Monday, 23 April 2007

Vege Patch - Autumn

Knowing a few things about growing herbs and the odd vegie will come in very useful soon when the water runs out for the farmers and the prices go "bananas" - lets hope prices don't get that ridiculous.

Winter feels well on the way, but there are still quite a lot of things to plant before winter kicks in. Here's my little boy Lucas with some eggplants we just picked. They are still producing well and are lovely and sweet (He only fell in the vegie patch once, and managed to pull off and chew a few marigolds).

So around about this time of year I stick carrots, leeks, onions, spinach, rocket, lettuce and broad beans in. Carrots are put in between each onion family row. Last season I grew yellow, white, purple and orange carrots, this time it's only the orange whoppers.

I've already got my seed trays chockablock full of month old seedlings that are begging to be planted out. I always do more than I plan to actually plant, as some get nibbled away and others might not take. Then I can easily fill in any gaps with the back up seedlings. I usually find the ones attacked at seedling stage often grow back stronger - that's if I grew them from seed. Shop seedlings have a one in 8 success rate in my garden (that may have something to do with their cushy beginnings in a protected environment) so sewing from seed is the cheaper and better option for me.

Here is a pic from 2005 when I tried type of purple runner bean for the first time. Just this small patch of beans gave us a huge amount of beans that we couldn't eat fast enough. They produced so well we were eating them every night and giving them away to neighbours.
The next year I planted twice the amount, but I ended up eating most of them raw off the bush, they are so sweet (plus they go green when you cook them so I figured there was more nutrients eating them raw). I also sliced them in thin strips and mixed them with ranch dressing and chopped cashews - delish!

Money Saving Tip: Buy spring onions with the roots still on, then just trim the roots slightly so they're still quite long but the dry bits are taken off and cut the tops off (just before the forky part). Plant in a pot and they'll regrow every time you chop the tops off to use in a salad or something. I bought a bunch a year ago and they're still going. They grow a new bulb every year off the main stem.