On-line journal for a productive food garden on the edge of the outback in arid South Australia.
With freezing cold winters (frosts to - 10C) followed by scorching summers (temps up to 45C we make use of any water we get (Av rainfall 330.2mm).
The garden beds are shaded (during summer), heavily mulched, humus rich and most are now converted to wicking worm beds (20 beds).
Despite this harsh climate we manage to grow much of our own food.
Bed 7: Peas and Greens
Bed 7 in the Main Veg Garden - where I grew dwarf beans with gourds growing up the fence over summer.
The Tongues of Fire Beans produce over 1 kg of tasty green beans with red blotches and I also saved enough seed for planting next year. It may not seem like a large total but when you consider we are not supposed to be able to grow beans up here due to salinity problems I am very pleased with the results this year.
The gourds started off well but had a bout of powdery mildew in our more humid than usual summer this year. Recently they had sprung back to life and even began flowering but it would have been too late for any gourds to develop now before the threat of frosts (beginning soon!). I am pleased with the 9 gourds I have collected from the vines and these are now drying off.
Time to think about autumn planting...earlier this month I sowed some Spinach seeds directly into the space cleared by removing the beans. Some began to germinate but disappeared overnight! A quick search through the mulch layer revealed not only the usual slaters, millipedes and earwigs but also snails and slugs!
Time to sow some peas!
When I grow peas in Wicking Beds I like to give them a head start by sowing the seeds into cardboard rolls (off toilet rolls). These act like root trainers encouraging the roots to grow straight down to the bottom of the roll.
Soon after the roots have appeared at the base of the roll I plant the whole lot into the wicking bed. This means that the roots are already about ten centimetres below the surface which happens to be the depth that the wicking action is working best.
Care should be taken to bury all of the cardboard below the surface of the soil or the cardboard will act to wick any moisture to be evaporated. That would defeat the whole purpose of having a wicking bed and would make the soil around the peas dry out much too quickly. If it is not possible or desirable to bury the cardboard completely it could be very carefully removed and discarded. Try not to disturb the roots of the young plants while doing this though.
The seeds from Mr Fothergill's were up and growing strong within ten days after sowing and ready to plant out!
Peas planted out with Lettuce seedlings protected by cut down plastic bottles.
Just in case I missed some slugs or snails :)
Already off to a head start in their loo roll trainers and with a bed cleared of mini beasties I am looking forward to a decent crop.
I have popped in a few Lettuce seedlings, shall re-sow some more Spinach this weekend and along with the Parcel that survived attack, it should round off this bed nicely.