Saturday, 1 June 2013

Autumn audit - '13

Each season I do a summary to reflect on what has happened in the patch. Here is my autumn 2013 summary - the first autumn in our new rural patch. But first an explanation for those from outside Australia - we define our seasons here by calendar months - so autumn here is March, April and May.

Phew, thank goodness for the cool of autumn. Summer was exhaustingly hot and so we were so grateful for the coolness that autumn brings. We had good rain in March and again in May but April was achingly dry. Our first frost was in late May and then it was only relatively light. In the whole of autumn we have only had two frosty mornings.

Growing for the first time
  • Parsnips -They seems to be growing ok, but it's hard to tell with root crops until you pull them.  As the soil is still developing I think they will be pretty short roots, but I love parsnips and I as sure I will enjoy eating them no matter what size they are.
  • Brussels Sprouts -  I bought a punnet of Brussels just to give them a go. I never really liked Brussels until I had them fresh from a garden in Lincolnshire, UK. They were wonderful and I hope mine will be too. I can just see the little sprouts starting to form on the stems. It's fun to grow new things.
  • Raspberries -  But they have just gone in so no reflections yet.
Finally getting success with
Garlic -  I have attempted to grow garlic before but it has been pretty unsuccessful. This year I have taken it more seriously. I have about 40 cloves in  - most are Monaro Purple and a few are the sprouted cloves from some locally grown garlic I buy for cooking purposes. I figure seeing it's locally grown it might do ok here. I think they are doing well -  certainly they have more growth on them that I have ever had before. The difference this year is that they are getting more water and they are getting more of a feed.  I also have them in a bed all together. Previously I have used them as a gap filler crop  meaning that they kind of got lost in the garden and didn't get the attention they deserved.

Plants I am really enjoying
Red drumhead cabbage -  their red-blueness is just stunning beautiful in the bed.

Brussels Sprouts - growing them for the first time is kind of quietly exciting - but I'm a bit odd.

Blueberries -the beautiful colours of their autumn leaves.

Fennel - I love the fine fluffy foliage as a break to all that brassica-ness.

Broad beans - popping their heads out of the soil.

Things I am really enjoying
The way rain beads on brassicas.

 Spiders webs on the fence lines.

The way mist hangs in the valleys.

Chickens encountering wildlife, wildlife encountering chickens.

Cabbage White butterflies and their grubs - strangely no cabbage white moths, not one, consequently I have very tidy looking brassicas, that is where they haven't been nipped by the chickens.

Aphids -  loads of aphids but only on the Savoy cabbages.

Things that chickens like too much!

Cauliflower plants - they totally ate three of them pecking thru the plastic mesh I had erected to exclude them.

Any of the onion family - lost a whole bed of onions and half a row of leeks to the chooky girls!

Beetroot leaves and rocket - they harmlessly graze on those protruding the chicken exclusion fence

Do yourself a favour - take a drive to Adelong
Just a little recommendation for you... you really must drive the Snowy Mountains Highway from the Hume to Adelong in autumn, the autumn colour of the deciduous trees is outstanding. The golden poplars along the road and then a riot of  colour in  pretty  little Adelong.

What's happened in your garden this autumn?


  1. Chickens vs kangaroo- love it! Who won?

    1. It was very funny to watch. I don't think either animal had seen the other before. They were both interested in each other (kind of as indicated in the photo) but they kept a distance and went on their merry way. The chookies did do a lot of 'talking' to each other as they passed.

  2. be sure to stop at the old pub and have some cake and coffee in adelong DELICIOUS!!!

    1. Ah, someone who knows Adelong. Yes, that pub is quite well known for its coffee and cake.

  3. I'm growing brussel sprouts for the first time this year too. I haven't got any little sprouts yet and a couple of the plants have been suffering from a lot of aphid damage. I'm hoping the cooler weather will keep them at bay now though.

    1. Damn aphids! It is still my savoys only that are affected. Very strange.

  4. SA has been in winter for some time now - tried brussel sprouts in winter and summer, they make little sprouts but they don't swell out and become hard and inedible - so gave up on those :) Trying leafy greens in winter now as we have massive bolting issues in summer with them and we are trying green manure this season as well :)

    1. Oh that's bad luck. I hope I get some sprouts.

  5. I love that photo of your property with (I assume) the late afternoon sun on it. It looks so beautiful. You're in the Monaro aren't you? I've never been there, but there's something about that draws me. I really must visit the area!

    Were your chickens OK when they ate the leek and onions? I've read that they aren't good for chickens, but mine have attacked my garlic plants before and seemed to survive without incident.

    1. Oh thank you. Yes, it is late afternoon sun - I love afternoon light. We are not on the Monaro, we are on the other side of the mountains, between Gundagai and Adelong just off the Snowy Mountains Highway. It is lovely here and so is the Monaro - it is striking in its high bleakness.

      My chickens were fine! They love the onion family. And I have recently red that garlic in their water and in a mash is great for worming.

  6. The mist looks amazing. I love when wildlife the don't usually see each other first meet. We stopped in the country with the dog who couldn't get away fast enough from the local cows :o)

    Good luck with all your goodies



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