Dear Santa – all I want for Christmas is for my pink eyes to grow bigger

Given that growing food is the first part of my Tassievore challenge mantra (If I can’t grow it myself, I’ll buy it from a Tasmanian that can.  If it doesn’t grow here, I’ll buy it from a Tasmanian who sells it) I really need to get you up to speed on what’s happening in my garden.  This is my first garden blog and I’ve got lots to report.  First off, here’s a chart that maps out my knowledge of gardening.

mount stupid

As king of mount stupid, I’m going to dispense wisdom and advice on all things green and growy, despite the fact this is my first growing season.  I’ve killed a few token herb pots in my time, but clearing a patch, improving the soil, planting and fostering seed!? Newb.

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Here’s the current run down on my garden – good, bad, ugly.

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Bed Alexis – the good, bad and ugly all present in this bed, I’ve some excellent Florence fennel and a cousin of Quinoa (keen – wah) called Huauzontle (wah – zont – lay) doing really well.  Huauzontle flower buds are used similar to spinach and broccoli, can’t wait to try them out!  The rest of bed A was cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli (including broccoli rabe, my favourite) and Asian greens but they were riddled by cabbage moth.  Dammit.  Oh I recently popped the herb hyssop into this bed, but am unsure what to do with it when it takes off.

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Bed Bernice – A bean arbour, some thriving lettuce (home grown tastes the best!!) and some tomatoes under poly, bed B seems to get the best sun/ water ratio as the calendula marigolds planted  to attract good bugs, deter nasties were flowering here well before beds A and C.

Work it Tony!

Work it Tony!

I learnt a bit about poly tunnels and using poly at a Sprout Tasmania workshop a few months back – inspiring stuff.

Bed Celeste – Kale (largely Tuscan, largely destroyed by cabbage moth), snow peas, more lettuce and lots of herbs in this one.  I think I should have interspersed the herbs with the veg as they can function similar to the marigolds, but!  A quick search online showed me some herbs help veggies (chives and carrots) promoting growth and some deter growth (sage and cucumber), so now I’m unsure.  Bed C also has some immature asparagus crowns that may be ready next year.

Bit on the side – water cress, rhubarb and garden mint all growing well together.  There was some oregano here too, but the mint has already crushed it.

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Roots – slow going in the root box, leeks were the first thing I planted in the garden and they still look like well-spaced chives.  The parsnips failed completely but the carrots are looking promising and I’ve already harvested the radish.  I do have some big healthy turnips ready to pull but no idea what to do with them.

PP1 – I’m not doing to well with the pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers, I’ve had a number of batches grown from seed and seedling up and die on me.  Slowly the mounds I built are being taken up by easier to grow lemon balm, strawberries, a chocolate mint (found it at the farm gate market last weekend – curious to see how it goes!) and a basil mint.

Maria the safe harbour – located far far away from the other veg this is a reserve patch of pumpkins just in case the others are dying due to facial tumour disease.

Cane Lane – 24 canes = half a handful of raspberries and 24 dead brown sticks.  I did something very wrong here and need to investigate!  The jost and blueberry survive.

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The Orchard – some very old fruit trees with variable levels of fruit production.  I share a lot of these with the parrots as they were here first. The chooks are in under the trees.

Potatoes – 4 rows of pink eyes and one of dutch creams!  South arm pink eyes became available 6 weeks ago, but mine are still babies – hopefully I’ll be able to harvest some for Christmas day.

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Bees and Shroom bags – these are great, I bought 12 bags and continued to water the tops every day.  I had a good run of swiss brown mushrooms for a month – more than enough for a family of 4 as I was giving them away.  The water that collects at the bottom of the bags has run through organic matter and chook poop and whatever else makes a nice liquid fertiliser.  Once the mushrooms seem exhausted, I’ve been using all that organic material in beds to prepare the soil for things that like a lot of organic matter – my tomatoes for instance.

That’s it I think!  I get a lot of garden envy when comparing to a few more experienced friends (Ray, Alex and Louise I mean you) but the experience so far has been really worthwhile – I’m constantly learning, I’m constantly eating, and I’m constantly popping down to see what’s grown.  I’ll have to check the Peter Cundall guide for what happens next, I might get a few more rounds of some of the faster vegetables or plant out some frost sensitive options I haven’t thought about yet. Good times ahead for growing your own!

Feedback via the blog comments hugely appreciated if you’ve spotted a problem or want to share how your garden is going this year  – if you have the space and the time gardening is an excellent way to fulfill your Tassievore Challenge!