One of my main objectives for creating a food garden is to:
- Provide us with as many vegetables, herbs and fruit as we can grow
- Feed us consistently, 12 months of the year
- Expand the variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit in our diet
I want to pick the majority of ingredients for our meals from my garden, or to get those ingredients from preserves in our pantry or fridge/freezer. I want to spend as little as possible on procuring produce while eating very well.
This is not an easy thing to achieve, especially the part where we consistently get fresh produce from the garden. It was easy enough for me to plant a few big crops, enjoy the glut and then start from scratch again.
But succession planting, whereby I grow numerous smaller crops in an extended time frame to ensure a constant fresh supply, proved to me much harder work. However, using that system has trully turned my garden into a pantry and I don't have to preserve and store as much produce as I would have otherwise.
What it takes to maintain my succession garden
The schedule below, which took place Monday 27th October, is among our typical gardening day:
1. Pull spent plants
- Pulled two spent sweetpea plants and collected their seeds. Planted some of the seeds in a couple of empty spaces in the garden beds. Saved the rest
- Pulled an old borage bush that still had a lot of flowers and greenery and set the leaves and flowers to dry
- Pulled an old coriander bush and fed it to the chickens
2. Weed and clean the beds
We weeded and cleaned up a few beds that were starting to look untidy. These were either the beds we were pulling a few old plants and where we planned to put new plants
3. Seed new plants
We planted seeds for cucumber, squash and carrots. We already have these vegetables in various stages of growth, including a bed of carrots we're thinning (by eating them) and a couple of squash bushes we started picking on today.
4. Transplant seedlings
We transplanted a lot of beetroot seedlings. Close to a 100 maybe? I also dug up a number of calendula and marigold seedlings that self-seeded to give to a local who is starting a garden.
5. Care for plants
We watered half the garden beds. The rest will be done tomorrow. I also checked on the pea saplings that self-seeded. I'm going to have to do something about them very soon. They are growing very well in that bed. The problem is that, it IS under a peach tree and there are too many of them to be allowed to stay there
A few artichokes are not happy. Their heads are infested with ants which, according to SGate, indicates that I have an aphid problem.
I'd read that I should let cosmos, coreopsis, yarrow, tansy, sweet alyssum, rose campion, and lemon balm bloom in my garden to discourage aphids and currently I have parsley blooming and sunflower planted as companion to the artichokes, but clearly these two are not enough. Next year I'll have to plant more companion plants for the artichokes.
6. Harvest food for the day from the garden
- Spinach and kale for sale for a number of locals
- Red swiss chard - gave some to my older brother and to cooked some for us
- The first of our yellow squash. It's beautiful!
- Artichokes for a snack for the family
- Parsley, basil and thyme for a beef stew