RTBG Thursday 5th March 2021

In the Food Garden at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG), the Giant Atlantic pumpkin story is reducing.  Now only one large and growing ‘beast’ remains – not affected by rot on its base or having been moved accidentally by human touch (as if – it would weigh very heavy). One of our Food Garden volunteers especially ‘sat’ for this photo to give a sense of scale – but please note readers, this is not an example of what visitors might do.  The pumpkin might be large and heavy but its existence is precarious and its life vulnerable.

A smaller variety of pumpkins are expanding and, when ready, will make a tasty dish for those who receive the benefits of the charity which disperses produce from this garden.

As usual the first job for the day was harvesting; beans and tomatoes and more were collected for charity.

Then we tackled the two big jobs for the day. Neil and Robyn chose the hard and heavy task of digging out horseradish. I recall doing this in the past and it was hard, hard work because the roots extend deeply and, as well as being impossible to pull, resist being dug out.  I was impressed with their commitment, dedication and then the result – and empty seeming bed.  From experience, we all know that portions of the roots remain down below and before long green shoots will appear back on the surface and keep spreading.  All of this suggests good reasons to plant horseradish in a pot and not directly in the ground!

The rest of us snipped the hellebore plants to ground level below the heavily laden mulberry tree (clearly visitors had helped themselves and the only edible fruit was visible high up away from tall reaching fingers) and dug out the weeds which had been hiding beneath their leaves.

In a couple of joyous interludes we watched a mother duck training her eight ducklings in the pathways of our garden and then heading off towards water.  At times we watched in concern when one adventurous duckling bravely (or foolishly) would get distracted and become separated. The squeaky tweety cheeps from the tiny bird as it navigated through a dense forest of plants,  reached our ears so we felt confident the mother duck knew her recalcitrant child was still around.

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