What we have been up to in our gardens over the last week…

I ended up planting the rest of the Peas out in the rain yesterday… and after 4 hours in the rain getting soaking wet and quite cold, with my cat looking at me like I was crazy to be in the garden in the rain! She always comes out to “help” me plant etc., but she was not so keen do so yesterday, and only lasted about 10 minutes looking decidedly annoyed and increasingly bedraggled, until she gave up and went inside. I planted two more lots of Peas on top of all the other others I already have put in: these ones (below) are Sugar Snap Tall ones – at the back, and Snow Pea Kennedy Dwarf at the front, so that both lots get enough sun; I had thought that putting up rows of string for the Peas to climb up and glass car windows to block off the front, would have been enough to keep the birds out, but alas that was not to be…
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I also planted a few Alderman Tall Climbing in another garden, and put stakes up at each end of the row, with string woven between the stakes for the Peas to climb on.
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After getting to the back porch absolutely soaked to the skin and with water in my shoes, it was SO absolutely wonderful to find that my hubby had the fire going and had run me a hot bath and had a freshly brewed herbal tea ready for me!! Sadly after getting warm and dry, I then had to go out again later on and get wet all over again (but thankfully not quite so much), to put bird netting up and whatever else I could find – including the spare cat cage, just to keep birds from climbing under the strings and ripping up all the newly planted Peas to get to the worms underneath… grrr! Now, I don’t mind sharing our food with other living creatures, as they need to eat to, but I reckon that the least they can do is leave some of the food for us too! lol. 😉
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Earlier on in the week, I planted the first of the Beans outside, in the hopes that we would not get any more frosts. It was a bit of a gamble, but so far it has paid off. I have planted 4 different lots of Beans, the ones below under the black net hoops are Hestia Dwarf and Borlotti Fire Tongue and the others are Rocquefort Dwarf, Rocdor Dwarf, and Bergold Dwarf. The Runner Beans are now planted and coming up and next month I will plant the Lima Beans, which need much warmer weather to grow.
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The next job will be to plant all the Companion plants with the Beans and Peas! Plants that go well or should be avoided with Beans and Peas are listed below…

French/Bush (sometimes called ‘Dwarf Beans’) like being planted with or near:
Beetroot
Potatoes
Celery – the 3 above are the BEST companions for French/Bush Beans;
Carrots
Cucumber
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Lettuce
Peas
Parsley
Runner Beans
Strawberries
Sweetcorn
and Tansy deters insects.
French/Bush (or Dwarf) Beans dislike being planted with or anywhere near:
Chives
Fennel
Garlic
Gladioli
Leeks
Marigolds
Onions

Runner Beans like being planted with or near:
Carrots
Cauliflower – the above 2 are the BEST companions for Runner Beans;
Cabbage
Chicory
Cucumbers
French/Bush (or Dwarf) Beans
Lettuce
Peas
Parsley
Radish
Savoury
Spinach
Sweetcorn
Also strangely like – human hair clippings, cat and dog combings, vacuum cleaner dust, old ripped up newspapers etc; as they like the mineral properties in these.
Runner Beans dislike being planted with or anywhere near:
Beetroot
Fennel
Garlic
Gladioli
Kohl Rabi
Leeks
Onions
Sunflower

Lima Beans like being planted with or near:
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Locust Tree
Majoram
Peas
Parsley
Lima Beans dislike being planted with or near:
Fennel
Garlic
Gladioli
Onions
Sunflowers

**NOTE: Broad Beans are different again and I will feature these at another date.

Peas like being planted with or near:
BEST companion is 2 rows of Peas to 1 row of Potatoes
Carrot
Radish
Turnip – the above 3 are VERY good companions (but plant Carrot on sunniest side)
Can be grown as a trio with Beans and Sweetcorn, but allow plenty of room for each
Cucumber
DO NOT plant Peas in the same place 2 years in a row
English Peas dislike being planted with or near:
Garlic
Onions
Shallots


The Broad Beans that I planted out a couple of months ago are doing very well, flowering fantastically and should produce pods of juicy Broad Beans in the next few weeks. I actually finally managed to get rid of the Chocolate Spot, so I am happy!
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And the Peas that I had planted a few weeks ago, are also doing well; the climbing varieties – Snow Pea Goliath and Blue Shelling – are growing up the mesh fence and getting a good hold. They have so far survived the wild winds, but as you can see below, I have also had to put down all manner of bird protection to keep them safe!
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The Dwarf varieties of Peas – Petit Provencal and Sugar Snap Dwarf are getting flowers and should be producing pods of fresh Peas in the next couple of weeks!
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Also planted out just over a week ago, is the Celeriac. I had attempted to grow Celeriac previously and had not had any real success. But on doing a lot more research and reading many very old gardening books, I have discovered that Celeriac is really meant to be a biennial vegetable, which is harvested in the 2nd year. I had previously been going on the information provided by the seed sellers, which had said that Celeriac took around 120 days to grow. So, bearing all the new information I have found in mind, I have planted Celeriac again, with the intention of not harvesting it until its 2nd year. I will keep update periodically how it is going. 🙂
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I mentioned in the last blog that we had invested in a wood chipper as we were going to be trialing using wood chip as mulch from now on. It has so far been working very well, as the photos below will show you! I planted the new Globe Artichokes at the edge of the only ground Potato patch (for some reason the dreaded wireworms have not attacked just here so badly – we wonder if it could be that the strong smells from the Macro hedge puts them off? We sure hope so!)
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I had been wanting to mulch the Silverbeet/Chard and Celery garden for some time, as plants I did not want in there were getting away on me (what you probably term ‘weeds’!) and the vegetable plants really needed to be kept moist, especially as I was going to be planting Onions and Beetroot in there as well. I cleared the ground of any unwanted plants, then put down a good layer of new wood chip mulch, then planted out the Onions and Beetroot plants. It is looking good and holding moisture.
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I then had to ‘bird-proof’ this garden as well :(. I used fresh cut tree logs to prop up some netting while the plants get established – but I ran out of net and logs, so had to use anything else I could find to deter the birds, like fencing standards & trowels!


