The Good Life: Field of Dreams

Summer’s finally over!  It’s time for the Autumn harvest!

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Behold!  My glorious field of two radishes!

As you can clearly see, the harvest has not exactly been bountiful this Autumn. The field you’re looking at was planted with onions, carrots, beetroots, leeks, daikons, radishes and an entire row of parsnips.

Unfortunately, the harvest failed.

There were several reasons for the failure, of course. Early in the season, the Boobook thought to help me out with the weeding and managed to weed out the baby leeks before I managed to stop him. We’ve also been having issues with the neighbour’s cat digging up some of the seeds when it comes to hang out in our garden.

But the biggest reason for major crop failure was the weather.

It has been hot in Australia, and I mean severely, extremely hot. The hottest it’s been since 1896, even. It was so hot that the remainder of seeds and sprouts basically fried in the earth before they got big enough to thrive. The only plants remaining are the two radishes you see in the picture.

The reason for the survival of the radishes is simple. They were the only plants in the garden be in the shade for the majority of the day.

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Happy little radishes.  Diagram courtesy of The Boobook

So there you have it. It’s slim pickings this Autumn, I’m afraid, but there’s no reason to fret. The backyard vegetable gardener has to be prepared for disappointment.

After all, perseverance and trial and error is how one gets a good garden.

Check out the rest of The Good Life Challenge series here.

The Good Life: Conversations about Carrots

So, I had my first carrot harvest at the New Castle, so obviously I had to share the joy!

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That carrot knows it’s got it

ABC:  Debs!  Check out my carrot harvest!

Debs G: It’s like looking at a runway.

ABC:  Is it because of the leggy purple carrot?

Debs G:  Yes, it is stealing the show.

Much later, I ate the leggy purple carrot in a stew.  It was terrible.

Oh well, them’s the breaks.

Gardening Update: Strawberries and Punkin

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my garden, so I thought I’d give you all an update!  It’s been going more than reasonably well and growing in a manner reminscent of a cartoon or video game.

Herb Pots: Coriander, Chilli and Garlic Chives

Herb Pots: Coriander, Chilli and Garlic Chives

After many weeks of only putting out deep green leaves, the strawberry plant finally started getting serious about the whole making fruit thing and popped into about five flowers.  That was this morning.  The following photograph was taken at about 5 PM today.  Only three of the five flowers remain, the other two have turned into large green fruit.  It’s like Minecraft!  I can’t wait for the fruit to ripen!

Fruitsplosion!

Fruitsplosion!

Meanwhile, the cheap tumbling compost bin that I purchased finally gave up the ghost.  The plastic on the bin wasn’t properly treated for Australian weather and started to degrade under the ultraviolet light.  The bolts on it couldn’t handle the stress of being tumbled daily.  It started to split two weeks ago and it wouldn’t be long before the whole bin broke and poured compost all over my balcony.  Plus, the Herculean effort needed to spin the bin each day was starting to make my back hurt from the strain.

At the same time, the pumpkin plant was starting to get root bound from being in the tiny pot I had originally put it in.  Pumpkins need a lot of space to grow and plenty of water and sun.  Heck, most gardening guides recommend that you just build a huge mound of dirt and let the pumpkin just grow all over it.  Since I didn’t have the luxury of building a “huge mound of dirt”, I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

First, I bought a brand new compost bin, a fancy UV-protected, glass-reinforced bin with a crank on the side!  No more backaches for me!

After moving some of the compost from the old bin into the new one, I cut the old compost bin in half and turned it into a mega-pot for the pumpkin!  It’s been thriving ever since.

It got a little tall, so I've put a tomato cage in to keep it growing straight

It got a little tall, so I’ve put a tomato cage in to keep it growing straight

There’s a lot of little pumpkin flowers at the base too, and the soil’s very rich, perfect for growing.  I’m really looking forward to the fruits of my labour.

Boobook has promised me a veggie patch when we move into our new home together.  I’m looking forward to being able to plant vegetables without the constraints of pots.