Summer in the Food Garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) is a delight.
Fruit and vegetables are ripening a plenty as can be seen by today’s harvest collected for charity: tomatoes galore of many types, a variety of beans, zucchinis, plump yellow squash and bunches and bunches of the aromatic herb basil. As usual, Tony did an excellent job picking the fresh produce. In the first photo he can be seen hunting for beans (hop bush with flowers in the foreground to the right).
Some of the basil before cropping was growing happily.
The garden jobs today included the deforestation of the self-sown parsley patch from near the voluminous sweet smelling rosemary bushes, shovelling truckloads of dirt into garden beds, and removing weeds from a future garlic bed, digging it over, then thrashing seeding lettuce stalks around in order to encourage a covering of lettuce over the next couple of months. Lesley tackled the removal of the sneaky Medicago weed from its encroachment on the golden marjoram. The bonus for the day was a demonstration by our Co-ordinator of how to take garden tools apart, clean and resharpen their blades, then how to screw them back together. A terrific real time non-webinar experience from which we all learnt a great deal.
I took a casual walk around the Food Garden and was in awe of the produce and how some plants were profusely covering an area.
The overgrown and dying parsley was a thick forest before we started clearing. Once cleared the only deposits remaining were deliberately left parsley seeds to bring on a new ground crop. The roots were thick, deep and many and I contemplated making Parsley root soup.
The garden bed with soil removed (an onion weed infestation made the soil unusable) looked as follows. The second photo shows the new fill of healthy weed free soil.
Our patch, with its layer of distributed lettuce seeds, looked very neat when we had finished.
For the educational moment with tool sharpening, Adam showed us the difference between bypass and anvil secateurs, then unscrewed a bypass, and showed us how to clean and sharpen this using WD40, a stone, and a Stanley knife blade. Sandpaper could have been used. Working on the bevelled edge of the blades at the exact angle and not to create a bevelled edge where none were meant to exist, was the essential process. A clean up with methylated spirits at the end of the process removed surface WD40 which plants do not appreciate. We are now all inspired to tackle our own tools at home.
Pam returned home inspired and immediately harvested a few tomatoes from her own garden: some specimens came from plants grown in the RTBG nursery which she acquired at the annual tomato sale. The regular connections we all have with the RTBG, has enhanced each and every one of our lives. We continue to learn a great deal every visit, and our own gardens are so much better for our privileged opportunity to work there.
The produce looks amazing. I too spent a few hours clearing weeds, and doing a bit of tidying. SE QLD rain gauge has been massive this summer, and i thought in my ignorance I would get bumper crops of everything. No such luck I got healthy plants with loads of leaves, loads of weeds, very few bees, really concerned where they have gone despite having plenty of flowering plants around. I am only four seasons into my veggie fruit forest life, have learnt so much and every day is a lesson dealing with disappointment when a plant refuses to thrive, and the delight when they do
Perhaps your bees have migrated to drier lands?
A beautiful array!