June 2012 – The Wrap Up

I think I’ve mentioned before that winter gardening in the southern part of Australia tends to focus on the alliums and brassicas – well at least in Melbourne it does.  That and peas and broad beans.  My peas keep getting eaten (the plants not the pods  or seeds unfortunately) and my broad beans are a long way from flowering.   I do have broccoli and alliums but I also have leaves of many kinds and it is the leaves that are doing really well at the moment.

Mustard, Mizuna & Garlic

But as brassicas are the more glamorous part of the winter crops I thought I’d start with them.  Most of the broccoli I planted this year is a variety called ‘calabrese’ which has a very small centre head but loads of side shoots which form at much the same time as the main head.  I do have one ‘Green Dragon’ plant as well but I have to say I prefer the ‘Calabrese’.

  While I have been harvesting from both types of broccoli I am still awaiting my other brassicas.  My cauliflowers are starting to form heads, some of which look good but others, like the one below, have those little brown bits that cauliflower heads often suffer from.  Ideas on the cause would be gratefully accepted.

The romanesco heads are starting to form too, but were too small to photograph.  Unfortunately the only red cabbage which is vaguely starting to heart is one which keeps getting attacked by aphids.

On the allium front I have garlic, shallots and red onions growing.  I got 100% germination from my garlic cloves and they all seem to be growing nicely.

As my stored garlic is showing signs of shooting I am a little concerned that I have planted too much – I planted over 100 cloves.   Perhaps 6 months storage is all I can hope for, in the past I’ve usually used my crop up by now so I’m currently in new territory.  I am growing more varieties this year,  perhaps one of them will store for longer.

On to the leaves:

I had to harvest most of my raddichio early as it looked like it was starting to go slimy.  This is my only plant left and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to eating it.  I really enjoyed the others lightly cooked in olive oil with a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt

Then there’s the sorrel which is putting on new leaves but will have to be moved soon as its where our chook shed will be going.

I believe I may have mentioned my fabulous parsley before.  I have parsley in about 6 sites around the garden and all look like this:

 Although some don’t have kids toys as a backdrop…

On the other hand my mint is doing less well, it is growing, very slowly and the leaves are pretty small.  Such a shame as I love salads with both parsley and mint through them.

Not really a leaf crop but also struggling for some reason is my celery:

The stalks start out nicely but as they get a bit older instead of getting all tall, straight and crisp the leaves are dying off and the stalks are getting brown marks up them.  Maybe they’ll improve as the days lengthen – they aren’t getting much sun at the moment.

The chard though is looking good, although this lot will have to go soon as its occupying my tomato bed and I want to rest it soon.  Fortunately I have plants in other places around the garden.

Still on the leaf front I also have kale, lettuce, chervil, Vietnamese mint, lemon balm, thyme, oregano all at harvestable stage.  Green probably sums my garden at the moment, although I do still have the occasional colourful reminder of warmer days here and there:

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24 Responses to June 2012 – The Wrap Up

  1. Louise says:

    Great summary, I wonder what those brown bits on your caulis are? And the brown bits on your celery? I wonder if its becasue its been a bit wet this winter? Your raddichio is wonderful and I am envious of your fab parsley. Mine is looking very anaemic. Good to see your mint is thriving, mine has gone to sleep.

    How exciting, chookies!

    PS: Watching the footy and notice the terrible outfit that Essendon is wearing tonight. Go Sainters.

    • Liz says:

      It was horrendous, as was their form. I wonder if the two things are related? I have to say I couldn’t watch the last quarter – too traumatic. Your boys did well….very well…sigh….

      • Louise says:

        I am sure the performance was linked to the outfit. Your lads ARE better than that. But I will take the win. They must have felt like gooses.

        • Liz says:

          I do like that expression – “gooses”. I hope they recognise thats what they are and try to reduce waddling in future.

  2. Louise says:

    Just thinking, did you get a bad frost recently? That might be what browned the tips of your celery…

    • Liz says:

      We haven’t had a frost so no, the same things happens to old leaves a bit in summer perhaps its a disease of some sort???

