moment.  I Ďput it to bedí as a friend would say ie. weeded, cleaned up and pea strawed in late autumn/early winter.  I had planted some brassicas and silverbeet in early autumn in the hope of some greens from the garden through winter. 

Snow          All was going well until we had a heavy snow in June, the worst in our area for about 50 years.  Snow in this area is unusual in itself but  to trudge through snow right down to the beach was very unusual and the region was in quite a state of disrepair with many large trees damaged or worse.  Though some smaller trees in my garden suffered, our old pear and apple trees were thankfully fine.

The silverbeet was still reasonably young and took quite a beating and though the brassicas survived I found they started rotting very quickly - whether related to the snow or not I donít know.  My herbs also ended up worse for wear.  I normally have enough chives to see me easily through the winter but the snow ruined them.  They are just starting to get a few new shoots now.

Winter food            Otherwise, I  dug up the carrot patch a couple of weeks ago and got a small but welcome yield, and still have some patches of yams to go over plus one pumpkin still in storage. 

I managed to get quite a bit of apple stewed for the freezer and though the tree is still diseased I think both it and the pear are improving.  The pears are really nice and I tried to store some in a large paper bag but found that they didnít keep overly long.  

Herb wise I preserved basil and lemon grass in oil and am keeping them in the fridge.  The lemon grass in particular has been great as it is irreplacable in Thai food.

Compost for glasshouse         Weíve just emptied out a bin of compost.  The glasshouse got a good layer and the beds that will have the brassicaís and new potatoes also got some.  The root vegetable bed I left as they can fork in soil thatís too rich.

The potatoes I grew lasted us until May this year but ultimately I would like to be eating our own potatoes all year.  Space is the issue. 

Potatoes in tyres           I  thought the system of planting in tyres may get around this and though the crop was more rewarding in the season just gone than the last, it was still quite a lot smaller than I hoped.  This may be due to the tyres not being in a hot enough position so I think Iíll see if I can find a sunnier spot and try once more.  It would be great if I could get the tyre system to work well  for me as this would relieve the space issue somewhat.

While winter is my least favourite time of year it is nice to have a break from the constant demands a vege garden (or any garden) can place and for me at least, means by the time spring comes, Iím really looking forward to getting back into it. 

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