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Garden Update - July 2013

This month I'm joining the Garden Share Collective, which was started last month by Lizzie from Strayed from the Table, to allow vege gardeners to share their successes and failures and generally encourage everyone to grow more of their own food organically.  This first month, I'll give a detailed update on everything that's growing in my garden, for anyone who hasn't been following for long.  I'll do my normal farm update on Tuesday as well.
If you've just joined me, welcome to my vege garden.  I recently wrote about gardening in our sub-tropical climate, so if you're wondering about the huge shade structure, that's for protecting the garden during our hot, humid summers.  At the moment though, the garden is full of brassicas, which grow best here in winter, and are suitably frost-proof.  The garden is about 12 m long by 5 m wide, and surrounded in chicken mesh to keep out the chickens and the bandicoots.  The garden has spilled out around the edges though, and into chicken territory.

a view down the length of the garden
chickens plotting their next attack
I live with my husband on eight acres of fairly infertile, weedy, rocky, steep land in Nanango, QLD.  We also keep chickens and cattle, which contribute to the garden their manure and help to eat the bugs and anything tasty they can find.  I also have a large compost and worm farm.  My husband and I own a larger block of land at Kumbia and we are currently relocating a house, and planning a larger garden and orchard/food forest using permaculture principles, but for now, I produce most of our veges from this garden.

the garden (I need to tidy up!)
Inside the chicken mesh, I have four garden beds, I also grow climbers up the fence and have lots of herbs in pots that I move in and out of the sun as necessary.

Bed 1: is currently planted with carrots, radishes, onions, leeks, swedes, turnips (and some stray lettuce).  Only the radishes are ready for harvest at the moment, they are nearly all gone actually, and I planted far too many because I never expected them to do so well.  I need to add some more carrot seed to make sure I get enough.

Bed 2: is mostly self-seeded brassicas (various asian greens, mustard, kale), also self-seeded parsley, dill, lettuce, some chilli bushes that just won't die, galangal (why did I plant it there?) and an unexpected potato plant.  And a giant nasturtium plant, that is enthusiastically trying to smother everything else, and needs regular trims.  Also garlic that didn't do much last year, so I just left it there and it regrew, we will see if it improves this season!

Bed 3: at one end is more self-seeded parsley.  And some onions that I tried to grow over summer.  And some leftover beetroot.  Also some kale bushes that are still growing from last winter!  And in the middle is a bit of a disaster because I used mulch from the pen in which we raised some baby chicks, and they didn't eat all their grain, so I have a lovely crop of wheat growing, with a few brassicas in amongst it.  I can't decide whether to weed it out or leave it as an accidental green manure crop.

Bed 4: there's a few cherry tomato and basil plants left, which will probably die in the first heavy frost.  On the other side, I've started peas and broad beans.  And there's a mini capsicum in there too, not sure if it will survive until next summer, but its worth a try.

Around the edges: I still have some Poor Man's Beans growing, which the cattle love, and is also great for compost as soon as I get a chance to pull it all down.  On the other side of the gate, there's the remains of climbing beans and tromboncino, which I'm waiting to collect seed from.

Along the back: sweet potato is growing well and I'm not sure when to harvest it, I'm just keeping an eye on it to see how it likes the frost.  I also have blackberries and raspberries, can't wait for their first fruiting season this coming summer!  I also have chicken health herbs - wormwood, tansy and rue.  And lots of arrowroot for shade in summer, which should die back in the frost, I also cut most of it to go into the compost, along with the comfrey.  I have one surviving paw paw tree, which always flowers but never quite gets a chance to grow any fruit before it dies back in the frost!  And some lavender.

