Over the last couple of weeks I've been starting seeds for our summer vegetable garden.
This past year has been a difficult gardening year for me. After our dismal failure last summer (running out of water) I was almost ready to throw in the towel & never garden again. In fact, if you were to drive up our driveway right now that is exactly what it looks like I've done. A tangled mess of weeds & overgrown plants are everywhere. It's only when you look very closely you see that there is however a few small sections that are maintained. My strawberries, my new roses, my winter vegetable garden. Besides that....I really need to get working come spring.
Dave & I discussed our gardening position before I even began planning our garden this year. Our primary issue affecting our garden in summer is water. The past two years of smaller than average annual rainfall & scorching hot, dry summers has drained our dams. We need our dams to hold sufficient water to feed our stock. Unless the Lord provides large quantities of spring rain (Please Lord) I won't be able to pump for our gardens from the dam. So I can't count on water from there.
We have come up with a few solutions, but I will post about them later because otherwise this will be a post of gigantic proportions....
In an attempt to use up the large amount of seeds I already have ( hmmm...I may have a teeny, tiny seed collecting addiction) I decided to try not to purchase any additional seeds this year. Since I can only plan on a smaller than normal area of garden due to watering issues, I started just the basic seeds. Then I went through the seeds & found everything that will be out of date before next summer. I have either started them or put them aside for planting. Needless to say it is a little larger than our original "tiny, drought-proof" plan ~ I need to pray for rain!
Already started in punnets:
* Wild Sweetie Tomatoes ~ I like to use a cherry tomato variety as well as a normal one. I've always had success with cherry tomatoes & I hope this year will be equally as productive.
* Amish Paste Tomatoes ~ These are a great 'all rounder' & are fantastic for canning.
* Mini White Cucumbers ~ These are the only kind I've had success with previously & even that wasn't very successful. I'm hoping I can baby these into being more productive.
* Roselle ~ because these were some of my free seeds from being a member of the Diggers Club & they will be out of date if I don't use them. I'm hoping to use these for jam as I've heard it's lovely
* Basil ~ this is leftover seed from my wonderful 2012 garden where I had basil growing abundantly. It grew last year before dying out. I'm hoping this year the seeds will still be fertile enough to give us some wonderful plants ( especially as I just used the last of the frozen basil I had from 2012 & so we desperately need more).
* Oregano ~ I have oregano slowly growing in another section of garden, but I'm hoping to get a bit more. We have pizza every Saturday night & oregano always tastes lovely on it.
* Sunflowers ~ I love sunflowers. I hope these grow! I have never had success starting them directly in the garden ( this may be due to the varying number of chickens that roam around our house). I have grown a few that were started in punnets.
* Zinnias ~ I've had no success with zinnias & I really want to as I adore looking at photos of them & I've heard they are supposed to be easy to grow. These needed to be used anyway.
* Marigold ~ I always love the 'pop' of colour the marigolds give to the garden & this is one I have had success with.
I plan to plant directly:
* Pumpkin ~ I have 4 packs of various seeds: Australian Heirloom Mix, some saved from a Qld blue, some saved from a neighbour's butternut pumpkin. I shall see what I decide to attempt to grow.
* Black Beauty Zucchini ~ because there are far too many delicious sounding recipes not to have a couple of zucchini plants.
* Beetroot (Heirloom Mix) ~ I hope to get a large patch in & growing as soon as spring is officially here. My plan is to do this so they will be grown, picked & preserved before the hot, dry days of summer are upon us.
If we end up with extra water I'll add in:
* French Charentais Rockmelon ~ I've always wanted to grow rockmelon. I've never had success yet which is why I won't try unless we have sufficient water.
* Sugarbaby Watermelon ~ I dream of growing watermelon. I've tried & tried & tried. Maybe this time I'll be successful IF we have water.
* Honey & Cream Sweet Corn ~ this is almost out of date so needs to be used, but it's not really worth trying unless we have water.
While this looks great on paper, sometimes gardening is messy, sometimes it's a failure & always it's a lesson in trusting God who does provide for all our needs. I wish you every success in your gardening efforts this coming summer (or winter if you are a northern hemisphere dwellers). I like to remind myself that gardening is about learning lessons for the coming years. I haven't always had gardening successes, but I surely have learnt a lot!
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