Tomatoes, sweet corn, beans, potatoes, zucchini (of course).
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11th March 2014

Autumn has begun, officially, according to the kind of arbitrary calendar date called 1st March. But as we approach the equinox (on 21st March) it feels like summer is just getting into swing, with warm sunny days and the harvest coming on strong. What seasons would you define and name if it was up to you? I think I would call this time now the season of responsibility. I feel responsible for collecting and storing the harvest! 

The big graceful eucalypt across the road from us is flowering like mad just now. And the trigger plants in south eastern tasmania have been showing off for a month or more now. I've always wanted to create a vegie gardening calendar that's related to what the plants and animals around us are doing. Like Peter Cundall's thing about planting tomatoes when the lilacs finish flowering or something. Do you know any good botanical hints to do with when to plant, or harvest etc that are relevant to Tassie?

I do know that a good time to plant garlic is on my birthday, in early April! So start thinking about where this year's crop will go. I'm going to pull up all the broccoli that has grown well but tastes disgusting (hot weather to blame), and put the garlic there! And I'll plant some new broccoli seedlings that can grow into winter in the potato patch, row by row as I harvest the enormous and delicious pink eyes.

Sweet corn bliss

We are often asked "how do you know when sweet corn is ready to pick?". It takes a bit of practice and judgement, and we wrote about it in our web news section back in 2010. You can find a link to that story HERE and then go and check your corn to see if its ready. We've been eating ours over the last three weeks, and its SO GOOD! One of my favorite things in the garden is eating the first corn cob of the season, raw, in the corn patch. Delicious!

The harvest this year is a few weeks behind previous years. A fact which we wouldn't know unless we kept some sort of garden records. For me its mostly photos, which are conveniently date stamped by the phone's camera these days. 

Some people keep a written garden diary. We always give our Garden Craft customers a diary at the start of our 10 month gardening journey with them. Some people keep diligent notes, some don't. At least one customer began writing much more than gardening activities and what was planted or picked - she poured her soul out into that diary. I'm hoping to be able to buy the book one day!

We came, we saw, we pickled

Sunday was a beautiful day, weather wise, and social productivity wise too for a group of fimbaristas. We gathered at Christina's place, and the group immediately got to chopping zucchini, capsicum and onions (you champion Sue!!) while being serenaded by our friend John on his guitar. Young Archie helped as well, pictured below with his mum Hazel. We then mixed salt through the five big bowls of chopped vegies, and had plenty of time for chocolate zucchini cake (YUM!) and tea and coffee.

We then convoyed off to Marg and Helen's place to admire their garden, and sat down to lunch with a huge roast veg salad, fresh eggs with pesto, soda bread made fresh that morning, and extravagant desserts with pears, damsons and other plums that Vicky picked before coming a-pickling. The conversation flowed as always, and lunch was when our schedule started to go a bit pear shaped. Sort of like I was feeling (pear shaped) after diligently trying all the desserts.

Nevertheless, all the pickles eventually got bottled, and are now waiting final distribution. See the header photo up top of this newsletter. We made about 10 kgs, a relatively small batch by historic standards, but nicely manageable in my big stock pot. I've still got two big lebanese zucchini the size of wombats lurking in the zook patch, they probably weigh 10 kgs between them, but i reckon I know a good cake recipe for those ones!

Rosie's bean teepees

Remember the bean teepees that we built for Rosie? Well, we had to rebuild them after they blew down shortly after that story went online in our newsletter. We sank a tall star picket firmly into the ground in the centre of each teepee. Then Rosie planted scarlet runner beans. And they seemed to take a while to get going, with occasional messages from Rosie saying "the beans aren't climbing yet".
But WOW look at them now! Climbing beans often take a while to get going, but then reward you with a harvest over at least a few months. Bush beans are quicker to flower and fruit, but over and done with quicker too. Go Rosie's beans!

Tassievore Eat Local Challenge

Its on this month, four weeks of activities and support to help us all buy and eat local and support local producers. One of our very inspiring Fimbaristas, Serena, is on the team this year, and has let us know that there is a FREE tomato sauce making workshop coming up on 20th March. You can find all the details on the Tassievore facebook site HERE. There are heaps of great activities and shared stories to inspire and help you learn about ways to eat local. Thanks Tassievores!

Transend vegie garden program

We've recently started working with a bunch of the staff members out at Transend. They are the company that manage our extra high voltage powerline network around Tasmania. They are merging soon with part of Aurora to form a new company, TasNetworks which will start operation in July this year. Its a turbulent time when jobs are changing, and kudos to the company for undertaking this very grounding, satisfying and connecting sort of project during this time.
We started with a mini design session, working out where to best place the four colorbond raised beds that will be the start of the production garden. The beds have since been installed and planted out with a range of leafy vegies, herbs, peas, root vegies and more which will be harvested and used at team BBQ's and lunches.
Each month FIMBY runs a collaborative session with the gardening team, and we'll be covering topics such as understanding soil, pruning and training fruit trees, pest management, mulching and watering and much more. The plan is that the team will be able to share their own knowledge and experience, and work on the corporate garden together, as well as gaining skills to take back home to their own patches.

Fimbarista file: Martine's paradise

Here are Martine and Michael looking happy in Martine's garden which we mentioned in an earlier newsletter (November 2013). Hard to believe it was only a year ago when Bodie Cavanagh supplied and installed his beautiful dovetail timber beds, and Martine got to work planting and tending her lovely vegies, flowers and herbs. Martine has been supplying Tassie folks with a great product called Grow Cover, which you can find out about (while drooling at her garden pictures) on her Facebook page. Its been wonderful to see the evolution of this garden from our original design sketches, through string and stake markouts, to its present glory.
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