Hardy summer plants

Since the start of January we have been away from our garden - at the Woodford Festival and visiting family interstate. Considering that over that time, the garden has not been watered and there has not been much rain, I am so impressed at how so many of the plants are just thriving.

The plants are thriving - my first job will be to manage that abundance.  My first attempt was trimming back some plants over the pathways - these cuttings I took to the children's workshop on Saturday.

Before I went on holidays, I added extra mulch and opened the soil a bit with a garden fork to allow moisture to percolate more easily.  In a previous post, Holiday Garden, I talked about how I prepared the garden. It worked.

I had hoped of course for a little bit more summer rain to help the salad seedlings to thrive - some have some haven't. Enough survived.

What also worked was the weed suppressing ability of my no-dig gardens.  I have very little weeding work to do after a month - mostly a bit of trimming around the paths and edges.  It's great!  Not having to weed saves a lot of time in the garden. Of course there's the odd weed that comes through, but these seem weakened and easy to pull out.  If you want to give it a try, I posted the instructions earlier this month - My Simple and Successful No-Dig Garden Method

Eggplant in the new no-dig garden area - hooray, no weeds!

Here are just some of the plants that are looking great after a month of no care and no watering. Building soil fertility, integrating water harvesting features, mulching very well and choosing hardy plants really do make a difference.

The spectacular flowering amaranth - very drought tolerant.

The structure of Brazilian Spinach prevents wilt.
The incredibly hardy Society Garlic growing here amongst the Brazilian Spinach.


Japanese Mint is thriving under the shade of the Navel Orange
The Lemonbalm is flourishing too in the semi-shaded positions.

The Lemon Myrtle has grown so well it needs a haircut.
I like to keep the new growth low where I can easily harvest it


Madagascar Bean - an immature pod. I wait until these are brown and dry, then harvest the lovely purple spotted dry bean inside the pod and use it like a lima bean.

The vine of the Madagascar Bean - so abundant it grew too heavy for the trellis.  This needs attention!

New pumpkins are emerging. That's good - I recently finished eating the last crop. These self seed. The vines are offering some nice young green leaves and flowers for dinner too (but not these female flowers).

Welsh Onion is such a hardy plant. It almost always is upstanding! This Welsh Onion plant I first started growing 23 years ago. I keep dividing and spreading it.  I have it all over the garden and have given away so many. In this spot, it is surrounded by parsley.

Pelargonium in the really really dry spot - I appreciate it's ability to grow in such harsh conditions.

Pigeon pea flourishes in the dry spots too. It has after all grown in India for over 3000 years and providing a dried pea that is used in dahl.

Red hibiscus spinach is starting to bush out nicely. I enjoyed this thoroughly in a stir fry tonight.

The Rosella bushes are coming along too - also a drought-hardy hibiscus. I am looking forward to making some rosella tea.


The Mexican tarragon is thriving. A lot of this will be going to a daylong herb workshop I am doing at Northey Street City Farm in a couple of weeks.

I am so impressed by this tuscan kale - it is perfect!  It's roots were covered with a lot of mulch. Another kale in spot that was too dry and had less mulch is almost all bug eaten. 

The hardy Peruvian ground apple - Yacon. The young leaves are edible while we wait for the root to form. In winter, the top will die back and we can harvest the sweet roots.

I am so keen to get in and start work, but I think it's really important first - before getting in with a flurry of activity - to stay in observation mode for a little while longer. I am assessing where the garden is - how all the plants are doing, how the system has evolved, what gaps are there, what problems are happening, what are the priority tasks, what new structures are needed, where could I put in my new herb crops, what needs changing, where will the children's new gardens go, where can they build their treehouse...

I love the process of keeping the design alive - evolving and adapting to the changing conditions and needs.

Happy gardening everyone!


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