Out with the old and in with the new

One of the things I love about my Sydney garden is that it produces all year. I’m trying to get better at switching between seasons and crops so that my beds are as productive as possible. To this end, yesterday I removed some winter kale and prepared the bed for today’s plantings.

By “removed” I don’t mean I didn’t get a feed – the kale went into last night’s quiche, as did the kohlrabi leaves and the red onion. That possum-lemon (he gets the rind, I get the flesh) became refreshing lemonade for lunch. The kohlrabi was a nice side dish just eaten raw. I also saved some of the kale seed pods just in case the pods on remaining plants (this is about half of my crop) don’t dry on the plant like I expect. These plants grew from seeds I got at my organic gardening class so I’m confident the seeds will germinate and produce yummy plants.

As a result of clearing out a strip of one of the veggie beds, I could put my lettuce seedlings (sown mid July) into the ground. I specifically avoided putting in another brassica as I now have enough beds to allow for some crop rotation. I also put a few lettuce seedlings in the warrigal greens bed – I think I’m planting on top of some ginger but I’m suspicious that lettuce and ginger can co-exist.

Next I sowed sweet corn seeds in the new top bed. This bed’s been waiting for the corn most of the winter. I want the corn at the top of the garden as this is the south end and so won’t shade the other veggies. The corn grows tall and dense enough to shade pretty thoroughly. I’ll put beans and squash in that bed once the corn is established. I sowed the corn last year in late September. Corn should go in the ground in September, which is just a few days away, and with the forecast for warm, sunny days, I’m thinking this week is perfect for germination.

Finally, in the empty lettuce seedling pot (the long green one) I sowed a little bit of rocket. All the rocket in the garden has gone to seed, partly because of its age but largely because we don’t eat nearly as much as I planted. And the chickens hate its hot, peppery taste so it is being converted to compost. In the future I’ll only keep a few rocket plants in the garden.

Next to the rocket seeds I stuck a cutting from the pineapple guava. My early July cuttings all died. I also planted 3 rosemary cuttings because my June attempts were utter failures. I’m hoping spring cuttings do better than winter.  That said, the June cuttings of sage and warrigal greens are doing really well. I’ve yet to master this whole propagation thing. 

In the little bit of space left in that rocket/cutting pot I sowed some marigold seeds. The packet proclaims they “grow easily” which is a bit of a death knell to me. I don’t have a knack with plants that everyone else has popping up all over their gardens. But this is one of those fantastic companion plants so I’m bravely giving it a go.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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9 Responses to Out with the old and in with the new

  1. Max says:

    I need to put a 6 month delay in my head in regards to your posts so they equate “up” here.

  2. I planted a few wet season plants before I went away (choko and sweet potato) and they seem to have done well. My lettuce and kale have survived well too – I was thinking of letting some kale go to seed, since I didn’t even think it would grow here. A pumpkin vine went viral and I have had to severely limit its expansion. My tomatoes have been very slow this year – hoping we get a late crop. Of course the weeds all did very well too! Adapting to the change of seasons is something I am trying to do as well, but the weather changes from year to year.

    • I am really surprised your kale prospered in the tropics. I think nature is a lot more versatile than we give it credit for.

      I don’t envy you those extreme wet and dry seasons but I think you’re right, each year the weather is so different that it is hard to figure out how to get the best for a crop – until it’s too late. Last summer was really wet; a la Nina year. This year they are forecasting el Nino to dominate so it will be hot and dry again. Different problems, different harvests.

  3. What a productive garden. It’s hard work tho’ keeping the weeds from growing faster than the veggies!!!

    • If it’s not the weeds it’s the bugs and when the bugs take a break the possum, bandicoot, neighbour’s cat and our chickens go for it. I don’t mind losing some battles but I’m not going to lose the war!!!

  4. Pingback: Basil, Lettuce, Kohlrabi & Spring Onions | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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