Tag Archive: crop


spud 5

Last winter I plated 8 different types of potatoes to determine if any type of potato is better suited to container gardening (and therefore more prolific). In the last couple of weeks I’ve finally harvested the last bag of potatoes (Inova – was probably ready to harvest in early Feb, but distractions meant I only dug them up in March) and I can now report on what I found.

Inova - the last harvest

Inova – the last harvest

Unfortunately there was no clear winner out of the 8 – the Pontiac, Ruby Lou, Coliban, Desiree and Sebago all did quite well, and there were only grams between their finishing weights. However the others (Inova, Nicola and Dutch Cream) weren’t really that far behind – only around 100g lighter finishing weight which isn’t much! In number of potatoes they ranged from 15-20 larger ones per bag, or up to 30 smaller ones depending on the type. All still smaller than what you’d commercially buy in the supermarket. Although I will always strive for and wish for larger harvests, when there are only two of us to feed the small collections are ample and means there is never any wastage.

spud 4

Dutch cream

spud 1

Desiree

  spud 3

What I hadn’t realised initially was the harvest range I would end up with. The first potato harvest was back in October last year, and the harvests carried through gradually until this month! 6 months of potatoes – really not what I had expected. So while I can’t recommend a certain type of potato to try out in containers – I would highly recommend trying a range so that you can enjoy gorgeous, buttery home grown potatoes for half a year. That’s what I did and I’d definitely do it again!

spud 7

You may remember back in winter I planted a range of potatoes to see if there was a variation in success of different types (see “Lots of Spuds“) They all took off and started growing really well, which made me feel great! However not long after this, two of the potato plants started to die off and one in particular (Sebago) – died completely.

Dead Sebago potatoes next to other healthy ones in the garden

Dying Ruby Lou potato plants next to other healthy ones

I was devastated! Surely it was too early for the potatoes to be ready for harvesting … what had I done wrong? The potatoes were all treated the same way, and were next to other potatoes that looked really healthy. With a heavy heart last week I decided to dig the plant up and investigate what disease or pest had ended my crop. But to my surprise and delight I found no sign of any disease or pests – instead what was waiting for me was a healthy little crop of potatoes!

Sebago potatoes

It seems without realising it I have always grown late season varieties, but in trying a mix of lots of different types of potatoes I had grown some early season ones as well. Adding to my harvest, the Ruby Lou and Pontiac potatoes were also ready this weekend. All that’s left now is to start enjoying some roast potatoes for dinner – but when they look so colourful and taste so good, who can complain about that?!

Ruby Lou & Pontiac

Our dinner, ready to go into the oven, complete with fresh herbs from the garden

Have you ever forgotten about something in the garden? From holidays, to busy work schedules or simply from being distracted? Well this happened to me despite regularly being out in the garden – I completely missed that my broad bean flowers had been fertilized and beans had formed!

It was quite exciting to suddenly have something to harvest! I usually watch and wait for things to ripen similar to watching paint dry. I prefer to pick my broad beans at smaller sizes than you’d ever find in the supermarket as I find they are a lot sweeter, and can usually turn any broad-bean-hater into an instant fan. Only small harvests so far – but when I can have a small harvest every few days, that’s all I need. Now all that’s left is to decide what to cook! If you have any favourite broad bean recipes/ideas let me know.

 

Winter bounty

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever, but finally I’m starting to harvest my winter veggies. The broccoli heads have formed and are ready for eating! I also now have lots of wombok, and the kale will be closely behind (although still quite small at this stage… but I have taken a few sneaky leaves of them though). Still waiting for the cauliflower, but still I’m in a happy winter veg place right now.

Look what I found….

Look what I found in the garden yesterday morning – the first eggplant of the season!

Yay! Grow my little one, grow!

 

When I came home from work today I casually picked two zucchinis for dinner on my way to the front door. By the time I got to the kitchen I was beaming! How amazing it felt to simply pick a vegetable on the way inside –  really nothing could be easier. When you think about the effort it takes travelling to and getting something from the supermarket or a market… the comparison of the gardener just picking something on their way inside seems fantastic. Plus fresh vegetables taste so much better! So get gardening people it will brighten your day like it did for me today!

Waiting for autumn finally got the best of me – last week I started preparing my first round of autumn/winter crop seeds. I’ve been using paper pots in the last few months to see if it helps reduce transplantation shock, but I must admit I haven’t noticed a huge difference so far. Some of the seeds I’ve planted are probably a little early, some a little late but I’m hoping for the best (and if you never push the boundaries, you never learn what can work!)

So what’s on my seedling list? I’ve planted:

  • Leek
  • Onion (red & brown) 
  • Silverbeet (standard & ruby chard)
  • Kale (tuscan, red & blue)
  • Parsley
  • Endive
  • Radicchio
  • Cabbage
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Broccoli (normal, purple sprouting & romanesco)
  • Cauliflower (normal & purple sicily)
  • Turnip
  • Radish (watermelon & china rose)
  • Kohlrabi
  • Pak Choi
  • Aquilegia (thre types)
  • Freesia
  • English daisy
  • Foxglove
  • Cornflower
  • Larkspur
  • Honesty
  • Nasturtium
  • Stock
  • Pansy
  • Calendula
  • Xeranthemum

 

So with over 90 seed pots on the go I realise I maaaaay have over done it a little… But I really wanted to try some new seeds this year and realistically they’re not all going to thrive.

Like a little kid I race into the “laundry” each morning (it has been a spare room, was then our kitchen and now a make-shift laundry … ahhh, renovations) to check the seedlings which emerge so much faster than first expected! I love checking the progress daily and it’s amazing how quickly they grow. I may have to find a new home for them very quickly though before they become too leggy. Looking forward to more growth & the harvest to come!

 

I have accepted now that February always means the inevitable -the winding down of summer and consequently the winding down of the summer vegetables. The leaves of the tomato plants wilt and brown, happy they have provided enough seed to keep the plant’s life cycle continuing. The nasturtiums have died off and already new nasturtium seedlings are growing from the dropped seeds.

While working to clear all the dying growth, I’m surprised as I realise I’m not feeling sad – the whole process feels very positive. I’m moving the garden forward and creating space for the next season’s plants. Clearing out all the dying material (and a lot of the weeds I’ve been turning a blind eye to) also makes the garden seem a lot tidier. With the extra space created my mind is already buzzing with ideas for the next season’s crops. Each season in the garden creates the opportunity to try something new and grow something again. That is something to be thankful for.