Yay for Brocolli and Cauliflower!

Its wonderful winter (down in Africa) and its raining and cold – love it!

Our brocolli and cauliflower love it too and we are starting to get some wonderful heads. This time of year in the garden is so easy – no watering necessary, no hot sun to burn the lettuce, just a little fertilizer and watch the plants flourish!

Beautifully white!

This head starting small – looking forward to all the side heads developing!

Beautiful Red Cabbage!

More Cauliflower to come.

Lots of wonderful Lettuce, Rocket, Bright Lights Spinach and Herbs – yummy!

What a blessing!

This post is linked to Smockity Frocks of 4Moms and Simple Lives Thursday.

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40v3

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Vegetable Garden Update 3

Its wonderful to have some cooler weather. The lettuces are flourishing and the rocket is growing crazily!

In 2 short weeks they have gone from this…

to this..

and this.

So wonderful to have delicious garden salad again!

The brocolli, cabbage and cauliflower have gone from this…

to this..

Yay, can’t wait for those heads to start appearing, been laying down fertilizer.

Happy Gardening!

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” Isaiah 40v8

Vegetable Garden Update 2

We live on a small plot – but it suits us perfectly. Just the right amount of garden to manage with our four little ones! We have 7 raised beds and this is our second year of attempting to grow vegetables – we moved house in the middle – so these beds are not yet a year old.

Here’s a garden update:

Bed no 1 – This weekend Hubby did a wonderful job of clearing all the grass that had grown through into the bed. He also pulled out the last large tomato plant – still yielding, but we needed the space!

Bed no 2 – We did  some weeding and then planted lettuce seedlings around the spinach and basil.

Bed no 3 – There are still some potatoes in the ground and one has started growing again. We’d better get the rest of those potatoes out fast! I’m not sure whether to let it grow or not… any advice? We could let the potatoes grow again (not sure how they would yield the second time around – or we could plant brassicas in their place). The second option is probably better in terms of soil health and nutrients.

Bed no 4 – Cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli seedlings are looking good – growing fast, especially the brocolli!

That middle guy in the front is especially happy!

Bed no 5 – Needs some shadecloth I think – the afternoon sun is still a bit harsh and the lettuce and kale is struggling. Also need to add more mulch.

Bed no 7 – Lettuce, spinach and kale seedling are coming along well, basil is still going strong.

There’s that giant comfrey plant again – I just love it!

Echinacea and Tansy are growing like anything!

Now – I MUST sow the carrot and leek seeds into the ground as time is passing too fast!

We had a good summer harvest though not nearly what we hoped for – which is to be expected, I guess.

Here are some highlights:

Mountains of basil,

lots of lettuce,

wonderful spinach…

with giant leaves,

huge carrots,

lots of them!

delicious herbs and edible flowers,

some good gem squash… before the mildew hit,

great tomato bush climbers and good cucumber vine …

which yielded only a few (about 15) healthy cucumbers (the others rotted when they were small – any advice would be appreciated!),

We had hundreds of baby tomatoes (a bowl full per day),

I washed and froze lots of them and then used them for tomato sauces in casseroles, I dried some in the dehydrator, gave some away and ate the rest!) A few larger tomatoes came later but I planted those bushes a bit late.


Hopefully the artichoke plants will start to yield next year!

We had about 4 watermelon that weren’t eaten or rotten – and they were deliciously sweet!

Ever seen a heart shaped watermelon?

There was one GIANT caterpillar,

and a delighted cutworm squisher!!

So now we look forward to the winter harvest!

I love sowing seeds – seeds  are amazing! They are tiny and seemingly so lifeless – and yet the life is there inside them. They have the potential to grow into magnificent, strong, nourishing, life-sustaining plants. God has placed life within each tiny seed, each one is an enormous miracle waiting to happen!

Look at all these wonderful heirloom seeds waiting to be planted!

I am continually blessed by God’s creativity. I love the hidden mysteries of his creation – the way you have to search to find them, the way you have to plant a seed and wait for it to grow to discover its full glory and to see its potential realised.

I love how it speaks of God – mystery and hidden awesomeness and majesty – and of how he wants us to search for him with our whole hearts.

