Composting tips

Slowly I am gaining control over the weeds in the vegetable garden and quickly filling up the compost heaps. My system is simple and is just layers of weeds and lawn clippings. The weeds usually include dry leaves and some twigs and I think this counts as a “brown” in my compost making technique.

Composting involves having layers of green material and then brown. There is rarely a shortage of material in my garden and I include shredded paper and manure and straw/sawdust from the chook house when it is available. Compost makes such a difference to the soil and makes vegetable growing so much easier.

No fancy compost heaps here, the bins are made of recycled tin and about one cubic metre in capacity. If there is one bin that is empty and not needed for turning the compost then it get used for tomatoes or zucchini. I only turn the heaps if i have spare time or energy. They usually break down over late summer to spring and are ready to use in spring.

Basil in a tin

Basil seedlings

Basil seedlings

I like to grow basil close to tomatoes, even in the glasshouse. Some tall tins are being recycled  for the basil and I am hoping that they will not dry out too quickly in the hot weather. I have already planted four heritage tomato plants.

In the clean up of last season’s plants and renewal of potting mix, I found a dried out tomato of unknown variety. I planted the seeds and surprisingly they have germinated, so I will also plant a few of these mystery plants. The seeds were sprinkled onto some potting mix in a punnet, covered with a light covering of potting mix and kept moist.

tomato

tomato in a self watering system

tomato seedlings in a punnet

tomato seedlings

Broad beans and chocolate spot

I have several different plantings of broad beans and the early ones have been affected with chocolate spot. This has been made worse by the wet weather. Bees have had little chance to do much pollinating so there may not be much of a crop this year but I am not giving up just yet. The books say broad bean seeds need to be planted straight into where they are to grow but I have more success if I get them to grow in small pots first.

Summer vegetable growing in review

tomatoThe vegetable garden has been quite productive this season. The scarlet runner beans were a bit slow as they didn’t like the hot weather but they eventually started to produce. These beans are perennial and remain in the same site for a number of years. Some of the pods grew too big to eat so we opened them up and just had the bean seed in quite a few meals. Continue reading