Thursday, 16 July 2015

April 2015 Part I - Colourful Carrots, Spectacular Sunsets, and the last few tomatoes

Spectacular view from my veggie garden!
And coincidentally, all the colours
of the carrots I'd like to grow!
So lets start with the carrots... I'm trying to get my girls to eat more vegetables, so when I ordered my seeds from LivingSeeds I deliberately tried to get the differently coloured varieties - usually purple or pink varieties because my girls will eat anything pink! I kid you not, one of their top favourite foods is beetroot - and the more the beetroot can change the colour of the food around it, the better! Pink rice, pink meat, pink everything!

Here in South Africa we generally eat beetroot pickled i.e. boiled, then coarsely grated or sliced, and preserved in vinegar. It is served as a condiment or side dish with a main meal.

Speaking of pink, did you know you can get a fantastic variety of carrot colours? I ordered three different colours - standard orange (Cape Market) - and the grandiosely named Cosmic Purple and Atomic Red (There's also Lunar White and Solar Yellow - next time!).

The first batch I planted in the previous post didn't do too well. The planting instructions said to use hessian / sackcloth to cover the seeds once planted to prevent drying out, and to remove it once the seedlings were showing. All good, except I only had sheets of cardboard (still left over from the move) and even though I did make sure they were soaked I think they didn't let enough light through, or something, so my many of my baby carrots just didn't make. I had a severe case of gardener's guilt. 

The few that did come up out of the 100+ seeds I planted, which was about 9 or so, seem to be doing well. We did have another little hiccup in our vegetable garden. As much as Ali, our once-a-week garden muscle man, is incredibly helpful, transplanting beetroot seedlings into the spaces left by the other plants I managed to kill in my vegetable garden was not one of his most helpful moments. Apparently you shouldn't transplant beetroot seedlings or plants as the root gets bent and the beet doesn't grow properly. I got to see this for myself! But I guess we're all on a learning journey, and so we soldier on!

Back to carrots though, I planted carrot bed #2, and used an old, nearly transparent bed sheet torn in half to provide the cover this time. 

This is the spot where my first batch of tomatoes grew (you can see them here). As they died off I thought this would make a good carrot patch, so I used our old burglar guards to let the remaining tomatoes keep going in the background - apparently carrots and tomatoes are good companion plants, and you can also see a couple of Jalapeno chilli plants that I didn't have the heart to pull out also carrying on there.

So I weeded the bed, raked it, used the stick part of the rake to press lines into the bed, sowed the carrot seeds quite thinly, covered them over with a little sand, added the bed sheets (anchored with rocks) and kept the bed moist until the seedlings came up. Let's hope this batch is more successful than the last! 

If you were standing in my garden looking at my carrots, and you took a few steps back, this is what you would see:

Carrots and tomatoes are on the far left, with the struggling melon patch with some more tomatoes and Jalapeno chillies to the right of that. The orange shelving was in my daughters' room, but has been co-opted to house my seedling trays. You can see the land slopes away from there - more on that bed later! Closer to the front you can see some grass was taken out - that was to make space for my checkerboard herb garden- which you can read more about here.

One thing I love about gardening is the colour of it! Seeing beds change from brown to green, tomatoes from green to yellow, or red, or just staying green because it's okay to be a green tomato, it's all beautiful!

Some yellow pear tomatoes from my aquaponics setup. I just missed one of the fish lurking in the background!

The last of my tomatoes from my inherited tomato plants. You can see a patch of minor sun scald on the big one at the bottom and right in the center. They tasted great though!

Don't forget to have a look at my herb garden here, but before you do that, please do subscribe!

1 comment:

  1. My patch of heirloom carrots are doing well. Cannot wait to see the look on my guests faces when I serve them purple carrots!