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Garden update - January 2014

December started well.  We actually had 30mm of rain in mid-December, and when I came home for the Christmas break on the 20th, the grass was long and green enough to allow Bella to do some trimming in the house yard.  The following couple of weeks were hot and dry, and it didn't take long for the grass to turn that browny, crunchy shade of green that we had this time last year.  We had two weeks of temperatures in the high 30degCs and only a few minor thunder storms to keep everything going.  We are hoping that January and February bring us the summer rain that we need.

December harvest basket
Due to the dry weather, many of the veges in my garden as just hanging on until it rains and the harvest basket is looking a little empty.  The beans, squash, capsicum, tomatoes are all producing a little, but not as much as I know they will latter in the season.  The kale, silver beet, celery and self-seeded asian greens are also still going. This time of year is good to know that I have a few back-up survival foods, like warrigal greens and everlasting leeks, that seems to grow no matter what and add a little green to our dinners.

With the weather being so hot, I am thankful for any shade I can find, I am so glad we got our shade cloth back up, or I don't think anything would have survived.  The one plant that is really thriving is the two massive chilli bushes, they are taller than me!  I am using them to hide the pots of mint and thyme plants in a bit of shade, we don't actually eat many chillies, but these two bushes are loaded with green ones, I expect to be picking them by next month and giving them away to anyone who will take them!

I'm glad also that I got in and mulched and composted everything last month, because its too hot to work outside much in December and I think the extra soil enhancements are making a small difference to the plants.

A quick bean observation - I find that the bush beans bear first, but are not as hardy as the climbing beans, which will keep bearing until we get a frost.  The bush beans always seem to get some kind of wilt and die off, they need far more attention that the climbing beans, does anyone else find this too?

self-seeded asian greens (tat soi maybe?)
everlasting leeks, just keep making more

table sqaush

Warrigal greens among the sweet potato
tomatoes looking rather poor
Spaghetti sqaush coming soon

hiding mint under the chilli bushes for some shade
baby trombocino, can't wait to harvest these again!
a few beans on the climbing bean plant
some views of the garden - notice the giant chilli bush!
more garden
more garden - choko and pots of herbs in the background
I thought you might be interested in my choko plant.  We don't really like chokos, but they are another survival food, a plant that grows well in the tropics and produces well.  The cows and chooks will eat what we don't want.  I haven't grown choko before, and as usual with a new plant, I have been waiting impatiently for fruit to form.  The other day I noticed the flowers, so I hope the fruit is coming soon.  The choko is a curcubit, like a cucumber or pumpkin, so has male and female flowers, but they are tiny! Here's a few photos...

the female flower (note the tiny choko)
the male flowers
And while we're on the subject of flowers, here is a frangipani flower from two plants that were given to me, I didn't expect them to be pink!  They are still in the pots, and now we are trying to decide where to plant them permanently (Pete is not a frangi fan, but I love them).  And then I had to include a photo of the Herb Robert flower.  A friend gave me a couple of plants, and they went to seed, so I have Herb Robert all through my garden, its supposed to be a good herb for all sorts of things, so it goes into salads and teas.  I'm going to write more about herbs in my garden later in the month, so check back if you want to know more.

Pink Frangipani
Tiny Herb Robert flower
And finally the raspberries.  I don't think they particularly appreciate the hot dry weather.  I have picked a few of the tiniest most delicious raspberries I have ever eaten, but certainly not any extra to freeze.  I will just be happy if the plants survive and I will work on making them happier next year.... and buy a punnet of raspberries to make me feel better!

Jobs for the next month are to keep watering and hope everything survives until it rains.  I'm not starting anything else new until then!

How did your garden grow in December?  What have you planned for January?


  1. It is so nice to have a look at a garden as we have been getting temperatures about 20 below freezing some nights. I am starting to think about what to plant this spring and I want to try the trombocino that you talked about last year. I am putting manure on the garden and still have some kale and rutabagas (swedes I think you call them) but the garden has been turned over to chickens this week to scratch up the manure. This winter I have most of the ground planted in winter wheat so it will be interesting to see what happens with that, maybe some chicken feed if it matures early enough. Hope your summer doesn't get to hot on you.

    1. That's great that you're trying a cover crop, I will be interested to see how that works out.

  2. Oh I love kale! Your photo of the harvest in the basket makes me wish summer was here as well. Neat ideas I am going to borrow of your herbs hiding in the shade!!


  3. So glad to see your raspberries looking like that - that's how my raspberries look, which is nothing like the pictures of raspberries I've been seeing lately!
    Your garden seems to be holding up ok with the hot weather - are there more shade plants (like fruit trees) planned?
    I hope that there's plenty of rain for you this Summer!
    - Christine

    1. They've only got worse unfortunately, since its got drier, I think I might have to try again when we have more water...

  4. I am with you Liz when it comes to climbing beans. I have experimented with both and find that bush beans are definitely not so hardy here in Qld. I also find they are more susceptible to fungus when the rainy season does start. I like my climbing beans the best plus they are super easy to pick. Your garden is looking quite well for the conditions you have had. I hope that you got some rain yesterday.

  5. Your garden is doing great. I have trouble growing tomatoes as well, I try too hard I think :)

  6. ooooh you're growing trombos and spaghetti squash! If you ever consider a seed swap for these two, may I please put my hand up! Your garden is looking absolutely fabulous given the heat and lack of rain! Well done!

    1. I didn't manage to save any trombo seeds, they are tricky, I kept getting end rot before the seeds were ready, maybe this year....

  7. It is amazing how much things have dried out since that last lot of rain. I can't believe you are growing raspberries up in Queensland,they are going so well! As for chokos, try a baked tea with chokos steamed and then covered in cheese sauce ....this is how my mother in law got me to eat them!

  8. Ha! Cheese sauce goes with all veges!

  9. Thanks for all your comments, I love sharing my garden with you all :)


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