Tuesday, January 12, 2010


kitchen garden 1, originally uploaded by &Naomi.

reaching for a longer, fluffier robe this morning instead of my usual light cotton wrap, I thought about the changing seasons and reflected on the best and worst of the growing season which is coming to a close here in the South West.

The summer here is baking hot and parched; so different to the conditions we had back in north Queensland where we had more heat in fewer hours, and absolutely no water restrictions (in fact it was more likely, in Townsville, that I would need to protect my plants from the destructive force of a tropical deluge in January / Feb). Learning to cope with longer sunlight and much less water required a real change in my approach.

failures and lessons learned:

Next year I’ll do more to protect my tiny seedlings from the sun. The sun can so easily - in a single hot afternoon - scorch and kill the little green leaves of growing plants such as baby basils, rockets and chives. I was glad to learn that tomato and zucchini plants are tough even when tiny, but I’ve got to do more next time for the ones that aren’t.

composting. Hm. A non-event this year. One of my aims for the coming autumn-winter period is to set up my compost heap properly, and to get it going well. I’m wishing for a big (meter cubed?) wooden box with a hinged lid. I may have to set about fulfilling this wish for myself.


I was happy with my haul of cherry tomatoes. The basil plants and the rocket were more a mixed success; but I was very happy to confirm the companion planting book's prediction that basil plants would keep the houseflies away. I now have pots of basil at every doorway - being pretty, aromatic and functional.

kitchen garden 2

The rocket I did harvest was really delicious and tender. I lost a lot of the rocket seedlings during a one-off 36˚C day back in October, but those I did manage to save grew prettily - under cover, naturally, from that point on - into tasty peppery leaves.

The mint and parsley I transplanted into pots near the house grew well; I planted rosemary and sage in a garden bed near the house (and I started to develop a secret plan to eventually convert that entire bed into a dry garden … shhh don’t tell our landlords). The apricots from the tree were really tasty but I can’t claim credit for those, the tree having stood in its same spot for many years. Now that I know the apricots are worth it, I’ll do more to protect them from the parrots next year, even though it is pretty funny watching a parrot trying to take off with an enormous apricot wedged in its beak. I was proud of the apricot jam I made. I gave myself one big Farmer’s Wife Tick ✓ for that.

kitchen garden 3

on the whole:

I think I understand more now what the summer sun is capable of, and I’m ready to continue learning - piece by piece if necessary - which plants can handle it and which need to stay whimpering in the shade. So I’ll say sayonara to carrots and spring onions in the veggie patch but welcome back the sage, rosemary, tomatoes, basil, zuccini and parsely next year.

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