  3. Chelsea says:

    I’m growing romanesco too! Though here on the other side of the world they’re still itty bitty bebbies, a long way from having heads too small to photograph. Love the photo of the raddichio. Reminds me that I ought to sow mine some time this month.

    • Liz says:

      It’s my first time with romanesco. I find one of the big advantages of blogging is that it drives me to try growing new things.

  4. Sarah says:

    I didn’t get around to using most of the raddichio I grew last winter – the hens ate it instead. But I’ll be sowing some this year to try cooking it in oil with vinegar and salt – sounds good!

    • Liz says:

      It is really nice that way – I saw Jamie Oliver do it and I have to say I usually trust him when it comes to veg and he was right. It just needs the smallest amount of both the oil and the vinegar to really taste delicious.

  5. Liz, I love the colors of your garden… So vivid! Your sorrel looks tasty to me. I have to plant it in a shaded area for it to survive hot summers here.

    • Liz says:

      Mine is in a pretty shady area too, which definitely suits it in our climate too – it looked happy all summer.

  6. Frogdancer says:

    Now that I’m feeling better I have a week to get things done in the garden before I go back to work.
    Though just after typing that, I’ve looked on the weather forecast on the Mac and it says it’s going to rain all next week.

  7. Balvinder says:

    Your garden look so healthy in winter. I can’t expect mine even in summer. I like the taste of small leaf mint and yours look good.

    • Liz says:

      The mint tastes lovely but I just wish the leaves were a little more prolific, I can’t make much mint chutney with amount I’m getting at the moment.

  8. Jen says:

    Hi Liz,
    I’ve been told the sun can cause browning on cauliflower like sunburn. So I often snap the leaves over the cauli to act as a bit of a sun shield it seems to help but doesn’t make for such a great photo.
    I’ve had the same with my celery in winter if it is damp. But I don’t like to complain about the rain too much.
    Love the photos they are always a joy.

    • Liz says:

      Good thought re: the cauli – it could be the issue but it doesn’t look like sunburn too me (although I’m not sure I’d really recongise it if I did see it) It was on the curds before they’d really been exposed to any sun at all. I usually peg the leaves across the heads but the spot these are in is pretty shaded at this time of the year so I haven’t bothered.
      The celery thing is really interesting – it has been really damp here and so that certainly rings true. Thankyou re: the photos I enjoy taking them and think I’m getting better at it although they don’t always come out how I conceive them.

  9. Like Jen, I was going to mention the sun too although the spots can be a sign of mineral deficiency – especially boron. They can also indicate damage that could spread for instance if rain drops have settled on the curds and then the sun has come out and scorched the curd. Are lots of curds affected as if so maybe a feed with the required minerals will help.

    • Liz says:

      Now I have to google boron…..OK I’ve done that and discovered it is essential for optimum health in rats, amongst other things but not how to add boron to the soil – any ideas was sort of fertiliser it would be in?

  10. Mark Willis says:

    You have a great range of different veggies there, Liz. So much nicer than having huge quantities of only one or two things. Re the Radicchio:- I find that it always goes brown and slimy on the outside, but those bits are easily removed, and the inner hearts keep for ages in a fridge, so harvesting them all at once is not a problem (as long as you have enough fridge-space).

    • Liz says:

      That brown and slimy thing is weird isn’t it – I’m glad its not just me. i do wish they’d gotten bigger before doing that though. Having said that I think I planted them a bit late in the season. This time I’ll try a spring sowing.

  11. There is an article on mineral deficiencies on this pageLiz.

    Too much boron can be a problem to so you need to be careful. I don’t think I’d try adding borax. There is probably enough boron in your soil but if your soil is alkaline then it sort of traps it so I suppose adding more isn’t really the answer.

    Maybe a foliar feed would help but before the curds form.

    • Liz says:

      Thanks for the link – really useful info. These are growing in compost that probably hadn’t decomposed as well as it should so its entirely likely the minerals are pretty unbalanced.

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