Summer in the Garden

Garden 2

Garden 3

Garden 4

Garden 1

Garden 5

So far our first growing season in our own home has proven to be a quite a learning experience!

At times it has been very challenging. We’ve lost a blueberry plant to an unknown fate. A mystery bug (I suspect earwigs but haven’t enough proof) has eaten one and a half of our two raspberry plants (not the fruit, the leaves and stems!) All but one each of our watermelon and cucumber plants have mysteriously disappeared. One of our passionfruits’ new growth has been repeatedly gobbled up by something, preventing it from growing. We’ve had hot days then cold days and gale force winds. I can’t even remember the last time it rained…

But! Despite all of that, we’ve also had some wonderful successes in our our little garden. Our raspberry is bouncing back. The tomatoes are out of control. The beans have produced more than I could ever have imagined. The zucchinis are in good health. The elderflower is flourishing. We have at least 6 pumpkins on their way. And most happily for me, one of our two Camellia Sinensis (tea) bushes (that we thought had died) is starting to show some new growth, just as we were about to pull it out and replace it with a big blackberry bush! Over the last couple of weeks we’ve eaten homegrown rainbow chard, strawberries, sugar snap peas, basil, zucchini, perpetual spinach, one cucumber and mountains of beans, and now we’re starting to get tomatoes. Though we started small with just two raised beds, we have managed to grow quite a lot!

Even though it can be frustrating at times, we’re really enjoying having a productive garden. We love being able to eat fruit and veggies that we’ve grown ourselves. Nothing makes me happier than spying Katie at the veggie patch, picking something fresh for our dinner. It’s so nice knowing the things we eat don’t have any chemicals on them and that they are in our bellies within minutes of being picked. A lot of the veggies we grow (including all of our peas) don’t even make it into the kitchen. They are so good we can’t help but eat them straight off the plant!

With the successes and struggles of this season in mind, I’m now starting to make plans for the next growing season. It’s time to expand our veggie patch from the two raised beds and I’ve earmarked half our front lawn for some serious redevelopment. Soon it’ll be time to put things in for winter. I’ve already got some kale seeds that are calling me…

What’s been happening in your garden this season?

Reuben

PS All these pictures are from Katie’s Instagram account. We’ve gotten a bit out of the habit of taking photos over the last few months, but we are both determined to get back behind the camera this year!

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Reuben

About Reuben

Reuben is a green thumb with a knitting machine for a brain. He likes dinosaurs, The Beatles and homebrew (among many other things).

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20 Responses to “Summer in the Garden”

  1. Helen January 13, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    This is so exciting to see all your new growth and for a first season it looks like you got so much growing, it;s really frustrating when plants mysteriously die or are eaten, I hope the rest stays safe
    http://ahandfulofhope.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Reuben
      Reuben January 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      Thanks Helen! :)

  2. Emma January 13, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    That all looks so good! We’ve had a bumper zucchini crop this year (after not much at all last year). Our strawberries were great too. Isn’t it fantastic being able to create, or supplement, meals with food grown in your own backyard!

    I notice that your zucchini look similar to some of mine, I questioned a veggie garden know-it-all and was advised that the odd shape means they didn’t get enough water at one stage of growing. So I’ve been giving my zucchini plants extra water since then and they’ve been much more normal shaped!

    • Reuben
      Reuben January 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

      Thanks for the tip! I’m not at all surprised as it’s so dry here. We try to give them longer drinks less often to encourage deeper root growth but will have to revise our watering schedule. I did wonder why they were that shape but wasn’t really bothered as they still tasted great.

  3. Kathy January 13, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    My first veggie patch which was a 1.2 x 1.2 m and I had 2 of them produced heaps of veggies. I now have 3 of them and they can produce lots of veggies. Possums may be eating your veggies so maybe try and cover them with nets in the early stages. I know picking veggies from our garden makes me so happy and you feel very clever producing your own food. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

    • Reuben
      Reuben January 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

      It does make you feel clever! We haven’t seen any possums around here but it’s definitely a possibility. Netting is a great idea! :)

  4. Sarah @ Chantille Fleur January 13, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    It’s so exciting growing your own food, isn’t it? Our venue patches are currently filled with chickens, turning over the soil and munching up the dead plants; come the end of summer the garden will be so healthy with all of the fertiliser and compost from the chickens, I can’t wait to get growing again !

    Happy gardening,
    Sarah

    • Reuben
      Reuben January 13, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      That’s a great idea. We plan to get a chicken tractor for our hens, we should definitely put them in the veggie patch between growing seasons.

