Week 6: Urban Farming

Spring proper has arrived in Canberra this week, and in the blink of an eye we've gone from wearing a pullover outdoors, to getting up early to head out into the garden before it gets too hot.

Developing Pink Lady apples

Developing Pink Lady apples

All the flower seeds we propagated a few weeks ago have now been planted out and we've also planted almost all of the vegetable seedlings that we grew from seed, so our garden beds are filling up. Of course, we'd planned - for once - to be sufficiently organised to get our reticulation in first so we could position plants right near the drippers but, as usual, we haven't managed it. Somehow we always seem to be crazily busy at this time of year. So we're going to have to work around the plants now, and the task is becoming increasingly urgent as the heat increases the demand for water.

While our core crop is now in, we received a parcel in the post this week containing a variety of unusual heirlooms that I want to try this year. To give you an idea, here are some of the seeds we started this morning:

  • Beans: Baby Sun and Sex without Strings
  • Chillies: Joe's Long Cayenne (the most beautiful looking chilli plants imaginable), Hellfire Mix, Tobago Seasoning
  • Capsicums: Mini Sweet Mix (these are baby capsicums that you put straight in your mouth after you've picked them), Mixed Italian Fryers, Seven Colour Mix
  • Cucumbers: Little Potato, Mexican Sour Gherkin, Lebanese Mini Muncher (see mini capsicums above - salivating already)
  • Eggplant Heirloom Mix
  • Tuscan Black Kale
  • Pumpkins: Heirloom Mix, Turk's Turban, Kakai (for home grown pepitas), Lakota
  • Tomatoes: Lemon Drop, Wild Sweetie (the smallest tomatoes in the world), Amish Paste and Principe Borghese (ideal for drying)
  • Heirloom radishes
  • Zucchini Costata - this bears an amazing star shaped fruit.
  • Sugarbeets - an exotic vegetable that can be used in desserts as well as savoury dishes.

These varieties are so attractive that I'm keen to grown them for their sheer beauty, never mind their flavour.

Our first tranche of loose leaf lettuce is now ready for harvest.

Our first tranche of loose leaf lettuce is now ready for harvest.

Spring onion flower

Spring onion flower

Just as prey attracts predators, great food attracts hungry mouths, and we've got an army of snails munching their way through our new planted seedlings at the moment. On the one hand, I really don't mind sharing. The poor sods are only trying to keep body and soul together, after all. On the other hand, we'd like to actually eat some of the produce ourselves, so I'm going to have to find a way to limit the damage. Snail baits are not an option as I'm quite fond of snails, and killing them isn't exactly in keeping with a vegan lifestyle. I couldn't live with myself if I did. So...my mission for this week is to find a way to deter these hungry molluscs from our vulnerable seedlings. There must be something else they'd like to eat...

This week's garden posy was made with 'scarlet' carpet roses and white hebe flowers from our front garden. The carpet roses will be in flower now until next winter - very handy when I'm struggling to meet my weekly flower arrangement goal. Expect to see more of them in lean weeks.

    Garden Flowers