Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Not with silver bells, or cockle shells, or pretty maids all in a row.  Truth be told, our garden doesn't grow all that well at all.  But that doesn't stop us trying!  It's just the start of ceylon spinach season, which is a great tropical plant that just goes gangbusters, so before our tiny backyard-space is taken over by twining green vines, I thought I would showcase our winter & spring garden.

 As Queenslanders, it would be remiss of us to not have a pineapple growing, no matter how squeezy our back garden is.  This plant, formerly the top from another pine, has given us one fruit so far.
 Aloe vera is a really handy plant to have around, so I'm glad this one has survived.  Whenever we get burns, or sunburns, we lop off a leave and get the goo from inside.
 Herbs are our most common garden occupant (also a common garden failure, but that's okay!).  I reckon it makes more sense to grow herbs than anything else because they can be harvested over and over, and they qre pretty expensive to buy from the shops - plus, they're never that fresh when you do buy them.  These are parsley and garlic chives.
 And here is a big pot of dill.  I adore fresh dill, so I get a little sad in the summer when this goes to seed and stops being such a massive, productive bunch of herbs.
 This winter we tried a capsicum.  Wait, actually we tried growing a chilli, but this is what popped out of the ground instead.  It didn't get very big, less than 30 cm, before it flowered and miraculously fruited.  We got two small capsicums off this plant.
We get lots of sun in our front garden, so we've moved a few pots out there to take advantage of it.  Fresh thyme is going well out there, and we've just put an oregano.
 The surprise of the season, though, is this cherry tomato.  We don't really get enough sun for tomatoes - they tend to grow and then die.  This one grew - and grew and grew and grew.  It is now taller than Andy (who is 6'6), and covered in fruit.
 Part of the reason it has survivied is that it's against the house, so we have tied it up to the window at various places.  Who needs stakes when you have security screens?
 The thing is, it's very top heavy.  There is about a metre of empty stem at the bottom of the plant before it bushes out.

 Here it is next to me, all sweaty after a ride home.
But who can get annoyed with how much space it takes up when this is the result?

The other thing our garden is good for is green tree frogs.  This one mooned me one evening when I was admiring him and his 6 closest mates.  They sure are cute, but they are also very noisy at the most inopportune times.


urban vegan said...

Love the little froggies. My "garden" is just a windowsill and a corner in my city apartment...so I covet your greenery.

Hannah said...

Oh gosh, I'm envious! My dream is to one day move into a house that has a full garden with fig trees, tomato plants, corn stalks and raspberry bushes already thriving. I will be happy to put in hard work maintaining it, but I just don't want to go through the years of preparing the ground and waiting for everythign to grow! :P

Amy said...

You have a great garden :) I love the tomato plant! I try year after year to grow stuff. Sadly my black thumb always seems to come out on top :(

Love the froggy too. We get them occasionally in the summer. They like to hang out near the bbq (not the safest area for them!)

Groover said...

Same experience with gardens and herbs here but it doesn't stop me from growing stuff (or trying!). We actually managed to harvest chillies for the first time last month. Someone told me that sugar snap peas are a real beginner winner because it's so easy to grow. Guess what? They didn't make it. :( My parsley alwasy gets eaten by an animal and I can't figure out the culprit. I have to try my hands on cheery tomatos. They seem easy. Thanks for inspiring me to make a trip to the nursery next weekend.

K said...

I've failed to grow herbs too but trying again, this time:

garlic chives too, mint, viet mint, and thyme.

Vegan ninja said...

Love your garden and the little frogs, I envy your garden space. I live in a tiny apartment in the crowded Mexico City. Nevertheless I got some purple corn seeds and talking with a farmer he told me, they could grow in almost any place. So a I will give them a try.

Claire said...

It's so exciting to grow your own food!
Home grown tomatoes are the best!!!

Gina said...

Thanks for the tour of your garden, which I especially appreciated as I have a 'container garden', too (living on the 4th floor and using the terrace for the garden). I think your "Ceylon Spinach" is the same as what is called "spinach" here in Senegal. I want to use it more but the texture puts me off (slimy). Do you have any suggestions on how to cook it? Favorite recipes?

I want to start some grape tomatoes from seed, and am impressed by your beautiful climbing cherry tomato plant. Did you start it from seed?

Finally, just want to suggest you might try growing Swiss chard, as it is one of those super nutritious greens and it is very forgiving of less than ideal growing conditions. Have had much success with it here, in sub-average soil. It looks nice in the 'garden', as well.

Theresa said...

Gina - We love ceylon spinach with just a bit of boiling water poured over it. That way they just wilt, rather than getting slimy. Or if you pick the smaller leaves they are good raw. I also find leaving them whole helps - they ooze sap when they're cut.

Our cherry tomato was from seeds that we saved from some grocery store tomatoes. And we've tried chard (called silverbeet here in Australia) and for some reason it just doesn't want to grow at our place. It's frustrating!