How does my garden grow? 32



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meadowWith silver beet, broad beans green and blue borage all in a row

Yes, this was the veggie patch in winter, and there was more: parsley and beetroot, kale, broccoli and fennel. Unfortunately, the cauliflower seedlings were savaged by snails, but everything else flourished and kept us fed throughout winter.

Now, with the warmer spring weather, I am getting rid of the parsley that is going to seed, have pulled out the straggly broad beans and the borage. I have had so many bees to the garden thanks to the row of borage at the back – all of which were self seeded and I had enough to give away to friends and plant into other pots on the terrace.

I love the way the herbs start flowering in spring and now the parsley and lemon grass are covered in flowers but I am not allowing them to go to seed especially the parsley which tends to spread and take over. I was ruthless with the fennel as well and only kept two little bulbs which are fattening up fast. For the first time most of the garlic has survived and I am looking forward to harvesting my first crop in a couple of months. I have planted tomatoes and basil and yesterday noticed that the eggplant has produced a few fruit as well. More good things to look forward to with the beetroot almost ready for harvesting.

This year I let my wheelbarrow (which is choc a bloc with herbs and edible flowers) do its own thing. It is now looking like a small meadow crowded with flourishing growth and spots of colour from the chives, nasturtiums, borage and rosemary all in flower along with the trailing native violets spilling over the sides – It is a delight not just to the eyes, but the bees are loving it as well. I guess I will have to replace the soil and replant it at the end of summer, but for the moment I am enjoying looking at it and all it produces.

I have enjoyed cooking with cauliflowers this year as they are in plenty right now and cheap. I usually save the stalks and leaves and use them in soups and have recently tried roasting a whole head of cauliflower brushed over with a spiced yoghurt mixture- this was delicious and an easy to do dinner, which I served up with a spiced split pea sauce which made a great vegetarian dinner.

Do you keep a garden? Do you grow your own vegetables? Would you like to start? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Kumar Pereira

Born in Sri Lanka, Kumar studied typographic design at the London College of Printing. After working in London he lived in Hong Kong for 18 years. He left Hong Kong for Australia in 1988 and lives and works in Sydney. He has worked in publishing in Sydney before joining Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW Design Centre, Enmore where he was Senior Head Teacher Graphic design, until 2007. In 2011 he was a contestant in MasterChef Australia, series 3 where he made it to the top 12. In 2012 he was part of MasterChef All Stars. In addition to design and cooking his interests include gardening, walking and illustration and travel. His Book ‘Kumar’s Family Cookbook’ was published by Allen & Unwin, Australia in May 2013 and is available in Australia and internationally. ‘Paletteables’ a set of 6 illustrated cards with cooking suggestions was published in March 2014 and is available at select stores and online;

  1. With the price of vegies these days good for Kumar growing his own vegies more of us should do it.

  2. We have tomatoes and apple cucumbers in out veggie garden atm. Lettuces never seem to grow!!!

    1 REPLY
    • We have chooks silky bantams actually, their droppings in the compost makes for an excellent fertiliser. Plants love it, hope this info is of use to you.

  3. My husband tried a couple of years ago. We fed the bugs as we did not want to spray. The only thing that flourished were the tomatoes. We supplied the whole street for months. When our neighbours started avoiding us when they saw us coming with more tomatoes we thought the time had come to give up trying to be gardeners. Now buy our meager supplies from the Fruit and Veg shop.

  4. We have tomatoes & capsicums in a tiny little space …. Lettuces & mint parsley & basil …. Also have a pot full of lemongrass! Sounds like an odd combination but we have great salads lol !!

  5. Yes. Maybe when I don’t travel around as much I will have a little patch with carrot & capsicum .
    I have bananas.
    I will also get a dog, maybe save a senior & either 2 little birds or fish. Something to look at and care for when not going out much.

  6. Yes grow our own Lebanese cucumber spring onions spinach garlic we do it in five plastic box’s that you get from the green grocers and it work just moved to retirement Village only been there eight months so doing well

  7. I used to grow all sorts of vegetables, fruit and herbs. Even wrote my own herb book. With only myself to look after and suffering chronic back pain, it is no longer viable to get my hands dirty. One of the many activities that is not only healthy but a joy to engage in. I am envious of anyone who can nurture and maintain a veggie patch.

  8. Two types of tomato, lettuce, rocket, cucumber, strawberries, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, chives, lavender, I eat lots of green salads in summer. And the oregano is spreading everywhere.

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