Saturday, 20 April 2013

The garden in mid-April - Roots and shoots

In this the fourth  and last instalment of my garden in mid-April, I will focus on the roots and shoots I have in my patch this autumn / winter growing season.
My seed bed: L-R  - Radish, Rocket, Beetroot
I fell in love with the parsnip when living in Blighty. They were a different vegetable in Britain  sweet and tender and we ate them regularly but back in Australia I didn't find them as appealing.

This is the very first time I am attempting parsnips. I  never wanted to try when I was living in Sydney believing that a good frost was probably necessary to really make them deliciously sweet. So now we are living in the bush in a place that will definitely get a frost, I thought it was time to take the plunge and try my hand.

I am trying Hollow Crown from seed and have had no trouble in raising two rows. They seem to be growing well at least above the ground, but I suspect that my soil isn't good enough yet, or deep enough to get a great result.  Still I am happy with their progress so far.  When there is a little more room in the patch, I will be putting another row or two in.

I love beetroot.  I love the plant and love the root and eat it pickled, baked, boiled, grated and I find them so easy to grow.  This year I have had more difficulty than usual. You see it seems that Wallabies love beetroot too and as a result they grazed off two of my plantings of beetroot. The plants miraculously survived and I am now gradually pulling the roots that developed.

Radish were another favourite of the Wallaby and over summer we had hardly any of the crop. With the Wallaby excluded now I have a row that is being picked  and grazed on by us and some other creature why is taking off some of the red skin making them a bit spotty.

Yes, I know, not really a root more a swollen leaf base, but not sure where else to put it.  Not everyone's favourite, I have grown fennel for many years now and love them best from the garden.  I probably have about 30 in the patch at three different stages.

Here are two little fellas growing side by side - I obviously missed thinning it out.

Notice something missing?  "What, no carrots!", I hear you say. Yes, it is true, another vegetable I have never really managed to grow...

It's another of the things that are just so encouraging to grow because they are so simple. I have also discovered that the chooky girls like to graze on the rocket thru the veggie garden fence which is fine by me.

L-R: Muriel and Mavis being distracted from the rocket
Try as I might though, I couldn't get a photo with them actually pecking it, they must have found a bug in the grass.

Snow peas
One of my all time favourite things to grow and eat, my snow peas this year are a little disappointing  I suspect its the soil - it is still pretty average.  Nonetheless I am getting a pick.

Sugar snap peas
I am trying these this year for the first time.  I was inspired by Daphne's haul of sugar snaps and had to give them a go.

They are only just starting to produce now - I have had a small pick which, when combined with the snow peas, was enough for greens for two for a meal - early days yet.

So that's more or less my garden in mid-April. How is yours going?


  1. What a great snapshot of your April garden. Mine is very much in a between state, with the last of the summer crops - still a few tomatoes, eggplants and corn going, plus the melons and a few strawberries here and there - and the beginnings of winter crops - kale, cabbages, caulis, broccoli etc, plus beetroot, sweede, the garlic is just putting up green shoots, a few peas, the apples ripening. I would say though, grow carrots! Homegrown carrots are a world above shop bought any day.

  2. You have more seasonal crops to harvest than me. I am harvesting mostly chillies and capsicum at the moment. I have to admit to actually quite liking shop bought carrots and find that the ones I grow are often disappointing - I suspect because it doesn't get quite cold enough here to sweeten them nicely. As a consequence I don't plant them very often. I did sow some parsnip seed recently because I too want to give that a go and they are very expensive to buy - $8.99 kg seems expensive to me...

  3. Its interesting how you can experience a food grown/cooked differently in another country and enjoy it. I have never really enjoyed parsnips probably because of the way they were cooked and served when I was a child. Its a veggie I really should try to grow and as we always have frost......Your Autumn garden is looking quite a picture, good luck with your sugar snap peas they are always a treat!
    I'm still waiting for rain before I can get into my garden.....Still I have planty of eggplants & sweet peppers.



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