Growing Vegetables

trying purple podded peas and some long beans this year. A strip of carpet keeps the weeds down

trying purple podded peas and some long beans this year. A strip of carpet keeps the weeds down

Getting the vegetable garden weeded and planted has taken over most other gardening activities lately. Having purchased and been given some interesting seeds this year it was time to plant out the young seedlings and get them established before the weather is too warm. It is a balance between planting too early and getting a frost, having the seedlings sulk because the soil is too cold or running into a few hot days that shrivel them up.

Snails are a problem and I am not a big fan of using snail bait as we have blue-tongue lizards that like to eat snails. I have used a minimal amount of fine pelletised bait while it is cooler and I am yet to see a lizard. I have been out on a few night to squashed some snails and have checked likely hiding places. Putting an empty plant pot on top of a small stake provides a hiding place for snails that can be quickly dealt with. Going out on a wet night is probably the best way to get a lot of snails.

snail hiding place

snail hiding place

I am not up for collecting and feeding them bran to clean them out then cooking and eating them.

Being a big fan of composting I have about 10 bins/compartments on the go at any one time. Ones that I have filled to the top with layers of weeds, grass clipping and shredded paper this year, have been finished with a layer of old compost and planted with a zucchini or pumpkin. It doesn’t matter if the whole lot sinks over the summer because with the additional water the plant gets, the compost breaks down and we still end up with a good amount of compost to dig in next season.

seedling planted on top of compost heap

seedling planted on top of compost heap

I have worked out it is better to plant something that has a relatively short season rather than something such as silverbeet which grows for months. It is hard to pull them out if they are still providing food for us and the chooks. Having a bit of height on the planting site in the beginning of the season also allows the soil to be a bit warmer and squashes and zucchini get a good start.
Red flowering perennial beans have been growing in the same place for a few years and some are rotting off so they have been replaced with new young plants grown in the glasshouse. I have given up planting any bean seeds straight into the soil as they seem to disappear (mice) or rot. There are several plantings of broad beans on the go and now flowering. This year I have used a ring of wire netting or similar to put around the clump to prevent them blowing over.

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Many ideas in the garden are adapted from others. One is to add some shade cloth attached to two wires, enabling it to be pulled across the rhubarb to provide shade though the summer and pulled back for the rest of year to allow the sun in. Summer shading reduces the amount of water needed to keep them hydrated and actively growing.

rose chewed by crimson rosellas

I only allow a few what I consider ornamental plants in the garden which is otherwise made up Australian native plants. One group of these is the roses and I like ones with a single row of petals. Crimson Rosellas also like my selection of roses and come in this time of year and chew the new shoots.

On the weekend I spent some time redesigning an array of old cds to keep them away. I didn’t do it earlier enough as some stems had already been chewed but I am hopeful it may reduce attacks. Fishing line and cds were used last year but that is a bit fiddly when it comes to pruning.

Still plenty to do in the garden as the recent rain keeps the weeds growing.

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