Tag Archive: season


While it may be bleak and cold outside, the garden is still looking healthy and vibrant. Even on the coldest or wettest of days, passing the garden in the morning can’t help but make me smile – feels like at least there is a point to winter! It desperately needs to be weeded, but that may have to wait till I get a day off that isn’t raining or bitterly cold. Otherwise it seems to be maintaining itself rather well at the moment with little input from myself. Everything is large enough now that I can even back off on my snail hunts (the small time of the year when we all live in peace).  

To add to the vibrance in the garden, my first tulip has started to flower! Hopefully my others won’t be far behind.

Autumn overhaul

The tidy up...

Although a bit later than hoped, I finally found the time to head out into the garden and give it a massive overhaul to prepare for the winter crops. I started by removing all the weeds and dead growth (mostly the remaining summer veggies). During this process I also found a group of parsnips that I’d completely forgotten I’d planted! Hidden harvests – always good….

I then turned over the soil using a fork and spade. For those of you who have clay soil you can sympathise with me for this part (for those who don’t – well it felt like the equivalent of digging up concrete…) I then added gypsum and mixed it in, followed by compost and mixed that in as well. Suddenly my soil had a new lease on life amd was ready for the next round of veggies.

Gypsum followed by compost

Gina helping me dig....

I planted an initial round of advanced winter seedlings including broccoli, red cabbage, wombok and celery (in random order – I don’t like to plant things in straight rows). I’ll be keeping them protected from snails with plastic bottles and copper tape until they’re large enough to fend for themselves. I finished the whole thing off with a thick layer of lucerne mulch and also revamped the dog run which wasn’t looking the best…

The dog run - before and after

Then all that was left was to head inside, bathe the blisters, massage the sore back and feet and collapse from exhaustion! A big weekend of work, but the finished garden is looking pretty great!

Finished!

About a month ago I got quite keen and started my first round of autumn and winter seedlings (see Preparing for Autumn and Winter – New Seedlings post). Not long after this I went on holiday…. Most people would have waited until they came back from holiday before starting their seedlings – but I’ve never been known for my patience. I decided not to leave them outside while we were away in case of extreme weather days, so they stayed under a window inside. I came back to an overgrown mess of leggy seedlings!

I was pretty impressed by the amount of growth, but a lot were just too leggy to plant as they were. A quick internet search about what to do lead to mixed results… a lot of people said leggy seedlings will simply die – just start again. There were a few sites/posts however saying it was possible to plant them up (similar to what you would do with tomatoes) and roots grow in the newly planted section. A whole lot else said the seedlings will rot if you try this… As it felt like such a waste to throw my seedlings away, I thought it was worth a try!

I firstly cleared out all the seed pots that hadn’t germinated at all and then I separated out the seedlings that were ready to go straight into the garden and planted them. I then selected out all the seed pots that hadn’t gone leggy and moved them aside. This really helped to reduce the chaos in the seed trays!

With the remaining seedlings I placed them (still in their paper pots) in the bottom of a standard small plastic pot. Then I filled up around the seedlings with soil to what visually felt like a normal seedling size/length (…the real scientific approach….)

Initial....

...after one week....

...Kale seedlings after two weeks...

Unfortunately I lost a few seedlings to snails in the first week (it really is a constant war… forget and lose the battle) but I’ve put some copper tape around the other pots to help keep the remaining ones safe. Two weeks later and a lot are still going strong! While some have died, there are still many alive and doing well. I’d say a successful experiment so far – more updates to come.

I also have the next round of seedlings are off and running! This time I’m moving them daily to get the best of the sun and so far their growth (and even the colour of the seedlings) has been a lot better.

Next round of seedlings

So yes, initial care is the best method – but is seems not all is lost when it comes to leggy seedlings.

After reading that Snake Plant/Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) can be propagated incredibly easily (in a book by my hero Alys Fowler) – I kept an eye on all my friends indoor plants hoping to find one I could steal a leaf off. Apparently Sake Plants have gone out of fashion recently as none of my friends have it! Although disappointed I did manage to find one on sale which felt like a bearable compromise. I would now really like a new plant for my desk (particularly if I’m going to be spending a lot more time blogging!) so I decided to try the “create your own indoor plant” experiment.

As it goes, all you have to do is cut up a leaf into sections and place into potting mix. Make sure the pieces are facing up (ie correct growing direction) and keep moist.It apparently takes 6-8 weeks for new signs of growth, so no change so far. Keeping my fingers crossed & look out for updates!

In the past week however I have noticed a change in the original pot that wasn’t there before….. A new shoot has emerged from the original plant, so looks like I will have at least one new plant after all!

Other easy indoor plants are avocados. Everybody needs an avocado plant – ask my brother, he has 10 of them!

Creating indoor plants from avocado seeds is incredibly easy!

"Ava" - current avocado plant, with constant new growth looks healthy

"Avie" - last year's avocado plant

All you need is a seed from an avocado which suspended over water (memories of primary school science coming back to me…) will germinate after a few weeks. A new indoor plant is created as easy as that! Seeds from overripe avocados work best and keep them in water until a few leaves have formed. I had one last year that died (& still not sure why) but one I germinated this year is looking significantly more healthy & is a great addition to the kitchen!

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.