Decorative Lettuces

We always have a few varieties of lettuces growing and some are left to go to seed. I usually buy the $2 packets at the Reject Shop, just sprinkle them in the garden, and leave it up to them as to where they grow. I collect some seed at the end of the season. The ones with blotches is a variety of Diggers Seeds and called something like ‘flashy trout back’.

 

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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.

Treading on eggshells

dried egg shells

dried egg shells

Over the winter period, we have been drying eggshells in the wood stove prior to making them into shell grit. As the weather warms and the stove lit less often, they dry in the glasshouse. I am trialing the crushed shells around new seedlings, as it is supposed to stop snails.

This is already doubtful as a technique as my snails are more adventurous, the leaves on some of my zucchini already have holes after only a few days. Crushed eggshells are fed to the chooks, put into compost or added to the soil to replace calcium.

The wire guard is to stop the dog walking on the plant and to prevent the rabbit having a meal. The plastic pipe is to aid watering in the summer and get the water onto the root zone. This system worked well last year especially for the pumpkin as it grows  and you forget exactly where it started.

Zucchini

Zucchini

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.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli has been a success. I planted it a few months a go and now it is in full production. I pick enough small heads for a meal and leave the side shoots to develop. These are planted in the shade house that just has shade cloth walls and bird netting on the roof. The soil in the planting bed is made up of layers of weeds and grass clippings with layers of compost. Each year I add more weeds and compost depending how much it has subsided.