Lughnasadh to Alban Elued 2012 (Feb 1 to Mar 20)

CSG issues took up a lot of time this eighth, so we slacked off on the harvesting, as well as the sowing and recording.  But here goes a quick summary, with the limited notes I’ve got…

This eighth is at the end of summer, when the days are still longer than the nights, but getting shorter, and the temperatures are coming off their summer peak.

We’re harvesting:

Typical Lughnasadh lunch

Typical Lughnasadh lunch - scrambled eggs with mixed chopped herbs, sweet corn on the cob, and mixed greens salad with a handful of cucumber

Greens:  mizuna, bolted lettuce, rocket, silverbeet, ruby chard, shallots, bolted chicory, remnant kale

Fruits: sweet corn, bush nuts and chestnuts, the last of the Spring-sown tomatoes, cucumbers, tamarillos, pawpaws

Roots: beetroot, arrowroot.  If we’d got our act together with the all-year carrots, we’d be eating carrots, too.  Maybe next year.

Herbs: mint, lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, basil, garlic chives, mushroom plant, chia leaves

Pre-dinner munchies

Typical pre-dinner munchies for this eighth - paw paw, tamarillo and cucumber.

We sowed:

Greens

  • cabbage  – 12 seeds sown for 6 eventual planted out seedlings

  • chicory – I took some seeds straight from the old seeding plant in the garden and sprinkled them into some seedling pots.  To my delight they germinated really quickly. I’ll use them to fill up spaces in the garden where other seedlings didn’t work out.
  • chinese cabbage (wombok)  – 12 seeds for 6 seedlings
  • lettuces – two thickly-sown rows the length of one of those white foam fruit boxes.  I used the seeds I’d saved from last year’s “salad mix” lettuces, so they’re likely to have an odd mix of genetics.  I’m looking forward to seeing what we get.
  • rocket – one thickly-sown row the length of one of those white foam fruit boxes.  I’ve still got some seeds left over from a rocket patch at my Mum’s place in Sydney.  They’re from 2008 and they still reliably germinate in about 4 days.
  • mizuna – one thickly-sown row the length of one of those white foam fruit boxes.  I used the last of a bought packet of seed.  I’ve never been able to save a mizuna until it seeds – we always eat them all.
  • shallots – three seedling pots with a sprinkle in each
  • silverbeet – Fordhook Giant and Ruby Chard – 20 seeds for 10 seedlings each
  • mustard – green manure to fill up empty spaces in the section where the chooks will go next.  I used seeds intended for eating, from the organic shop in Lismore.  Much cheaper than buying a small packet of seeds intended for planting.

Beans

  • snow peas – I’ve always read that peas and beans don’t like transplanting, so it’s important to plant them direct where they are to grow.  But locally, I’ve heard people swear by planting them in seedling pots, and then transplanting them into the garden as advanced seedlings.  So I did an experiment – 10 planted direct, and 7 in pots for later transplanting.  Transplanting wins hands down – it’s more labour-intensive, but you end up with stronger plants that haven’t been nibbled by slugs, and every planted out seedling is a healthy one, as opposed to direct planting where some spots the seeds don’t germinate, or are a bit straggly.
  • Cherokee Wax beans – half a row of gap-fillers in the section where the chooks are going next.  I used some of the poorer seeds from last year’s saved ones, since I expected the chooks to tear these ones down way before the beans dried on them.

Fruits

  • tomatoes – Cherry Fox, a local variety of Roma and a local variety of yellow cherry.  They all did abysmally – the summer garden gets very little sun in winter, and also gets a bit waterlogged.  We’re also having a good look at the soil, to check if there’s a deficiency there.  Our neighbours assure us that the previous inhabitants of our place grew tomatoes successfully throughout winter, so we’re persevering…).  It could also be that our home-made potting mix is a little too much on the alkaline side.
  • broccoli  – Green Sprouting Calabrese.  I only had very old seeds, so the 3x30cm rows I sowed, at ~1 inch spacing, only yielded 5 or 6 germinated seeds.  I ended up planting 4 of them out.
  • cauliflower – Snowball Improved.  3x30cm rows at ~1 inch spacing yielded way more germinated seeds than I needed for transplanting out 8.

Roots

  • still didn’t get around to the carrots (sigh) but we did sow a couple of token beetroots and sugar beets.
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