Tuesday, August 9, 2011


There is a touch of Spring in the air that I have felt in the past week or so.  The first tree in our village to blossom every year, began blossoming a few days ago. Spring is on it's way.

I have spent a few hours here and there planning for our  warmer weather garden. Without a greenhouse there is not a lot going on in the garden at this time of year. Something we hope to change in the future, but until then we must work with the seasons. With the not uncommon November frosts, it can become a little tricky.

listing and doodling

Deadlines are closing very soon for my fruit tree order, so this is highest in the list of priorities right now. Last year we planted four heirloom apple varieties (Lord Lambourne, King of the Pippins, Granny Smith and Laxton's Superb) . We also planted a plum and peach (courtesy of a local charity stall, so no indication of the variety, but you can be guaranteed that they are hardy in the local conditions) and a persimmon.

This year I am hoping to add a mulberry, apricot, more peaches and plums, a cherry, pear trees, quince, chesnut and olive trees.  This all sounds highly ambitious, doesn't it?  Although last year we planted over 140 plants for a mixed privacy hedge around our property. That was hard work. But I do feel that the sooner we get these varieties in, the sooner we can be harvesting home grown fruit. Which was one of the reasons we originally moved here for. With the rising cost of produce and uncertainty of growers, we are very eager to plant as much as possible for the future.

pages from the above vintage book

balancing budgets

I am also pondering which vegetable seeds to order this year.  Certain seeds planted last year were very successful ( golden zucchini, paris market carrots, kale, red frilly lettuce, broccoli), but some were not (onions, cauliflower, sage, to name a few).

Green Harvest catalogue

I prefer older  and generally hardier heirloom varieties for fruit and vegetables. Besides it is far more interesting and satisfying knowing that you are helping a variety to survive and thrive in this day and age of supermarket varieties, where they often sell only one or two varieties, often dictated more by their shelf life than their taste.

Here are some links to good heirloom sites that I have used. There are other good sites out there, but these I have used personally.

Fruit trees :-
  • Yalca Fruit Trees - they have a large variety of apples and other fruit and nut trees. Also a berry selection.
  • Stun's Sail Boom River Nursery - on Kangaroo Island. I bought my apple trees there last year and they were perfectly healthy, a good size, and have thrived here.
For seeds and other supplies :-
  •   Green Harvest - suppliers of seeds, plants and books. Good catalogue.
  • Eden Seeds - a really huge variety available. I love reading their catalogues.
  • Greenpatch - another excellent organic seed, plant and book supplier.
  • The Lost Seed - many rare varieties and from a cold climate, which is perfectly suited for planting here.
Garden Express - which has more general plant supplies is another company I order from. Not only for ornamentals, they also stock seed potatoes, berries, fruit trees and treelings (which is great for the budget).
    Do you have plans for an edible spring garden? If so, what are you putting in this year?


    1. how exciting! I remember running through my grandparents orchard when I was young - happy memories.

    2. I was raised on homegrown produce but sadly am seriously lacking in the green thumb department...though I do try. The kids grew basil, cherry tomatoes and strawberries earlier this year and we are currently discussing a herb/vegie garden. My mother in law is an avid gardener and arrives tomorrow so I shall be picking her brains and if lucky enough will make a start during her stay with us.

      We have black olive trees growing in our back yard but I have no idea how to harvest them..will need to google.
      Thanks for sharing the links, I'm going to check them out.

      Happy planting Tania :)


    3. Aww, look at your beautiful writing and iillustrations!

      The last couple of years has seen us plant fruit trees (I love heirloom apples!), and though we have plans for more, we've run out of energy somehow. I too am impatient to get them all in, because it will take a few years before we get any fruit from them!

      This year I am focusing more on quality, than variety, when it comes to planting out seeds. I want things that grow well, eat well, preserve well, or store well. I do have a rather large collection of seeds though (107 varieties!) and it will be tempting to throw things in for 'fun'. I need the room for things I know do well...

    4. You have me itching to get out into the garden now too! Only a week and a half now until we get the keys to the new house. The garden is not high on hubby's list of priorities, given that we first need to replace the ceiling and roof of the house!! But I plan on spending whatever time I can in the garden and slowly making it our own. I have a very long list of things I would love to grow. Thanks for the links to the suppliers. Best of luck this growing season. :)

    5. Love your illustrations, beautiful. I blogged about my latest seed delivery - need to go through the seed box and make sure I get thing in on time. Going to try loofah and mangelwurzel just because they're kooky. Lots of stuff self seeding now which is great - don't need to plant - celery, coriander, parsley, lettuce, silverbeet or yellow cherry tomatoes....

    6. That is one impressive doodle. And I've seen a few in my time. I just checked the forecast for my visit this weekend. -6 Sat night - yay! Brrrr.

    7. Isn't it exciting planning your very own orchard? We've planted lots of fruit trees over the last 2 or 3 years - Pomegranates, Olives, Oranges, Mandarins, Lemons, Limes, White Nectarine, Black Mulberry and a White Shahtoot Mulberry - and we already had an apricot, 6 apples and a peach tree.
      Oh yeah - we planted a Loquat too.
      This year - we will do some sort of cherry, a pistachio and a chestnut.

      I had trouble growing onions from seed too - so I tried little seedlings the following year and we had a fantastic harvest. I was surprised they take 8 months to grow!! And my sage just sat there for the first 2 years then took off.

      Here's something you might be interested in - white strawberries.
      They are divine!

    8. Hi Tania. Have you tried the Italian Gardener? I have had great success with their seeds. Really hardy varieties. I've been held up with general tree planting so now more orchard trees this year but my favourite is the very old fig tree we have and you get two crops!

    9. I love seeing other peoples plans, lists, sketches. Your sketches are lovely by the way!

      I have been trying to sketch botanicals but it doesn't come so easy for me, still fun to try!

      good luck with your garden!

      xox, C

    10. Thanks for the link Alison - just put a small order in.

    11. Your talk of spring is a painful reminder of how quickly my summer is drawing to a close.

      Garden planning is exciting. Almost as exciting as the harvesting!

      When we purchase a home (we're saving for it now!) I cannot wait to plant fruit trees.

      Excellent sketch by the way.


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