I’ve always been a hobby vegetable gardener, enjoying eating my own produce but a long way from self sufficient. I plant a little bit of this and a little bit of that and I like to try different and interesting varieties. Some are successful and some not.
I feel that with the world hastening towards recession, I could do much better. Neither The Man of the House nor I are
a) old enough to retire or
b) young enough to be desirable in the employment market or
c) skilled in essential occupations,
so I think it’s time to get serious in the garden.
From now on, I’ll grow only what we like to eat. And I’ll make more effort to grow them in the right place and at the right time. No more novelty plants. Like yacon, it grew well and produced numerous fibrous and tasteless roots. Not worth the space it took up in the garden and it took a lot.
This season has been good for some crops and not so good or down right bad for others. The potatoes were a disaster, not ideal for a staple crop. Usually we get 6 months worth but a bug put paid to that. I harvested less than a bucket full. Perhaps because I grew them in the same place for two years in a row, the bugs got out of control. I don’t spray my food and usually plant in rotation but decided not to this season because of limited space. I should have known better.
Luckily, the tomatoes and capsicums were amazing. I even managed to grow red capsicums in my green house. They don’t usually ripen before the frosts start but this summer’s very hot weather brought everything on early. The best tomatoes were Cherokee Purple, sweet, fleshy, juicy and bug resistant like a lot of heirloom varieties.
Other winners were the sweet corn, broccoli, broad and runner beans, courgettes and my favourite lettuce, drunken woman. An Italian heirloom variety, she produces florid, frilly leaves in abundance. I don’t grow any other.
The Lebanese cucumbers produced a handful of fruit then collapsed so I tried a kiwano. The plant grew vigorously up the side of the garden shed and produced 1 kiwano, a nasty looking horned fruit with tasteless flesh.
A few years ago, I spent a Christmas gift voucher on berry vines, a raspberry and a tayberry. The raspberry produces fruit in spring and autumn and struggles to compete with the more vigorous tay which produces nothing but prickles. So today, out it went. No room for free loaders.
But the star in my garden is New Zealand spinach, tetragonia tetragonoides. Native to Asia and the Pacific region, it’s low maintenance and vigorous, mild tasting, great in everything from salads to mac’n cheese and it doesn’t matter if it goes to seed. In fact it’s almost always got flowers and seeds. In warm areas you can pick it all year round but I have to grow a little in the green house over winter because frost kills it. It self seeds with abandon though and in spring, plants pop up all over the garden.
So, it looks like I have the skill. I’m working on a plan now.