Garden Diary, March 2015

I know, dear readers and my good friend Helen, that I have mentioned my tomato glut in many other posts but I must mention two particular tomato varieties that featured in my vegetable garden this year. Firstly, the miniature yellow pear, which quickly became a triffid and bore fruit throughout December (unusual in Melbourne) and continues to do so. I attempted to weigh the crop but soon tired of this chore- many have been left on the vine as I couldn’t keep up with them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next tomato I promised to report on was the black-skinned tomato that my son grew from seeds purchased on eBay. They did eventually turn red and are in no way related to the more desirable Krim or Black Russian but go by the name ‘Indigo Rose’.  They are blue tomatoes engineered at the Oregon State University. They are prolific, long keepers and medium-sized but sadly, they lack true tomato flavour so I won’t be growing these next year.

Indigo Rose Tomatoes
Indigo Rose Tomatoes

My favourite tomato, Rouge de Marmande cropped poorly this year and the Roma has called it quits already and it is only March! The season has been odd- one very hot spell in December, followed be a cool summer. Even the basil is slow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cool summer has meant an abundant supply of strawberries : they have produced continually for months and early self seeding of radicchio, rainbow chard and cavolo nero. You win some, you lose some with each season.

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self sown cavolo nero ( Tuscan kale- black kale )
self sown cavolo nero ( Tuscan kale- black kale )

This year Alberto tied up the leeks and spring onions onto stakes. Their seed is now ready. They make great architectural statements in the veggie patch.

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I have recycled lots of household junk. This basic clothes airer is used to support cucumber vines. The legs bury nicely into the soil.

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I saved my disintegrating pool lounge chairs and turned them into shade houses to protect lettuce seed and young seedlings from drying out. I sow directly into the ground.

Frame of pool lounge covered in shade cloth.
Frame of pool lounge covered in shade cloth.

And here’s the pillow end of the old pool chair, ready to provide some instant shade wherever it’s needed.  No land fill, no tipping fees- just re-purposed junk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo do list:

  • remove shade cloth from the hooped frames now that the weather has turned mild.
  • make more compost
  • sow autumn vegetable seedlings, lettuce, carrots, spring onions, brocolli.
  • transplant self-sown seedlings as keeping them in the same bed will deplete them of goodness. Crop rotation makes sense.
  • remove bird nets from raspberry beds and cut back some of the canes.
  • pick all the grapes.

A good visitor to my veggie patch is this little ladybird beetle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe veggie patch has also benefited greatly from the manure provided by our cows and hens. Here is young Dougie Dexter begging me for another cow lolly ( acorn).  I would like to sell him and his cousin Oh Danny Boy but I don’t want them to end up on a BBQ!

Dougie Dexter
Dougie Dexter

Not only does this post from a monthly record of food gardening activities, it also features in the Garden Share Collective, kindly coordinated by Lizzie. Follow the link to see other amazing gardens throughout Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom.

23 thoughts on “Garden Diary, March 2015”

  1. Snap! I thought I was clever for using our lawn chairs as shade cloth when I plant things in spring, but you are waaaaay ahead of me. Those little yellow tomatoes look so good. I’ve been buying them all summer and I’m sure they aren’t as good as yours. Very interesting update, Francesca. And as I said in my last post, we’ve had a weird summer too. Hoping the cooler change today might see the last of the 40C days, though.

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  2. That rather piggy snout of Dougie Dexter made my day! What a cutie. Love how you have repurposed things. I am an addict of “upcycling” things on Pinerest. It is amazing what old, seemingly useless junk can be made into. My favourite to date is a beautiful floor made with strips of old leather belts, but your laundry rack among the cucumbers is up there, too. Those little yellow tomatoes look beautiful, but I am put off by black veg. Sounds like you’ve had an unusual summer, but have benefitted by a glut of strawberries. Every year is different!

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    1. He is a lovely little fella. Of course it was a big day when we had to get out the ‘ elastrator’ onto his testicles and those of Oh Danny Boy.Now they are pets who eat out of our hands and offer long tongued rough licks. What can we do? Love them so much. The black tomatoes , like many new things, just don’t have any taste, but are designed to withstand all sorts of climates and conditions. I hope they don’t self seed next year.

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  3. Agree completely about the strange season. Shame about those pretty 2 tone toms not having much flavour. I bought some seed on Ebay that was meant to grow bright purple fruit (possibly photo-shopped!) they didn’t but they have a great flavour. Love Dougie smiling for the camera! Clothes horses are so handy in the garden.

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  4. Love your recylcing and re-purposing Mrs Italian. An over abundance of tomatoes indeed! And Dougie is a total sweetchops. 😁 (eek, I don’t meant BBQ chops, it’s a term of endearment!)

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    1. I know- how cute is dougie? and his cousin oh danny boy- and their mother and auntie Derry. They are costing us a small fortune in hay as it has been so dry. But- well- I am a sucker for a cute cow/steer/bullD

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  5. Oh I love Dougie Dexster .. So pleased that you kept them. Sensational pic of the lads! Stop, I have tomato envy! Not fair mine were a disaster. I haven’t seen many ladybirds this year. I wonder why! Lots of bees though. Great recycling Miss 😃

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    1. Isn’t Dougie a cutie? Of course the paddocks are now devoid of any good grass and so we are feeding Dougie and four others at some cost. I always thought we could just sell the two boys, once they are fully grown, but it seems they have become pets. What pathetic farmers we are. Dougie and Oh Danny Boy continue to guzzle milk from their mothers- time the boys were separated and did some crying. Big lovely wooses.

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  6. Synchronicity… yesterday I was gazing at the smaller of my balcony clothes lines thinking, as it’s 11 years old and the plastic coating is grazing, it would have to go… and you show me a great way of repurposing it… I’ve been extolling the virtues of eating cucumbers to the G.O.! He is a bit sick of them and green beans… he asked me when they’d be out of season 🙂
    The photo of Dougie of the best I’ve ever seen!

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    1. Dougie is adorable and so friendly- he gives you lovely scratchy licks too. Poor G.O. waiting for a new season.
      Many of us seem strangely synchronised in this little blogging paradise. A few snaps arrived recently. These cheap clothes lines get a few things off the ground and they can be shaped this way and that for many a climber and scrambler. Into the Taylors’ box?

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      1. The lid on the Taylors Arm box of ideas is tapping with anticipation… once we get there it will be quick quick all in good time!
        The G.O. eats more greens than ever but still only a selection. He wasn’t happy with the alternatives I suggested, so bad luck… while they’re good cucumbers and green beans it is.

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  7. Love all your pics and your garden.
    Just a suggestion, if you would really like to find a home for those 2 cuties D & D may I suggest you contact Brightside Animal Sanctuary. They will come to no harm there.

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