Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How does your Veggie Garden grow?

You might remember that I got a whole stash of seeds to trial for the seed company Mr Fothergill.  I may have started them out too early, since this was an la nina year and the wet season was extended later than "normal".  I figure though that you never know until you try.  A lot of the seedlings became long and leggy with the lack of sunshine, but for about a week now we have had a fair amount of sunshine every day.
I like the little grow pots that come with their own little sauna cover and in fact my grandson came up with two of his own as well. - basil and tomato, to add to my parsley.  Parsley is a notoriously slow starter here, and I felt that the sauna environment gave it a good start.  The basil also did very well, but they do need to be kept out of the rain as there is no drainage hole. The tomato has done nothing - even though I also put in other seeds, not sure what is going on there.  They would do very well on a  kitchen windowsill which is what they are designed for.  I am keeping them along with a pot of salad greens, and a pot of radishes, on the front porch where they get light, but are protected from the rain.  This is very convenient to the kitchen, and I must say look nice and tidy.  I definitely recommend these for young kids and anyone who is gardening on a kitchen windowsill.
 I harvested over 2 kg of ginger... yummy
 I left a few ginger plants at the back of the bed and planted some tropic tomatoes in front.  So many worms - I think my soil is very good this year.  Tomato tropic have been planted in long tubes so that they can develop good strong stems before planting out.  I read on the down to earth blog that Rhonda adds sulphate of potash and trace minerals.  I did give the plants a drink of sulphate of potash and they seem to have loved it,  I think my garden gets enough trace minerals from the crusher dust I occasionally sprinkle around.  I have a feeling this is going to be a good year for veggies.  I have some silverbeet in front of the black beans.  I like the fact that I widened this bed in order to have two rows of plants.
 Just in this small section of the central bed I have winged and long green beans, cucumbers and lettuces.

  I want the veggies that I grow to be way way better than what I can purchase in the local store.  I read something a while back about the nutrient value of mass grown vegetables compared to organically home grown vegetables.  I would be very interested to see more studies on this. I grew carrots last year, but they take so long, and I felt that the few carrots I harvested were not worth the space they took up.  I am glad to trial the harlequin carrots as I think they will be fun. I have successive sown another row every two weeks.  The first lot were sown according the moon planting time so it will be interesting to see if there is any difference in the final harvest.  The seed tape makes for a more even line, and is super easy to pop into the garden. The radish look very good too.  For some reason I have been unable to get big juicy globes and I am hoping this will change. I used the same radish seeds in the pot on the front porch.

I have planted out some other seeds I got from green harvest -  Cabbage Tokyo bekana and Kailan Kaulburi  - both Asian stir fry type of greens. Also capsicum and cucumber, which were a bit slow in starting but now seem happier.  The silverbeet I got from MrForthergills seemed to be quite slow at getting started in the jiffy pots, so I put a couple of rows of seeds directly into the garden. I am pre-soaking the seeds overnight in seaweed solution.   The bush beans never came up, and then I decided to add a huge amount of compost to the bed, so even if they did decide to come up they would have been smothered or drowned. I also read that it is a bad idea to plant peas straight after a bean crop - not sure why.  I planted more blue lake bush beans seeds this weekend along the back fence.

As part of the Urban farm handbook challenge I won 2 pairs of gloves and they arrived in the mail today. A pair of bamboo gloves and pair of workhorse gloves - they feel like great quality and I cant wait to get out into the dirt and start digging.  This is where they came from - ethel gloves - what a wonderful selection.

What have I learned since I started this garden?
1.  Plant seeds closer than you are told to on seed packets. If they are too close you can just snip off the extra leaves to use as microgreens.
2.  Invest in sugar cane mulch - this is nice and fine and you can tuck it around little plants.
3.  In my garden it is better to plant most seeds straight out in the garden rather than fiddle with pots.
4. Successive planting to ensure continuous harvest.
5. Spray often with chili garlic for bugs, and milky water for fungus.

what are you doing differently this year?


Tracy said...

The gloves look like they are good quality. I like to direct sow as much as I can. I figure that in nature that is how it happens so why not when we plant.
This year my planting times are a little different... delayed due to the late summer and late ripening of summer crops.
I really enjoy seeing your garden.

Missy said...

You're way ahead of me. I cleaned out the beds and got them ready over Easter but haven't planted anything yet. Most years I try to start some things in seed trays but haven't even done that, so they'll be going straight into the ground I think. I think with quite a few vegies, I get more germinate in seed trays but overall there's probably not a big difference.
That's a great harvest of ginger. Is that in one year?

laurarittenhouse said...

