Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh summer garden

After four days away from our farm, we jumped out of the car eager to explore the kitchen garden and the changes we had missed in our absence.

In winter, four days' growth might not be so obvious; plants generally sit still in the cool soil like they do in the fridge. But in hot, bright sunshine-filled days, things move quickly. Plants blossom and grow tall and fill out and make fruit overnight. Blink, or go away for a few days, and you'll miss it.

We returned to our garden yesterday afternoon. We dug deep and felt the moisture in the soil, we tied up droopy limbs, pinched out excess foliage, commented on amounts of growth and harvested some greens. 

The rocket we had planted a few days before we left has burst forth from the soil to create a vibrant green spiral. The tomato plants have grown tall and filled out and are flowering madly. There are green bulbs of fruit on some of the earlier varieties, but bruschetta time still feels a while away.

The onions, possibly the only veg that me and my farmer boy disagree on, are finally bulbing right up and looking ready to harvest. All spring long he complains that they are taking up valuable garden space and should be planted down in the farm's market garden where the longer term plants grow. 

But to me onions are worth their weight in gold. An onion is the starting point of every hearty meal. If we can grow good onions then we have taken care of one of the most important staples. I am happy to patiently wait for the onions. I am pleased to give them space and time to grow. I adore watching their bulbs form and fatten up. 

The second succession of carrots is coming along nicely after the first didn't have such a great strike rate. We laugh that I planted this lot so terribly thick, but I know that thinning them out will be a delicious job we'll all enjoy in a few weeks' time.

The basil in the ground, and the basil that has yet to go into the ground is growing huge and bushy and calling for the first pesto of the season. Can you smell it? Mmmmmmm summer...

And the peas and beans are still fruiting madly, rewarding us with their crunchy fresh burst of flavour whenever we pass by.

Miss Pepper's sunflowers are still squished up closed but look just about to burst into bloom above our heads at any moment. Just as the potatoes nearby are doing their thing under our feet. 

And the lettuces...oh how I adore the summer lettuces. Salads for two out of three meals a day, green leaves poking out of sandwiches and leaves cut off and gobbled up right there on the spot.

Oh summer garden, I feel like I've been waiting for you all year.


How does your garden grow at the mo?
What are you planting, harvesting, noticing, eating?

Wishing you the most scrumptious weekend.



  1. Yum ... how I love home grown greens!

  2. Your garden looks amazing, Kate! Our tiny patch is far less impressive (we had to pull our mess of a potato crop out already, with just enough for a potato salad meal - though it was the most amazing potato salad we have ever eaten!). We've decided to start recording our garden progress on a calendar, so we can hopefully learn a bit more and one day get a bit closer to your productive, magical space x

  3. Love your garden Kate, so much goodness and so many meals waiting to happen! The sunflower photos are great. My garden is really feeling the heat at the moment but it is battling on bravely!

  4. Can I just say that I have only recently discovered your blog but oh how I love it so!! Your words and photos are just fabulous - it's a joy to read, inspiring and I'm thrilled everytime I see a new post.
    Keep up the good work!!!

  5. Did my first pesto last night - had the northern hemisphere instagram crowd crowing for summer from the depths of winter. Nothing says summer like a big of basil!

  6. Oh, such deliciousness! We have a teeny vege garden with some tomatoes and basil (the taste of summer, I reckon) and some pots with strawberries. I think there needs to be some lettuce soon too. I'd love a garden like yours! I'm a bit leery of digging up too much of the lawn in our rented place, only to re-sow in grass when we leave.

  7. Yum, we have much the same growing here, although no onions, I've never had any joy with onions. Love the sunflowers, I must plant some of them next year.

  8. this looks AMAZING. I am so very very keen to start a little patch of my own. Keeping it simple with a few herbs and greens. One day.

  9. Such a beautiful garden that you have there. Our climate makes summer growing challenging (sub-tropics) so I am Increasingly excited as we inch towards autumn. At the moment we have pumpkin, watermelon, cherry tomatoes, basil, a few greens and the eggplant is starting to fruit. I'm inthe process of making the garden beds over as our friend upstairs replaces the edging (it's their place). I planted some seeds and am hoping to get some more corn going as we harvested our last lot a few weeks ago. It's a learning curve but such a joy!

  10. I don't have a garden, but think that if I had the ability, onions would be there! I put onion powder in almost everything I cook, and if I had fresh onion all minced up, oh it'd be so much better! Your pictures are lovely, as always. :) xoxo, Jess

  11. You guys have the most AMAZING gardens ever!! I am striving to learn as much as I can in order to provide our family with such lovely among a few others have been my inspiration Kate...thank you :)
    Tammi x

  12. you've given me veggie patch envy- ours is not doing that well at the moment with the heat and no rain for a couple of weeks (we are hand watering though!) something ate my beetroot shoots the other day and our potato crop was tiny too (but yum).
    so much to learn but we will persevere and get better at it as we go!!

