Not a very exciting day, however, my seeds from the Digger’s Club have arrived via Australia Post, minus the Chilean Guava plant. That should be here by the end of the week.
So, it looks like I will have to make up a big bucket full of seedling mix and fill up the greenhouse to the brim with trays full of seeds. It is still a barmy 20-25 degrees C during the afternoon in the greenhouse (just like a winters day in Fiji, hey Kel), so I am hoping that some germination action will occur over the next few days.
I have made a promise to myself this year that I am not going to buy any seedlings and am going to germinate everything myself. Because last year was the first time I had grown vegetables since I was a kid (under supervision from Dad), I did cheat a little and buy some seedlings for my first planting in May 2007, and again in September 2007. So far this year, I have accomplished my goal, with the entire winter crop being grown from seed. Once you get the hang of it, plan ahead, and figure out when the right times are for planting, it is a cinch. So far in the greenhouse, I have six tomato plants growing well in pots, and two seedling trays that I planted out over the last two weeks, which contain some left over seeds from last year. I have planted two types of pumpkin, eggplant, beetroot, silver beet, capsicums, more types of tomatoes, and some broccoli. Check this previous post for what i will be planting this weekend.
I will wait until the soil gets a bit warmer around the time of the equinox before I sow any seeds direct in the ground. I found that last year this method worked well. Since I found the 6 bags of coco fibre a few weeks ago, I have been making sure that I have been adding it to two of the compost bins, with a sprinkling of dolomite lime, ready to add to the garden beds. The compost looks and smells so good, you could sprinkle it on your muesli (thanks Pete). I managed to prep the beds with the kids help in the first week of September and we let them settle down with all their new organic matter for about three weeks, and then plant around the 21st.
Everything grew fine during last summers crop, but I will do a bit of companion planting this year to try and keep pests away. A few marigold flowers in between the broccoli, and runner beans in with the sweetcorn so that they grow up the stalks and help with the nitrogen in the soil at the same time. I will do a bit of research over the next few days to see what else works. I have already learnt from last year that if you plant carrots and radishes in the same row, the radishes act as pioneer plants and assist the carrots in pushing through quicker. That was a tip from Dad, and it worked well (thanks mate). I also know that if you sow alternate rows of carrots and spring onions, it keeps the aphids away from the carrot tops, so I will be doing that again as well. If anyone has any suggestions of good vegetable companions, please leave a comment. It is always good to seek help from someone who has been successful previously.
I didn’t have any issues with any of the tomato plants with pests last year, and will rotate the beds so that there is less chance of any diseases building up in the soil from planting the same crop in the same bed in consecutive years. The rotation I have implemented is working well, and so far no issues with club root in any brassicas, or nematodes of any kind. Just aphids and caterpillar moths! Nothing a bit of Gav’s home made garlic, onion & chili spray can’t fix!
Looks like I am in for a busy weekend of planting, which will be most satisfying. The kids will have to help, but I know they enjoy spending a bit of time with Dad in the garden. If someone replies to my wanted ad in Freecycle for some chicken wire, I might rustle up some mates and attempt to do some more work on the chook house as well! You never know what might happen.
I wish everyone the best of luck with their spring plantings, and bumper crops.