Sunday, 21 October 2012

Spring gardening

Spent much of this weekend working on our veggie garden. In addition to our lettuces (which we're growing year-round - we eat a lot of salad) this season we are growing:

Tomatoes. M is very proud of his home-made tomato cages - these Tommy Toes are self-seeded and we wanted to give them a chance to get some sunlight, since they're surrounded by lettuces. We are also growing Rouge de Marmandes (just because we like the name).

Strawberries, which I grew from runners (hadn't tried that before but they are looking promising).

Peas (one of the varieties with an edible pod; I like the kids to be able to munch them straight off the plant, although realistically K will probably refuse to try them and R will eat them all).

The pot above is a collection of herbs and random seedlings that were left over after sowing the veggie patch and the other large pots (including French beans and some chilli plants). Speaking of chilli plants, M is crazy about them. This year he has planted several different types (jalapeno, birds eye and habanero, among others) and still has a few from last year that survived the winter.

Basil (not pictured), which was a star performer last year. Hoping for loads of delicious pesto this summer, accompanied, of course, by some tommy toe tomatoes. We also have some garlic growing, but I have no idea when I planted it and therefore no idea when to harvest. Hmm...

Also planted last year was this amazing artichoke which grew from a fragment of root after I'd pulled the plant up because it was being destroyed by insects. Suddenly it's taken off and has two artichokes growing on it - so beautiful. I don't know if I will eat them, though, because I've seen artichokes flowering and they are stunning.

The less glamorous side of gardening is dealing with snails and slugs, but I've had to force myself to take action as my seedlings are under attack. Tonight I am trialling a 'beer trap' (thanks for the suggestion, mum) and will also be going out with a torch to see what I can catch, having vetoed the use of snail pellets where the vegies are growing. Any tips on protecting plants from predators will be gratefully accepted!


  1. Aside from beer traps the thing I think works best is rounding them up. They usually hide under pots and in crevices and if you periodically check you can usually get a fair few. If you are squeemish about squashing them (I am), try filling a small container with warm water and dish washing detergent. Put them in the container as soon as you find them - once in they die really quickly, but the bubbles mean you can't see them.

  2. Thanks for the advice! The beer trap was a complete failure. I went out at night and saw a few slugs clustered around it, but by morning they weren't in the trap, so either they just had a round of drinks and staggered home, or they were picked up by birds. I've decided the only way to get them is to go out every night armed with a trowel and a large stone. I am squeamish, and I really don't like to kill things - but they are savaging the plants so it has to be done!