I’m pretty pleased with my winter veggies this year. My vegetable garden consists of several raised beds, some of which have hinged canopies covered with fruit fly- excluding mesh- these being the tomato beds.
I planted a green manure mixture in the tomato beds- this is something I wrote about in some detail in my January post Forget summer, I’m going straight to autumn!
The green manure is flourishing, although there’s no sign of the promised mustard greens which I had really wanted as a bio-fumigant. I hope I can find time to plant some mustard seeds before the weather gets too cold.
Green manure going great guns in the tomato bed
My two main beds contain the winter veggies. In one bed there are onions, garlic and loose-leaf lettuce. These are all going really well. I was totally surprised to discover that these lettuces survive frost (so far anyway, we haven’t had a really heavy frost yet this winter).
In the other bed I have the perennial asparagus, and some cauliflowers. The caulis are a bit shabby as I didn’t get to them in time with the Dipel, so that caterpillars knocked them around a bit. The asparagus is dying off as it does in winter- the fronds are turning an incredible acid yellow colour which looks fantastic in a vase with the gorgeous orange and red foliage of my Japanese maple.
My gorgeous Japanes maple
In the kingdom of the flowers, I’m thrilled my cymbidium orchid has 3 flower spikes developing nicely. It still surprises me to see what I regard as a tropical plant, flowering in the harsh Mudgee winter. I’ve moved it close to the brick wall of my house, under cover of the verandah, and I cover it with frost cloth overnight when frosts are predicted. So far so good.
Cymbidium, a most treasured plant, a gift from my late father
This year I’ve come closer to realising a life-long dream- I’ve planted a mass of spring-flowering bulbs in a new garden bed which I created under an elm whose branches are now bare. As I mentioned in my May post It’s bulb planting time, my vision is to see daffodils, bluebells, snowflakes and English snowdrops in beautiful blossom, come the end of winter.
There’s plenty to do each weekend, despite the slowing of nature with the approach of the winter solstice. My cousin Christine sent me a parcel in the post, from Victoria, full of canna and pineapple lily bulbs, for which I’ve made new beds and planted out over the last few weekends. These will be amazing come spring-time!
A fair proportion of the 3 cubic metres of garden soil I had delivered some months ago is still in a pile in my front yard, along with a small mountain of rocks which a local gardening couple kindly gave me. They had pulled all these rocks out of the ground when creating their wonderful Mudgee garden- I’m using them as edging for new beds. Regrettably the purchased soil is not of the promised quality. The pH is way too high- around 8- disastrous! And it is hydrophobic. Double disaster. Especially when I have 3 cubes of it to deal with! The supplier declined to remedy these problems, so I now have a much bigger job on my hands than expected, to make the “soil” useable. My solution at the moment is to mix as much compost through as I can, which I hope will help solve both problems.
What’s happening in your garden?