Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In The Vegetable Garden

Terracotta finials ready to top the tomato stakes in my vegetable garden
Jane Campsie in her decorative vegie patch in England

A garden on the Mornington Penninsula, Victoria by Paul Bangay

What better way to start a new year than in the garden. For me, at this time of year the beaches have less appeal down here due to the influx of summer holiday makers. (Apologies -this must seem far fetched if you are shivering in blizzards somewhere in the northern hemisphere.)

I have mentioned in previous posts that my vegetable garden had turned "feral" in the last few months because of the huge rainfall and warm weather, not to mention my busy schedule... Well I'm pleased to say that it has now been tamed. The giant, matted wild rocket, jurassic weeds and towering silver beets have been yanked out and new seedlings bought at the Berry markets today are about to go in.

Months of compost my husband has been diligently turning has been spread on top and I'm trying to follow organic principles and rotate the sort of crops that will go into each garden bed. Does anyone have a fool-proof guide?

My seven year old daughter helped choose the eclectic range of plants - a strawberry seedling, watermelon, butternut pumpkin, broccoli, sweet basil, yellow egg tomatoes, various types of lettuce and more wild rocket, amongst other things!
I am secretly hoping this will enthuse her to wanting to actually eat all of the above, fingers crossed.

I'll also be putting in some decorative elements in the vegie patch to dress it up. Too often people treat their kitchen gardens as a messy "work area" when they can be quite attractive.
I have an old victorian gate, a set of obelisks and some gorgeous Italian terracotta stake toppers (from Heaven In Earth). Jane Campsie's vegie garden in Hampshire, above, is one of my inspirations and a great example of a decorative garden.


  1. We have just put a vege patch in with the exact same intentions! Maybe they will be more interested in eating the goodies if they have a hand in it (lol!)
    I built a trellis for the snow peas out of sticks from the garden and some jute twine. It was fun and looks quite cute!

  2. Great shot of the finials. Hope they look great in the garden! The old church house must provide a great boundry to the vegie garden.

    Many thanks Catherine!,
    Best Jocelyn

  3. The best dvd I know is by the ABC...Gardening Australia with Peter Cundall talking about setting up a vege garden and crop rotation on a segment called Patch from Scratch...this is the basic rotation:
    Garden 1,Legumes (Peas, Beans) and Brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower etc)
    Garden 2, companions ie sweet corn, pumpkins, zucchinis
    Garden 3, root veges ie carrots, beetroot, parsnips
    Garden 4,acid lovers..tomatoes, capsicum and eggplants etc

    Rotate to:
    Garden 1 legumes, brassicas turn into root garden
    Roots turn into Companion garden (sweet corn etc).
    Companion turns into Acid lovers...tomatoes etc
    Acid lovers turns into legumes and brassicas.

    Hope that helps you...the ABC website may help too.

  4. Thanks for that info, Carol. I think I might even have that DVD somewhere....

  5. Gosh those finials are gorgeous! I'm wary of poking an eye out when I look at my tomatoes to see how they are growing. Very nice :)

  6. My boys have been eating strawberries and beans straight out of the garden all day today. No tomatoes yet but hopeful that when they ripen the boys will try one, fingers crossed anyway! Hope it works for you.

  7. Don't forget to throw a couple of patches of flowers in too! Cosmos and zinnias are great in the garden at the end of the season when the veggies look ratty.

  8. I still love my vegetable garden. We have been inundated with zucchinis, mint and green beans which has been fantastic for salads. Its getting a bit hot here so will have to wait awhile before planting anything new. Good luck with getting your daughter to try new things!! (I'm still battling along....)

  9. Lucky you with such a divine garden.. I agree there is no better way to start the year than in the garden.. Happy 2011. Carla

  10. wanted to invite you over to my blog for Cottage Flora Thursday's...xoxo

  11. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

    Kitchen Garden Help