ok let’s go!

So last Sunday Jess and I put on our best gardening gloves, hats and scarves and braved the cold to dig up the weeds at our friend’s place and plant some winter veggies!

Before

After

And no the cardboard didn’t work but possibly if we had left it longer?

More before and after pics:

(Sorry Jess!)

Can you see the massive rhubarb plant in the background? YUM!

SO we planted potatoes, broadbeans, spinach and onions (in addition to last week’s garlic dill and parsley)

After using a hoe to dig up all the weeds we planted our veggies, watered everything fairly deeply with Seasol – a seaweed based “dynamic plant tonic” and covered the soil with sugar cane mulch. I actually covered up the onions and beans but Im sure they will pop through the mulch, right?

Seasol smells sooo fishy and gross and as it was cold and raining we got it everywhere. But apparently it’s just the thing for planting veges and planting out or repotting seedlings http://www.seasol.com.au/

Just checked the seasol website and apparently peas are also a good winter veggie. might be a bit late though.

Going to leave the garden until next weekend then go up and check on everything and give it another seasol watering. Dont expect beans to come through for 10 to 14 days and not sure about the potatoes … just did some internet research  (which probably should have done before planting) which recommends leaving the seed potatoes until they grow shoots before planting. I can’t remember if ours had shoots or not but they are in the ground now so it is too late! Takes at least 15 to 20 weeks from planting to harvest, a few weeks for the potato to sprout. This website http://www.backyard-vegetable-gardening.com/fertilizing-potatoes.html recommends fertilising 2 weeks after planting with a special fertiliser with potassium and phosphate levels that are higher than nitrogen levels. Interestingly, Seasol is apparently not a fertiliser by definition as it contains only very minor quantities of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium and the potassium and phosphate levels aren’t higher than nitrogen (N 0.10% : P 0.05% : K 2%).

Seasol claims instead that it contains a synergistic range of natural compounds from 2 types of seaweed which promotes “stronger, healthier root growth, thereby reducing transplant shock, encouraging tougher, healthier plants and increasing their resistance to diseases which attack the roots.  It also enhances flowering and fruiting capacity and improves seed germination rates.” Let’s see how it goes! Otherwise, according to http://www.backyard-vegetable-gardening.com/fertilizing-potatoes.html I will have to get a 5-10-10 NPK mix, or apparently an 8-24-24 NPK mix is also ok. (N= Nitrogen, P= Potassium, K= Phosphorous)

Another alternative and natural option could be Comfrey Tea according to this website http://www.bettervegetablegardening.com/fertilizing-potatoes.html:

FERTILIZING POTATOES WITH COMFREY

Comfrey tea is a very good liquid fertilizer for fertilizing potatoes, and if you have a supply of comfrey leaves at your disposal is as good as any commercial product available. Fertilizing potatoes with comfrey will provide the crop with an excellent source of potassium and trace element. Its leaves contain 2-3 times more potassium than farmyard manure.

When using comfrey for fertilizer, there are two methods you can use. With either method, avoid using flowering stems, as these can take root.

Using comfrey at planting time

Dig out the trench a little deeper than normal and put 1-2 lb (.5-1kg)of wilted comfrey leaves per 1 foot (30 cm) of row in the trench. On top of the leaves put 2-3 inches of dirt, then the potato. Cover the potato as normal. Comfrey leaves can be put on top of the potato bed at any time in the growth cycle. The amount is only limited by your supply.

To make a comfrey tea-brew

Put 14 lb of comfrey leaves in 20 gallon bucket with a tap on bottom. Leave to brew for 4 weeks. Drain off and use for side dressing the potatoes, or at planting time.

Refill the bucket with water and use the 2nd brew for side dressing the rest of the garden. It is a great general garden tonic. Don’t throw anything away. Use the residue by spreading it out on the garden or in the compost. Every little bit counts, even the slimy stuff.

Thanks for that advice, better vegetable gardening, might just have a go at this!! Now where to get comfrey from in Melbourne, any suggestions?

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