April 2023 in the Garden

by Corinne Mossati

April is a bit of a non-event. The month is peppered with public holidays, Easter and Anzac Day and whatever one can squeeze in between to extend the time off work. Looking back at April 2023 in the garden, I can sum it up with one word: caged.

April 2023 in the Garden

April 2023 in The Gourmantic Garden – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

The battle with whatever was digging up my garden has come to a temporary (?) truce. The aviary mesh over the raised planters has worked and although it’s not a pretty sight, I can live with it for the time being.

Another method I used was to cover any remaining eggplant and chillis with clamshell punnets for protection. The other addition was two drop over greenhouses over the two main beds which, much to my surprise, has helped in deterring the culprits for now. It could well be that cutting off their food supply had something to do with it.

April 2023 in the Garden

Black Capsicum

Black Capsicum – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Cucamelons are producing prolifically and this time, I will leave the tubers in once the plants have died down. Hopefully they won’t rot and I they’ll spring back to life next season. Capsicums and chillis have been downsized in preparation for overwintering. It resulted with a beautiful black capsicum and I am so enamoured with it.

The Bok Choy family is doing well under exclusion netting. Larger brassicas are taking their time to develop along with kohlrabi. Garlic and peas are coming along nicely and the broad beans are well established.

Germination of root vegetables such as beetroot and carrots have been a bit of a hit and miss. For the last planting, I decided to sprinkle a lot of seeds, cover them with a wet towel and leave them to it.

This season, I decided not to grow winter tomatoes, a wise decision that is giving me and the soil a little break. The space designated for winter tomatoes is a haven of bee activity with the African blue basil flowers providing colour, nectar and habitat.

Life with the Vegepods

April 2023 in the Garden Life in the Vegepod

Life in the Vegepod – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Life in the Vegepod is brimming with kale, chard, spinach and leafy greens. I use it for those “plant and forget” crops and end up forgetting to lift the lid every so often.  Meanwhile, the vegepod kitchen garden has been revamped with fresh soil and planted with lettuce and coriander seedlings I purchased from a garden centre. It’s looking splendid and I can’t wait for them to grow and fill up the spaces.

Greenhouse Successes

The greenhouse on the balcony is now home to four pandan pups and the mother plant, chilli and capsicum seedlings that have been slow to grow but will hopefully give me a head start next season. I’ve also successfully propagated star jasmine from a cutting, passionfruit from seed and currently trialling propagating samphire and native oregano.

April 2023 in the Garden: Australian Natives

Boobialla Flowers April 2023 in the Garden

Boobialla Flowers – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

The Australian native section has welcomed new additions, chocolate lily and murnong. They’re growing in 20cm pots for the time being. The new Geraldton wax is sadly showing signs of rust and the native oregano is turning brown and crispy for no apparent reason. I’ve been collecting some branches and drying the leaves in a cool, dry spot in anticipation of losing the plant.

Meanwhile Warrigal greens have self seeded everywhere, old man saltbush is thriving as well native thyme and Atherton raspberry. Boobialla or native juniper is flowering again and the lemon scented gum growing in a pot is soaring to great heights.

News and Looking Ahead

Sustainable Gardener Award

In other news, I was delighted that my Claytons Compost was runner up in the Sustainable Gardener Award in the Grow It Local Awards. Last year, I won first prize in the Best Veggie Patch Name category. Sustainability is very close to my heart and a way of life at home, in the garden and the home bar. The judge said some wonderful words:

Corinne’s entry shows that it’s possible to create your own compost even in a tiny courtyard. Creating your own compost is an important step in gardening more sustainably as it’s taking food and garden waste that would otherwise have been taken off-site and making it into something valuable for your garden, all through the forces of nature. I also love how Corinne inspires by sharing tips on how together started.”

May should be a quiet time in the garden. It’s also my birth month and the two year anniversary of the date my Botanical Beverages segment aired on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia. Time for celebration!

Shrubs & Botanical Sodas Covermore

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