Happy Spring everyone. I love this time of year. Even though I still have the wood heater going because it’s still a bit chilly here in Tasmania, I love spring. The flowers around my garden are amazing and all the vegetables which I planted a few months back are starting to come alive. The bees are starting to appear again and the days are getting longer. At the moment in the garden I have kale, silverbeet, spinach, mizuna ready to be eaten. Plus pumpkin and potato’s from last season. I also have a good supply of fresh parsley, coriander and leeks. I am enjoying these fresh and organic vegetables and herbs but I can’t wait until the rest of the garden is ready to be harvested.
What isn’t quite ready is the Brassica’s. I am waiting for the kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli to be picked. Turnips I am checking everyday to see if I can pull more out of the ground. I have done some succession planting, which means planting your seedlings out every 3-4 weeks. This way you can (hopefully) ensure you have a continuous supply of vegetables through the whole season.
Did you know that two and a half years ago I never owned a vegetable garden? It is amazing what anyone can do.
Lets take a look around the primal farm vegetable gardens and be inspired by the seasons and seasonal eating.
It all starts with the soil. We have been working really hard on our soil to ensure it has the right balance of all the important nutrients. Our goal is to be 100% organic and so far so good. This big pile of compost is 100% certified organic, purchased from a horticultural place here in Tasmania. We brought compost in because we cannot make enough of our own. Most of the food scraps go to the chickens. We do have a lot of brown and green waste material and we also use chicken and sheep poo. I think by the look of my vegetables below, we are doing extremely well with having good organic matter.
First up is the kale. Two varieties. These seedlings were only planted out two weeks ago. They should be ready in another four – six weeks. But don’t worry I have plenty of kale below ready to be harvested.
The photos I am about to show you are in one garden plot which is divided into many beds. I have decided to make this plot the Brassica family. You will see beetroot in there which is not part of the Brassica family, however I planted this way before I knew how to do crop rotation
Baby chinese cabbage. I do have a problem with slugs. As you can see lots of tiny holes. This is where the slugs and I also believe white cabbage moths decide to chomp away. I do try all the organic ways of getting rid of the slugs but unfortunately nothing has worked. So it becomes me versus them at night with a head torch picking them off. As I refuse to use any chemicals or pesticides on my property I just let nature do its thing.
Below is lime streak mizuna and also mibuna. It is amazing. Has a strong pepper flavour and tastes a bit like rocket.
My tiny Brassica seedlings. These guys below are broccoli. Four weeks ago I planted thirty six seedlings. I do tend to go a bit over board and I think it is so I can share them with the slugs and cabbage moths.
Aerial view shot of my garlic and beetroot seedlings. The garlic is growing really well. I have never grown garlic before and it is going to be a good day when I can harvest my first bulb.
Just look at these. Baby spinach leaves. These guys should be ready in another four weeks.
I planted rocket between the mizuna and the kale. Rows of it and they’re growing really well.
Did you know you can eat beetroot leaves? Yes you can and when picked early enough they are so sweet and delicious. The chickens love them too. I should be able to harvest this crop in another few weeks. (Fingers crossed). I planted the beetroot in March but I think because of all the cold weather it has been slow to grow.
Mature spinach. The leaves are super green and lush. I think it’s because of the organic matter.
Come on, you can do it. Sprouting purple broccoli. First time planting it.
I love kale chips and I am glad I love Kale. I have it growing everywhere in the garden.
The garden bed below is green and purple cabbage. Still a long way to go but I see shape.
Welcome to garden two. The next lot of photos are taken from the second garden plot and inside this plot I have ten beds.
Below you’re looking at apricot flowers I think this is unbelievable. After the flowers we will be receiving apricots!
This was today’s collection of eggs. The girls are laying really well. Most days I am receiving seven – nine eggs. Actually the other day I collected fifteen. I am sure it is because they’re outside in the sun every single day from 7.30am – 5pm. Lots of fresh greens and I am also feeding them plenty of other vegetable scraps and protein.
