Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planting & Digging. Companions, Worms and Train Museums.

Oh yeah, it's been a buzzy hive of diggin' industry in my patch these past few days. And when Monkey Man suggested we take the Monkey Boys to the train museum yesterday afternoon I declined the kind offer with the comment that I would rather poke both eyes out with a bamboo gardening stake than spend another hour at that train museum. Excuse my generalisation but what is it about the male species and trains? How come boys and grown men enjoy looking at old trains so much? Personally, my eyes glaze over and I start filling my head with to do lists and that night's dinner plans after 10 minutes. Climbed one rusty old train, climbed them all. But off to the train museum they went leaving me to finish my gardening jobs.
Bamboo stakes for soon to emerge snow peas and bok choy seedlings in between.
Over the past few days I've sown two beds of broad bean and snow pea seeds and made lovely bamboo tripods to support them when they grow. Hopefully I've dug them in well enough so they won't fall down in a wind this year. Monkey Man watched me sow these seeds yesterday and he commented that my blogging friend from the UK (Mark) would certainly disapprove of the haphazard way I was scattering and poking those seeds about. But that's the way I do things here.
Garlic with newly planted disappearing leek behind.
I've planted a whole bunch of leeks in the rest of the bed that houses the garlic. As soon as I laid some mulch over them they pretty much disappeared so I hope they're still there. I planted out the rest of the brassicas garden bed with purple cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli and celery and kale. Not sure what was going on in my head when I bought all those purple seeds. It is my favourite colour but I'm already wishing for a lovely creamy coloured cauli. Hopefully, the dreaded white cabbage moths will go away and this bed will survive because I do love to make cauliflower soup... although I'm not so sure purple soup will pass muster with the monkeys.
Is that the purple cauli or broccoli? Can't remember but it surely is purple.
In the narrow strip in front of the chook trampoline run I planted some brown onions and more rainbow silverbeet. Those fluffy little mischief-makers had better keep to their own side of the fence this time. I know they love silverbeet and I've promised them some rationed rainbow leaves if they promise not to jump the fence again.

And finally, I popped a few bok choy seedlings in a bit of patch with the snow peas.  Now apart from the brassicas bed I didn't bother to find out which veg should and shouldn't be planted with which. I've been reading Kebun Malay-Kadazan girls blog and she's doing lots of interesting companion planting experiments at her place. But being a novice, I can't keep all those companion facts in my head. And I am much too disorganised and lazy to do a serious plan about where things are going. I just kneel down and start digging my seedlings in. And if I run out of space I hunt out another spot somewhere else.

One thing that did surprise and excite me was the fact that I discovered quite a few wriggly worms as I was digging about. Remember a few weeks ago when I dug these new patches and I lamented the lack of worms and worried that maybe my chook worming treatment had killed them all off? Well you experts out there in blog land were right - not that I ever doubted you of course! The patches just needed to be mulched and sure enough along came the worms - lots of them. So I finished every thing off with a seaweed feed (my remedy for all things plant) and a top up mulch.

Postscript: if you live in Melbourne and were inspired to take a visit to the train museum after reading this post. Sorry but they discovered that it's closed for maintenance and no sign of when it will re-open.


  1. Your garlic seem as the same size as mine. I'll keep an eye on your blog to see it :)

  2. My eldest son turned 40 a couple of days ago (I was a baby when I had him...true). the train museum was one of his favourite places too...and Puffing Billy, and the little train in Eltham (have you been there...even I love that one and take the grandchildren as an excuse to have a ride!). Great work in the garden. :-)

  3. Companion planting has always worked for me. I have an old Organic Gardening magazine that lists all the companions because I forget as well. It is old and torn, but I could not do without it.

  4. You have had a busy time, and it is all looking good. I am afriad I too read about all these wonderful companion planting ideas, but then when I am out in the garden away from the books I forget them. We have a little steam train that rides around and I love to take my grandson on it.

  5. LOL. I don't understand man either, my eldest love dinosaur and monster. In contrast, the youngest like 4 wheel or 2 wheel noisy machine. To be honest, I did not have companion planting in my mind last year when I were planting brassicas not easy to remember all the good and bad companion match. I was more into squeezing all our excess seedlings in any available spaces that we got. But we were surprise that we had better produce than previous year. Since last year work so well, I use my old photos as a guide which work well and failed. Like you I am growing purple cauliflower and broccoli first time this season, hope the dinner table members accept it too.

  6. Here's one man that does NOT enjoy clambering over rusty old trains - I much prefer gardening. Glad to hear that you have plenty of worms appearing in the compost. I reckon that is a good sign. BTW, I'm not too insistent on sowing / planting in regular patterns: it's just that I find it easier to manage things this way, and easier to identify things that should NOT be there, i.e. weeds. Your purple brassica looks like Kale to me...

  7. Ms B, don't trust me with garlic if you are waiting to see when to harvest it. I was impatient last year and dug it all up too early. I'll watch you!
    Hazel been all those places and more... yawn. Although I could probably tolerate the Eltham one again because we only went there once and it was before littlest monkey was born.
    Sage Butterfly I probably should get something printed up and stuck outside somewhere that might work for me.
    Africanaussie perhaps you and Hazel could get together and go for a train ride. I'll give it a miss.
    Malay-Kadazan girl that's a good idea to rely on photos. I started a diary where I recorded what I'd been planning and planting but I lost interest after a month.
    Mark glad to hear you're not into trains. Now that could be kale. I did plant kale in that patch but I thought it was further towards the back. That's the problem with haphazard planting instead of rows.

  8. A train museum, is there such a thing!! An heirloom veg museum, now I'd visit that! The eltham mini railway is rather fun. You'll have a fab harvest from those seeds! I've never gotten leeks from seed :( And your worms are good news too!


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