I thought those veggie pots looked great until I saw your ginger harvest - wow. My ginger isn't doing very well - I suspect Sydney is a bit too cold though there's a local market where a local grower comes every week with huge clumps of locally grown ginger. I asked him how he did it but the 2 guys manning the stand could only tell me it was locally grown, not how. Maybe I'll buy some from him and try planting that - could be a specific variety. Anyway, I digress - your harvest is amazing and if your Mrs Fothergills seeds do half as well you're on to a winner.

Maureen said...

I have planted all my herb seeds in large pots with plenty of drainage and in this heat with all the rain we have had they are all sprouting nicely and when they get big enough I will transplant them into a bed I have waiting for them.
I have never tried growing ginger, yours looks good and healthy.

Clint Baker said...

Everything looks great! It is amazing how we all learn from gardening and how we adopt certain things to our own garden!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Wow what a fantastic Ginger harvest. You have a lot going on in the garden and it is great to hear about your plant experiments.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I am looking forward to see how your harlequin carrot does. I am looking for seeds that does well in the tropics for my mother. Nice to know that silverbeet can grow there. Great ginger harvest you got there.

noel said...


thanks for mentioning the garlic along with the pepper spray along with the milky water, i do get alot of both in the tropics....looks like a great season for you, i look forward to seeing what the turnout will be for your harvest....i can't grow any deep rooted veggies here since our soil is extremely shallow and my beds are pretty shallow also, will have to work on a better veggie bed soon...aaah too many projects this year :)

africanaussie said...

I love the gloves - normally just buy the cheapest I can find. I am beginning to think in this climate that planting out in little pots first is just a waste of time. we are still having quite a bit of rain but it is tapering off to raining at night and sun during the day which is perfect.

africanaussie said...

I think those seeds from Mr Fothergills got me anxious to start planting.... When they don't come up in seed trays you notice the empty spots :) I am finding I just put in a few seeds in the empty spots direct into he garden - so much easier. Some ginger was planted there two years ago, but then I extended the bed last year.

africanaussie said...

I am leaving the back half of the ginger to grow and harvest year round as needed. It does like lots of water, so if you have a low lying area at the back of a bed where it can grow undisturbed that might be a good place to put it.

africanaussie said...

I just found pots more trouble than they are worth.

africanaussie said...

I just love reading about what other people are doing and learning from them!

africanaussie said...

Not really sure what I am going to do with it all - I like to keep it int he freezer to grate as needed. When it is young and juicy and fresh it is nice sliced into stir fries.

africanaussie said...

so far they are shooting up bigger and better than the regular carrots. I haven't had much success with silverbeet in the past, so will see how it goes this year.

africanaussie said...

My rosellas and winged beans definitely liked that mixture, so it fixed whatever was troubling them. what about building a raised bed and just filling it with compost hughelkulter style?

Stellamarina said...

Wow....I am really impressed with the amount of ginger you got.....mmmmm I am going to have to look into growing it. How do you grow your rosellas? I got into drinking the rosella teas in Egypt and would love to try making my own.

orchid said...

Dearest Africanaussie,
Oh, what a wonderful harvest of ginger, yes looks really yummy♡♡♡
And I can see how you communicate with each other about gardening through blog! Reallt wonderful, isn't it♬♬♬ I hope your coming autumn weather will be fine for your lovely plants, my friend.
Lots of Love and Hugs to you, xoxo Miyako*

April Tuell Angels Homestead said...

The gloves you won in the challenge look great! I'm like you and usually just buy whatever is cheapest. I love reading your garden updates. Unfortunately I haven't been able to plant anything yet, because Spring is having such a hard time getting here. We even had frost a few days ago. Hopeing to at least get some potatoes planted this week, as they are pretty hardy. Just my luck, the first year I try to plant a garden and the weather just wont cooperate. I'd love to hear what your mixture ratios are for the garlic and chili sprays, and the milky water spray. Are they good to use on all plants? I'm new at this gardening stuff and have no clue on these kinds of things.

africanaussie said...

You should be able to grow ginger in Hawaii - that and Rosellas are a wet season/summer plant. This is the first time I have grown Rosellas and they say it is an annual, but it sure looks as though they might be perennial in my garden. I wanted to preserve the calyx - they sell them here to put in the bottom of a glass of champagne - so pretty for entertaining.

africanaussie said...

Hello Miyako,
I remember some lovely pickled ginger in Japan - I must look into making some of that. It is lovely to share my garden with all my blogging friends.

africanaussie said...

I do know that the cheap gloves I buy really don't last long so it will be an interesting experiment. thank you! this looks as though it is a strange year in the US - some places, such as Milwaukee have had heatwaves already. In your area it would probably pay to start seeds in trays. The milky water can be 10 - 20% milk - I normally go with 20%, and I use nonfat milk. For the garlic and chili I use about 1 Tbs of each into a quart sprayer - it works best if you don't leave the lumps in, but I tend to get a bit lazy, then it clogs up...


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