Friday 15 November 2013

How do you like these taters?!

Yeah that's some roastie toastie spuds right there - and I grew them in my garden, yew!

I've always loved gardening, but living in a small apartment for more than a decade has meant the opportunity to get my green thumb out has been pretty limited over the years. So when my family and I moved into our first house 18 months ago I was super keen to get stuck into the backyard, with the major goal being to create an awesome edible garden (or at least grow even a few fruit and veg of my own).

Sadly the garden was neglected for about a year - I gave birth to our second son the day after we moved - but we got some landscapers in several months ago who gave it a nice facelift; planted a few citrus and avocado trees; and set up the area for my veggie patch.

I researched what to grow and how; went and bought seeds and seedlings; and planted away with high hopes, dreaming of all the delicious organic food I was going to manifest. My eldest son and I watched with excitement as the first shoots began to sprout and seedlings flourished. I tried to keep the weeds at bay and stop our cat from doing his business in the soil with sticks. I was pumped.

And then the possums came. Or rabbits. Or both - who really knows. One day I had an awesome crop of lettuce and a good looking lime tree, the next both are chewed to stubs and sticks. Damn furry bastards. I used some natural Poss-off spray for a bit but it didn't deter them. And then the weeds starting getting crazy, and I didn't know if things were getting too much or too little water, and the wind was knocking everything about like a demolition zone. I was also too busy to look after my beautiful garden (and the kids kept trying to dig everything up).

Sigh. It seemed as though the only thing growing was my deflation. I was devastated and wished I had more time to spend working in my garden. Was my green thumb broken?

So I gave up, more or less. And that's when some magic started happening.

The spuds were ready to be dug up - hellllo tasty taters. Delicious and they also brought one of my son's favourite books to life for him - The Potato People. Exciting times.

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

And then the rocket and chives went wild - sexy salads all round. That was about it for a while though until I chucked in a few zucchini plants my mum gave me and they went nuts almost overnight. Enter stage left: homegrown green bad boys - delicious. When we got back from our holiday last week some had actually turned into mutant giant zucchinis - I almost headed off to the county fair to win me some prize. 

One of the many mutant zucchinis and a smaller one sliced up and lightly fried in butter, yum

The colossal zucchinis don't seem to have much flavour though so I blitzed them with a few potatoes and homegrown silverbeet to make a delicious soup. Yep that's right - some of my silverbeet which had struggled big time due to munchy mammals finally broke through into adulthood and is now thriving like no one's business. Awesome.
A few leaves from the die hard silverbeet forest and a bowl of tasty zucchini, silverbeet & potato soup
So there you have it - my edible garden babies. I'm so proud.

Sure the avocado and lime trees have no leaves and are about to cark it; the parsley and rosemary are still chewed to stalks; and the snowpeas and garlic died - but I managed to successfully grow a bunch of other stuff (some of the lettuces also made it!), and there's still hope for the lemon, mandarin and passionfruit.

Growing your own fruit and veggies is so awesome - they're free of chemicals, they taste amazing, it's fun and really satisfying, and the kids can get involved and learn. Sure I haven't yet achieved the incredible edible garden I fantasised about, but not a bad effort considering the bunch of pests and little time and attention I gave it. 

It's amazing what you can grow without trying - imagine if I really got my Burke on?

Do you grow your own stuff? Feel free to share any lazy gardener tips with me


  1. Yay for you! What an awesome harvest! I'm pretty excited about our potato plants, which have been the most fun gardening experiment I've ever embarked on (we're growing them up in sacks), but haven't yet harvested anything - how do you know when it's time?
    After a few years of trying to grow my own, I have decided that if you master one veggie a year, then you're doing ok. This year, I grew capsicums for the first time and hopefully potatoes. Zucchinis still elude me. Up here, they go mouldy and wither, it's heartbreaking!
    My lazy gardener tip is to get a worm farm and then, whenever you remember it, use the worm wee as fertiliser then watch things grow overnight xxx

    1. Great tip! I have a compost but am going to get a worm farm next for the easy fertiliser. Sweet! Re potatoes, best way to know they're ready to harvest is when the plant on top withers and dies! You can of course dig them up earlier if you want smaller/baby potatoes, but I reckon wait until the plant dies - safer bet!

    2. Dead plant.... I can definitely do that!


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