Gardening jobs – Weekend 20 May 2018

Pumpkins – the last until next year


The weather turned! And just like that, the rain set in, and with it, my ability to get outside in the garden much for a couple of weeks. I’m not complaining though – it has been lovely to have some rain on the roof and in the garden.

With the rain also came: weeds! So many weeds! So this weekend I really spend my Sunday morning out among the damp soil, hoeing weeds in my vegie patch.

Weeding is one of those gardening tasks that many people dislike, but I find it therapeutic. I think of it as an exercise in mindfulness. For my lovely plants to flourish, the weeds must be removed regularly, and we only hand weed at our place as we garden organically. I plod along, pulling out the weeds, and listening to a podcast and occasionally standing to stretch my back (boy, have I learned that lesson! A week in bed and months of physiotherapy are expensive and not worth repeating). As the weed pile in my rusty old wheelbarrow grows higher, the rows of happy plants grow neater, and I feel a sense of satisfaction that Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey called “the quiet mind.”

My friend, the things that do attain

The happy life be these, I find:

The riches left, not got with pain,

The fruitful ground; the quiet mind;

Of course it would have been better for Henry Howard if he had taken his own advice, but alas, too often we don’t.

After weeding about half the garden (the rest to be left for the upcoming weekend), I had the sad/happy task of removing the tomato and pumpkin vines, and picking the last of our very happy tomato and pumpkin crop. Look at the pile! I have more pumpkin vines than I can fit in our green bin, and more than I can cram in my compost. I think I will be discarding pumpkin vines slowly in the green bin for at least a few months.

pumpkin vines

The pumpkins were a wonderful success this year. We grew three varieties, with the Butternuts ‘volunteering’ from our compost, and the Kent grown from saved seed. I estimate over 40 kilograms of pumpkins harvested, with some now in our freezer and a couple left in storage in our pantry cellar. I gave a lovely Butternut to my sister, made some more pumpkin soup, as is the law, and cooked the smallest Butternut drizzled with maple syrup and olive oil with a roast chicken the other night. Yum!

Finally, I sowed more broad beans (I have warned my husband that this Spring will bring a plethora of broad beans!) and planted out some broccoli seedlings I have been raising. I am hoping against hope that they will survive slugs, snails and white cabbage moth caterpillars. I have more to plant out this weekend. I also thinned the beetroot and carrot seedlings. I hate thinning, but it is a necessary evil to sacrifice all those baby plants so the others can grow nice and strong.

I’m hoping for some lovely weather this Sunday so I can finish my weeding and plant out the rest of my seedlings, and then – bring forth the rain!

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