If you visited my house two or three weeks ago, you might have found me sitting on my back patio staring vaguely at sachets of seeds, trying to decide what to plant. I was determined, for once, to grow all my summer vegetables from seed.
But sadly, I have already failed. Yesterday I weakened and bought tomato and capsicum seedlings when I was at the feed store for chicken food. They looked healthy and were more advanced than my home-grown seedlings.
I often find the process of starting seeds in punnets frustrating. So often they germinate but fail to grow much afterwards. I also struggle to keep pot plants alive. I seem to have a green thumb for plants in the ground and a brown (or black) thumb for anything in a pot!
I have much greater success with directly sown seeds. I recently planted carrot, beetroot, lettuce, bean and basil seeds in my veggie patch and all appear to be germinating beautifully.
At the end of each season I encourage plants like kale, silverbeet, celery, coriander and rocket to flower, then go to seed. The seeds lie dormant in the soil until conditions are right for them to germinate.
Plants that self-seed seem to have a resilience lacking in transplanted seedlings and also appear less prone to attacks from insects and birds. I have watched in frustration as a mother blackbird dug up my newly planted tomato seedlings while ignoring self-seeded tomatoes in the same plot. Self-seeded plants are also free – a huge benefit.
This post is part of the Garden Share Collective for September, which includes an update on progress in my garden.
Over the past month, I planted out tomato, artichoke, rockmelon and capsicum seedlings (some grown from seed by me, others purchased in punnets). I also sowed carrot, beetroot, lettuce, bean and basil seeds.
I’m currently harvesting loads of eggs, limes, rocket, leeks, herbs, kale, lettuces, garlic scapes, green onions, lemongrass, chillies and celery.
Tasks this month include watering (we’ve only had 360mm of rain this year so far), planting seeds and seedlings for summer, weeding and fertilising.
I’m also looking for creative ways to use the more than two dozen eggs our four chooks are producing each week. Today I made a gluten-free orange and almond cake and little lemon puddings, both six-egg recipes. I also had two poached eggs for lunch.