  5. Ash January 13, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I can’t believe it- I was just trawling through blogs after just re-entering the blogging world and found you guys- fellow Bendigo people! Your garden looks incredible- isn’t there nothing better than eating your own produce? Our next few hot days are going to be hard on the garden though :(

    I think your earwig suspicion may be right- they demolished my rhubarb. I’ve heard you can set little traps for them- they like cat food apparently. There are some good non-toxic ideas in forums on the net. Good luck with the Kale, mine grew like crazy over the cooler months, so delicious!!

    We might bump into you at a farmers market:)

    • Katie
      Katie January 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Hi Ash! So glad you found us! We don’t live in Bendigo anymore (we’re about an hour away) but we still visit all the time. Interesting to hear you’ve also had earwig troubles, we’ll have to look into those traps. And so glad kale worked well or you, we can’t wait to give it a go! x

  6. Nicole @ Treasure Tromp January 14, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    incredible! Oh I so desperately want to get into gardening. I need your tips :)

    • Katie
      Katie January 14, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      We’re just learning as we go! I think that’s really the only way to get the hang of gardening – plant some stuff, do your best to look after it and hope for the best! Over time you learn what works and what doesn’t. If we can do it anyone can! x

  7. Meg January 14, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Hi Reuben, Congrats on the great harvest to date. We have silverbeet, beetroot, beans, capsicum, eggplant, chillies, pumpkins, tomatoes, basil, dill, parsley and cucumbers growing at the moment, and our porch is covered with onions (brown and red) and garlic which are drying after being harvested over the past month. Our berries are really suffering in the heat, so not much of a harvest there. We too have issues with pests getting our small seedlings and ripening fruit/vegies . . . we put guards (cut up milk cartons and plastic bottles) and crushed egg shells around all our little seedlings to stop slaters/slugs etc., and we also have rats in and around the patch, so we’ve been setting traps. Like you guys, we have dogs, so we’re not keen to use baits. If you didn’t try beetroot this season, give a go next time – they are so easy to grow and there are 57 beetroot recipes online at sbs.com.au/food (thanks feast magazine!). Hope you guys and your furry pals cope in the heat this week.

    • Katie
      Katie January 14, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Wow Meg, sounds like your patch is super productive, well done! We successfully grew some beetrooot when we were living in Bendigo and we will defininitely be giving it another go. I LOVE beetroot! Hope you manage to stay cool too! x

  8. Jake January 15, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    I love the garden photo’s and garden post!!! The middle of a very snowy winter here in Canada, so a bit of vicarious gardening is so nice. You’ve done great with your first food garden, congrat’s!

    In the evenings i’ve been looking through seed catalogues and dreaming about/planning my next veg patch. I can’t wait until spring. I managed to stash a few things in the freezer and canned some jams/pickles/relish, so even in the winter there is some home grown food. It’s nice to pull out a jar of tomatoes, raspberry jam or zucchini bread when it’s -25C outside. Last year as an experiment I planted a small 1m x 1m salad garden inspired by One Magic Square by Lolo Houbein (a fellow Aussie!) – so much from one tiny patch – plus my regular garden as well. It’s fun to try something new every year. I’ve been expanding my Garlic patch as well, it’s amazing from the garden. There are only about 100 frost free days here, so gardening is both challenging and rewarding.

    Cheers,
    Jake

  9. Kristin January 15, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    It is so nice to look at pictures of summer stuff while buried under cold gloomy winter! Last crops from our garden also were a little bit disappointing (as well as very uplifting and mindblowing)… we got some kind of a worm-thingy which ate the roots off our for example broccoli and kale.

    Next time we’re looking into companion planting to see if things go better.

  10. Laura January 16, 2014 at 3:43 am #

    We are in the throes of a very cold winter here in the Northern Hemisphere so it is so refreshing to see what is happening on the other side of the world where growing season is on! We’ve expanded our own garden the past two summers and LOVE all that we have grown and learned. There are definitely failures but more wins than you can count. And there is nothing like dinner picked straight from the garden five minutes before. We ventured into chickens this year as well and couldn’t be happier with moving in a more self sustaining direction. There is a great sense of pride you get from the whole process. Hope you two continue to learn a great deal this growing season!

  11. Zanni Louise January 16, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    It’s been slightly frustrating for me, with all the heat. I planted heaps of organic seedlings, and many of them failed over the summer. I have decided to keep it simple, and just plant leafy greens and flowers and herbs from now on. x

  12. Isabella January 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Wow, these look great! I adore sugar snap peas and they’re such a joy to grow (that’s about as far as my gardening expertice goes!)
    Bella
    http://sincerelyisabella.blogspot.com.au/

  13. Brooke January 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Oh this garden!! I so badly want to get at gardening again! We are a bit limited in our flat, but I can definitely get away with some herbs and a couple veggies. Love your blog!

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