Saturday, December 29, 2012

We have gone Crazy this Year!

Crazy at planting vegetables that is!  We organise and plant our food gardens to ensure we have a steady supply of produce all year. However spring is always our main event, with many plants supplying food for us in summer, autumn, through winter and into the following spring.

Ortzi planting beans

This spring we have had a mad compulsion to plant even more than normal. We couldn’t have done this by ourselves. During 2012 we have been hosts to many enthusiastic and energetic helpers (such as Ortzi above) and this has inspired us to “stretch our horizons”.  With the help of these wonderful visitors, we planted most of the main garden beds, then we cleared out any underutilised smaller areas and filled them with veggies too. To top it all off, we also established six small vegetable beds in spaces in the orchard.
Cucumber, lettuce and basil in one corner of the hothouse
Part of our compulsion to plant, is because of the future results that we can see projected in our imagination. When we plant a bed of sunflower seed, we don’t see 30 seeds or 30 little green plants- we see a forest of 30 tall plants covered in huge yellow smiley sunflowers. And so it is with every crop – we can actually see the future (in our minds) and that is one of the main driving forces behind our compulsion.
So what have we planted this year?
·       Tomatoes.  6 varieties and over 50 plants. Heather grew plenty of healthy seedlings and we tried our best to find “homes’ for as many as we could.
·       Corn. Two beds planted a month apart to give successive crops, with a total of around 80 plants (or 160 cobs if all goes well).
·       Climbing beans 3 plantings to give a continuous harvest over a longer period of time
·       Capsicum   -- 14 plants
·       Carrots two large beds to supply us right into next spring
·       Parsnip one large bed
·       Beetroot one bed
·       Celery one large bed to allow side picking of stalks all next year
·       Continuous plantings of salad greens (too many to count) including varieties of several varieties of lettuce, raddichio and rocket
·       Cucumbers 2 varieties spread around 4 areas with plenty of space for them to climb
·       Zucchini. 6 plants with 2 different varieties
·       Silverbeet and perennial spinach – too many to count
·       Pumpkins 5 varieties in 8 separate small beds A few plants of each to give us plenty of variety. We still have 3 pumpkins from last year and had one of these for Christmas lunch
·       Herbs such as parsley, basil and many perennial ones

Spinnach,basil, lettuce & much more
And with all that, we still have a couple of garden beds left over. These will provide room to start planting winter crops such as brassicas in summer. These beds currently have other crops that are about to be harvested (two beds of garlic and one large bed of broadbeans).
Of course it would be a big mistake to “count our chickens before they hatch”. There are so many variables, that no matter how hard we try to make our imagined crops turn into reality, we know that there is a possibility that the results won’t be as perfect as in our dreams. Over the years, there have been a variety of reasons for harvests being less than what we hoped eg rodents eating corn, heat and drought stressing plants, birds digging up seedlings etc. We know that this is part of the journey, but it doesn’t stop us dreaming of bumper harvests!
So what do we do with the produce when we have excess, which we certainly hope will be the case this year. Our family, friends and helpers will get a good share and then we sell any excess after that at Healesville Organic Farmers Market in Coronation Park every Saturday morning. Perhaps we will see you there and you can share some of our harvest too!

Our market stall

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