We received our first frost of the season today, so let’s have a look at how the front yard veggie patch is growing. I spent half an hour out there this morning, pulling the odd weed and breaking off some leaves for Kim to give to the chooks. 😉
I planted six kale plants during easter. This is the first time that I have grown kale other than a massive variety called Chou Moullier. That one grew over 5ft tall, and didn’t the chooks go spare over the massive leaves!
I think these ones are ornamental types, which are still very edible. You know how I know that they are tasty?
Well, because of the exceptionally warm autumn, the cabbage moth must have had an extended life-cycle. This resulted in all of my Brassica being decimated by the cabbage moth caterpillar. I had to whip up a batch of garlic and chilli spray to kill them off. Thankfully this spray worked, and you can find the recipe here; Organic Pest and Weed Control. At a pinch you could use Beat-a-bug which is a commercially prepared organic spray that has essentially the same ingredients.
Kim told me today that she wants to try making paprika and chili kale chips. Sounds delicious, as it is something I have never tried before.
Next to the kale, I planted about 100 garlic plants, all from saved garlic bulbs.
All cloves sprouted, and are growing very well. The soil is moist from recent rains, and the only thing that might slow them down a little are a whole bunch of volunteer potato plants. These potatoes must have been left over from the summer crop. I must try to harvest them better next time.
Anyway, the spuds may help deter any black aphids that have been known to frequent these parts.
One of the few Brassica to avoid decimation of the great cabbage moth caterpillar attack of 2014 was our sprouting broccoli. I did spray them, but there didn’t seem to be many holes in the larger leaves. Maybe the kale attracted them all?
I also interspersed seed potatoes that I saved from last seasons crop in between the rows of Brassica. They are growing really well, and are now as tall as the cabbages and broccoli. I planted them quite deep so I should get a half decent crop.
Normally it would be way too early, as frost normally knocks the stuffing out of potato plants, but this mornings chill didn’t affect them. The normal time to plant spuds is around August in my climate as the plants appear just after the last frost. Time will tell if my cunning plan has worked. Early season potatoes would be fantastic!
I have one remaining mini cauliflower. Besides the caterpillars, the heat was against me with this crop. I only planted four cauliflowers thankfully, because due to the unseasonably warm weather, they all bolted to seed and failed to set a head. This single plant seemed to be a bit stunted by the caterpillar attack, so maybe they did it a favour.
On to the cabbages.
The outer leaves suffered a fair bit, but now that the infestation is now under control, the heads are beginning to form. The cooler winter temperatures is certainly helping. They all look like this, and I have four green and four purple cabbages in this bed. We love cabbages, especially when saute with a little free range organic bacon and Worcestershire sauce. Delicious.
So here is the northernmost bed in all its glory. Not many weeds, and the light mulch of sugar cane bagasse is keeping them down, and the once-a-week rainfall is keeping it all moist.
What few leeks (at the front of this bed) that survived the transplanting are still with us. I don’t know what sort of crop I will get, so may have to plant something else in between them. There certainly is ample space in that part of the bed.
Well, that is all I have in the front garden, so pending a disaster, we should be harvesting broccoli and kale during the week.
It is great watching the garden grow with minimal work. Just a quick weed, and check again in a week.
How are your winter crops coming along?
Your veggie garden looks amazing….very inspiring. Enough to get me motivated again to resurrect my own garden !!! Produce my own vegetables and forget about the IGA !!!!
Leigh Shepherd says
You just can’t beat home grown vegies , or home grown/made anything for that matter.
Battling the cabbage moth and it’s green grubs gave me yrs of frustration when it comes to the Brassica family ( not wanting to use chemicals). Problem Solved. I now use 25mm water poly pipe cut in equal lengths which are positioned over a brassica garden bed thus creating a mini poly-tunnel type frame work. ( the ends of the poly pipe slip over short bamboo stakes which are firstly pushed into the ground along either side of the garden bed. The length of the poly pipe will depend on the width of the garden bed and the hight that the plants will require.
Over this netting, not bird netting but ‘ Hail netting ‘ ís placed. Hail netting has a smaller hole which the cabbage moth cannot get through. Orchardists use it to protect the fruit on their trees. Have noticed that Bunnings now stock it prepacked in the garden section. Small 20mm pieces of the same size poly pipe can also be cut off and then cut carefully length-wise which then make ideal clips to hold the net tight and firm over the frame. Bees can get in, birds and butterflies cannot.
I’ve had the same brassica problems although we’ve had several frosts of late and they seem to have killed off the last of the rotten things. The chooks are very disappointed. I’ve got potato onions doing their thing, cabbages heading up nicely, peas climbing, turnips fattening (or not), broad beans shooting for the sky and garlic enough to kill off every vampire on earth. 🙂 We love garlic! The heavy dew every morning is helping with the watering too.
Out front we’re battling the magpies who keep pulling out potato onions to access the worms underneath. Otherwise we’re still getting strawberries, the asparagus are dying off and spring onions and dandelion greens are harvestable.
I have volunteer spuds in my greenhouse, my banana and Thai red Papaya are doing well and my taro is too. I’m still picking yellow pear tomatoes in there too and my tiny red ones are coming along too. I harvested my first red chilli the other day and the potted up chillies are covered in green chillies too. Want some?
Also making plans to get our orchard area underway. We’re getting there. 🙂 Love winter gardening. 🙂
Gavin Webber says
Well done Jessie. I wish my green house tomatoes would have had more legs. They carked it early on. I still have some chillies, however the leaves are covered in rust, so I may have to pull them soon as they are right next to the broad beans.