85% germination

This weekend, I rifled through my seed packets and found some “Diggers Club” seeds to plant in the winter garden. Some of them are winter recommendations and others, well, they were just what I had in store. We will be going overseas next week so I had to get these babies planted!

The first seeds I sowed were Spinach “Perpetual” Beta vulgaris. The label reads that it is a cross between spinach and silver beet. It can be planted in any season – tick! Harvest in 10 weeks. So, I should be able to harvest it around 20th August. Looking forward to that!

Near these seeds I planted a few leeks “Jaune du Poitou” allium empeloprasurn– a French heirloom variety. The packet read that I should plant them in punnets – it pays to read the label carefully. Also, the seeds are a bit old, so fingers crossed. Harvest in 20 weeks – that’s a long way off, around the very end of October.

winter seed mix

Behind this group of seeds and below a short trellis, I wanted to use up some flower seeds. I chose Sweet Pea “Lord Nelson” lathyrus oderatus, a fragrant heirloom variety from around 1890’s. Can you believe, the label describes these as having “dark and stormy navy blue flowers”. Oh well – we shall wait and see until the end of October as well! Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

In another raised bed, I popped in some peas, “Greenfeast” pisum sativum. Harvest in 15 weeks the packet read – so that will be around the end of September. The label reads “easy and rewarding crop for new and experienced gardeners”.  These are dwarf bushes, so it will be interesting. Let’s wait and see.

In the foreground of peas, in went some calendula flowers “Green Heart Orange – calendula officinalis”. The edible petals are much sought after as a gourmet treat. If they germinate and grow here in our cold area, they should put on a bright display at the end of August.

There’s only one catch living here in the mountain zone micro-climate and that is we are usually three to four weeks behind the city with respect to germination, flowering, and harvesting. There go all my calculations. Add to this dilemma, the packet information reveals an 85% germination rate, so stay tuned and happy gardening. Hope these seeds are as successful as the parsley! Happy gardening!

Surprise harvest

The tomatoes this year have been unusually late. As temperatures plummet and new garden beds needed, these came as a pleasant surprise.

I guess this marks the end of autumn. Make room for winter plantings.

Happy gardening, no matter the season.

So Envious!

You all know my passion for gardens – any gardens, any where. So when a friend and in-law Margaret invited me to see her Community Garden project I was intrigued. The first time I saw the garden was last November in the pouring rain. More recently, it was brilliant sunshine and a respectable 30 degrees C.

A Community Garden is indeed a suitable launching place for many great ideas. Each resident gardener pays a nominal fee to tend their plot. The restrictions are simple: no large trees, no weeds, and no pilfering! Otherwise, the horticultural creativity is set free to produce wondrous vegetables, fruits and herbs. In addition, community interaction is guaranteed.

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Why am I envious? It is envy of the admirable kind – for plants that we cannot grow here in the Mount. Giant golden vegetables, black, shiny grapes, fragrant basil and sun trapped red tomatoes.

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Check out this man’s giant climbing zucchini!

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Tall sunflowers and harvested corn.

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Therefore, last weekend when we visited again, it was for the launch of Margaret’s historical book which tracks the history of the garden suburb where she lives. The estate was designed by Walter Burley Griffin, Canberra’s famous town planner. The book also chronicles the history of the indigenous people of the area; the discovery of gold in the 1850’s; the first families who purchased land in the estate complete with general specifications of a typical 1950’s home; through to the time when “the frontier spirit [had] dissipated as we moved into the seventies” (p85).

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The Community Garden stands on “an internal reserve … designed in the late 1920’s” (which for a long stretch of time was a forgotten and derelict triangle of land). It now provides a sustainable and renewable facility. It is though, much more than a commodity, it is a safe, productive haven for the Tuppal Reserve gardeners and their families. Indeed it is a most enviable achievement – full of delight, determination and distinction.

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20130308-213810.jpg Do you belong to a community garden?