In pots: I keep most of my herbs in pots, so they can't escape and take over!  I have mint, peppermint, oregano, thyme, winter tarragon, lemon grass, ginger, turmeric, sage and yarrow.  I use most of these to make my own herbal teas, as well as in cooking.  I also have soapwort (for making detergent).  I am looking forward to collecting more herbs in our next bigger garden.  I also have a dwarf lime and a dwarf lemon in pots.  They are fruiting ok, but I think they will do better when I can plant them out in the dirt.

a sample harvest basket

tromboncino nearly ready to harvest for seed
Over the month I expect to save some tromboncino and bean seeds, keep harvesting the last of the radishes, and lots of green leaves and herbs.  The peas might get started if its not too cold for them, or maybe some of the green tomatoes will ripen!  I need to plant some more carrot and celery seeds.  And I need to pull all the Poor Man's Beans off the fence to let more light into the garden (it grows back each spring).

How is your garden going?  What are you harvesting and what are your plans for the month?

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre


  1. Wow your garden looks so exotic! Beautiful! Mine is just getting started, so far I have only harvested a few Okra and my first Zucchini today! But our season is just beginning :-)

  2. Good morning wow you have so much in your garden, my garden is pitiful at the moment Im in Victoria that's no excuse I know, but your garden is so lush I would love to be able to get much more into mine to be able to harvest everyday like yours

  3. With the sweet potato you can bandicoot to find tubers.
    Arrowroot here is frosted now but I'm leaving it be will cut back in Spring and use as a mulch.
    Busy weeding here, harvested some water chestnuts and am very happy with them, snow peas are flowering but the Lacy Lady have mildew problems from it being a warmer and wetter Winter, asparagus has died down and been manured and mulched, brassicas are looking happy, self seeded stuff coming up everywhere.... lettuce, asian veg, chamomile, fennel, feverfew and lots of other stuff, harvested the tromboncino I was saving for seed and got lots, have taken cuttings of the cape gooseberry and am waiting till the mulberry is bare before taking some cuttings.

  4. Fantastic garden. I take my shadecloth down for winter growth as I found the plants don't like the extra shade in winter. Also your chooks are stunning so beautiful their feathers are so shiny, they must be well fed. I think I have a lot to learn from your garden. What do you do with all your radishes?

  5. What a great garden. I am visiting from the Garden Share Collective. It is lovely to discover some new gardens online, especially to see what others are growing around the country.

  6. Hey Liz ... love your blog! What a garden you have. Looks fab, lush to say the least. Yes my chooks are just like yours. Always plotting their escape with an eye on my vege garden! Thanks for your comments on my blog!

  7. Hi Liz, your garden looks great! Never any shortage of work to be done. I really like your blog, looking forward to reading more.

  8. Hi Liz, your plot looks wonderful! So interesting to have a look at veggies growing in a very different climate to the one I'm gardening in - can't imagine needing a sun shade here! Love your harvest basket and those fab tromboncini.

  9. Wow I do love your garden! There is so much going on! Especially love those trombies, can't wait to plant some next season

  10. Hi Liz,Alex from Dale cottage Farm here, visiting from the Garden Share collective. I love this blog, your garden is fantastic! I am trying to get more of the forest garden/permaculture thing going on at home, I'll definitely be checking back here often for inspiration! I'm very envious of your sweet potatoes, 'slips' are available to buy for home-growing now in the UK, I'm going to give them a try next year in the poly tunnel.

  11. I love the laid feel of your garden and all the self seeding. Very romantic looking.
    This Garden Share collective is fun isn't it?

  12. What a wonderful garden! Such variety and I love your stories about your cows and chickens. Sweet potatoes are so delicious, you are lucky to have room to run a vine or two. You have also introduced me to yarrow, a little known herb (I have just read about ...) Such gorgeous tromboncini!

  13. Hi Liz, I found my way here via the GSC, it is wonderful to see so many beautiful productive gardens and how different people approach different things. I really like that you are growing things like comfrey and arrowroot alongside more 'typical' edibles like carrots and onions. It's something I need to think more about.

    I would to have chickens one day, they seem like such great pets to have around the place, even if they are destructive. All the best and I look forward to following your garden adventures in future posts. Erin.

  14. Thanks for all the comments everyone, our internet is really slow at the moment, so I can't reply to everyone, but I do appreciate you stopping by :)


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