Gems among the Oxalis
Oxalis... My foe... It cannot be beaten.
We moved to this house in October 2014. I had spent a month or so before we moved, starting on the veggie garden, pulling weeds and trying to tidy it up. (at 8 months pregnant) I planted a load of potatoes, some broccoli, carrots, spring onions and I can't even remember what else - Not much else and not well looked after. Nothing really thrived either. Fast forward to Mid December and these little clover type weeds started popping up... A few more... Nek Minit - 300,000,000 little clover like weeds popped up and smothered everything in their path.
This is my first experience with Oxalis. All bloody 300,000,000 of them! The bulbs were everywhere, multiplying before my eyes in an area of 12 metres by 4 metres! I gave up. I had a newborn and although I thought I would continue my garden as wonder woman, the oxalis well and truly won this round. I even trying employing the help of my chickens! They loved the dock but like hell were they touching those sour oxalis bulbs!
So as you may have read by my first gardening post - I bit the bullet and over winter I made 4 raised gardens and carted paddock dirt for miles to fill them up.
I still haven't won over the oxalis but I have started to control it.
Right now I am harvesting zucchini, the last of the peas, spinach and lettuce, the odd broccoli (The ones that didn't bolt and go to seed), spring onions, garlic, the odd surviving potato, raspberries, strawberries, kale and silverbeet. Which sounds great but I didn't keep up with my succession planting so It's not going to last quite as well as I had hoped!
It's not perfect - there are weeds. I keep forgetting to water it. The tomato plants are not as good as they should be. The pumpkins are more or less dead. The broccoli keeps bolting in the changeable weather and the potatoes got killed by who knows what.
But hey, some on has to show an honest garden right!?
In an ideal world, the picture above is how I would love the whole garden to look, year round. (minus the spinach-going-to-seed part).
I foolishly planted 4 zucchini plants this year and I'm picking one a day at least. Luckily the whole family loves them as we use them in everything. With a roast, fried with garlic and butter, grown out to a marrow and stuffed with mince then baked, make into fritters, a raw zucchini summer salad and more.
My purple and green beans are doing OK. They were planted a little late but just getting into it now.
The snow peas and sugar snaps are coming to the end of their season now so I am starting to leave a few to dry off on the plants to harvest their seeds for next year. Same with the currently flowering sweet peas.
The photos below are, from left to right, 'Love in a mist' flowers, Bright lights silverbeet, broccoli and Kale - gone to seed. It looks a little scruffy in the garden but letting a plant of each species go to seed is something I am making sure I do so that year after year to help the cost of my garden go down. The flowers also attract bees so it is a win, win, win situation!
To harvest seeds from your plants - allow them to go to flower, die then dry up. Each plant will form a type of pod or seed-like structure where each flower was. Make sure they are 100% dry before you store them in paper envelopes or glass jars to help prevent them going mouldy.
Garlic for me is one of my most precious crops. In the past it has been very hit and miss and already this is by far the best crop I have ever had - It was even planted a month late (It should be planted on the shortest day)
I planted 102 bulbs this year and had 96 strike - That is a very satisfying success rate! I fed them blood and bone and Seasol from time to time (When I remembered) and pulled this one today as the first one to get a better look. The soil was too dry for pulling, hence the ripped of leaves but I'm happy! Now if only my tomatoes were growing as well to pair them with....
A few gems include a large amount of raspberries that are netted, my first ever sweet peas that smell as lovely as they look, a few sunflowers that didn't like being transplanted very much and the strawberry patch (which is quite slow and I must feed more)
The strawberries have done some funny things this year which I partially put down to the changeable weather, 10 degrees one day and 34 the next. It has meant they are all preferring to throw out runners rather than produce a lot of fruit. I don't feel like there is a lot that can be done about it so I am letting them go for it in the hopes of a better crop next year.
My corn looks terrible and please note the top right photo - My first ever spaghetti squash!!
As you can tell, I'm no pro but I do love giving everything a shot. This year I am going to endeavour to record my garden movements all in the New Zealand Gardener, Garden Diary so I know what i did well, what I didn't do well, when I planted everything and what I fed each plant. Fingers crossed it helps me improve year to year.
In the mean time - get out there, pull some weeds, plant some seeds and watch 'em grow!
What to grow, when: This is a website I really like and is quite comprehensive based on area, Garden Grow.
Tips + Tricks
- Grate and freeze your excess zucchini. When you defrost it to use just squeeze out the excess moisture and add to any mince dishes, cakes, sweet or savoury muffins or my personal fave, Chelsea Winters zucchini and corn fritters with feta and herbs!
- Succession plant! I wish I would take my own advice here. Plant 2 broccoli (any any of your favourite brassica) seeds every week. Plant a row of carrots every month. Spring onions and beetroot - keep 'em coming!
- Let one plant of each species go to seed to help save money on next years garden