Permaculture in Action

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Growing In Your Garden?

I often get asked this question at this time of year. It can be hard for some people to come to terms with seasonality in a winter garden. Those that are used to eating whatever they like throughout the year find winter fare a little limiting. Another question I get asked is "What do you put in your CSA boxes at this time of year? Aren't they down in quantity over winter? "
So what is growing in our garden? The answer is a lot of greens- silverbeet, spinach, tatsoi, bokchoy, cabbage, parsley, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, snowpeas and mustard greens. We are still producing salad mixes and mizuna and endive. We have just finished harvesting tomatoes, pumpkins and grammas. We can still grow beetroot, not as big as in the warmer months but still worthwhile. We have celery, potatoes and carrots and oranges. And our new hens are laying like crazy, so there's plenty of eggs. But mainly there are greens. I'm a strong believer in seasonal food being the food that our bodies need during that particular season. During winter I believe we need extra iron and iron is plentiful in fresh greens.


 And the answer to the second question is no. The quantity is not down. We are filling our boxes with a wide range of produce twice a week.

We had a phone call last night from one of our new CSA members. He was in the middle of cooking his dinner and wanted to let us know what he was cooking. He was delighted with his box of food and proceeded to tell me, in detail, what vegies from the farm he was using in the meal. It brought tears to my eyes I can tell you. That he was so grateful for the fresh vegies that it moved him to give me a call. Awww!

Many of our subscribers have been with us from the beginning. 7 years ago we began our Community Supported Agriculture. It was a slow beginning but continues to grow , with a waiting list for prospective customers. We have moved from weekly payments to quarterly up front payments, now that subscribers are confident in our ability to deliver. We now have a consistent income which is not affected by our customers going on holidays, and it's not affected by any adverse conditions we may suffer on the farm such as drought or hail. Our customers benefit from gluts in production but support us if there is scarcity. A recent misfortune we experienced was when some wild ducks flew in and ate all the greens from some of the beds. We were still able to fill the boxes but were down a little on diversity.

We are really blessed with our climate and what we are able to grow in this area. And now we are getting ready for spring. The first of our tomatoes have germinated on the under heater Mark made from a water bed heater. They will be potted up in the next week and by the time the frosts are finished they will be around 30 cm high and producing by Christmas.

Are you planning your spring garden yet?

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PS While cleaning out the ex WWOOFER caravan preparing it for it's new purpose I came across some books that I had collected for our worker's to read. They have been sorted through and those that are no longer wanted have found their way to the decluttering box. They will go to the op shop along with the other items at the end of the month.
Joining in with Rhonda for a decluttering challenge.


  1. I just love what you have achieved at Purple Pear.I imagine when you first started out it must have been daunting , but you have achieved something really special.I really understood how you felt when the customer rang you to tell you what he was cooking - because your payment isnt just in money , your payment is knowing that you have influenced and changed someone's life for the better .I am feeling really tempted to plant out corn - when do you and mark plant it?

    1. Thanks Kim for your lovely comment. We will plant our corn once things warm up a bit and when the frosts have finished. They don't need the growing time of tomatoes and need to be planted out more quickly than tomatoes.

  2. Love the look of all those healthy vegetables! I bet it was a lovely surprise to receive that call, it makes all your time and effort worthwhile. I am glad to hear everything is falling into place for you and I cant believe you have tomatoes plants growing already. That is something I have trouble growing...

    I was planning my spring garden, but have been disappointed again with another big water bill. I am reconsidering my garden. I am racking my brain trying to think of water saving ways to keep it going. I hope to find an answer soon before the warm weather really starts, and that is not too far away :)

    1. Thanks Tania. The phone call was a lovely surprise. And yes water is a big problem for us also. We have put in a new dam so hopefully things will be better for us for irrigation. Good lick with your garden.

  3. Yes Kate. Planning, dreaming..... Drooling over seed catalogues. I'm hopeless especially when it comes to names like Wapsipinicon Peach tomato, French Charentais rockmelon.... oh the possibilities!!!

  4. ....i think i need to visit more regularly for some tips on winter growing...this winter I struggle with the peas, spinach...fennel is staying small (I think something has eaten the bulbs...)...the onions look good...but I'm thankful for the nasturtiums that give colour....

  5. Love reading about what you're up to Kate and what's happening in the garden. How satisfying and encouraging to have a call from one of your customers. Makes all the hard work worthwhile.......
    I'm keen to get home and get into the garden, always inspired after visiting your blog.

    Claire from Canada!