How the garden grows.

Sunday was going to be a day for gardening. Andrea and I rented a car for a couple of hours in the morning to head to Bunnings and stock up with heavy stuff like earth, pots, and some big shears, then back home I was on a mission to do a bit more work in the garden. I also bought a few new tiny vegetable plants to try out: some rocket, broccoli and cauliflower, and some geraniums, petunias and marigolds to brighten up the lower part of the garden.

Back home, I started off hacking away some of the growth in the garden at the top. I’m fed up of going up there only to be attacked by spider webs! I’m pretty sure they are just orb spiders – which do bite, I think, but it’s rare and they’re not poisonous – but you never know. I wanted to at least clear back some of the bushy trees that the spiders were spinning their webs on, and hopefully make the garden look a bit tidier too.

The back of the garden looks a bit tidier now!

I cut away quite a lot (still more to do, one day in the future) and filled both the green bins with all the rubbish. I also wanted to tidy up the overgrown plants along the side of the house, so that we could actually walk up and down the path without being attacked by the plants there.

I did a bit more weeding at the top, there is still loads to do on the bottom half of the garden, but I’m saving that for a later date! The weeds are a lot thinner now but they still keep coming back – I don’t want to use weedkiller because Mau the cat lives in the back garden.

Flowers!

I potted the new flowers and put the pots at the back of the garden, they still look a bit small and lonely at the moment though. The new veggies went in three to a pot – probably a bit too many, but I wanted to see how they got on, if they’d actually survive and flourish first. The rocket should be ready in about three weeks – yum, can’t wait. I took a couple of my strongest beetroot seedlings and put them in pots on their own. Two days on, they seem to be perking up and enjoying their own space, but I’ve read that they often die at this stage so I’m not counting my beetroots yet.

Beetroot seedling sprouting its second set of leaves

I also planted two sunflower seeds – wonder if they’ll grow, and how tall? – and some pansies and zucchini (courgette).

A couple of the other plants are not doing so well: one of the tomatoes is wilting badly and looks very miserable. I think it’s not getting enough water, so have tried adding a saucer below the pot to stop so much water running out. It’s funny that the other one seems to be doing fine though – perhaps one just has more fruit, or the sun is hitting it harder, I don’t know.

I’ve also killed the coriander again! This time through over-watering – I put it in a pot without holes, using some stones at the bottom to help keep the roots dry, but I can see it’s just drowning. I tried to empty the water out this morning but accidentally emptied the plant out too … oops. One more try at bringing it back to life, then it’ll be off to plant heaven, and Harris Farms for a new one! The basil is growing wonderfully in a similar pot though, the mint is picking up in its new shadier home, and the chilli continues to flourish! It’s now big enough to need a larger pot, and I’m going to need to start using more chillis. I’ve found that although they’re tiny, they’re about as powerful as a larger chilli.

Chilli needs repotting

I’m impatient now for something else to start providing me something I can eat! More updates coming soon.

An update on my herb garden.

After spending ages clearing out the top of my garden and potting herbs, tomatoes and a chilli plant, I headed out to stay with Yolly … without realising I’d be away for two weeks. Without being watered except for the rain, and some pretty strong sunshine, not all of them fared too well.

I returned to find the coriander (both mine and, unfortunately, Andreas, which I was supposed to be herb-sitting) were burned out and dead. My lemon thyme was brown but looked like it had a slim chance of recovery, but sadly despite copious watering and plant food, it was not to be.

The herb garden now

The chilli plant, basil and mint looked very sorry for themselves, the leaves had thinned out and some were withering, but they were still in with a chance. The chilli did seem to have loads of fruit on it. The tomatoes, on the other hand, were loving it – they’d shot up and were sprouting bushy leaves all over the place. So it wasn’t all bad.

The basil has made a pretty good recovery

The mint still looks a bit sorry for itself

Lots of fruit on the chilli plant



I lost no time in watering them, and happily by the next day the chilli, basil and mint had all perked up a little. Over the last two weeks since I’ve been home, thanks to the combination of regular watering, a little plant food and some good weather, the chilli and basil are now looking fantastic again. The mint still looks slightly sorry for itself … apparently it prefers partial shade, so perhaps I’ll move it to a different part of the garden and see if that helps. I repotted it yesterday into a new pot that has holes in the bottom, since the old one was looking quite flooded when it rained.

The tomatoes continue to flourish, they have quite a few flowers on, and yesterday I found my first actual tomato growing! I’m hopeful for some tasty salads before too long.

Beetroot seedlings

My first two tomatoes!

Tomato plants are doing fantastically well

I’ve replaced the coriander and added parsley, and I decided to try growing something from scratch, so I planted a row of beetroot seeds and some capsicum (pepper) plants in long pots. The capsicum hasn’t shown any signs of life yet, but the beetroot seedlings are starting to poke up.

I’m really enjoying being able to use what I’m growing, especially the basil in salads and mint for tea, and it’s great seeing the plants grow, so I do have plans to grow more. I’ve got my sights set on some rocket, cherry tomatoes and maybe garlic for the next step, and I’ve also started working on clearing out some of the weeds from the lower part of the garden. Maybe for spring, we can have some pots of daffodils and spring flowers, which have always been my favourites at that time of year.