Garden Monthly. May 2014.

As April draws to a close, it’s time to take a spin around the veggie garden. The seeds I planted on March 25th are up and nearly ready for transplanting or thinning out. In this bed are: radicchio, cavolo nero  (Tuscan kale), rainbow chard, beetroot, French radish, cos lettuce, mixed lettuce, spinach and turnips. Lots of good things for winter soups and salads.ImageThe next bed is my Surprise bed. I had too many packets of out of date seeds, most dating back to 2009, so I threw the whole lot in this bed. So far, the results are good, with tatsoi, mustard, coriander, and other mysteries popping up.Image You have to congratulate the zucchini plants. They bear from late November to late April-that’s five months and still producing. I picked another three this morning, which formed the basis of a grilled zucchini and marinated fetta salad.

ImageThe chilli are so slow to colour. If we stay frost-free, they will hang on for a few more months and finally turn red.ImageThe raspberries are putting on a repeat performance, some as big as strawberries. First up, best dressed.  When there are so few, they never quite make it to the table.ImageThe Greek Basil bushes remain healthy and the Cavolo Nero from last winter is having a renaissance.ImageImageTo do list includes:

  • preparing beds for garlic planting. I prefer to plant garlic cloves in May, but so long as they go in before Winter Solstice, June 21st, they will be fine. I have a huge stash tucked away in a dark corner of my pantry. My new trick is to bury some whole bulbs under the cold earth in May, ( weather depending) and when I see green shoots, I lift the bulbs and separate the cloves into neat rows. I attempt to grow around 300 plus a year- one whole bulb for every day plus more for planting out the year after. Garlic loves rich soil and requires Winter and Spring watering if the season turns dry.
  • cleaning up the last remaining tomato bushes and adding the stalks to the bonfire stack (not safe to compost old tomato vines, they say) and tying up the stakes for next year.
  • Preparing the beds for sowing broad bean seeds. More manure and more compost needed. Our Wwoofer, Renato, is happy to help.
  • Thinning out and/or transplanting seedlings from last month’s sowing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


14 thoughts on “Garden Monthly. May 2014.”

  1. Wonderful — love that zucchini and the cavolo nero, and the berries as well. I never thought to leave the chili peppers on to color!! I have green ones but I’ll leave them longer to let them ripen I guess.


    1. Yes, they will ripen so long as Old Jack Frost doesn’t come and turn them all to mush. I am in Melbourne and sometimes they hang on until August. I need to pot one up to keep safe on the verandah as they can survive for 7 years.


  2. Did your cavolo nero go right through the summer and start producing again now? I was just about to pull mine up because it’s flowering, but maybe it should be left to see what happens.


    1. If its flowering, it is on the way out. Choose the best plant and save the seeds. Yes, all the cavolo neri survived our harsh summer and are now re- growing. Flowering means they will die. With regular brocolli, I remove all flowers and have had a brocolli plant continue for 18 months. Its always fun in the garden.


  3. I love the idea of your “surprise bed”! And, what wonderful raspberries. What variety are they? Mine (“Autumn Bliss”) are just beginning to show green growth – can’t wait until they start producing. I envy you the ability to grow basil outdoors. Here, both my large leaf and Greek basil have to live in pots indoors for most of the year. Can’t plant them outside directly in the soil – they’re slug and snail magnets!


    1. The raspberries were acquired as canes at a country market so we aren’t sure of the variety but they fruit over two seasons. we purchased 6 canes originally- now I have so many I could start a berry farm. My plan next summer is to make sun and wind breaks for them with shade cloth. Our basil plants get attacked by slugs in the early part of the season- late spring, but as the season becomes hotter, they seem to be stronger and less prone to attack. The other thing I do to deter slugs is to surround the seedlings with a thick ring or sand ( or ash from the fireplace) Slugs and snails hate it and won’t cross this barrier. Nice to be able to read your garden blog each month and see what’s happening in the opposite season.


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