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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Getting Back to Gardening vegetables

Both of us have been a little unmotivated to to get really stuck into the vegetable garden. It is a mix of reasons. There is the distraction of vintage which consumes not so much time but it does throw out the routine. The early starts for me to go grape picking mean its impossible to get down to the pool for exercise at 7 or 8. Especially since I'm not back before 10 to put the grapes into the chillers and head across the river to move irrigation and back again at evening to do the same. In between its processing and attending to grapes.

Filling in all the gaps around the place is Jean who gets to do all the feeding, watering and cooking while I play winemaker. She is also spending a lot of time across the river harrowing and picking up fallen poplar limbs.
The paddock bed we call the Tomato bed is ticking along nicely producing Bitter Melon, Cucumber, the last of the Tomatoes, Zucchini, Squash, Corn, Okra, Rock melon and now the Water melons are ripening. Very little maintenance is now required as it is so dry and the only grass is around the edges of the Tomatoes.

But the house vegetable beds have been let go. A few things like Rocket, Radichio, Fennel and Parsley have been let go for seed saving. This is a good idea except it makes the beds very untidy and difficult to manage. These plants grow tall as they set seed and push up the exclusion nets. They also prevent the watering system from reaching all corners. A problem in these dry times.

Jean has been hand watering a few new plantings such as Carrot, Beetroot, Radish and a few salad greens.

But today she said “lets make a start” and finish one bed. And we did. The nets were pegged up along the entire bed. Some general maintenance was done to these and I pulled up all the larger dried out seed plants. Jean methodically weeded the smaller weeds with me pitching in. As we cleared a section in came the compost to be mixed into the dryish soil. After a good watering in we put old Lucerne as mulch over all the bare spots and gave it another water.

Despite being a stinking hot day we powered on and finished the bed as well as mowing round the edges. It looks great, a real reward for some hard work. The plan tomorrow is to do another bed. The old enthusiasm is back.

Nice and tidy

On the left is tomorrow's job. It is a good indication of how the bed on the right looked a few hours earlier.
Part of the renewed vigour is that we took a day off the day before. Packed the dogs in the work ute. The two girls on the tray and Nikki with his recovered neck injury on the back seat. As we passed through Raymond Terrace we did some chores such as the library to drop off and pick up and then the building society to do some transactions. The next stop was the mushroom farm to collect a Farm Box. I thought they were $10 for 3 KG but was firmly put straight "They haven't been $10 for 2 years". Only shows how long it is since we have been down that way.
Then off to the destination. A look around Lemon Tree Passage, Tanilba Bay and Oyster Cove. We haven't ventured there before and it was a relaxing and pleasant day. The dogs loved it, especially hanging out the window or the sides of the vehicle.
I don't know what it is but a trip in the car like that knackers the dogs. That night despite just being in the car most of the time they collapsed exhausted, not even interested in dinner. Is it just the excitement that takes it all out of them?

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