Sow & Reap – wins and losses of May

This month I’ve had fun experimenting with quinces for the first time. Left to poach overnight in the slow cooker with cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and sugar syrup, the morning aroma is arresting. Even waiting for their turn in the fruit basket, the slowly yellowing quinces have stunned me with the strength of their perfume. I will certainly make more effort to protect them from the birds next season.

As we head into winter, things have slowed down a little in the garden. Or perhaps that’s just me preferring to cozy up in front of the fire.


The last of the tomatoes were shared with the chooks and the abundant summer vegie bed is now all but bare. Which is lucky considering how often the chooks sneak in there.

Rainbow silverbeet

Potted chillies remain abundant, so I really must find a good way to preserve them seeing as we can’t keep up with the supply.


The only thing I have picked regularly from the garden this past month has been salad leaves – baby spinach, mizuna and cos – and silverbeet.

Last season’s garlic continues to keep a smile on my face, especially when I see the supermarkets full of the Mexican variety.

Garlic and onion planted last month are growing strong, so I hope to back up last year’s successes.

There’s also plenty of broadbean coming up, some self-seeded in addition to the wall of the legume I have planted in a garden bed I’d like to establish in the coming year.


So my apple cider vinegar experiment would impress no one apart from Alexander Fleming.

Apple cider vinegar fail

At last check, its furry top bore a greater resemblance to penicillin than anything I’d be brave enough to consume.

After a late start it looked as though we’d have a crop of figs, but sadly they never ripened enough to eat, despite netting the entire tree.

Many of the seedlings transplanted last month – poppy, cornflower, mini cauliflower and mini cabbage – have succumbed to whatever it is that has my main bed under attack. Anything in pots or Styrofoam boxes in the same area seems to be fine. But plant it in the ground and, be it seed or seedling, it’s sayonara, Baby. Pea seeds sown in that bed have suffered this same fate two months running, while planted elsewhere they sprout and thrive. Further investigation is required as a matter of priority.

And, of course, the chooks have again snuck into the patch neighbouring their enclosure and had a fine old time digging up transplanted comfrey and last month’s mizuna, but thankfully leaving alone the adolescent asparagus and snowpeas.


Garlic, onion & cos lettuce

The latest round of punnet plantings include Barletta and Dominica onion, broccoli di cicco and mini cabbage.

My level of optimism is directly proportional to the number of plants I’ve bothered to sow this month. Minimal.

I’ve instead redirected my attention to fleshing out the front indigenous garden beds, picking up a dozen $2 tube stock plants from Geelong

Community Nursery. It’s such a good place to stock up on local plants while supporting a terrific social enterprise. Check it out if you haven’t already.

How’s your harvest been this month and what are you planting? How do you stay motivated when things don’t go your way in the garden?

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