Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Planning for Spring

written by Gavin, from The Greening of Gavin

There were a few big ticket items on this weekends agenda. 

As the moon was a waxing crescent (I plant by the moons phases), it was an ideal time to start sowing most of my leafy and flowing vegetables for spring planting.  Due to the investment in a greenhouse in early March this year, I will be able to extend my growing season and get ahead of the game by about two months.

Last spring, I didn't get much started until early November and my harvest tally suffered dramatically.  I reckon that I had a reduction of about 25% from the previous year, however I had planted just as many seedlings.  The season was just not long enough for them.  One big bonus were the pumpkins, which gave us a massive crop in a small space.  We still have 3 Queensland Blue pumpkins in storage.

So what did I plant?  Glad you asked, and here is the list.
  • Cucumber - spacemaster
  • Cucumber - sweet and striped
  • Zucchini - Black Beauty
  • Tomatillo - Purple
  • Pumpkin - Australian Butter
  • Pumpkin - Turks Turban
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Eggplant - mixed
  • Tomato - Tommy Toe
  • Tomato - Purple Russian
  • Tomato - Black Russian
  • Tomato - Amish Paste
  • Tomato - Broad Ripple Yellow Current
  • Tomato - Tigerella
  • Lettuce - Mizuna
  • Lettuce - Meslun Mix
  • Lettuce - Italian Lollo mix
  • Celery
  • Wild Arugla

These are all sown in punnets, with my 10 yo son Ben helping out.  However this is only the beginning of my warm season crop.  There will also be carrots, beetroot, spring onions, basil, coriander, and many other as the space in the garden becomes available.

Obviously, from the current state of my garden in this post, it is fully planted out with my winter crops which will continue to grow for a few more months.  This will give me time to harden the new seedlings, transplant them to bigger pots from the punnets, and get them well established when the beds are available.

I hope to be able to sow extras each month up until about November so that I have a fairly continuous supply over the summer.  I also plan to put the more heat sensitive plants like lettuce in big pots that I will locate on the southern, shaded side of the yard.  Maybe this will stop them wilting in the strong sun and bolting to seed quickly as they normally tend to do.

The second big task was the soap making, where we made five kilograms of home made soap from vegetable oil, which was fully described in a short 16 minute video in this post titled, "Soap Making".  It was great fun to make the video as well, and you should have soon the blooper reel that I cut out.  Trying to keep a straight face on camera, when my wife is giggling in the background is no mean feat.

Anyway, that was my sustainable living weekend.  What did you do that helped you onwards on you sustainable journey?