Organic Gardening – Trial & Errors

Today I dug for potatoes.  I thought, maybe there might be something there?  And by god there was!  About a month ago I pulled up one shoot only to see the teeniest little spud growing.  Mike assured me we should wait a lot longer.  After this tragic realisation, I had a flash back to that time I dug up my dead guinea pig.screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-21-30-amscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-18-57-amscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-19-33-amscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-19-47-amscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-22-17-amscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-19-59-amI had thought at the time, that it might be a “dinosaur” (it was 2 weeks post burial).  I was around 8-9 years old (My shovel hit something and when I pulled it out from the earth there was guinea pig skin all wet and sticking to the shovel.  My 4 sisters were screaming at me, and I think they all still consider me a terrible monster for digging in the first place!  Anyway, clearly the lesson was not learned.

I’m still impatient.

We’ve now dug up a medium sized bowl full of all sizes of the glorious spuds.  These were planted in about September.  We had a potato in our pantry that had grown eyes and lots of shoots at the time.  I segmented it into separate parts for each shoot and dug them into our pallet garden bed.  Seriously stoked, each time I dug into the dark soil – there was another pale nugget!

We’ve learned the hard way not to plant sweet corn near our tomato plants as they attract a moth that lays it’s ravenous little babies (whom especially love the corn but also enjoy green tomatoes).  To combat this issue naturally, Mike trimmed the tomato plants at the base up to 12 inches from the ground.  He also did a thorough scan for the caterpillars and “eliminated” them.  I think he fed them to the fish tank…

Initially Wesley and I would spend about 10 minutes a day weeding in the garden.  We did this for about 3 weeks.  Now, there are very few weeds to pull and it’s all become quite an easy process.  To be honest though, I found weeding quite therapeutic (at least this standing version anyway – probably wouldn’t have been so keen bending down).

Most of the other plants have grown exceptionally well (bar the capsicum and chilli – they seem to be awaiting warmer weather).

A few months back I harvested the seeds from the coriander, sage and thyme plants.  I then trimmed them down.  They all have continued to flourish – and I’ve noticed even now the sage is flowering again!  It’s quite a stunning plant, and looks great in the batch we have growing.

The herbs we have successfully grown:

Coriander, Thyme, Sage, Lemon Grass, Rosemary, Italian Parsley, Broad Leaved Parsley, Watercress, Chives, Rocket and Basil.

Plants that we’ve grown or are in the midst of waiting:

Eggplant, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Sweet Corn, Kale, Lettuce, Capsicum, Silver Beet, Beetroot, Chilli Plants, Capsicum, Strawberries, Apple Seeds, Lemon Seeds, Radishes, Fennel, Spinach, Perpetual Spinach, Baby Carrots, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Red Onions & Leeks.

Total failures:

  1. Mint.  Which is pretty odd considering the stuff grows like a weed everywhere else!
  2. Avocado.  These have been in water waiting to grow for months.  Either we’re doing something totally wrong or the seeds aren’t good for germinating.  Has anyone reading ever sprouted an avocado before?  Mike’s brother managed to get some sprouting in a humid glass house…but we don’t yet have one of those.

Dear reader what natural strategies do you use to manage pests?  Do you have a preferred vegetable that you enjoy growing each season?

Ps: Yup, I wear overalls now.  Haha, my sister really despises them – but who cares! Ever since Wesley was born I’ve found them to be the best thing to roll around and get messy in.

14 thoughts on “Organic Gardening – Trial & Errors

  1. Awesome potato haul you guys! My avocado has been on the window sill for months it’s split but I’m waiting for anything to come from it I’ve heard it takes ages.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Kat, I heard it can take a long time as well. Though some of the youtube videos we watched also commented on using kind of rotten avocados as they sprout fast. So far this method has totally not worked… hmmm more patience is in order I think for now. I had one in the window for 4 months and nothing was happening. I’ll have to get a shot of Glens for comparison.


