April 2012 – The Wrap Up

April weather can be quite variable in Melbourne, for most of April this year it was really an extension of summer with temps in the mid 20s.  By the end of the month though you could definitely feel winter coming and temperatures had dropped to the high teens.  The long warm weather has meant that many of the summer crops are still cropping.  I have eggplants still forming on the plants and my chillies are still cropping happily.


Its not just chillies that are still looking happy.  My thai basil is still doing very well considering that we are well into Autumn.


All this summer action aside the garden is very much in transition at the moment.  I have planted my brassicas, well most of them, but I’m still waiting for a bit more space.  My eggplants are pretty huge and occupy a large part of the bed – I think I’ll have to use this area for onions are I can get away with sowing them in June/July and still get a good crop from them.

I planted my garlic in the gaps created by removing most of the tomatoes.  Most of it is up and looking pretty happy so far.

Aside from a few residual summer crops I find that this time of the year is best for leaves, the first of the Tuscan Kale and a continuing supply of rainbow chard are my garden  highlights at the moment.  I mean this both from a culinary and a garden asthetics perspective.

Fruitwise the month began with figs and ended with the first of the tamarillos.

The figs have now finished but the bulk of the tamarillo crop wont be ripe until mid May.

I just hope the birds and the rodents don’t eat them all first.

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32 Responses to April 2012 – The Wrap Up

  1. Nina says:

    Wow! Your eggplant is impressive! I grew the ‘finger’ ones this year and gave some to my daughter and wasted quite a few as I didn’t get around to using them in time. I had planned to pickle them with thyme and oil and balsamic vinegar but life got in the way. They grow well for me but I might not bother next season as I don’t use them a lot and despite my daughter being vegan, nor does she.

    I planted my garlic about a week later than you did and it’s nowhere near as developed as yours. Your micro climate works well for you!

    A friend gave me a recycled fig tree (from another friend of hers) which I’m excited about. It’s in a huge pot and once I’ve dug out the roses in the circular bed in the front garden, it will reside there and hopefully thrive. I’ll wait until winter so I can recycle the roses to someone else.

    I have so many chillis, I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy them again. I’ve just whizzed some up and put them in ice cube trays in the freezer and I’ve got some oven-drying right now and I’ll turn them into flakes. And I’ve made barely a dent in the glut out there! There are many curries in my future, I reckon. 🙂

    • Liz says:

      I’ve planted about 4 varieties of garlic and despite being planted at the same time some are far more progressed already. The fig sounds great and a future with a lot of curries in it aint half bad is it?

  2. Beautiful photos Liz-particularly the various coloured chard-I feel I could reach out and almost pick it!!

    • Liz says:

      I don’t know if you can tell from the photo but some of it is getting a bit of mildew so I might have to pick it all prety soon.

  3. I think you must have stolen a bit of our spring – can we have it back please?

    • Liz says:

      I would send it back but sadly it moved on – unfortuately I think it headed East so it might still be a while before it reaches you.

  4. mireille says:

    I have just eaten kilos of tamarillos from Lara. They were well edible whilst looking a little green and they do ripen once picked if you see any rodent/burgler action.
    All gone now though, so I may call in!

    • Liz says:

      You are very welcome. The birds are having a few off the top of the tree but otherwise we haven’t lost too many. I believe this tree came from seed from a Lara tamarillo – a very high quality product clearly.

  5. Ian says:

    Your garden and mine are so similar. I do love this time of transition. I have a number of brassicas in pots waiting for space – my capsicums and chillis are still performing well. My eggplant I pulled out on Anzac Day – was looking as good as yours, but was able to pick the last of them. Beans still going well surprisingly.

    Some of my garlic is in and looks like yours. Rest of the garlic is waiting for the beans, so I may have a early batch and a later batch – which would not be all that bad.

    • Liz says:

      I pulled my capsicums – they were just too slow and I got frustrated and impatient. Naturally I regretted it as soon as I’d done it, but once my brassicas get a bit bigger I’ll probably feel happier.

      • Nina says:

        My capsicum plants have been great (but not so productive, just now) that I will definitely dig them up for pots and see if that works for over-wintering. Like we all do, I need to free up the space! Nothing lost, really, apart from some potting-mix. I’ll let you know how it goes!

