Garden Share Collective – July 2013

Dragon tongue beans by she cooks, she gardens


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This month I’ve decided to try something new and join the Garden Share Collective, hosted by Lizzie from Strayed Table. The collective is a group of food bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills each month to spread the joy of edible gardening and help inspire others to do the same.

My life has been suitably chaotic since starting my new job. You’ve no doubt noticed the posts have slowed down here and my friends are (I’m sure) quite tired of hearing me complain about it. Nevertheless, the hard work I put in on a free weekend back in May are paying dividend now as my garden continues chugging along with little to no intervention.

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The front wicking bed is a bit of a mess of green. A good mess, a happy and healthy mess and kind of represents exactly how I like to garden. It includes chioggia beets, garlic, spring onions, leeks, baby spinach and cos lettuce. I’ve also thrown in a few winter herbs like chervil, coriander and dill. At the end of one row I’ve planted some dragons tongue beans (pictured at the top of the post) and roman chamomile and at the other I’ve got some mixed heirloom carrots. There are a few pesky caterpillars lurking underneath the beet leaves but they are manageable. When I’ve got the time I’ve been flicking them skyward, but I’m happy so long as they stay on the beets and stay away from the lettuce and baby spinach. There are still worms having a great old time in this bed which, I assume, is why things are chugging along so well. I think the bag of cow poo and wheelbarrow load of compost also helped, as has the occasional dose of Seasol.

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Also in the front yard, I’ve started picking the mandarin’s from our glorious tree. I’ve been cooking with them a little but mostly just stuffing as many as I can carry into my handbag on the way out in the morning and enjoying the pure sweetness at my desk later in the day. I’m also amazed to find my eggplant is still producing, it is perhaps looking a little worse for wear at the moment and seems to be doing its best to ward off an impending aphid invasion but for now there are still a couple of beauties on there that I am rather impressed with. Also on the go is a gorgeous little Hungarian paprika plant I grew from seed at the start of the summer season. It got off to a slow start and struggled to cope with the heat and an aphid infestation (which is still lurking but now under control) but it now seems to have found its feet and I’m looking forward to enjoying the fruit when it finally ripens.

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In the back garden things are going well. There are some broccolini heads now starting to set, the newly planted Kale seedlings are taking off (and so far remaining relatively bug free) and the crimson broad beans are now flowering.

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I’ve also been amazed to find this wayward tomato plant spreading over the path. It is laden with fruit and flowers despite it being the middle of winter and it having sprouted underneath a gum tree in less than ideal soil. I can only laugh when I think about all the care and effort I put in to growing my tomatoes over the summer.

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I thought I’d finish this post with some of my more ‘unusual’ inclusions in the garden, including the gorgeous variegated leaves of the Nasturtium ‘Alaska’ which is starting to take off in a couple of ‘unloved’ and weed-filled areas of the yard. My burgeoning crop of Purslane, an Omega3 powerhouse (vegans, take note!) which I grew from a cutting from a bag I got at the farmers market and my latest experiment, strawberries in a bag. More on all of these coming soon!

In the meantime, thanks for visiting my garden and be sure to check out the other gardens in this month’s Garden Share Collective.

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20 Comments

  • Wow Erin your garden is going gangbusters! I can’t wait to throw some seeds around in the bare parts of my yard and see what springs up. Oh how I’d love to grow kale.

    • Erin B says:

      Thanks Claire, you should give Kale a shot, it’s really low maintenance and grows well in pots. The only trouble I’ve ever had is the dreaded caterpillar, but they are easily managed with Dipel or regular inspection. πŸ™‚

  • wow I do love your photos! I’m super impressed you can grow such a magnificent eggplant! Mine just flowers and then they shrival up and drop πŸ™ Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Erin B says:

      Thanks Lisa, your garden is looking wonderful too and I’m sure you’ll be growing eggplants in no time! I had the same problem when I first started growing them, it seems temperature is a big factor. Now that it’s colder I don’t expect to see any new fruit, but we’ll see! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  • Heather says:

    BEAUTIFUL Garden Erin- I love sneaking a peak into other peoples little gardens! I find that most bad bugs stay away from the Kale too πŸ™‚ Those beets are absolutely gorgeous. xo

    • Erin B says:

      Thanks so much, Heather. Your garden is so wonderful too.

      It’s my first time growing beets so I’m thrilled to see the early signs of growth under all those leaves. I think I need to thin out some of those seedlings but I just can’t bring myself to do it. πŸ™‚

  • farmer Liz says:

    Hi Erin, thanks for your comment on my blog, I thought I’d visited all the gardens, but I seemed to have missed yours, so I’m glad you left a note! I would have thought you would get frost, so I’m surprised to see beans and tomatoes growing in your garden at this time of year. I also find my self-seeded tomatoes seem to do better outside of the the summer season, isn’t it frustrating, especially when the frost starts and they die back after they just started growing so well! Interesting to see purslane, I’ve read about it but I didn’t know what it looked like, its another herb that I’d like to add to my garden. Cheers, Liz

    • Erin B says:

      Hey Liz, thanks for stopping by. I was a little late getting my post up so that’s probably why you missed it. I am shocked about the beans and tomatoes as well, even my basil appears to be going along ok (although showing signs of strain).

      Purslane seems to be pretty hardy and can tend to be a bit invasive if given the right conditions. It’s a wild weed that grows out of cracks in the footpath so hopefully it’s not too hard to track down.

  • hello from another garden share collective member. your photos are lovely, erin, so green, and i think i have a new obsession – that stripey varigated nasturtium! i shall have to look for some seeds.

  • Fantastic garden and photos too boot! What variety is your eggplant – is it a zebra something? I can grow really long thing Asian ones and the odd standard purple one, but love the look of yours.
    Always in gardening you reap what you sow, lucky that in May you planted such a wide range of wonderful veggies, I m a little envious of your collection. Ok, I really wish I had some more dragon beans on the go. I’m really impressed with the lush green foliage.
    Thanks again for jumping on board with the project, I might have a few things to learn from you it seems.

  • Your garden is so healthy and full of vibrant colour Erin! Isn’t is amazing when tomatoes self seed…as you said with all the care and attention we give them in the summer time. I love the colour in your beetroot. Happy gardening!

  • Your garden looks so fabulous! What a wonderful array of veggies you have going right now!

  • Judy says:

    Wow Erin, your winter garden looks fantastic ! I LOVE your crimson broad beans. Must make a mental note to grow some next year.

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