Today in my Vegie Patch: 25 November

November morningSuch a beautiful morning. We park up on the couch with our coffee and breath in the Jasmine and soak up the hills. A front is coming in, so even though its Sunday we’re keen to get up and into the day to make hay while the sun shines. Matt’s all fired up for our bathroom build and I’m getting ready for outdoor tomato planting, but first up the broody chook should’ve cooled her urges by now so will put her out with the others and see how she goes.

I finally got the irrigation fixed in the greenhouse yesterday so was pretty cool to just turn the switch this morning. Time saver! The greenhouse is looking spunky as after its make over yesterday.  We’ll be eating zucchini and cucumber by end of next week.

cucumbers coming

Today’s mission is in the berry-house. I’m getting the bed ready for the outside tomatoes. The nights are warm (we’ve got the summer duvet on) and the soil is a nice and toasty 18°. The tomato seedlings are looking beaudacious and have been outside hardening off with the watermelons and zinnias since Thursday.

toms and melons hardening off

Having a bird net covered area to grow outside tomatoes in is something special. Tomatoes are tricky to bird net at best. Oh how I love the berry-house 🙂

Bed prep rolls in its usual fashion – chop the lupin down and pile it to the side and go over the bed with the forksta. Soils looking A1 but cos it’s a new bed (3 years old) I’m adding full spectrum mineral fert to it. At the mo I’m using Agrisea’s Soil combo fert, trialling it as I hunt about for a replacement for Roksolid.

Set up my favourite reinforcing mesh frames for the Island Bay Italians and Isle of Capri Tomatoes (thanks Robyn), and bang in 2 posts for Russian Reds. As per usual a few extra seedlings – 1 Russian Red and 3 Island Bay Italians to give away. I am being very disciplined by not going rogue with my rotation and planting them elsewhere. With 12 tomatoes in the greenhouse and 12 outside we will have more than enough.

tomato frames are up

I’ll let the bed settle down for a day or two before planting the tomatoes out and because its going to rain I’m not spreading the mulch until the soil has had a good soaking.

Those luscious edges around the tomato bed are so very useful. Fertile and prepared. Use them. I do. First to use this space is the next lot of beetroot – see the shadecloth pegged on top of the seed down the end of the bed – its snuggled up in there. I sow beetroot every other month to keep a regular supply – so useful and so yum. Sometime next week I’ll add to the edge plantings with a new row of easy peasy saladings. It’ll be a good few months before the tomatoes use the space so it makes sense to get in a few quick turn around crops meantime.

long grass = mulch

The row of Jersey Bennes beneath the grape need a decent layer of mulch. My goal is that each area provides it’s own mulch. I’m running a bit low in the berry-house, but here’s an opportunity – the long grass in the path! So much nutrition here – dandelion, white clover, plantain, grass and dock. Out comes the weed eater and I make myself a barrow load of mulch for the potatoes.

mulch for the potatoes

I’d prepared the next third of the corn bed last week. Its settled and a quick job to sow. Direct sow this time as the soil is nice and warm. Sometimes the 2nd lot of corn is ready at a similar time to the first lot – it’s a temperature thing. I like corn in little and often sowings between now and the end of December so it keeps turning up at dinner over an extended period.

Next I whizz round on an Oxalis mission. The berry-house gets a bit of it. I keep a bucket with a sharp trowel in it handy and scoop the bulbs and tops out when I see them. I don’t stress too much about it ie sifting soil is not on my agenda, nor is worrying about the bulbs I left behind. I just knock it back now and again to stop it taking over.

I’m done in the berry-house and head out to the garden. Clouds are gathering and the easterly is picking up – the predicted rain looks set to happen.

2018 nov garden

I do a quick check through the vegie patch and take the bird-net off the market salads and the zinnia beds. Hopefully the birds don’t hook into the saladings. Sometimes they are into eating the salads and sometimes not. I will keep my eye out and cover it up again if need be.

A bit of a tidy up because I cannot help myself – put cloche hoops away, pick up pegs and a few tools back in the shed. Even though I’m a tidy kiwi, I’m pretty shocking at leaving my forks and forksta out in the weather.

beetroot

It’s starting to spit. I harvest beetroot, snopeas, 5 eggs, the usual couple of handfuls of broadys and the first bowl of baby leaf salad for the season – too yum!. Linz gave us a broccoli from his garden which is a big treat as we haven’t had broccoli for a few months now, so dont need asparagus or beans tonight.

I pod the broadys, blanch and free flow freeze them and roast the beetroot in wedges with garlic and cumin for mine and Shea’s lunch tomorrow. All up today comes to 3.5 hours in the garden and kitchen. It doesn’t sound like that much compared to the amount of work aye.

Last week I spent 11 hours and 10 minutes in the food gardens. Less than I would’ve thought – I’m nicely surprised. Being in the garden regularly is the reason here I think. Little and often. Its come to me that I need to weigh my produce too, to make this tangible. What do you think?

boss

The cat has the right idea. I’m done for the day.