Saturday, 28 March 2009

winter veggies

Winter is its own growing season in inner Melbourne where we very rarely get frosts.  It's the season to grow cabbage, broccoli, broad beans, beets, onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, parsnips and peas.  I'll only be growing a few of those! I believe I mentioned before, I planted some peas, lettuce, rocket and spinach in the back bed.  They've all sprouted and I set up a little tent of poles for the peas to climb. And this week I added four seedlings of broccoli to the mix - Tom hates it but I reckon if I grow a few then I can eat them myself. 

The trouble with broccoli is the white cabbage butterfly - their caterpillars love brassicas (the family that includes broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) even more than people do.  They're out and about on warm, sunny days like we had today.  I saw one flutter past and thought, I'd better check my broccoli.  sure enough, these little sprouts only have four leaves and every leaf had at least two eggs on it, one had eight!  I wiped them all off and sprayed with a bit of Dipel, a natural bacteria that kills caterpillars if any do hatch and start munching.

But mostly I'm excited about the peas.  There in the back bed I planted two types of sweet peas - telephone and lacy lady.  I planted some telephone in the late spring and wasn't too impressed with the flavour, so I thought I'd try lacy lady even though I can't find a single description of what they're meant to be like.  Even if I don't like either type, the important part is that their roots will enrich the soil with nitrogen. I also had plans to grow snow peas in pots on the front porch.  So I planted two more types, specifically because they're meant to be beautiful.  Roi de carouby is a large snow pea with bright pink flowers; golden-podded peas have two-tones purple flowers and ... well ... golden pods.  I was amazed at how different their seeds looked, so I had to take a photo.  The green peas are boring old telephone.  The yellow are lacy lady.  The dark brown are roi de carouby and the purple-spotted ones are the golden-podded. here they are in their pots on the front porch - they're the ones with the black metal trellises sticking out of them.  I can't wait to see them growing up those trellises, covered in bright flowers and golden pea pods.

Oh and before I forget ... I'm also growing sweet onions I brought back from the USA.  They're in those red and black punnets on the porch, only just sprouted, until I have room to put them elsewhere!


Mrs. Phillips said...

Ahh, the seasons of your garden. I cannot wait to see these winter crops coming up!