We grow things in long straight rows at the patch. It makes sense for efficiency but there is nothing particularly straight and orderly about Mel or I. So, to keep things interesting for us and the insects we plant interesting varieties of things that paint a colourful picture down each row. That’s why tomato time is so exciting! Wowee there are so many varieties of heirloom tomatoes out there, hundreds in fact. Far more than the three varieties you’ll find at the super market.
This year our lovely friends down at CERES propagation are growing up our tomato and eggplant seedlings and we have been busily preparing the beds and planting out our first succession the past 2 weeks. The seedlings are gorgeous and strong and look very cosy in their new homes. This year we’ve planted black, yellow, stripy, green and red varieties of cherry tomatoes and we can’t wait to pick them and sell them all mixed up together as a rainbow mix! We’re also planting six different varieties of the larger types of tomatoes. Yum.
Our snow peas and shelling peas are going nuts at the moment and despite the trellising it’s a total wrestle to poke yourself and a bucket through the 2-meter-tall aisles to pick them. This year we got our grubby little hands on a packet of purple podded snow peas. We planted them and they are absolutely gorgeous, dark purple pods. Instead of picking them this year we are saving the lot for seed so that next year we can plant out a row of them rather than just one little corner of a row.
In amongst each crop at the patch, we usually plant companion plants. Companion plants help in lots of different ways. They can confuse or repel pest insects, attract beneficial insects, act as a living mulch to cover bare soil, help feed the soil biota and they increase the productivity of the row by growing more than one crop. Not to mention they make the rows far more interesting and pretty to look at! In amongst our tomatoes this year there will be an understorey of basil, nasturtiums and chives, oh and probably a few stray lettuce, rocket, chamomile, calendula and hearts ease plants that have self-seeded in the row too!
Well, the sun is shining, the soil is drying and its time to fix the leaky pipes in preparation for the season of irrigation and colour! Have a great weekend.
Sas and Mel