Elsewhere in the gardens, as the weather has been both wet and warm, things are growing great and the next lot of large and ongoing harvests of vegetables is just sitting around the corner… as you will see from the photos below. The key to being self-sufficient on your home garden plot, is keeping things growing and maturing all year round, and the key to that, as I keep saying over again – is  plan, Plan, PLAN!! This year we planted cold hardy and frost tolerant spring growing crops in autumn and planted them out, overwintering them with frost cloth when needed and mulch protection so they got a “jump start” on growing for spring, and it is working well:
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After being told you can’t let your weeds grow with your carrots and getting sick of “weeding” Carrots for every year that I have grown them so far, I am trialing just leaving them this year and seeing how much of an effect the “weeds” growing with them has. So far, the size and shape of the thinnings has me hopeful its not much! One of the new Potato gardens is doing really well and the Potatoes are forcing their way up through the layer of mulch and hopefully they will be ready for Christmas. 🙂
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The seeds and seedlings planted over the last couple of months are also doing very well, and some of them need to get into the garden pronto as they are starting to show signs of needing more room to grow and nutrients, but I am being careful to not plant anything frost tender until the end of November, just in case of late frosts.
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As we are expected to get El Nino conditions this summer (for us that means even more hotter and drier than it usually is), I have tried to plant a few more heat loving plants this year and I have some South American, African, Indian and Asian fruit and vegetables that I have not tried to grow before like: Okra, Luffa, Caija, Jicama, Kiwano, Asian Gourd, African Squash and more. I have also tried some melons! 🙂


The Elderberry cuttings that I took at the beginning of spring are looking amazing! From what I can find out, they should start producing fruit from next year and they should also be big enough to be planted out at the end of summer when they lose their leaves. It will be so fantastic to finally be able to grow our own Elderberries 🙂
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One thing I am not very happy about is the lack of germination of the popping Corn – I have planted out 24 kernels now, and had only 1 germinate, which did so straight away, so that to me makes me think it is a seed problem, not wrong conditions…
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Although, the Painted Mountain dry corn which is an Heirloom crop, is coming up fine! So I am at a loss to know what is up with the Popping Corn, but it is not good.
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Legume/Pulses trials – as promised. A few of you who attended the workshop I took at the Riverton Harvest Festival earlier this year, head about the trials we had been doing to grow things other than “vegetables” that we use to live on, like Soy Beans, which we will be planting in the next week. Other legumes/pulses are already sown.

Because we are attempting to be as self-sufficient as possible on our property and we don’t eat meat, we buy a lot of bulk organic pulses and legumes from the Middle East/Asia/India. I started doing research last year on the type of environment these need, and it seemed we are ideally suited to grow them here, which was great news! But as they take up so much room and do not yield a lot of seed, I have decided this year to trial trialed a range of them to grow, and they seem to be going very good so far. I will update their progress as they grow, until we harvest, dry and thresh these.
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So far, the Puy or French Green Lentils, the Chickpeas and the Mung Beans have all come up well, the ordinary Green and Brown Lentils have just been planted, and some Adzuki Beans and even more Mung Beans are soaking to be planted out too.


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The two Blueberries are loving their new homes in big pots, and one of them has already flowered and is now growing fruit, the other one is a later fruiter. It seems I stuffed up when I bought them, and got the wrong variety – I got “Rabbiteye” ones which are not so frost hardy, and down here in the freezing snow, ice and frosts, they cannot really be grown outside. So I’ll have to get some more non-Rabbiteye ones.


THIS WEEKS HARVEST:
We have harvested the following – (but sorry no photos, for some reason the blog says it has no more room for photos, even though I have deleted some to fit them!)
– 2 huge bags of Collard greens
– huge bag of Kohl Rabi leaves
– huge bag of Flowersprouts and Brussel Sprouts leaves
– 2 bags of baby Brassica Sprout heads
– 2 handfuls of Mustard greens
– 2 handfuls of Carrot thinnings
– 2 bags Kale
– 2 bags Chinese Cabbage – Pak Choi and Tat Soi


As usual, whatever you are growing and wherever you are doing it, I wish you ever success in your gardens. Peace and blessings, from Suz X

© 2014-2015: “Garden to Kitchen” with Suz – All content on this blog is Copyright.

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