Greener futures

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i promise, i’ll get a decent camera soon. my iphone is terrible. it’s a 3gs. but it’s seriously a nice capsicum despite this.

this is the capsicum of optimism – i was convinced the bugger wasn’t going to fruit – the first flowers were too staggered between each other to pollinate so nothing happened – so i started hand pollinating Everything on the balcony (especially the eggplant!).  and then, two, only two of the capsicums finally started growing! they are still green – lovely, lovely green, and i’m so excited about watching them change.

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nothing yet. grow little guys, Grow!

i spend a lot of time staring at the pot with the beetroot seeds in it, waiting for them to start growing.  nothing yet. it’s been two days though.  gardening is good for patience.

most of my mind though, is taken up with planning for winter-crop.  seriously.  if someone could do a cross section into what i am thinking about most of the time, it’s – dinner plans – plants – craft.  i’m surprisingly anxious about it – i want to get it right. the more planning i can do, i’m thinking, the better it will be – but i don’t even know where to start planning. i’m still stupidly new to this.   the main things i want to try for winter are:

  • beans/peas to fix the soil and be delicious
  • nasturtium – my first mostly-ornamental plant
  • fennel
  • garlic
  • possibly sweeds
  • kale
  • english spinach

i don’t know what else would be good for pots in winter.  herbs are another thing i want to try and grow more of – though how, i’m not sure.  i’m also not sure how to grow most of these – i know a lot will be from seed, and i’m Not Great at that.  though… the tomato plant i started from seed has fruit on it.  i am so, so excited.

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small, but mighty! and hopefully delicious.

when i look at blogs talking about container/small space gardens, with larger, better setups, i get garden-envy. i also almost beat myself up a bit for not being so well set up, or so organised, or so aware of how to grow things that well – huge tomato yields, eggplants that stay alive (well, where more than one stays alive!) beautifully designed spaces, no pile of spare soil and mulch shoved into a corner.  early days i know. i need to be gentle with myself about it, and not too impatient. the space i have is… well.. limited doesn’t even cover it.

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where the plants are is pretty much the only bit that gets the light

 the part that gets sun, has 4-5 hours direct sun a day – and within that, due to the white walls, parts get very hot, and others, not hot at all.  the edge has fried plants this winter – nothing i put up there thrived until i moved it down.  it gets very, very windy – though it gets some protection, it doesn’t get a lot.  it’s very small, and the majority of the space is in full shade.  so, all in all, i sometimes feel slightly despairing of it – wanting a bigger space, or even a better one, that’s more enjoyable to sit on. but one day.

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delicious, delicious basil!

however, there are a few things that make up for this.  this includes basil. even if my basil has not grown as big as the reported basil from other people i know – but the image above is one of my babies – carefully pruned for Maximum Basil-age. i have about 20 basil plants, and doing that was one of the smartest garden moves i made.  even if i need to keep those pots clear over winter (or put a clove of garlic in) i’ll be growing basil in the same quantity next year. damn, i’ll grow more if i can.

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mystery baby-plants!

and – the mighty victory. this is the Pot That Kills Everything. i cursed it after my attempts in 2011 to garden ended in me completely neglecting all my plants – i had some happily growing kale which i’d grown from seed which i killed through neglect. Terrible Effort, novice-me. since that point, this pot has killed eggplants, and basil. killed isn’t the right word – you put stuff in there, and it just doesn’t grow.  it doesn’t die, either, but it goes … nowhere. i don’t know if it’s the position i put it in for this summer, or if it’s the level of the soil in the pot, or the quality of the soil.  i have set it aside for kale this year – but then, something… strange happened.  two itty bitty plants have sprung up. i know, it’s probably weeds – but i’m wondering if they are baby marigolds, because i had a marigold in the pot that didn’t die prematurely (they are all dying off now, but i’m guessing its the time of year?).  i’m going to let them grow until it’s kale-time anyhow just to see what happens.

craft will be upcoming! i just ordered some circular needles to make a jumper or cardigan with. i’m currently debating between three possible patterns…

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About elizabeth

various things.
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6 Responses to Greener futures

  1. VivZilla says:

    I did swedes when I was in Canberra. Got 4 cute little ones out of it. I think i overcrowded my pot a bit too much though. Garlic was a dud but I’m pretty sure I Did It Wrong. I grew some radish in winter. I’m not huge on it as a vegetable but its super duper easy and when the frost comes and everything is ruined its a nice little confidence booster to keep your spirits up.

    • veritas says:

      see, that’s my worry with garlic – it’s really easy to dud, and i know Super Gardening Colleagues who don’t succeed – if they can’t, what chance to i have? plus, balcony. not much frosty-frost, and you need frost to make it do its garlicy thing. i have three spare milk crates of soil – (well, two currently are basil-led, and one is empty) and the other Current Basil Things that can just have a clove shoved in it for good luck – with me preparing to fail.

      swedes are a go then – will probably do three to a 40cm pot, maybe? i am doing 4 beetroot to a 40 cm pot, but i will pick them young. i’ve pondered radish – might pop it at the botton of the beans.

      thank you! garden tips from canberra-people are amazingly valuable – it’s a pretty specific climate, and i’m a total novice. i like the idea of actually getting Something, Anything right out of winter.

      • VivZilla says:

        I thought that about frost until I tried cauliflower 😦 The cold zapped the flower part of the cauliflower and all I got this fuck off sized stalk and no actual good stuff. *CRY*

        Yeah 3 swedes to a pot should sound about right. I used this to get info on what to plant when http://www.gardenate.com/ their times to harvest were a bit off though. Everything seemed not quite done when the web/app was telling me that harvest was over.

  2. veritas says:

    i’m a Digger’s Club member (because i am cool) and they have a pretty good planting guide – but i am always after more! will check that out.

    broc and cauliflower are both off my list – i’m scared of how many bugs like to eat it – it’s hard enough battling the few i am at the moment, let alone the whole world of critters that come to them. i need to get nets anyway if i’m going to grow leafy greens, though. the Balcony is a weird heat level though – i just don’t think it’ll get that cold. hm. we’ll see.

  3. Sarfron says:

    I’m a novice gardener too (I have a small front and back yard). I have the OMG MUST DO IT RIGHT fear but I reckon that the worst that can happen is a plant might die. And that just means I learn from that mistake and try again. I’m impressed at your basil. Mine didn’t even last one day before it got chomped, ditto zuchini. Rosemary and oregano do really well in my north-facing front yard, as does a 50c tomato plant from a school fete (it’s now about 2m x 1m with plans for world domination). Parsley is getting there. Marjoram and thyme are hanging on but aren’t really taking off. My non-edible plants are all still alive but growing oh so slowly.

    • veritas says:

      that’s one of my smaller basils. i’ve had more than a few basil casualties – but enough survive that we have it with dinner whenever we want. i am excited about Harvest Time though – a few are seeding enough that it’s almost time to pull them up for pesto! Rosemary is excellent – mine is a bit of a point of shame because i left it on the No-Sun balcony, and almost killed it by forgetting to water it (it’s away from the bother plants! remembering stuff is hard!).

      the parsley i had got a kicking from a big green worm. which is a shame – i mostly have it for the rabbits, who adore it. i’m trying to work out what herbs to add to my HerbFamily – marjoram was on the list, and so is sage…

      world dominating tomatoes! the best!

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