Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Happening In My Garden This October

It's been a while since I blogged here, so this post tries to give you a good overview of what's been happening in my garden.

The garden is doing very well, supplying us with most of what we need and reflecting a succession of crops that we harvest/plant every month.

Last month, for example, I only needed to buy a bag of potatoes, a couple of cabbages and two pumpkins, with the rest of our fresh produce coming from the garden. I expect by November I won't be buying potatoes either...

One of 4 beds of potato growing in the garden; 5th being planted
So far we have potatoes, onions (3 varieties), carrots, beetroot, spinach, swiss chard (red and green varieties), kale, rape, salad greens, beans (broad beans, green beans and bush beans) being harvested or almost ready for harvest.
Seedlings for tomatoes, green peppers and chilli to transplant
 We also have these vegetables, and seedlings for others like squash, cucumber, tomato, green pepper, chilli, zucchini etc, in various stages of growth.
This lettuce is self-seeding all over
 Cabbage remains a difficult customer, as it bolts very quickly in our climate. Broccoli and cauliflower were also disappointing for the same reason. I'm 90% convinced I should drop them from my range of vegetables to grow and focus on things that do well in our climate.
chickpeas from our experimental crop

I also ran a couple of experiments, growing chickpeas, lentils and chamomile tea. The surprisingly excellent performer was the artichoke. To be honest, I didn't know what I was doing when I grew it, simply following the instructions I sourced off Google.

Nice, tasty artichoke
According to the articles I read, they were not supposed to start bearing food until 2 years had passed, but we're now picking a big bunch of artichokes every week. It might have something to do with the fact that I bought them as seedlings, I think? Anyhoo, Nephew1 and I love them, so they make a regular snack or starter dish for us.
Herbs adding colour to the garden

The herbs are also doing very well. Currently we have lavendar, lemon balm, basil, parsley, coriander, dill, thyme, mint, rosemary and sage growing. Borage is also flowering all over the yard, attracting bees and bringing a lot of colour to the garden. Speaking of colour, the sweet peas and marigolds are also flowering in abundance.

One of the peach trees fruiting for the first time
Most of the fruit trees I planted survived the winter. The two grape vines, apple, apricot, avocado, bananas, orange, lemon, clementine and mango saplings are doing well. Four peach trees are fruiting for the first time and we're excited about that.

Mulberry tree laden with fruit this  month
The berries are also doing very well. The two mulberry trees provided a huge harvest, some of which I froze for future use. The strawberry bushes are also  growing well. Though the bushes are still small, they have also started providing fat, red fruit which we love to eat off the bush or with yoghurt.

Lots and lots of saplings among the salad greens
One of the old peach trees  also self-seed the garden, resulting in more than 30 saplings. I'm happy about the saplings, but haven't figured out what to do with them, as I don't have the space to plant them out in the yard, and even if I did, I'm not quite sure what I'd do with them once they reach fruition (We love fresh fruitm but we don't eat a lot of canned  fruit or jam or too many sweet things for that matter). However, they are still small, so I reckon I have time to decide how to deal with them.

Chickens had the run of the yard before their space was finished

Through the winter we also built a chicken run and acquired two hens and a rooster. The hens have since hatched three more chickens which are growing very well. They hens  have also been a good source of eggs for us. My plan is to have enough chickens to supply all our eggs. The chickens have also been helpful in eating whatever old plants we dig up from the garden and working it into compost, so I'm pleased with our decision to keep them.

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