the land of 1000 vegetables – growing veggies at home

This is a post on successes in the garden over this summer, the growing situation, and what has been influencing our dishes these past few weeks. Watch this space for a tasty gazpacho, not so heavy eggplant parmi, bean tortillas with a colourful capsicum and corn salsa, a simple bruschetta and basil pesto.

For this summer growing season, Cass and I planted tri-colour capsicums, beetroot, radish, roma cherry tomatoes, eggplants, parsley, coriander, dill, basil and Thai basil.

All were from seed except for the capsicums, tomatoes and eggplant. For the time saved waiting for fruit, the $3-4 you spend on the seedling punnet is worth it.

In the past we have also grown zucchini from seed, but we get so many large zucchinis we decided against it this time round. We also got powdery mildew on the zucchini last year, which spread to the tomatoes. With more humid weather this year, we have managed to avoid it without having the zucchinis’ large leaves keeping the humidity in.

The varieties of capsicum and cherry tomatoes are definitely worth it for the home gardener! They were easy to get started, didn’t take a lot of maintenance, and have produced a bumper crop! Tomatoes and capsicums are pretty easy to get through, and can be included in a lot of summery meals. These, and the eggplants, are worth growing due to the sometimes inflated prices at the supermarket despite them being in season.

the growing situation

We have ours planted along dripping lines in garden beds made of treated pine (We have 2 about 1.5 x 2-2.5 m). The drippers go on for about 20 minutes every 2-3 days depending on the weather. In the past, I have given our vegetables a drink of Seasol (seaweed fertiliser) when the plants start to flower and while the fruit is young, but this year I haven’t bothered and have still had a tasty, long lasting crop. The beds are positioned behind our garage and receive the morning sun, and become mostly shaded in the afternoon. After the growing season, I turn over the soil, compost, and leave for 3-4 weeks before planting out again.

I planted in early-mid October and we picked our first capsicum mid Jan. This does seem like a long time, but we didn’t get real summer heat until late December. Since mid Jan, there have been about 5-6 capsicums a week, the tomatoes have been ready (picking about 4-5 kilos a week) and will be about 4 eggplants a week from this week (early Feb), and 4 beetroots. Plus a lot of dill, Thai basil, parsley and basil. The only downside in the heat was that the coriander shot to seed, and the dill is quite stringy. We also have to watch the Thai basil and basil and pick out the flowers that will take it to seed about once a week.

What have you had success with at home? Share your favs in the comments below.

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