I returned from Sydney on Sunday to pumpkin, cucumber, tomato and basil plants that were shrivelled and dead or dying. You see, while I was frolicking in the sun at the Sydney Biennale, Hobart experienced the first snow for the year.
Winter is coming, the happy times are over.
Ok, maybe I sound a bit macabre, but that's how it feels. The days are so short that I can no longer see the vegies to pick when I come home, let alone garden at 9pm (which I enjoyed in the peak of summer). I've never been successful with winter vegie growing, although maybe that has to do with my method of gardening. Polystyrene boxes are great for moving plants around to take full advantage of sun/rain/wind; however, things take so long to grow in winter, and I just am not quite as enthusiastic and the plants consequently would historically suffer quite a bit of neglect.
This winter I plan to be more organised, more enthusiastic, and try a bit harder. After all, I have an entire backyard begging to be used. So on Sunday, I covered everything in blood and bone (which the dog was later caught munching on. Etch); I pulled up and composted the beans and pumpkin and cleared the weeds, dug in mushroom compost into the pumpkin and bean beds where I will plant cabbages/ broccoli in the latter and garlic/onion/ potatoes in the former.
For the first time in my life I've been confronted with the need to practice crop rotation. I've never rented a house for more than 16 months in a row really, so crop rotation was not really an issue. It's quite confusing, as the crop rotation 'groups' are not the same as companion planting 'groups'. I'm not much of a planner so it's proving quite hard to manage.
The one thing I have planned though, is the row of fruit trees that will be down the back of the yard, along the southern boundary so the vegie beds aren't shaded. I've ordered from Stoneman's Nursery in Glenorchy a Granny Smith/ Pink Lady tree, a Greengage/Golden drop plum tree, an apricot tree, a Japanese plum, a Stella/White Cherry Tree, and a white nectarine. I tried to order a Plumcot, which is a divine apricot/plum hybrid, but apparently it wasn't available after all. Booo...
Now to weed the back beds in preparation for the trees... [groan]