        • Liz says:

          I’ll be really interested – I can’t help but think it might have been better to move them earlier so they were more established in pots before winter but then you might have lost fruit, still worth a try though – nothing ventured nothing gained…

  6. Daphne says:

    Those chard leaves are so beautiful. Mine are boring white stems and I stick them under the row cover to keep the leaf miners away. I miss the really pretty chard I used to grow.

    • Liz says:

      Fortunately we don’t have too many problems with leaf miners (except for citrus ones). I do find the green and white stemmed ones most productive, although the others look fabulous.

  7. Louise says:

    We have had a similarly wierd April in Sydney. My darling husband who is looking after the garden while I am in China and Mongolia, reports that he is still picking eggplant and long yellow-green chillies (capsicums), a whole second flowering of brown berry tomatoes – all summer crops – AND picking snow peas and broccoli. And the sunflowers that I plant every year that selfseeded? Well they are prodfucing flowers, enough to pick and bring inside and admire when the evening temps arfe dropping. The weather is a bit crazy.

    BTW, being an eggplant fancier as you know, that eggplant plant is huge! And I have to say I am in total envy of your tamarillos.

    Do you grow your Thai basil in the ground? Or in a pot, it looks fab.

    • Liz says:

      Thats a great combination of veg he’s getting – hope there’s still some when you get back. Tamarillos are very easy to grow you know….. I grow Thai Basil in the ground usually, I’ve also grown it in pots. It has pretty much the same growing season here as normal basil and I grow it in exactly the same way. I find that any plants that I’ve put in shade last a lot longer than those in the sun – although the sun ones are ready to be cropped from a lot earlier – so I plant in both the sun and the shade at the same time and get a succession of crops as a result.

  8. Dave says:

    Lovely photos. And those eggplants look like huge bushes! A month with figs and tamarillos is a good month to me. Chard and kale are lovely enough to grow for ornamentals. I’d put some of the lettuces in that category as well.

    • Liz says:

      I agree with you about lettuces – I do think they can be really ornamental too, especially planted amongst flowers.

  9. Kirsty says:

    I always feel so sad for the eggplant this time of year, it finally looks big and lush and then it’s time to pull it out. I have tried nurturing them through winter, even putting a guard around one in previous years, but none have made it. Lots of garlic, brassica and onion planting happening here too.

    • Liz says:

      I thought my eggplants made it through winter last year – they were pot grown and were still looking pretty happy at the end of August but then they just died in September. I’ll have another go next time I plant them in pots – my bed space is too valuable to try with these.

  10. Jo says:

    Great photos, especially the chard. The ribs look translucent. It seems we’re getting unusual weather around the globe, it’s on the cool side here.

  11. kitsapFG says:

    That is an impressive eggplant! Wow!

    The greens are gorgeous – all of them. Sounds like your fall is being very gracious to you and giving you the best of both worlds… an extended summer harvest season and the “better” greens season too.

    • Liz says:

      It has been lovely but its turned cold now and I’m already longing for Spring, as much as I enjoy nice sunny winter days we are getting grey blah ones at the moment which isn’t nice.

  12. becky3086 says:

    The more I see Swiss chard, the more I want some. I think I will plant some this fall.

    • Liz says:

      I find it one of the most trouble free things I grow and would highly recommend it – presuming you like enjoy eating it, or actually even if you don’t purely for the pretty stalks.

  13. Mark Willis says:

    Brilliant photos, Liz! And brilliant veg too. I am planning to grow some aubergines / eggplants in large pots, so I hope they don’t get as big as your ones!
    You obviously believe very strongly in making the best use possible of the space available, with successional planting – which needs a fair bit of forethought I know.

    • Liz says:

      I grew the same varieties in pots last year and they didn’t get nearly as big so I do think the pots shoudl limit their growth a bit (as will your climate). I wish I gave the succession planting more thought at times. I start out with a plan but then some crops last longer/shorter than expected and it all goes out the window and I jsut plant what is ready where I have space.

  14. Liz, what a great garden you have! Each time I look at your photos I think: I need to go and take pictures of my garden too…

  15. Wendy says:

    Everything looks just gorgeous. I wish I had considered a fig tree. I have no room at all but would have loved that.

    • Liz says:

      Mine is really only a branch of next doors that has grown under the fence but I still love it – perhaps even more so as it feels a bit naughty eating someone elses fruit.

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