Thursday, 22 March 2012

12 MONTH HARVEST

This morning I was having a read of a gardening book and it re-inspired me to get active in the garden. My dream is to produce a 12 month harvest so that the fruit and veggies I buy is minimal. As I only buy products that are organic this can be quite hefty on the food bill, especially in times when budgets are tightening up. I would love to have an abundance of summer crops that I can either freeze (broccoli, peas, celery - for soups/stocks) preserve (cucumber, tomatoes, beetroot) or dry store (garlic, onions, pumpkin). And in winter keep producing even though grow rates are much slower and the variety is quite limited especially in the cooler climate of Melbourne, particularly my region which is at the base of the beautiful Dandenong ranges. I am quite fortunate to have moved, we now have a flat backyard which receives full sun, unlike our previous home which was on a very steep block with minimal sunlight! It was like trying to grow a summer crop in winter - a disaster!

My first beetroot seedlings!
 So in my readings this morning I was drawn back to my diary. At the end of last year I purchased a diary and at the beginning of each week wrote down what plants would grow in that season and the number of seeds that should be sown for a successive crop. Last week I started sowing for Autumn and Winter. The notes in my diary are as follows:

Cabbage 3 seeds
Snow Peas 10 seeds
Turnips 4 seeds
Garlic 50 bulbs
Kohlrabi 2 seeds
Broccoli 6 seeds
Beetroot 6 seeds
Cauliflower 8 seeds
Leek 8 seeds
Spring Onion 12 seeds
Early Onion 30 seeds

For successive planting, next weeks calendar looks like this:

Broccoli 6 seeds
Cabbage 3 seeds
Cauliflower 8 seeds
 Leeks 8 seeds
Lettuce 10 seeds
Peas 10 seeds
Turnips 4 seeds
Kohlrabi 2 seeds

The following week:
Spring Onion 12 seeds
Early Onion 30 seeds

And the following week:
Lettuce 10 seeds
Spinach 4 seeds
Beetroot 6 seeds
Kale 4 seeds

The first of my seedlings for Autumn: Broccoli, Turnip and Kohlrabi.
 I think the biggest mistake I made when I first started growing my own food was not successive planting. I would sow a punnet of broccoli for instance and that was it for the season. What happen after I harvest all my broccoli - I have nothing until next year. And worst yet they all crop at once, so I have this glut of broccoli heads that I don't know what to do with other than freeze some florets for when I'm not producing anything. These last few months have been the start of successive planting and it seems to be working a treat! I have been repeatedly sowing and harvesting! I'm hoping the winter months wont be too cold so that my plants have some hope of growing and I have some hope of harvesting home grown produce!

No comments:

Post a comment

Please leave a comment :D