We have had an unbelievably warm summer, which has been great but very dry for the garden. Summer is always a time of abundance in the vege garden with things left over from spring and new things becoming available all the time.
Trying to stick to whatís in the garden has given me a real appreciation of eating seasonally. It means your diet is based around certain vegetables at different times of the year but because itís been a while since youíve eaten them you really enjoy them.
My biggest success this summer is my beans, the germination rate was good for both the bought seeds and the ones I collected last year, and the crop has been amazing. In previous years my bean crops have been mediocre at best with enough to have a few and give a few away. This summer there is enough that there are always some available and itís at the stage where there is enough overflow to freeze some for the winter.
Besides giving a good crop, they are also really tasty, especially when stir-fried or done in a little butter - this seems to keep them really crunchy in a way that steaming doesnít. The broad beans on the other hand didnít provide as good a crop as in the past but there were enough to give us an early green vege (along with silver beet).
Delicious fresh new organic potatoes
The first new potatoes were ready in mid December and as yummy as always. I will definitely be able to provide more of our potatoes this year but think I will still fall short. The same with carrots. Though it was one of my main aims to have a really large carrot crop, the problems I had in spring with germination mean it just hasnít happened.
Both my children really like fresh carrots from the garden so Iím in a situation where Iím trying to eek them out as long as I can, and am reserving them all for the children, so the two adults in the house arenít getting to enjoy any.
Thereís always next yearÖ íthough it was unsuccessful last year, I think Iíll try to sow more carrot seed early autumn in the hope of having a few more over winter. We should end up with a good yam crop for winter as a number of plants have self-seeded again.
Glasshouse bugs coming under control
The glasshouse is less infested with bugs this year. The yellow sticky traps seem to have worked well and the tomato plants are looking good. They arenít staked though, which I will need to do as we have just started getting a couple of ripe tomatoes and they are being eaten.
We have had one telegraph cucumber from our surviving plant that was really good eating and the plant looks like it will have a few more. We have one surviving courgette plant, which has a huge marrow on it that escaped my attention as a courgette. Something has self-seeded in the flower garden which may also be a courgette - hoping so anyway.
A pumpkin has also self-seeded in the compost and is growing madly. I need to whack it back a bit to get it to concentrate on growing a few pumpkins instead of greenery and lots of little pumpkins.
We still have a good salad crop even with all the hot weather. Cos lettuces are invaluable for not going bitter when hot weather strikes. Coriander also did well and have been using it a lot in salads and anything else I could think of.
Removing infested plants
The lemon grass is not having a good year but my basil crop is reasonable. The bug problem in my herb bath seems to have been solved by removing the infested plants and replanting. So far so good.
The radish seed I collected last year has been variable. While there have been a few good ones many have just grown long spindly radishes which arenít any good.
Not the best year
For some reason my garden is quite empty compared to other years. Usually Iím constantly cutting things back to make room for everything to grow but this year there are a number of gaps. Valuable space I couldíve used for more carrots! I think because I was sticking to the main vegetables this year there was a lot that I would normally have in the garden that wasnít there - I underestimated how much room I could allocate the crops I wanted to focus on. Generally the garden, while still productive, just isnít doing quite as well as other years (summer 07-08). I have been watering by sprinkler rather than hand which has probably had some effect, and maybe the hot weather has curbed growth somewhat.
Now I need to decide what to plant for late autumn and winter. I donít have it clear in my head what my next move should be so will need to sit down with my seed collection and notes of what can be planted when.