  2. Here in Queensland we have those huge monster grasshoppers that will devour anything green on a plant before you’re very eyes. In the last I have tried spraying to kill, but the only thing that works is pretty bloody carcinogenic; so that is out, I have tried preventative spraying with oils and neem;the grasshoppers laugh, I have been brutal and murderous for a few seasons doing a gory catch and kill;not so good for the soul, so this past spring and summer I have done decided to ensure my life philosophy of peace and harmony and balance be respected in every part of my garden space And………. at the appearance of the first monster, I went out and stood beside him or her and established eye contact. Truly the creature developed a look of surprise in those cold insect eyes, and we had a conversation whereby I acknowledged his right to exist and feed and also that my garden had a right to exist and grow. I put it out there that I was willing to coexist with a reasonable number of his species and other pest species as long as balance was maintained
    The result so far is a pretty healthy garden this summer with the exception of a mega attack of mealie bugs on two hibiscus. But this time I talked to the good guy ladybug and their mealiebug harvesting pupae stage and balance appears to be restored.
    I still am struck at the surprise on that grasshoppers face when I sat down to talk to it not kill it.
    And now perhaps you are sure I am totally crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely hilarious!! ahha I can totally imagine this entire process. There is a movement called #permaculture that actually describes perfectly that you’re saying here. Observing nature and working with it to achieve a balance in your garden is a really huge advantage when you master it. There are some plants and insects that work together to help sort out pests. Also chickens would be all over those bugs if you have any? In Australia we had to constantly combat the too hot sun. A lot of our food struggled to grow. For now we’re hand picking the caterpillars but next year we’ll plant the corn elsewhere and have a “sacrificial” crop somewhere too. ahha…bugs gotta eat!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yes I love the permaculture ideals and methods. Normally that is my style but the grasshoppers had me in a tail spin for a few years
    My maternal Pa, a WWI Gallipoli medical corp veteran ( I come from a long line of pacifist on both side) used permaculture design long before the name was formulated and fed his whole street of neighbours and a couple of families around who had nothing during the Depression and then post WWII on a house plot on the side of Mt Albert in Auckland. He is my and my brother hero even though he is long gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Obviously I live in a different climate zone
    but I can’t keep my mint under control.
    I don’t use pesticides also but am able
    to get good crops.The trick is to plant
    plants that keep bugs off each other.
    The farmers almanac or internet will help.
    Good luck
    Uncle John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes the farmers almanac is pretty helpful. I found their website recently and have used a few tricks that they recommend. You always have a nice garden growing. I recall seeing sprouts there for the first time and was fascinated by the way the are presented on the plant.



    Just for fun I also tried to sprout an Avocado Seed and the tree has lived for two years although I did almost kill it by taking it outside into the bright son. Mine took two months or more to sprout but in the above link you can see a photo of the tree. I got my seed from an over ripe Avocado in the grocery store not organic and this seed was from Mexico.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Jolynn, i love that post. Your avocado is quite impressive in size! Truth be told since I wrote this post, our one seed has mad some major development in it’s growing progress. It too was a “rotten” seed that was going off badly in an avocado bought on the fritz. We read it was best to try when they are beginning to really rot as they sprout faster. Voila. It’s cracked really deeply and is now looking like a root is forming. I hope you’re able to grow a beautiful tree for your family and future generations. I can’t get enough of avocados and wee man too loves them. Thanks so much for sharing your tree – it’s wonderful. And I too agree on the magic of seeds, the life they bring and renew in their own time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t remember how I stumbled on your blog but I love hearing about what you get up to and your beautiful photos.
    If you are wanting to grow the avocado to get a fruiting tree you are better off buying a grafted plant – these fruit much faster than trees grown from seed. No advice if you’re just growing it for the fun of growing something from a seed!
    I have trouble with mint too. It seems determined to get rust and die.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Emma, thank you for taking the time to come around and share your advice on avocados. I’ll have to look at where we can buy a grafted plant. Mike and I (and Wesley too) all love avocados and would love to have our own tree one day to pick and share from. I wonder what it is with the mint…haha must know it’s going to end up in the blender with my smoothies! We have had a little progress with our avocado seed – the really rotten one seems to be growing now and it’s all just become a little more exciting in the kitchen ahah.


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