For a busy family, growing food in the backyard seems so simple and essential when the crops are blooming. From March to November last year, the garden produced so much silverbeet, lettuce, cabbage and parsley, as well as several crops of butter beans and green beans – enough to fulfil most of our ‘greens’ needs.
Post Christmas holidays the garden is run down, the only edible greens are a couple of clumps of parsley. It is tough to keep the plants alive through the heat of summer. Now the first rains of February have broken the spell, it’s time to plant, grow and eat greens from the backyard again… and never buy anymore silverbeet!
Flat-leaf Parsley, a great low maintenance summer staple
It has been almost a year since starting my vegie garden in Brisbane.
Once again I have no silverbeet to harvest.
The 4 fordhook silverbeet plants that provided me with fresh, dark green leafy additions to meals since July last year lasted until March this year – 8 months. Despite my best efforts to make these plants perennials, they finally became too woody and rotten after the rains in February and March.
Small replacement seedlings are now planted, but the name of the game is succession planting. The key to succession planting is to know how long a crop is likely to be viable for and grow the next crop so that the harvests can overlap. In the case of my silverbeet and the late summer rains – a protected environment out of the rain will be a good way to kick start my crop next year!
I did actually buy a bunch of the stuff – never again!! It is just not right.
When we first built this veggie garden, the big question was – will it receive enough sun? The tested answer was no.
Whilst the patch received enough sun for some leafy greens and some butter beans to grow, it was not enough for them to thrive. It was certainly not enough sunshine per day for any of the flowering crops, such as tomatoes or zucchini, to produce any fruit.
A couple of months ago we had the Leopard tree taken out. In the four years since creating the veggie garden, the canopy of that tree had almost doubled in size, completely blocking any sunshine from reaching the garden.
Now the garden receives full sun for most of the day. Hip hooray! And the field of silverbeet is luscious.
I’m sure there will be some issues around too much westerly sun in the middle of summer, etc. For now, though:
sun + water = delicious home grown food.
We eat at least 4 ‘bunches’ of silverbeet each week. So our self regenerating field of the stuff is a good investment in family health and for the family budget.