The first harvest of turnips. I love the colour. I roasted these in coconut oil.
Below is a green crop. Well it is supposed to be a green crop. I need to tell you something. I have a problem with picking the vegetables when they’re ready or digging the green crop in. I love my vegetable gardens looking pretty and seeing all this green makes me happy. I also love seeing the broad bean flowers come through. Green crops are brilliant at putting nitrogen back into the soil. After this I will plant tomatoes.
Not ready but below I have growing sprouting broccoli, cabbages, silverbeet, Brussel sprouts and kale. I could actually pick the kale.
This is exciting. I decided to create a no dig garden in the path. I have put straw down and then organic compost and planted marigolds, broad beans and peas. They are all starting to sprout. And the exciting thing, underneath all the soil and straw will be lots of worms which I can throw back into the garden beds.
Soon to be picked. Delicious organic cauliflower
Another one, but it has a little bit longer to go
And this one did not make it. The cold snap we had made it flower.
I separated previous rhubarb and moved all the rhubarb to a new garden bed. Now I have more rhubarb and more space in the garden. Double win situation.
More delicious kale. I am looking forward to kale salads with roasted beetroot and toasted walnuts with a good drizzle of olive oil. Simple eating is truly amazing
Below I have more Kale. This is another variety
New season celery. I can actually start to eat this. However I still have a good supply of last seasons celery which I must eat first before it becomes to stringy
Tiny purple sprouting broccoli
I love seeing the cabbage hearts take shape. Just look at it! How beautiful. Nature is magical.
Another garden bed with more green crop. I can’t wait to plant out in late spring
I found this guy in another garden bed. More sprouting purple broccoli for late spring, early summer eating
AMAZING! This would have to be my favourite photo. Look at all the vitamins and minerals in this garden bed. I have kale, turnips, mizuna, broccoli, cabbages, brussels sprout and silverbeet growing.
A tiny broad bean seedling.
Kohlrabi – I love it! eaten raw in salads is the best. Extremely crunchy. The bulb needs to get much bigger before I harvest it
Herbs, glorious herbs. Mint and parsley
And Parsley. I do have coriander growing and another variety of parsley plus rosemary, thyme and sage. Adding fresh herbs to your meals is a great way to add flavour
And lastly, this is the third garden plot. This plot had pumpkins, zucchini, marrow and potatoes in it from last season. It has been resting all winter with lots of organic matter added to it. The chickens spend most of their day in here and they love it. I am looking forward to putting the spring and summer vegetables in.
Thank you so much for scrolling through my vegetable gardens. As I mentioned at the start, I had no experience with growing food all I have is passion. I also had no experience with soil health and crop rotation. However with a big pile of books and lots of reading and researching you can do a lot. The best advice I can give you is to start with looking after your soil and two, just get out there and plant. I started planting everything and I didn’t worry about crop rotation until a year ago. It also gave me time to really understand the seasons and what grows and what doesn’t grow. And it also gave me time to learn from my mistakes. I am only at the very beginning of growing my own food but feel extremely proud that I have achieved all this in under two years. From the first year to this year is a 100% improvement and I am looking forward to next year. There is so much to know but it is fun learning and experimenting and I am always down at my neighbour’s house asking questions.
Third advice, never be embarrassed to ask questions. I am a visual learner and I learn by doing. So it is great for me to spend time with other gardeners and learn how they do things.
Spring is a great time to start a garden. If you have grass at your place, I would love to encourage you to turn that into a vegetable garden. Big or small it does not matter. What matters is that you’re taking responsibility over your own health and wellbeing and you are growing your own food. It is an amazing thing to do. The health and wellbeing benefits goes far beyond just food as medicine.
So with passion I encourage you to start growing your own food.
Happy Gardening! If you have any questions at all, please share them below because I want to help you to start your own food bank!