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Monday, October 17, 2011

Sowing The Seeds

It is still too early for summer planting here despite the popular Tasmanian mantra which says basically plant out for summer on Show Day (which always falls at the very beginning of Oct). I don't know where this myth came from; maybe it was tied in somehow when the Show used to be in December (1834) or maybe the weather patterns have changed in the last few decades, or maybe it is something touted by the nursery industry to deliberately boost sales.
We are still getting frosts and I guarantee that anyone who put tomato seedlings in a couple of weeks ago are buying more already.
Our winter crops are coming to their finish; I'm picking broccoli, silverbeet, salad greens and soon will harvest cabbage and broad beans. I'm sure if I had bare beds I would be breaking my neck to get something in there too, but for now I am content with successive sowings of mizuna, bok choy and rocket etc.
In the meantime, this is where our summer crop starts....

Using recycled seedling punnets, egg cartons and toilet rolls, seed is sown and protected by a "lean too" of glass. The area gets lots of sun and is protected from wind. The combination of pavers, sun and shelter provides the ideal climate for germination. A lot of people forget that it is the soil that needs to warm up not just the outside day temperatures.
Can you see how Craig has written on the rims indicating what and when?

Turns out a marker pen is more indelible than a biro.
Doh! I'm going to have to call in Lee the wonder horticulturalist to sort out what I have planted in here! 
The other protection you must provide for seedlings is from slugs and snails.
So in a few more weeks when danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up, we will be pulling out broad beans and brassicas and the time will be right for our seedlings. This year I am going to try staking the tomatoes with this Florida Weave method that Funkbunny blogged about here.

Here is a bit of a walk around and update on the Front Yard Fruit Forrest

I have a Pomegranate and a Blueberry bush that were given to me for my birthday in June. You may be able to see silverbeet seedlings tucked all about in order to make use of more space while these guys are growing.

I have transplanted some raspberries from the back garden. The idea is that a lot of these berry and currant bushes are planted in proximity to each other so if I have to resort to netting they will be easier to protect. I like to think that animals and humans can get a share of food but sometimes the bird population out numbers what I think is a fair share. After all, my chooks also have to get a feed of raspberries too, it's their favourite.

Here are the rat tail radish seedlings. You can't see them yet but you know where they are! This is another good tip. Grab an ordinary old stick fallen from a tree and stick it next to your seedlings, especially in heavily mulched areas. This way everyone will know there is something precious there and won't stand on it or weed it.
Has anyone tried the Florida Weave method? What is your preferred staking for tomatoes?


  1. The mantra as told to me has always been that you shouldn't plant your tomatoes until after Show Day because there is less chance of frosts. Which isn't quite the same is it, it allows for common sense, don't you think, so definitely don't plant tomatoes before the show and use your common sense afterwards.
    I put tomato seeds in after the Show and some seedlings in late October.
    I was also told by many older Launceston people that they didn't start lighting their fires or start their heating until after ANZAC Day and I always feel guilty if we need a fire before then.
    And then my Grandfather planted and dug up his Onions according to the shortest and longest day - sow in late June and dig up in late December.

  2. I like your glass lean-to. Easy, portable and quick access for watering.

  3. Hey Tanya, interesting to see what you are planning for your Summer garden.

    Your seedlings will be very safe behind their glass lean too..........great idea and I love the use of egg cartons. I have a few hundred cartons,lol in the pantry perhaps they would be more use in the garden as the girls aren't laying many eggs!!

    I had a peek at the Florida Weave method of keeping tomatoes upright and it looks like a great idea. We stake them and then put a large wire guard around them so it holds them up ..........fingers crossed. It works quite well as long as the plant doesn't become to top heavy.
    Today is lovely and sunny, Rich is on the ride on and I'm in charge of the edges and fiddly bits with the push mower..........

    Claire :}

  4. Yup - I'm for Melbourne cup day for the ol' toms going out. I wish they would stop saying Show day !

    That florida weave method does work a treat, it doesn't crimp the stems, and an old italian friend does his like that.

    Better start swatting up on my seedling ID ! I've got rats tails coming up all through my carrots this year :)


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