Autumn seedlings are in the ground

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Purple sprouting broccoli seedling

We’ve had more luck with our seed raising this year, and last week I transplanted a whole pile of seedlings out into the garden. The beds are looking pretty bare at the moment, but we have a huge crop ahead of us:

  • Carrots
  • Silverbeets
  • Turnips
  • Snow peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Peas
  • Leeks
  • Beetroots
  • Spring onions
    • green
    • red
  • Kale
    • green
    • tuscan black
    • red russian
  • Broccoli
    • purple sprouting
    • di cicco
    • romanesco
    • chinese (broccolini)
  • Cabbages
    • mini
    • chinese
    • red
    • sugarloaf

That should keep us going for a while! This time around, I’ve avoided mass planting, and have instead mixed everything together (except the root vegetables). Hopefully I’ve got the spacing right, but only time will tell…

Chinese cabbage gone to seed

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Chinese cabbage, gone to seed

We planted about eight chinese cabbages, grown from seed. Most of them we ate, even if we had to fight it out with the slugs for the meals.

With the warming weather, however, a number of the cabbages bolted straight to seed. No matter, a good opportunity to seed save for next year.

Like broccolini, the plants grow to an immense size, with a profusion of yellow flowers much loved by bees. I let a pair got to seed together, to make sure they pollinated successfully, and the seed pods are already growing.

We’ve got a small jar of broccolini seeds. I suspect we’ll have the same for chinese cabbages. Drop by and we’ll share some when they’re ready…

Broccolini going to seed

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Broccoli in flower is an impressive sight
Broccoli in flower is an impressive sight

While we were away on holiday, the biggest of our broccolini plants bolted to seed. As you can see above, it’s quite a sight! This seemed like an ideal opportunity to practice our seed saving for the first time.

Important tip:

Reading up the Seed Savers Handbook, I discovered that broccoli is self-sterile. That is, you need bees to spread pollen between more than one plant for seeds to form. You then let the seeds form on the plant, cut the whole lot out, and let it dry inside.

In this case, my timing was a bit out. One plant was flowering profusely, while the others were still catching up. I’ve stopped harvesting the rest of the broccolini, and hopefully this will get enough plants flowering at the same time to generate some seeds. I’ll report back.

No shortage of flowers (and bees)
No shortage of flowers (and bees)

Our current crop of greens

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The last few day's harvest: plenty of sugar snap peas, snow peas and broccoli
The last few day's harvest: plenty of sugar snap peas, snow peas and broccoli

This is what we harvested from the garden over the last few days. There are four or five good handfuls of sugar snap peas and snow peas, plus a few modest heads of broccoli and broccolini. The broccoli is just coming into its own, so I expect we’ll have quite a lot of this over the coming fortnight.

As it is, this is more than enough to keep the two of us stocked up on green vegetables. And this is without harvesting the pak choy and silverbeet, which is ready and waiting. I might also pick out the two weakest heads of chinese cabbage this week, to give us something to eat, and to leave more space for the remaining plants.