Monday, October 28, 2013

A tortoise in the veggie patch

 At one stage my veggie patch was more like a veggie jungle with so much chickweed and stinging nettle. It took quite a bit of sweat to make it look presentable and to reveal the vegetables that had thrived during the winter and our very wet spring. The weather was ideal for seedlings as warm days were followed by copious rain, and even seeds that I sowed directly into the soil, germinated and have grown nicely as can be seen in the picture of purple Kohlrabi below.
Kohlrabi growing nicely
 Chickweed is a herbalist's dream herb for skin conditions, especially itchy skin. It also is reputed to have fat dissolving properties and I've always wanted to test this out on my dog's lipoma. However the timing of chickweed's appearance in such monstrous, strangling abundance is totally at odds with my attack on the weed jungle, especially when the sun is scorching my neck! So the chickweed lands up in my green bin where it rots to make a wonderful compost tea, together with all the other lush greens that get pulled out at this time of year. It really is frustrating, but there's only so much a person can do!
 Strawberries in pots and one dog trespassing.
In June I planted a whole lot of potatoes that had sprouted so much they looked like hedgehogs. They came up with alacrity and I harvested quite a few kilograms of beautiful potatoes in September. Now I have sown maize in that spot - purple maize that I bought from Gravel Garden (Non GM as it is heirloom seed). I got it at the Oranjezicht Urban Farm where they have a market on Saturday mornings. That place is fabulous and well worth a visit. It is so inspiring. You can follow them on Facebook.

In the veggie patch I have so much growing, but it is all a bit haphazard, not in very neat rows, although I do try! At the moment the broccoli and the tomatoes are in neat rows, but cutworm are attacking my broccoli so the rows are getting shorter. Today I will put toilet paper roll collars around the stems - that usually helps. Also things do tend to self-seed, and land in the rows, so what starts out as a row of one vegetable, ends up having rocket or chicory growing in between.

So right now broad beans are ready to pick, peas (entwined round the broad beans) are coming on nicely, garlic is swelling, and the odd strawberry lands in my mouth. So nice to eat an organically grown strawberry!! I am put off buying strawberries because of the amount of spraying they get. I also have youngberries in bloom, and have planted a grapevine. It would be nice to report that I can eat some grapes from it in the future!

And somewhere in the jungle is a tortoise. How it came to be in my garden is a mystery (the dogs discovered it). The only place where it is safe from the dogs is in the veggie patch. I suspect it does a bit of damage here and there, but not enough for me to banish it.