  13. Oh wow, your garden looks amazing - you'll never need to go to the store again! Everything looks so green, vibrant and healthy! I've only got a few things out on the balcony...but my tomatoes are FINALLY going well.

  14. We have Broccoli, Snap Peas, and several varieties of Lettuce that we can eat at the moment. I think we lost the Potatoes in the freeze last week, but the Olive trees appear to have weathered that snap just fine. Beets are growing tops; I hope underneath they are producing too. I am hoping that we did not, in fact, lose a Cherry tree during the transplant but the signs are not favorable. Good thing we have two Cherry trees... Two Gala Apple trees... Two Misty Blueberry bushes and the aforementioned Olive pair.

  15. Oh my goodness I am sooooooo jealous of your garden! Everything looks so yummy! Enjoy, xx

  16. just lovely!! Over here in South Africa, I have planted 2 lettuce varieties, celery, tomatos, basil, beetroot, chillis (lots!) capsicum, carrots, radish and lots of herbs. With the rich soil here and summer rainfall they are growing like weeds!

  17. My "garden" is a city balcony. And at the moment there is nothing on it but snow. But I can´t wait to plant some herbs and flowers, to turn it into my cute summer evening oasis. Unfortunately there are till some more months to go.
    Your garden is wonderful!!!

  18. Kate, it all looks so very good and green and delicious!
    Love the way you and Bren have such a different take on the onions :)


  19. Oh thank you so much for sharing your summer garden Kate, just looking at this made me feel as though the sun was shining on me. My parents have an amazing allotment and I can't wait for the summer months so I can go up there with them and wonder at everything growing. My folks grow all sorts of things and I love going and helping them harvest when everything is ripe, especially things that poke above the soil when they're ready! That feeling of seeing a little carrot or onion or radish above the soil makes my heart skip a beat, I just love it!
    My boyfriend and I used to grow tomatoes in our garden, and sneaky potatoes used to grow in the corner of the garden regardless of whether we wanted them to or not! Then we moved, we have a little courtyard now where I keep herbs and my boyfriend still plants his flowers but we're hoping to move this year to somewhere with a garden again. Regardless, I think I definitely need to grow some tomatoes again this year! I do have my darling Clementine tree, I bought her inside for the winter and now she has very early flowers on her. I have seeds of Honesty, Echinacea, Sea Holly, Self Heal and Cornflowers to plant.

  20. your summer garden looks like a dream! Oh how I can't wait to have space to plant a kitchen garden and I concur...onions are the starting point to any good meal, and deserve their spot truly x

  21. It's a real tonic for the eyes seeing these pictures as we are currently snowbound!Roll on Summer! x

  22. Right now my garden is under nearly 20 cm of snow so anything could be happening down there!

  23. Looks amazing! You either have a really amazing climate or you are very dilligent with your watering! Our garden is not doing so well in the extreme heat of South Australia with most days being over 40 degrees. All the peas, beans and annual flowers have died and the parsley, coriander, basil, lettuce and carrots have all gone to seed far too early. Tomatoes, chillis and eggplants as always are thriving in the heat. No zucchinis or pumpkins this year unfortunately even though last year both were prolific.

    I think next year we might invest in some good quality shade cloth and a dripper system, because all the mulch and hand watering in the world does not help our plants to survive these intense heat waves that seem to get hotter and longer every year.

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  25. Today I found some beautiful, ripe, red, local, organic tomatoes at the little shop 'down the road'...does that count? With three dogs in the back yard we've no vege garden at the moment but I do get a thrill to buy off my local farmers! I can almost taste and smell the freshness of your gorgeous produce from these pics.

  26. Kate, may I ask what sort of fertilizer do you use? your veges look amazing. I try to stay as organic as I can, but just not getting great results. My beds are no dig, I use mushroom compost for soil. Love your feedback

  27. I am amazed at the things you can grow down south in the middle of summer! snow peas?! wow we grow those in winter! Up here in the north- it's far too hot to have a garden that looks like yours at the moment (it looks more like our spring gardens here)... At the moment what we are left with in our garden is eggplants, tomatoes, basil, some carrots and beetroots still in the ground (although those beetroot are getting a bit baked and need to come out), all the green leafy things bolt to seed quickly because of the heat and we have millions of bugs that devour things so quickly at this time of year that it becomes a pointless battle (not to mention the crazy dry summer we are having to go along with the high heat!)... so most of our garden will shut down till things cool down a bit! i am looking forward to the autumn!

  28. If only my vegetable garden was as lovely and lush and green as yours at the moment - I've decided to give up on mine until this hot summer heat wave spell is over - everything simply fries in this weather!

  29. Oh I am completely jealous about your garden. I have a brown thumb and I've tried to start my own herbs but they only sprouted and never got any bigger. Do the ants take away the seeds too? Your garden looks absolutely devine.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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