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Fruiting Planting in Early Autumn and Hedging Bets

winterI’m naturally not much of a gambler.  I think that’s one of the reasons I like permaculture – that focus on systems and design and elegant patterns of relationships that mitigate risk.  It’s not that I’m a control freak, it’s just that I’ve learned that “lets stop and think about this” is a good mantra.

This time of year in this part of the world (northern NSW), fruiting annuals are all a gamble.  I might just squeeze in another round of the summer annuals, especially the faster ones like zucchini and squash and cucumbers and beans.  My site is pretty well frost free and with luck they’ll bear into June, but an early cold snap will zap them just as the first fruits are ready to harvest.  I might just get away peas and snow peas but if it stays warm too long, and especially if its wet with it, they’ll all just succumb to powdery mildew.  I might get away with both, or very easily neither.

So I’ve planted  just a dozen each of peas, snow peas, and broad beans.  The first real planting will be next month but if these succeed, they’ll give me an early start and a bit of insurance if the mice steal my pea seeds next month  (as they’ve been known to do in the past).

And I’ve planted one, exactly one, pot of each of zucchini, button squash, cucumber, and potkin pumpkin.  Two or three seeds in each pot so that I can weed out the weaker ones, but aiming to plant out just one of each as a late bet.  And a dozen rattlesnake beans to get a last hurrah on the bean harvest.  And another few cherry tomatoes in the seed box, aiming to have just five or six to plant out.  They’ll be slow and a bit sorry for themselves being asked to grow through winter, but I can usually manage to get a few to bear right through.

All the big seeds are in leaf pots, three to a pot aiming to thin to two before planting out. By the time they are big enough to need planting out into the garden, the chooks will have prepared a bed for them.  It will be an oddly planted bed – a small set of peas, snow peas, beans, cucumbers all climbing the south side fence, with broad beans in front of them, then zucchini, squash and potkins round the north side (where they won’t cast too much shade), and leafy greens, onions and garlic in the middle.  The picture is that kind of planting from last year.  Lacking a crystal ball (sadly), oddly planted is my next best option.


{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Jane March 16, 2014, 7:57 am

    Thank you Linda for such an informative and entertaining site.you couldn’t write your books fast enough for me when I was only dreaming of gardening, now you can’t update this site fast enough either. Living in a semi arid part of Victoria I get inspiration and encouragement to keep going inspite of the weather and other disasters. I’ been reading this blog for some time now and felt it was about time to say thank you.

  • Linda March 16, 2014, 8:02 am

    Thank you Jane!

  • Deb March 29, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Glad you are still enjoying your Rattlesnake Beans. I have a bit of a favour to ask, I lost all my saved seeds when we moved this time last year so I was wondering if you had any spare Rattlesnake seeds.

    Also, I’ve spent the last year reading your book and observing my new piece of land – thank goodness I took your advice as we had a flood on Monday night and the place I had earmarked for a new vege patch was completely inundated.

  • Linda March 30, 2014, 7:53 am

    Hi Deb, rattlesnakes will be on their way to you tomorrow.

  • Deb March 30, 2014, 8:53 am

    Thanks Linda,

    wonder if you have the new address?


  • Janet Hall-Frith March 9, 2015, 4:35 pm

    Hello Linda

    I live just ten minutes outside of Kyogle and used to have a chook dome based on your design for my mandala garden years ago, but then work crept in and I had no time to keep moving the dome so reluctantly I sold both my chooks and dome. Now I am semi-retired I am rebooting my vegie garden but still mainly in the planning stage and see that as with you I do have a problem with possums etc. So will have to have small fenced plots such as you do, but have a question. Do you have large round posts at each corner for stability of your fences. My husband is reluctantly giving me a hand to get the fences under way soon and I shall draft in the services of an Italian friend from Sydney during June, he always is looking to do jobs on our place, but my husband seems to want to over engineer the fences or am I being picky?

    I see you around town occasionally. Cheers. Janet.

  • Linda March 9, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Hi Janet, I have small posts, cemented in, to hang the gate. For the last one I built I used some recycled hardwood 4 x 4s. Then three long star pickets to support two 6 metre sheets of rio. That’s the structural elements. Then heavy wire round the bottom to stop bandicoots, chicken wire round the rest, and bird net over the top, and an old screen door for the door. That’s my design at present.

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