8 November 2022

What a mighty busy time it is in our garden!  I have a whole lot of seedlings ready to be planted and while cucumbers, pumpkins and sweetcorn could go in at the end of the month, ours are ready to go in now!

This year I have one big bed ready for zucchini, cucumber, sweetcorn and pumpkins.  It’s the bed that had lupins in it during the winter. I planted the zucchini a month ago, thinking I would get a head start, but look how tiny it is – it would probably be bigger if it were planted now.  Just a little reminder to not get too impatient!

I forked the bed over to aerate it, then added vermicast out of the Hungry Bin worm farm, chicken manure, rock dust, a little bit of humate I had left, and some compost.  You’ll see here our new source of rock dust is Morganics.  We were unable to secure a new shipment of Natures Organic Fertiliser from Environmental Fertilisers, so we’re moving over to Morganics Fertiliser (certified organic with BioGro) with similar ingredients and the all-important rock dust.

I usually work it all in with a fork in a wig-wag fashion.  I made sure there was a bit more chicken manure where the sweetcorn were going, as they need really rich soil to produce optimally. The sweetcorn is going in front of the pumpkin, to see if I can avoid the pumpkin getting sunburnt this year.  We have had to eat up our pumpkin quickly on harvesting in the past, as the pumpkin rots where the sunburn is, once it’s stored.  It’s a good idea to put a stick where the pumpkin and cucumber go, as they sprawl and you need to know where the roots of the plant are when it comes to watering.

I mulched the bed and netted it while the plants get established.

Next job was the beans.  No nitrogen fertiliser on this bed, instead a couple of handfuls of garden lime to alkalise the soil for this crop.  Hopefully it won’t take too long till they reach the screen and can start climbing with assistance.

The eggplants are sharing their space temporarily with a beautiful cauliflower which just needs a few more days to get to the perfect maturity.  When you get a clean cauliflower like this, it is a joy.

Eggplants get the works – aerate the soil with a fork, then add chicken manure, rock dust and compost.  Mulching and netting follows planting and watering in.

And so too do the capsicums.

Our potatoes have needed attention.  I’ve hilled them up as much as I can – these are the Rocket and Swift.  There are now nice mounds of soil over the seed potatoes for the new potatoes to grow in.  The mounds of soil there originally are now troughs.

You can see how big the Jersey Bennes are.  They are leggy, so I’ve used straw to prop them up so the stems don’t get broken off in the wind.

And I hadn’t tied up our tomatoes yet, so went out to do that, but as they were growing so well I got a bit itchy to do some initial delateralling.  It’s easier to see where to take laterals off when they’re smaller, so I started.  Then, and this is the tip (!), remember it’s a good idea with these heirloom indeterminate tomatoes to encourage two leaders.  As our plants are relatively small, I wasn’t thinking TWO leaders when I started, so a couple of them might end up with only one!  If this is all a bit confusing, have a look at our video on delateralling.  BUT, we will cover it in more detail when the plants are bigger.  Suffice to say, tying up at this stage is fine. 

And lastly, if some of your leafy greens are bolting (going to seed)… 

… they may have needed more frequent watering now that it’s warmer and drier; they may have done their dash and need replacing; they may have needed some feeding up if they’ve been in the ground for a while. Ideas to keep in mind for the next crop. You can keep them going for a bit longer by nipping out the flowers, but ultimately, you need to sow some more seeds!


Happy gardening!

Jan and Rob

10 Responses

  1. Hello,

    I am new to your site. Liked your method of liquid fertilizer and Black Gold more than other you tubes. I suppose its because I relate to your manner of teaching and caring for the plants. I farm in the rainforest area of Costa Rica. Highly acid soils and year round temperatures of 16 degrees to 22 degrees. My goal and challenge is to create all of the fertilizers we need to support healthy fruit trees and green plants while alkalizing the spoils as best as possible.
    I am curious what you are referring to when you mention “rock dust” . I apply manganese in mineral powder form and calcium carbonate to reduce acidity. What is you rock dust and what does it offer?

    Sincerely, Michael Ratzan

    1. Hi Michael Nice to hear from you. We use a well-balanced fertiliser that includes rock dust. From our supplier, here are the reasons for using rock dust in the food garden…

      Rock dust consists of finely crushed rock, processed by natural or mechanical means, containing minerals and trace elements widely used in organic farming practices. It should be finely ground to allow it to be more readily broken down by the processes under the soil.

      A few of the rock dusts that are used in agriculture include RPR (reactive phosphate rock), limestone, serpentine, dolomite, basalt, granite, gypsum and greensand (which is primarily glauconite – a potassium, iron, aluminum silicate).

      The volcanic rocks basalt and granite often contain very good levels of essential macro-compounds, trace elements, and micronutrients. Rock dust on its own is not a fertiliser, because it lacks the qualifying levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

      The benefit of the addition of a quality volcanic rock dust to the soil is in the remineralisation that takes place. This is the return of minerals to the soil which had been lost by erosion, leaching, and or over-farming.

      Volcanic rock dust can be added to soil to improve fertility and has been tested since 1993 at the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration Centre (SEER Centre) in Straloch, near Pitlochry, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Further testing has been undertaken by James Cook University, Townsville, North Queensland.

      SEER’s research claims that the benefits of adding rock dust to soil include increased moisture holding properties in the soil, improved cation exchange capacity and better soil structure and drainage. Rock dust also provides calcium, iron, magnesium, silica, phosphorus and potassium, plus trace elements and micronutrients. By replacing these leached minerals it is claimed that soil health is increased and that this produces healthier plants.

      Hope this helps 😊

  2. Hi Jan and Rob, did you end up planting your seedlings or are you holding out for the best moon phase at the end of the month? My cucumber seedings are already flowering and seem desperate to get out in the garden!

    1. Ours were all planted at the time of writing. We reckon get yours in the ground now. Sometimes the moon phases work and sometimes the plant will tell you when it needs to be planted. We do always stick with a good moon phase for seed sowing though. All the best 😊

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