This post is linked to Smockity Frocks Gardening links

“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29 v 12,13

Herb and Vegetable Garden Update

What’s new in our Herb and Vegetable Garden?

– a few lovely winter vegetables planted in the raised beds – ready to grow into delicious soup and stew ingredients.

We planted brassicas: red cabbage, cauliflower and brocolli. I put cardboard (cut toilet roll inners) around the base of the seedlings to protect them from cutworms.

 

We took out the zuccini and other scraggly leftover plants. We left all the thriving herbs and lots of space for new seedlings!

We planted kale (which is great for adding to fruit smoothies)…

 

… spinach, rocket and lettuce.

 

Our basil has been just wonderful!!

Look at these 1, 2…

3…

4…

5…

6 plants!

I keep having to pull off the flowers and cut them back well.

 

We fill two hugs ziploc bags every few days with basil leaves.

 

There is lots of homemade basil pesto in the freezer! I like to freeze it when I make it not only because there is extra but because it seems to last longer without getting mold on top if its frozen and then defrosted in the fridge overnight before using. I guess it kills some germs that have been introduced while being made.

 

There is dried basil in jars in the cupboard too.

 

Would you look at this comfrey plant! Look at the mint plant on the top left – see how tiny the mint leaves look compared to the comfrey leaves!

 

It looks like it belongs in the amazon jungle. I’m definitely going to make some comfrey balm and will blog about how to do that! Comfrey tea is also so good for you!

 

Yarrow plants looking good too. Yarrow is a wonderful medicinal herb. We have harvested many branches of stunning white flowers from these plants.

Also some wonderful crunchy spinach…

 

to go in salad and stirfry!

 

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. ” Genesis 1v11

Digging for Gold

This has been our first year of attempting to grow some of our own food. We have never been gardening folks – we have always lived in a big city in our digital plastic world BUT God is working many new things in us and we have started to become interested in growing vegetables. We love being in the garden alongside our children and we are so fascinated by how things grow – and so are they! It is a wonderful journey –  LOTS of researching, reading, learning and trying new things.

We have had many failures and some great successes – I guess that is to be expected the first year.

One of the great successes has been our potatoes.

We heard about square foot gardening where you utilitze and plant up each square foot of raised bed according to the size of the plant – i.e. 1 brocolli or potato plant, 4 lettuce plants, 9 carrots or 16 radishes in one square foot. Square Foot Gardening in South Africa is a great resource for SFG and raised bed building.

The boyz hard at work! We built two raised beds in different spots for the potatoes.

We planted two raised beds of seed potatoes that we got from Living Seeds.We heard that they yield much better if you grow from certified seed potatoes.

THE BOX – kind of a funny thing to get in the mail!

This bed has nice high walls ready to hold the extra soil from banking up the potatoes as they grow. We filled it to about 3/4 height with soil.

We added lots of comfrey leaves just after planting the potatoes – that really seems to have helped them grow well in good fertile soil.

Its was so exciting to see the first leaves peeping through the soil!

The other bed of potatoes that we planted about a week after the first in a different spot grew very slowly and never gained much height. (The plant in the middle behind the onion is Tansy which is a good companion for potatoes – keeps the bugs away!)

A little growth…

The plants in the first bed started growing well immediately.

They were a rich dark green colour.

The bed was obviously in a great spot and very happy – they just grew and grew… they just kept getting higher!

So we added more soil and compost and “banked them up”.

We nurtured them.

Then the first potato flowers appeared!

The plants grew bigger…

And bigger…

and bigger!!

We had to add corner stakes and shade cloth around the sides to support the extra soil. We should have banked them up more often but we had to find more soil!

The plants kept growing for about four months and then slowly started to die back like potatoes plants are supposed to – but never completely. Eventually we decided to stop watering and after five months decided to start harvesting.

2 weeks ago we started a most exciting treasure hunt! We dug up potatoes from of the bed that didn’t do so well – and then a few out of the big bed. The little ones loved it!

We started in a corner and didn’t dig up much from the big bed yet. There are still LOTS of potatoes to come.

We are leaving some of the gold in the ground for now 🙂

 

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3v19