It is now over 3 weeks since I planted the winter seedlings and my apologies for being so tardy in updating my blog. Particularly if you were following my progress. My gardening blog is like the canary in the coal mine. If the blog falls off it's perch something isn't well underground. Only kidding. Well sort of. I do find that with all my responsibilities as mother of young children, part-time public servant, keeper of the home and hearth, that it only takes one or two slightly disruptive things to knock me off the platform that has space for little stolen moments of photographing vegies, uploading to the internet, composing a piece and posting to the blog. I usually grab moments here and there and do one or two of the stages. And slowly a little rhythm of growing, recording and writing takes place. I have enjoyed the creativity and reflection of writing to the blog. But it must take a back seat sometimes when life gets wonky. My husband's accident last spring and more recently the death of the family pet were unsettling times and resulted in time out from posting. Anyway, I'm back - at least to update you with the past. So here it is.
On Sunday 24th February I planted seedlings for my winter crop:
Cabbages: Red Dutch, Cuor di Bue, Savoy Vertus
Broccoli: Hong Kong, Chinese Broccoli 'Gai Lan', Broccoli Raab 'Spring Rapini', Green sprouting Calabrese
Cauliflower: Phenomenal Early
Kale: Dwarf Green
Spinach: winter giant,
Silverbeet: Vulcan Red
Lettuce: Red Cos
I bet you can't even see them. If you look closely you can see some tiny green leaves. They had been started in my propagator at home and I used jiffy pots for all of them. If you are a regular reader you'd know that when I first started doing this I wanted to grow everything from seed, but after valiantly doing just that for a few years I succumbed to time pressures and spent most of last year buying seedlings. For these 2008 winter vegies I wanted more variety than was possible from the chain stores (bunnings, and other chain nursery stores) and so tried a labour saving method of growing my seedlings. It isn't particularly economic to use jiffy pots for everything but it did mean I didn't have to transplant anything before planting out into the garden.
I have scattered - very lightly - some lime on the surface of the bed. I really should have done the lime before planting and probably with a slightly more generous application but because I was applying it at time of planting I went a bit easy on it. Brassicas love lime or dolomite (I'm out of dolomite and have a huge bag of lime so lime it is for the time being).
I plant by sitting on my digging board and I use a triangle method for spacing my plants.
My children and husband helped me make these triangles. They are cut from wood. I think this one was part of an old children's easel that we no longer needed. My husband cut them to size and the children painted them with glitter paint. I planned to stencil on the size and from memory I think this is a 32 or 38cm?? I'd need to check. There are different size triangles for different size plants. Brassicas grow into large plants and so have a relatively generous spacing. The Kale, Silverbeet, Spinach and Lettuce can all be planted on a 20cm triangle. The principle of the spacings are that instead of planting in rows, you plant on a triangle grid and then the plants should grow up to completely shield the soil from sight. That is, they should form a "living mulch" that prevents weed growth and evaporation. If you have particularly well developed soil, full of nutrients and compost, and the soil is aerated (dug over or at least lifted with a fork) then the plants can sustain close plantings. That's the theory and I've been on the whole happy enough with the results to stick with the method.
I've placed some straw on the edge of the bed to stop the water from rushing off the sides. And on the other side of the bed is the climbing frame for the cucumbers. Funny though - this is me speaking on the 18th March - we're kind of over the cucumbers. I kept the lattice and vines in instead of ripping them out and having more space for brasscias but as the seasons turn I find my thoughts turning away from summer vegies. And we have eaten an awful lot of cucumbers - they are eaten by all 4 members of the family. Minor vegetable miracle.I have other photos to post of the progress on the root crop and the progress on bottling the tomato crop. I'll update these in the next few days (fingers crossed). Sing canary sing.
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