Timing and conditions in which to plant are very important

The second lot of seedlings was planted on the 18th of April; brussels sprouts, silverbeet and brown onions. This was actually a bit late to be planting them, and also the quality of the seedlings was not as good as the broccoli and cabbages we planted earlier. Ideally, they should have been in the ground by the end of March. Also, the ground was not as well prepared – for the previous planting we had covered the ground with straw a week before planting, and it was nice and moist.

On the day of planting the second lot of seedlings, the ground was very dry and had not been covered. I put the sprinkler on it for a couple of hours, and covered it with straw before I planted, which was the best I could do, as the seedlings had already been sitting for a week and were quite straggly; they had to go in the ground that day and could not sit for another week. As I expected, they are not doing anywhere near as well as the first lot planted 6 weeks before.

The photos below show the comparison. Photo 1 is the first planting we did early March, and Photo 2 is the last bed planted early/mid-April.

Photo 1

Photo 2

The silverbeet (picture at top of this article) will probably survive, and most of the onions also. About half of the brussels sprout seedlings are at the moment surviving, but we will probably loose most/all of them when the first frost hits, as they are not well enough established to survive frost. The broccoli and cabbage will be fine with the frost, as they are well-established and very healthy. As they are in good condition, they will actually benefit from a frost; the frost motivates them to flower which produces the heads and sweetens the taste.

This all goes to show how important timing; soil condition and quality of seedling is. The timing is particularly important in an area such as Uralla, where we go quite quickly from sunny warm weather at the end of summer, to frost in mid-autumn. The sunny weather is needed for the plants to get well-established before the frost, and the cold is needed for the plants to produce the required heads. Of course, only winter plants such as brassicas, silverbeet and onions can be planted in frost-prone areas. Carrots and lettuce and other typical winter vegetables can also be planted in this area, as long as there is a well-sheltered environment that is not too heavily affected by frost.

Some volunteers put out a couple of rows of random seeds about a month ago. The most successful of these were rocket, and a few lettuces have also come up. As these germinated from seed, and are doing quite well, they should be fine over winter.

At the end of the day, I harvested some yellow crookneck zucchinis and some radishes for the Neighbourhood Centre Pantry.

In the following weeks we will be cleaning up the garden, and preparing the next section of planting beds for the spring planting. Also we will be giving the fruit trees some attention so that we will get a good crop of different fruits for the Neighbourhood Centre Pantry.

Quiet time in the Garden

Things have been quiet in the garden, as the cold weather slows things down a little.

With the help of a couple of volunteers, weeding and other maintenance jobs are being done.

The broccoli has now finished, but there are still around half a dozen cabbages to harvest. There has been a steady supply of fresh cabbages, broccoli, rocket and a bit of silverbeet going to the Uralla Neighbourhood Food Pantry, and the ladies there tell me that people are delighted with the gifts of fresh produce. Continue reading “Quiet time in the Garden”

Planting the first lot of Broccoli and Cabbages

This week, Wed 7th of March, we planted broccoli and cabbage seedlings in the bed we prepared last week. There were three of us working on this day, a volunteer from the Neighborhood Centre, a resident who just came along – he had been hoping for some time to see workers in the garden, so that he could join in with the activities; and myself Continue reading “Planting the first lot of Broccoli and Cabbages”

Preparing the winter planting bed

After an absence of more than a year from the Uralla Community Garden, I have once again become an active volunteer, and yesterday was my first day back at the site.

Much has happened since I last posted on this website; the management of the Garden is now in the hands of the Uralla Neighborhood Centre as all except one of the original committee (yours truly) has either left the area or become committed to other time-consuming activities. I myself was away for over a year, moving to Melbourne temporarily for family matters. I am now back in Uralla, and delighted to be able to take an active part in the Community Garden once again, although not as a committee member. Continue reading “Preparing the winter planting bed”

Report on the snow-peas experiment

So this is a report on the experiment with planting the snow-peas on the 28th of August 2016.

As stated in the original post, I added nothing to section 1, added some sheep manure to section 2, some worm castings to section 3, and worm castings plus sheep manure to section 4. In Section 5, I repeated the adding nothing at all, to see if position along the bed made any difference, as in the first section there tends to be more moisture available than further along the bed.

Two weeks after planting, the sections where I added nothing at all were a little ahead of the other sections, but all the seeds had some sign of emergence.

Ten days after that – so nearly four weeks after planting – the other seeds had caught up and there is now little difference between the 5 different sections.

section 1, 24 days after planting: no additives

section 2, 24 days after planting:sheep manure added well below the seeds.

section 3, 24 days after planting: sheep manure well below the seeds, and a sprinkle of worm castings on top after planting the seeds.

section 4, 24 days after planting: no sheep manure, and just a sprinkle of worm castings on top after planting the seeds.

section 5, 24 days after planting:This was the second control area, with nothing added other than planting the seeds.

When the plants mature and begin to produce flowers and pods, it will be interesting to see if at that stage the additives do make a difference.

It seems from these results so far, that it really doesn’t matter very much what is added or not added as long as the soil as it is, is very healthy and full of life.

And the soil at the gardens is very much alive and healthy, as it is formed in the way that nature forms soil; that is from the breaking down of wood and twigs and other detritus that falls from the trees and shrubs growing in the forest. Of course there are no trees and shrubs growing in the area of the vegetable beds, so what we did is add natural wood mulch by the truckloads, which over time has broken down and formed good healthy soil.

Below are some links to various articles and information about snowpeas, for anyone interested.

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/snow-peas-nutrition-selection-storage

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/126339/Snow-peas-and-sugar-snap-peas-Agfact-H8.1.35.pdf agricultural

http://www.annettemcfarlane.com/vegetable.htm info about other veg also

http://www.gardenate.com/plant/Snow%20Peas?zone=2 info on companion plants

On the 11th of September I planted snowpeas along the rest of the trellis, without adding anything extra to the soil. Ten days later there were some very tiny signs of emergence; this lot has been a bit slower than the first ones planted, but then it has been extremely wet over those 10 days, and I was pleasantly surprised to see any come up at all.

Some eggplant seeds and some capsicum seeds were also planted on that day.