07 July 2013

This Year It Is Going To Be Different

Packets of beautiful seeds tipped out on the kitchen table, ready for sorting and planting, we won't need to buy any new seeds for spring and summer plantings, between us Mum and I have more than enough to meet our veggie needs

The title says it all. This year my garden is going to be different. Very different.

For a start, I'll be sharing the garden with Mum. She'll grow some of our food at her place, in her veggie beds, and I'll grow some of our food at our place, in my veggie beds.

We'll share the cost of the seeds and the work in starting them.

We'll share the planting and watering and fertlizing and weeding and best of all we'll share the harvest.

I can't wait. With twice as much garden we can grow twice as much food. 

2014 may well finally be the year that I don't buy a single vegetable! We are planning on enough potatoes, carrots and onions to see us through the year, as well as the usual tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, beans, beetroot, parsnips, turnips, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, spring onions, squash, pumpkins, sweet potato (yes, I'll try again), basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, garlic chives and thyme to feed the six of us for the whole year.

Up until now I've been able to keep us in vegetables most of the year, buying in potatoes, onions, carrots and the odd tomato in winter (I know they're out of season here, and they have to travel a long, long way to get to my supermarket but sometimes I just crave a fresh tomato) as the garden harvest slows down.

By combining our gardening efforts Mum and I can grow all our vegetable needs, on paper and in theory anyway.

Of course the seasons will control that. A particularly hot, dry, windy or long, wet summer will change the end result. I can't do anything about the weather, but I can prepare the beds so they are the best possible for growing.

Digging them over, adding lots of beautiful compost, mulching well and training the plants to grow down for their water will help.

Adding shade to the sun-tender plants will help too.

Making sure we keep the water tanks full and directing the "clean" grey water onto the garden will help.

Preserving the best of our garden will ensure we have beautiful produce through the rather barren winter months.

We plan to make full use of the dehydrator, Fowlers preserving pan and our freezers.

I have visions of pantry shelves stacked with a rainbow of glistening jars full of tomatoes and beans and carrots and pasta sauces and relishes and cucumbers and pickles, with the freezer packed to overflowing with cauliflower and squash and silverbeet and spinach. It makes me smile to think of it.

Of course today, on a cold and wet Sunday in July it all sounds wonderful.

It's a good thing Mum and I both like gardening and love growing productive gardens because while it sounds wonderful today, in my cosy lounge room, it is going to be a lot of hard work.

Then I think about how much we won't be spending at the greengrocers on truly fresh organic vegetables and know that every weed pulled, every turn of the sod with a shovel, every bucket of water will be worth it.
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  1. Good luck, I have a similar dream but a long way to go.However each year I increase my number of trees and pots and look for ways to squeeze in some more crops. I have only recently discovered the joys of dehydrating and pickling. There are not enough hours in the day sometimes but I have just put up my first batch of olives tat I got at a food swap

  2. How lucky to have olives! How did you do them - in a plain brine or oil or with a little chilli or other herbs?

    One step at a time. The best thing I do to keep the garden going is maintain a journal, with plans of the beds and pots, and dates things are planted, how much is harvested, where they are to be planted next and so on.

    You can grow quite a surprising amount of food in a suburban backyard, I buy very little in the way of vegetables, mainly carrots, potatoes and onions and I'm working on ways to get bigger crops of those.

  3. I salted them for seven days and then put them in oil with some chilli as per Pietri Demaios instruction. In fact all my pickling has been from recipes from his book. This has come about because I don't like to pay twenty dollars plus per kilo fo these wonderful preserves so I thought I had better learn how to do them myself


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