It’s my garden – I can change my mind if I want to.

Before and after

Before and after

I cleared another three beds yesterday.  Or should I say I cleared 10% of the garden.  That sounds way better described like this.  I am such a hard worker doing 10%!  But if the truth be known, it was actually kind of easy.  The soil is soft and crumbly and not too wet, so the weed roots just slipped right out.  The other thing is the weeds weren’t that bad either.  A few large weeds as opposed to millions of tenacious little ones.  All I needed to do was loosen the soil with my fork and then lift them out.  It was temping to do more beds but I am trying to be sensible and not overdoing things… there is still heaps of time

Flat pack parsley

Flat pack parsley

I started out on my bean bed.  The frost had done its thing and they were all mushy and there was no kidding myself – they were dead.  So as I worked my way through the garden I noticed a few of the weeds had a familiar look to them.  There were some really large, really healthy parsley plants.  I have no idea how they got there – I certainly didn’t put them there.  There was also a nice bok choi kinda plant.  I don’t know which one because I didn’t plant it!  But a weed is a plant in the wrong place, and I didn’t want them there so I pulled them out.

before and after 3

before and after 3

All was not lost, I took the parsley into the kitchen and blitzed it all up and froze it flat in zip lock bags so if I need any parsley and it is too cold and dark outside, I can grab some from the freezer.  I lied about the bok choi thingy – it is still there and I shall look up the best recipe for it, then it will be outta there.

Peanuts - from under the ground!

Peanuts – from under the ground!

Next I moved on to the odds and sods bed, which is where I plant things I don’t have room for anywhere else or new and exciting must haves that don’t fit into my plan, or things that I really don’t know where to put in my crop rotation system.  I pulled out squishy tall okra stalks, a few soggy peppers, a sunflower whose seeds had long since been stolen by the birds, some tomatoes I couldn’t fit into the big bed and my peanuts.  I had forgotten I’d planted them and while they had been hit by the frost, only the tops were crisp and slimy and the same time.  I got a great little haul from my four plants.  Some of them were even big enough to pass for shop bought ones!

before and after 3

before and after 3

Then I turned my attentions to the bedraggled peppers.  They were completely stuffed.  Short of some kind of miracle there was no coming back from their encounter with the Mr Jack Frost.  As I worked my way across the bed I began to notice something I’d seen every year, but not thought much of.  Looking at the carcass of the pepper plants I noticed they were very shallow rooted.  Which makes sense – as the moment they get a bit of weight on the fruit they start to fall over.

The carcass of a pepper plant

The carcass of a pepper plant

But the light bulb moment came when I looked across at the next bed in my crop rotation cycle.  This bed will be filled with carrots and root crops next season. These need soil that is soft and fluffy deep down and following a shallow rooted crop isn’t going to save my poor back from a bit of heavy digging to prepare the soil.  I need to work smarter, not harder.  I have three things from the Solanaceae family in my garden and each of them are in three separate crop rotation cycles.  The tomatoes are in the best place for them so they can’t be moved, but I had a look at the spuds and thought the peppers and the spuds need to swap places.  The spuds will loosen the soil nicely before the carrots get in there and grow straight and big.

The longest worm ever!

The longest worm ever!

So I made the move.  At this point there are no plants so all I did was swap the labels.  Simple!

Come again soon – I think I may need to mow again.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

25 Comments on “It’s my garden – I can change my mind if I want to.

  1. You are a hoot! I do that too, think I’ll hoist out something and then I don’t. Plus I have plants that I never eat, or let self seeded stuff take over. The joys of gardening. That’s a great idea with the spuds ..perfect. I hoisted out my chilli today ..same solanaceau family, and they are really shallow rooted too! Thanks so much for sharing your garden! Oh, what about that worm! Lol 🙂

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    • Hi Julie. Sometime you can learn more from a dead plant than a live one! I still haven’t decided what to do with the bok choi thing – I am leaning towards a nice asian inspired broth with dumplings! Yep – that’s what I’ll do. Yummo!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi There. Yup. I just washed it well, then spun it in my salad spinner, bunged it in my food processor the whizzed it up. Popped it into zip lock bags in a thin flat layer and popped it in the freezer so it froze flat. So now all I have to do is snap a bit off and add it to my cooking. You do need to make sure it is thin enough or you won’t be able to snap it, and will have to chop it and chopping frozen stuff is like trying to chop a marble with an axe! Not the safest! I hope this helps.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. I like how you consider which crops do things to the soil. I worked so hard pulling crab grass from my lily bed that I feel like I did a thousand arm curls.

