The big thing I’ve learned in 30 years of gardening is that if you have a good design that uses the permaculture idea of stacking functions, and you get in a nice rhythm, you can keep a kitchen garden producing really well with amazingly little time or work. The other thing I’ve learned is that if you lose the rhythm, and the stitches in time start missing out on saving nine, those stacked functions can start looking like a Dr Suess tower.
Two years ago at just this time of year I was writing about A Garden With Stamina. Last year this time I missed the leafy planting altogether. It’s a bit of a pattern in my life.
So today was a catch-up day. The chooks finally got moved (remember, I was going to do that weeks ago). That meant that the bed they were in was able to be planted out, which meant that I could clear out the shadehouse, planting the overgrown tomatoes, Hungarian Wax peppers, beetroots, lettuces, beans and basil, and the seed potatoes that I was also going to plant weeks ago. I ditched the zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and corn – they were just too lanky. I planted out the brussels sprouts I’ve had in the shadehouse, in big pots, since November. They are still vulnerable to cabbage moths, but my climate is so marginal for brussels sprouts, I have to plant them too early to have any chance of getting a crop.
And that meant I that I had space available again for planting a new batch of seeds. It’s a little bit early up here in northern NSW for peas or snow peas – we still have a last burst of warm moist weather to go yet. I’ll wait for the next planting break for them. It’s also a little early for the brassicas – they are still vulnerable to warm weather pests. And it’s a bit late for the longer bearing summer annuals now – there’s only just over a fortnight to go now till the autumn equinox – so no more capsicums or eggplants.
I put in broad bean seeds. It’s a bit early, but any later and it will be a bit late. I’m right on the margin for them too. I’ll plant some this time and some next month, and hope that either the too early or the too late will meet the right weather conditions. I planted some more beans – I should get one more round of them. I put in a few cucumbers, squash and zucchini but that may be a bit hopeful. That’s it for the fruiting annuals. Since I missed the leafy planting break last week, I put in a tray of seeds of lettuce, silverbeet, celery, parsley, coriander, radicchio, leeks, and dill. I thought about cauliflower and kale but decided to wait.
I still have a heap of mulching to catch up on, and mowing the paths, and a last compost pile for the summer to build, and lots of harvesting and clearing out spent plants. But I’m starting to feel like the Dr Seuss tower is a little more stable!
And the picture – she was a gift a few years ago. I love her. She reminds me that sometimes it’s best to just let what is be.