So now is the time of the year when things start to get busy in the garden again. After a long, wet winter hiding indoors it's so lovely to be able to spend some time out there. About a week and a half ago we spent the afternoon (in between showers) planting beans, peas, rocket and coriander. The shoots are just starting to pop through the soil, so by Christmas we should be eating fresh peas and beans.
The tomato seedlings are coming along nicely. After the first true leaves came through, I transplanted them into individual containers filled with potting mix. They should be ready to plant out by Labour weekend at the end of the month. I've lost a few in the last few days...and finally found the culprit, a big fat juicy snail! I'm no good a squashing them, so he had a short flight over the fence instead. I've also got some lettuces and choy sum seeds starting out in seed raising mix; it may look like heaps, but once you've lost a few to slugs and snails and given a few away it should be about right.
The broad beans are coming along nicely too. They have loads of flowers and the bees have been hanging around, so hopefully soon we'll start seeing little beans forming. My cavolo nero is almost ready to be pulled out, it's starting to go to seed and is covered with little aphid bugs....just a tad off-putting when it comes to eating it! The kale was ripped out last week, for the same reason. After hearing advice from a friend of mine, we left our capsicums and chilli plant in from last summer; he reckons if they don't get bitten by jack frost, they should start producing again the following year..fingers crossed!
My red onions haven't really formed bulbs this year, but I'm eating them as spring onions anyway. Our strawberry plants aren't looking the healthiest either....here's hoping a little extra fertiliser and the pea straw around them will make them happier. Ada and Kye could spend all day in the strawberry patch...so I hope we get a few!
I got talking to a friend of mine at the monthly creative markets last month (she owns one of the best organic vegetable gardens in Raglan). I was quizzing her on how she gets her fennel bulbs nice and fat as none of mine did this year. The trick she says is loads of fertiliser and making sure they are spaced out enough...there's were I went wrong. Mine were way to close together. I told her I had just pulled all of ours out as they were going to seed....and you know what she then told me!!!??? That you don't have to pull them out, you simply cut them off at the crown, and leave the root in. They will then re-grow for years to come!!! Wow. That's the first I've ever heard of that. In all the gardening books and magazines I've read, not one has ever mentioned this!!?? Feeling a tad gutted to have wasted all our plants, I went home vowing to never pull them out, roots and all, again. Then comes the cool bit.....Our big pile of pulled fennel roots and tips (once we had removed the actual bulbs to eat) were just left piled next to our compost heap. With all this rain, and complete lack of motivation on my part, there they have sat for the last 3 weeks. I wondered what Si was up to in the garden last night after the kids went to sleep.....it turns out he noticed the fennel roots were starting to re-shoot again, so he lovingly planted each one out again into one of our un-used garden beds! Bless him. xx