November garden update

November has been a month of mixed weather and very little rain, like my fellow gardeners in South Australia I have been doing a lot of watering.

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The flowers in my spring garden are slowly fading still giving me a beautiful display though, my buddleja davidii royal red is coming into blossom, the perfume and tiny flowers that make up the flower head are stunning.

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I was late in planting my main summer crops so most of them have only been in the ground for a month.  All of the tomatoes this year I have grown from seed and are new varieties, I’m really looking forward to the harvest this year, new tastes, shapes, colors and sizes. I am planning on planting some more tomatoes in January  for a late summer/autumn crop.Below are the varieties I have planted.

  1. Cherokee Purple
  2. Brandywine
  3. Black Krim
  4. Mini amish paste
  5. Pink bumble bee
  6. Black cherry

I’m making a greater effort to supply my family with lettuces, I don’t want to buy any salad greens ever again!  I have  a dedicated bed set up, installed the brown dripper hose with 150mm spacing’s which makes for intensive planting, made a seed frame which will allow seeds to germinate in a protected space and the shade cloth keeps the ground moist for longer and lets the water through gently.  The bed is covered by white shade cloth which gives 50% shade, this will be on permanently over the summer.  So I think I have all the bases covered to achieve this goal!


Lots of rhubarb, the last of the celery, strawberries, beetroot, my first mini chocolate capsicum,some basil and lettuce.  Herbs – sorrel, thyme oregano, dill. With the promise of much more to come


I have bush beans in and want to grow a tall climbing bean so will have to get onto that. Lots of different lettuces.

To do

Keep on top of regular seed planting, I have a couple of beds which I will change to the 150mm dripper hose and like most gardeners in the southern hemisphere, get ready to net the fruit trees.

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Thanks to the girls from Garden share collective,who each month encourage us to share our gardens and what we are growing.






3 new garden beds

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I have been super busy in the garden, on the weekends doing full days knocking off about 4pm for afternoon drinks and then doing the walk around the garden so we can admire the day’s hard work, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, walking around the garden early evening with a drink in hand.

This has been an exciting garden project over the last 3 weeks, 3 new garden beds!  I had a half circle bed which I started off growing flowers in then dug out the middle thinking I would turn it into a fire pit and it ended up being the home for a healthy patch of weeds!

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Spoke to Mr GH about it and asked if we could knock it down and build some new beds that would be more productive, he agreed.  My job in all of our renovations is that of the lackie, the person who has to do all of the ugly jobs.  I had 300 bricks to clean for the new beds and dispose of the old bricks and general clean up, as well as keeping Mr GH feed and watered.  I would do it all again for the beautiful beds he made for me (insert love heart).

The beds are 1.2 x 2.1m and 3 bricks high, I filled them using the lasagne method, cardboard bottom layer, prunings, compost, soil on site, manure until they were full.  I have them irrigated I linked them into the existing vege garden irrigation.

Just waiting till the long weekend in October till I plant my summer crops. I’m hoping for a bumper season of tomatoes this year, fingers crossed.

Growing tomatoes organically

On a Saturday morning if possible I like to tune in to the ABC gardening show on 891, on Saturday the 8/8 there was a 30 minute interview with Australian Organic guru Tim Marshall on growing tomatoes.

Tim Marshall is the author of the best selling compost book, Compost: the ultimate organic guide to recycling your garden, and three other books, Bug, Weed and The New Organic Gardener.

Tim has visited over 1,000 certified organic farms in Australia and more than 1,500 certified organic farms in 25 other countries. Peter Cundall says:

“Tim Marshall has long been a legend in Australia as an outstanding communicator, writer and broadcaster, specializing in organic techniques’.

I have a couple of his books and he has been writing a book on tomatoes which is ready for publication later this year.  I had paper and pen ready to take some notes and have shared them with you below:

Radio Interview with Tim Marshal 8.8.15 

Tim believes the benefits of organic gardening is cumulative


  • You need good soil before planting tomatoes you can’t do it at planting time.
  • If you need to add lime,dolomite or gypsum do it now before adding organic matter then add organic matter 1 week later.
  • Tomatoes love food and it is early enough now to dig raw manure and green matter into the soil then wait 6 weeks before planting.
  • You can also use aged manure, you don’t need to wait the 6 weeks for it to break down 3 – 4 weeks is plenty.
  • Once the tomatoes have been planted only use compost or aged manure on top of the soil.


  • Tim suggests planting in September, November and January for a good spread of tomatoes.
  • Don’t let tomatoes touch the ground and make sure you mulch.
  • He suggests the cage system is an easy way to grow and harvest tomatoes.


  • Due to your work weeks ago (now) slow drip feeding is occurring already.
  • Use liquid feeds eg. fish emulsion, seaweed extract, worm farm extract or other teas during growing.

Hope this has been helpful, here is the link for the podcast so you can listen to it if you’re interested, he starts at the 1.50min mark.

Here is a link to Publishizer the site where you can find more information on Tim’s upcoming book : Ultimate organic guide to tomatoes.

Happy tomato growing everyone!!

Chillies, chillies and more chillies

Chilli harvest, the lone chille is firecracker.

Chilli harvest, the lone chilli is the fire cracker.

The weather forecast for Saturday is 39 degrees, a real stinker….. as we refer to them in South Australia.  I am always busy the night before a hot day, watering, getting the shade cloth ready to go over my garden beds, and I like to do a big harvest of what ever is ready to remove some stress from the plants

Kitchen garden

Kitchen garden

My tomatoes and capsicums aren’t ready have been waiting for some heat, but I had lots of chillies and 1 eggplant.  I have a kitchen garden close to the house just outside the back doors where I grow food that I pick daily, herbs, chillies, lettuces, spinach and flowers, In there are:

  • 1 thai chiili birdseye 7/10
  • 2 red chillies which are 5/10 for heat
  • 1 firecracker chilli 8/10 heat

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Down the back in my main vege garden I have planted 7 jalapenos plants, our favourites!  I pickle them and we eat them throughout the year, I am in for a bumper harvest this year as you can see from this photo, this is my second big harvest for the season.  The red chillies I freeze and use them throughout the year as well, I will have enough to last me the year which is great.

Jalapenos in garden bed.

Jalapenos in garden bed.

The last chilli is my dog!  Yes her name really is Chilli  she is is a 9 year old mini dachshund and my gardening companion.  A lazy gardener, any opportunity and she will find the comfiest spot and have a rest.



When is a caterpillar too big to squash?

Everyone will have a different answer to this, I asked some friends and this is what they said:

“Never, I always kill them I squash them with my shoe”

Another friend said:

“I pick them off and give them to the chickens”

I have had a few days of not paying a lot of attention to the garden, I went down today and saw some tell tale signs of caterpillar destruction on my tomato’s.

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The first signs were the bright green poo and boy they were big, holes in the leaves and then i saw this guy poking his head out.

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This caterpillar is too big for me to squash!  I don’t want to put him under my shoe and step on him and I don’t have chickens so I left him out for the birds and he was gone in a few hours.

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Now all I need is some decent summer weather here in South Australia and WE can eat the tomato’s

If you are interested in other ways to combat the tomato caterpillar or budworm (Helicoverpa spp) may I suggest the Organic Gardener site.