01 December 2012

This Week in the Country Garden

With the danger of frosts continuing for longer in the Country Garden than in surrounding suburban areas, the summer planting is a bit later, so I always feel a bit behind at this time of year! While other people seem to already be harvesting early summer vegies, ours are mostly still at seedling stage.  So in terms of harvesting it's a bit of an in-between time at the moment.  We're being sustained by spinach - no hardship as it is the most succulent, crunchy, delicious spinach you could hope for.  I haven't bothered cooking any of it as it's great raw.  It's being matched with savoy cabbage, sorrel, rocket, radish, basil and lettuce for the first warm weather salads.  There are also leeks and a few beetroots, along with rhubarb that I've been cooking up in Rhubarb and Apple Crumble for desserts.

In progress, the potatoes are doing well, with tiny potatoes being unearthed impatiently!  We have now planted the second bed out, to give us double last year's quantity and an extended harvest season.  The tomatoes are thriving and the first fruit is beginning to show.
Beans, corn and capsicum seedlings have come through and with the hot/wet/cool/wet/warm/hot weather (!!) they are taking off quickly now, although the weather this week was definitely challenging when out of the blue came two days of 39 degrees and 29 degrees with high humidity and strong northerly winds. The shadecloth covers were quickly dragged out and we pumped water onto the garden to try to protect the little seedlings. 

After taking up masses of space last year with a variety of capsicum types that were slow to grow and susceptible to attack by little critters once they did finally start to colour, we decided this year to just go with Banana Capsicums, which were such brilliant producers and so delicious last year.  They started production early and kept going for months.  

We've also planted more beetroot, kale and silverbeet, to replenish the winter's stocks, now finally going to seed after a sensational innings for the last six months or more.  The zucchinis, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins are in and growing, although in a couple of beds they are still sharing space with the last of the cabbages, so aren't getting as much sunlight and rain as they need to thrive.  The cabbages are finally getting there though, so it will be the cucurbits' turn soon.

We have just discovered a new pest problem in the garden though.  We noticed that the tops of several plants had been nibbled off.  At first we thought that there were some bugs, then perhaps ambitious rabbits, but when we realised that the tops of the raspberry plant that is in a barrel with wire mesh around it quite high, had gone, it became obvious that it's something larger.  It appears that a kangaroo has discovered the garden!  Hopefully it won't hang around, as there isn't really any way to fully protect the garden from attack by something that tall.  Although there may be another solution... it was suggested that it might be karma, given that the restaurant has kangaroo on its menu.  So maybe if we just change the menu...?!

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