Gardening jobs – Weekend 7 & 8 April, 2018

After planting seeds and garlic last weekend, I listened to the BOM Weather forecaster on Saturday morning and learned that we are about to be hit with a period of unseasonable warmth in South Australia, with temperatures in the mid-30s over the next week, and continuing dry weather into May.

This is bizarre weather for mid-Autumn, even in Australia, but also disappointing news when I have just planted up a whole garden full of seeds for Winter. It also explains why my late-planted tomatoes are still setting fruit, I am still picking three to four eggplant a week, and the capsicum and chilli plants are producing heavily. I may end up with a full crop of sauce tomatoes after all.

San Marzano tomatoes

My main task for this weekend was to ensure that the new seedlings popping up (so far, rocket, pak choy, and green sprouting broccoli) survive, and to keep the rest of the plants going. So we watered everything well and will continue to do so.

On Sunday, my friend Lisa and I attended the Heirloom Weekend at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. In previous years, this has been a very busy and well-attended event with a lot of stalls and displays of heirloom vegetables. This year was very quiet, with only three stalls. We were able to turn our coffee cups (we forgot to bring Keep Cups) into pots for free rainbow chard seedlings, and taste and buy raw honey from a community garden in Henley Beach. We also bought plants and seeds from the Diggers Shop because that is the law. I bought:

  • Lemon Balm to replace the plant I killed earlier in the year (it is apparently possible to kill a lemon balm plant);
  • Cinnamon Myrtle. This is an Australian flowering native with cinnamon scented leaves that are edible and can be used for herbal tea. I want to grow this to attract native bees;
  • Cauliflower Sicilian Purple. This is a beautiful, vibrant purple cauliflower. Growing cauliflower takes commitment as it is very slow growing. You have to be prepared to allow the space in your garden to be set aside for almost half a year. It is worth the effort, as the flavour of homegrown cauliflower is not replicable with storebought, and you can’t buy the purple variety in the shop;
  • Cabbage Mini Drum. You can buy mini cabbages in the shop but I do like to grow them myself as the freshness of the flavour is really lovely.

I am hoping for some cooler weather next weekend and some time on Sunday to plant these lovelies. I also have a Lemon Myrtle to plant. I am starting to run out of room…

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