Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Garden as of 15.8.2013

 As I write, the rain, which has been pouring down for the last hour or so since we arrived home, seems to have ceased for the time being.  

The last few days have been fairly overcast and chilly on this side of the world, which has prevented us from being outdoors as much as we would like to be.  However, we have had plenty to keep us occupied.  With our music concert fast approaching, Nancy and I have been working quite hard on polishing up the songs we’ve been given to play.  We had an almost two hour lesson on Tuesday and another this morning with our friend, Miss Indio who plays the tenor recorder.  We will be playing a few songs together with her this coming Sunday.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share some photographs of the event with you all:-) 

I have also finally been able to buy my first heirloom and open pollinated seeds from Living Seeds.  It was so exciting to go down to the post office yesterday and collect our parcel!  Last night I finished putting together a hot box for starting our seeds in.  As it is still too cold outside at the moment, we have to get a head start on spring by planting indoors.  We’ve never used a hot box before, so we’re all very keen to see how it will affect the growth of our seedlings.  In the past we haven’t had much luck with starting seeds ourselves.

 First peas...  This is our second season with peas – I cannot wait to start using them in the kitchen.  Hopefully they make it to the house, though...  Nothing is quite as satisfying and delicious as a fresh pea pod plucked straight from the plant.

Our cauliflower is finished now which is such a pity.  Next year we plan to plant much, much more so that we can continue harvesting right through spring.

At the moment the garden looks rather sparse with only a few beds of peas and broad beans and lettuce plants dotted in between.  But we are all very expectant and driven to create a lovely garden which will not only provide healthy organic food for our family and friends, but also become a tranquil where we can walk around and relax after a hectic day.  As my window faces the garden, I have the privilege of looking out onto our hard work each day and taking in the beauty.  I would very much like to have a few flowers thrown in amongst the veggies for extra colour too.

 Lush rocket spills over the bed.  We love the peppery taste of rocket in salads or torn on sandwiches.  Rocket is one of the easiest crops I’ve ever grown and adds so much beauty to a winter garden!

Growing your own food, or as much of it as possible is really hard work, but it is also a healthy part of life.  I know we might fail and I am prepared for that, but there again we may not.  If we never have the courage to try anything, we’ll never know how wonderful something could have been.  

At present it is really only my dad and myself doing the physical labor as my mom is now carrying another precious blessing and the girls are still too young to contribute any real muscle (they will, however be helping me plant seeds and care for the garden and maybe even have a bed to grow a few of their own crops in). 
Nancy isn’t our gardener, so she helps my mom inside by making snacks and tea for the people doing the digging, weeding, etc.

  Broad beans flowering...  This is the first time I’ve grown broad beans to this stage.  Last year we had to move before any flowers started appearing like this:-( 

Two weeks ago we had someone come and help us make new vegetable beds.  Being at work each day and coming home to lots of little girls who want their daddy’s undivided attention, my dad isn’t always able to help me as much as I would maybe like him to, so we thought if we had a gardener come once in a blue moon to do some of the more strenuous tasks, my dad would be freed up to be more of a daddy to his daughters:-)  But he is the one who helps me with jobs like staking beans up, supporting peas and showing me how to make a hot box!  I am always very grateful for his input and enthusiasm.  It certainly helps when you and your family believe in the same thing and work together to achieve the same goal:-)  

  I love nasturtiums as they not only add vibrant colour to salads, but also are wonderful companion plants. This year we grew cauliflower right next to two huge nasturtium bushes.  The result was almost perfectly formed cauliflower that grew to a good, healthy size and weren’t infested with some or other bug.  As our garden is organic, we can only assume the nasturtiums played the important role of protecting our cauliflower.  Now we will always plant cauliflower and nasturtium together.

  Pea plants have to be one of the most beautiful features in a vegetable garden – I love how their dainty tendrils cling to the supports provided for them...  These pretty greens also add a delicate (and tasty) touch to a salad.

And now that I have been greatly cheered up by these colorful garden photographs, I shall say goodbye.  The rain has begun again and I found I have gone quite numb from cold which has come from sitting still too long in one position.

Do you have a vegetable garden this year?  If so, what is your favourite garden chore?

P.S.  If you are only just beginning your garden, Aunty Wendy at Urban Homestead South Africa has a wonderful series she is featuring on her blog at the moment on how to get your spring garden up and running.  You can visit her blog here...



Emily Grobler said...

Thank you Kelly, you're getting me even more excited about my garden!! I'm planting seriously for the first time, after having good success with my little herb collection. All my seeds were put in the ground beginning of this week, and the recent rains have been most timely. So far, I've enjoyed every step of the process, from hoeing, to scraping the little seed furrows and watering. Actually can't wait for the first weeds to pull out! Thank you for Wendy's link, going to have a peek quickly...

Mumz Aunty Pam said...

Thanks Kelly-Anne! Lovely to see what your dear family is up to. I have a little veggie patch, my best duty is watering, but I do love watching the plants flower and grow and then again to harvest is wonderful.

Big luvs to you family.
xxxxxxxxAunty Pam

Kelly-Anne said...

Hello Emily! Thank you so much for popping by and leaving me a comment:-)
It is always encouraging to hear from other passionate gardeners - I like to find out what everyone else is up to in their little patches of ground!
I also enjoy every aspect of working in the garden - I find that the jobs just never go stale!
Much love and hugs, Kelly-Anne

Kelly-Anne said...

Thank you for stopping by for a visit, Aunty Pam:-)
I find watering plants to be quite a therapeutic activity, but I agree that the harvesting is very exciting too!
Much love, Kelly-Anne xx