Yay! Growing Season Is Finally Here!

With the consistent warm weather of late and a crazy hot week to come, the market garden is finally starting to thrive! Most of the plants have recovered from the freak December frost, however, a good 50% of the first batch of french beans were lost along with a handful of the tomatoes. Not much you can do about freak frosts really… Our on contour garden beds, with mini swales are working a treat. The swales are heavily mulched with all of the weeds that have been pulled up and last seasons spent crops that didn’t go to the chickens or the cows, under all the mulch, feeding the worms and decomposing away. The idea is to build soil in the swales during the growing season and winter. Once the crops are all done, they will be removed and put into the swales and covered with straw mulch, then a cover crop and green manure will be sown in each bed to over winter. The winter here is just too cold for us to grow surplus food for people on a sustainable level, so this year we will concentrate on extra soil fertility and weed management through green manures and cover crops. Just before the new growing season, the green manures and cover crops will be chopped and dropped and the swales will be emptied of their rich, biologically active, worm castings intense soil, which will be placed on the beds, ready for the coming season, where will will start again with the soil building program. I am still hot composting, but am for going the worm farming, choosing to worm farm in the ground instead. Theoretically it should work well, but we can only wait and see:-)

 

Heading in the right direction!

Below is a bit of a photo update of where we are at. With me having time off from work, it has given me plenty of time to… well… work! I have my man bag of gardening goodies packed to take to “work” with all the most used hand tools in there. Hayley called me a “metro-farmer”, very cheeky indeed! It is very cute actually as I am taking to the habit of saying bye to the family when I go to work and then say “see you all at morning tea”. Tano-Li decided he wanted to go to work with me today, so my little apprentice helped wire up the tomatoes 🙂 Anyway enjoy the photos.

This is an old 'Crumpler' work bag I had that we no longer use. I have now turned it back into my "work bag".

My little padawan learner helping plant beetroot seeds.

We have 9 zucchini plants in and 8 button squash seedlings powering away to the right (not in picture sorry). Hayley seems to think this is enough for us and small sales.... I'm thinking we need double this.... time will tell.

Although they are looking really sorry for themselves, the potatoes I put in months ago have been giving us a steady supply of beautiful potatoes for some time now! It is a bit weedy and the leaves are all dying back but the potatoes taste magnificent!

These guys are literally everywhere! They are on the sunflowers, corn, the strawberries, lettuce, pak choy, zucchini, tomatoes, capsicums etc.... Absolutely sensational to see!

These corn plants were not to most successful I have ever grown, somewhat embarrassing actually. They are “Golden Bantams” and were the second batch I tried. These seeds germinated fine, but have grown slowly, my first batch of “Balanese” corn had a rate of 4 out of 100 seeds germinating… I have direct sown another area which will not cross pollinate and they are already showing themselves after 4 days! Much better!

We have a whole bunch of baling twine laying around and I have wondered what to do with them, so I used them to make a growing vine for the beans as they come up. A little late, but should still get a good harvest by autumn.

This is the whole row of the baling twine growing vines.

Here you can see Hayley's chamomile plants that help attract the bees and also the dried flowers make great chamomile tea. You can also see the tomato trellising inspired by Milkwood OMG. Not as ellaborate as Milkwood, but it will definitely do the job.

So much still to do, as you can see from the last photo, there is a large empty patch of dirt that I still need to prepare and plant up. As the potatoes are being harvested that also leaves an area that requires turning over, manuring with cow and alpaca goodness and then planted with a green manure, ready for winter crops. Call me mad, but this is living!