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    • HI Lucinda. I try to work smarter not harder. And sometime digging can be hard work and I really don’t want to do it if I don’t have too.
      We all have our stubborn weeds! Crab grass can be such a nightmare. My number one enemy is dock, where the tap root goes to the centre of the earth and you need to get it all because it will grow back from a small piece – but you never get it all and it is like having a tug of war with a elephant!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi Wendy. The peanuts would have probably been much bigger if we didn’t get that frost. This was my best attempt ever. Next year they will be bigger and better – I hope!
      Winter is really hard to stay motivated, and then before you know it – it’s spring again! That is why I came up with my wee challenge.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Fresh peanuts, what a treat. The beds are looking good. BTW down in the large greenhouse, the boys chilli is finally starting to flower which means that despite being sown in August last year and over wintered in doors, it won’t be that far ahead of the chillis sown in January this year, when it starts to fruit 🙂

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    • Hi Elaine. Sadly the Mudlet chilli has been sent to the compost heap after a great summer producing loads of chillies and then was hit by the frost. It never did grow as big as the others, but it still produced a lot of chillies. It was fun to compare them across the seasons!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  4. I love your turn of phrase. “Then I turned to the begdraggled peppers. They were completely stuffed” Teehee. Very impressed with your peanuts and wondering if they would grown in the Algarve.

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    • Hi Jane. You can only but try to grow peanuts in your neck of the woods. If they don’t work, you have lost nothing, but if they do – well what a great treat. I think they are best suited to a long, warm and humid summer, but if I can grow a handful here, then I’m sure most climates will get some kind of yield.
      Give it a whirl – you have nothing to lose!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi there. Oh I do rotate them. Because of the layout of the garden I have three crop rotations cycles. The one the tomatoes are in is made up of four long narrow beds that suit tomatoes and peas as it is easy for regular harvesting from tall crops. It also suits the long growth habit of the squash, and I have onion and garlic in there too, to follow the tomatoes as they are supposed to be able to clean up the soil. The peas are before the tomatoes to add nitrogen to the soil and the squash are just there because.
      What I meant was I was happy with the location and rotation of the tomatoes that it didn’t make sense to move them.
      I don’t even compost the dead tomatoes – I am really careful with them and they aren’t in the same bed again for four years.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  5. I will be planting peanuts this coming season. I just need to remember to do so! Excellent idea about the smarter not harder. I am all for smarter not harder and tried to integrate it into Sanctuary this year but the pumpkins got in the way and turned smarter into harder 😉

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    • HI Fran. I always forget to plant something. This year it was the stevia – the sugar replacement herb. I am always trying to be organised each season – but it always ends up with a degree of chaos. I blame the TV gardeners. They make the perfect garden seem so easy – but the truth is – it is just unobtainable. Ordinary gardens have pesty pumpkin eaters and slugs, snails and escaped chickens and rampaging children, weeds and days where the gardener can’t find time or doesn’t actually want to garden. But at the end of the day – it is just a real garden that actually gives us things to eat so it can’t be all bad!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Have you tried growing yacon? That’s a sugar replacement as well and it is perpetual. I had stevia but wasn’t a fan of it. It tastes like green sugar with the emphasis on “green”. I ended up with some yacon tubers and am asking around to see what to do with them and when to harvest them. A most interesting experiment :). I am trying to grow lots of perennial veggies and am in the process of sourcing some Chinese artichokes. Got to head down to Hobart to go hunting at an obscure markets where the person selling them hangs out apparently…an adventure is afoot methinks! Don’t you just LOVE horticultural adventures? 🙂 We might find time to go to the Botanical gardens 🙂

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  6. re the tomatoes – my question also. I’m so peeved about that whole ‘can’t plant them in the same place’ thing as where I put them is the best spot in the whole yard! It’s a raised garden so what if I replace 1/3 of the soil?

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    • Hi Susan. It is always a bit tricky. Some expert gardeners say in small gardens it is ok not to rotate your crops, provided you have don’t have a monoculture garden – ie not a garden made up of all the same plants but lots of different plants nearby to reduce the risk of pest and disease. You could also investigate companion planting. Another possibility could be to grow them in that location in containers every couple of years to let the soil have a rest. The other thing to think about is to keep the soil rich and fertile so the plants are healthy. Healthy plants are less of a risk of problems – although not invincible.
      Hygiene is also important, so keep your tools clean and dispose of old tomato plants and prunings in the household rubbish or burn them – I never put mine in the compost.
      Although I would always move my brassicas, as you really don’t want club root or you will never be able to grow them again. I hope this helps.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  7. We can’t grow peanuts here which is a shame since the squirrels (and my family) like them. Congrats on the cool crop.

    Your work is obvious. Well done!

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    • Hi Alys. Maybe you need some kind of cage to grow them in. I am imagining it now. It would need to be a fine metal mesh – about 30cm – a foot square. Maybe the top – hinged – would be a little wide with the holes for the plant to grow through – but still squirrel proof.
      Then dig a hole in soil, pop in the cage, fill it full of soil – plant the peanut, close the lid, bury it with an inch of soil and wait! Surely that would work?! Would we make a our fortunes selling our squirrel proof peanut cage. I can’t test it here – we don’t have squirrels!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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