Around The Garden In Winter

It felt so good today, finally getting into the garden.  It must have been about two weeks since we have had a sunny day on a weekend, without rain to interrupt work.

We had a fair bit of work to do, so we got cracking.

Firstly it was a quick check on the broad beans (fava), and they seam to be growing fine.  There were a few weeds, which were a little hard to get to.  The Lemonade tree in the background is full of fruit.  It is a cross between a lemon and a Mandrin, and you can eat it straight from the tree.

Then it was on to the garlic patch.  This had quite a few weeds, so I set about removing them.  I had to really rug up, as it was about 8 degrees C.  The garlic is strong and healthy, and once all the weeds were removed, I scattered some blood and bone throughout the bed to give them a boost.

The next bed has leeks, spring onions and brown onions planted in it.  The leeks are nearly ready for harvest in the next few weeks.  Looking forward to some Leek and Potato soup!  There were only a few weeds, and it didn’t take long to sort it out.  The Mandarin and Meyer Lemon tree are also laden with fruit.

I noticed this year that if I planted broccoli and cabbages near onions, there were a lot less cabbage moth caterpillars on those vegetables.  So I planted even more brown onions to keep the grubs off the brassicas.

Look at this Romanesco broccoli!  Sometimes know as Roman cauliflower, it is an edible flower of the species Brassica, and is a variant form of cauliflower.  What a fine specimen.  The head is about the size of my hand, and is nearly ready to pick and eat.  Such a beautiful lime colour.

Here is a sprouting broccoli that we have already started to harvest.  This has been the best year for broccoli, mainly because I choose heirloom varieties, and the cabbage moths have not been too bad.  It just goes to show that companion planting work well, and the onion smell must put the moths off laying.  There will be more heads off these two plants to harvest in the next few weeks.  Kim makes the best cauliflower and broccoli cheese bake.  Yum.

Moving up the path as I weeded, my objective was to tidy up all of the beds and the paths so that it was ready in preparation for Sustainable House Day.  Can you see Kim?  She is hiding.

SHD 2012 is being held on Sunday, 9th September, and for the third year our gardens will be open to the public.  We are both looking forward to it, as it is a really great day.

Holly was helping me along the way.  She is a lovely little dog, and follows me everywhere when I am gardening.

As Kim was moving some ornaments around, we found this Huntsman spider (non-poisonous) hiding in a clay zebra.  Ben was shaking when he took this photo!

After the garden was finished, we trimmed back the fir tree that was shading the solar panels, and cut out some dead wood.  Because the tree looked a bit bare, Kim decided to disguise our handiwork with an metal tree.  A bit of irony there, but it did look nice.  The metal tree was given to Kim as a birthday gift, so I helped her hang it, and moved some Yucca’s and Dragon trees in front to give it a bit more depth.

Once we had finally finished in the main veggie patch, it was time to move into the pool area.  I planted another Meyer Lemon tree, that had dwarf root stock.  This should flourish in this area, as are all the other citrus trees we have in pots around the yard.  This takes our citrus tree count to nine.

I then had to tackle this lot, but before I did, I needed to make some planter boxes for the three remaining grape vines that I will plant tomorrow.  I tidied up the area, weeded in preparation to plant the vines, and landscape with large river pebbles.

Here is the first small planter.  It is made from left over decking wood in a simple box shape and is 300 x 300 mm (1ft x 1ft).  It will protect the grape vines whilst they are small.  I made two this size, then another that was 1.8 metres (6ft) to put in front of the rainwater tank.  I will then make a trellis out of chicken wire to put in front of the water tank, so that we can grow passion fruit.

Finally, as we called it a day Holly decided to catch a few rays.  I think she was pretending to be a statue on the far side of the pool.

We had a great day, and called it quits after about six hours of work.  It was good to ground myself in the soil.  Connecting with the Earth really takes all the stress of modern life away!

Who else loves to potter around in their edible garden?  What successes have you had this season?


  1. Geoffk says

    Hello Gavin, have enjoyed your blog immensely – especially with the effort to put in so many photos. I think it’s very beneficial for all of us to see how someone does things as well as read about. If you’re ever short of an idea for a blog, I would love to see one on your citrus in pots. I’m always concerned here in Adelaide that it’s too hot in summer for trees in smaller tubs but I know Melton can swelter in the summer too.

  2. says

    Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments. My veggie patch is my pride and joy. I guess you already know that I love working in it whenever I can.

    Gav x

  3. says

    I envy you your cauliflower – I just cannot get certain things to grow here in the tropics. My little patio lime in its pot is suddenly full of flowers this year so I must be doing something right eventually!

  4. says

    Haha, me too – hate spiders! A lovely tour of your garden, now I have garden envy. Talking to hubby about fencing off a section of our block so I can grow some potatoes wirhout our 2 sheep eating them….

  5. says

    Hi Gavin,

    Love the hat but not too thrilled about the spider. Especially when you’re an arachniphobe sitting in an international airport where screaming blue murder at the top of your lungs might get you arrested. :-)

  6. says

    Reading this blog has given me something to look forward to. The house we wish to purchase is up for auction in about 4 weeks and I plan to do my utmost to grow sufficient fruits and vegetables to feed my family all year round. Until then, I have dug up and potted all the plants I intend to take with us and at the moment we are just experimenting with the kids and planting carrot tops, sprouting seeds and the like. I’m doing my best to cultivate 2 little green thumbs. :o)

  7. says

    Heya Gavin. I think it was your blog I first read about lemonade trees and I wondered really if you could eat them ‘just like that’. Well I couldn’t help myself when our 1st year lemonade tree got a fruit on it and kept it. I didn’t cut it off. It grew and got mature and we had it. And whaddaya know… you CAN eat them just like that! :) So thanks :)

  8. says

    I love looking through posts about other people’s gardens to get ideas for my family’s own backyard garden. The raised beds look great, and gravel is such a great idea. I will have to show this to my sister. That cauliflower is SO cool–love the intricate details of it and how it looks like little spiral spikes! Thanks for sharing :-)

  9. Anonymous says

    We have been busy in our food garden also. Our garlic and onions have just been harvested. We have been eating broccoli several nights a week. The main bunch is gone but the side shoots are still going strong. We put in 14 roma tomato plants and I see a lot of canning in the next week. We don’t have a lot of grub problems, but we have a lot of deer on our property, that just love to eat veggies. We have a big fence to keep them at bay, so the only thing that have to eat now is our flowers.
    I love reading your blog because your seasons are just the opposit of ours. We would love to have a day of cold weather here in Michigan. There is a big drought going on in in about half the states at the moment,and a little cool air would be wonderful.
    Thank you for your blog. Yours is one of the ones that I read every day.
    Susan from Michigan,USA

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