Winter does strange things. It sent my gardening ambitions into hibernation. I lost interest. The backyard was bare (except for some persistent weeds) and I didn’t care.
In late autumn I’d planted a few broccoli seedlings, but winter seemed to come early and they refused to grow. I prefer to grow brassicas over winter because it’s a cabbage moth free time when there’s less chance of caterpillars spoiling the crop. Few things are more off-putting than finding boiled caterpillars hiding within the stalks of broccoli on your dinner plate.
This year we had no winter broccoli. They didn’t have the chance to become established and start cropping before the coldest weather set in.
Things have changed now and a few things are starting to grow. The broccoli has recovered from its few months of inactivity and while it’s still early days, we are able to pick enough whenever we want some to add to a meal.
We’ve also had our first taste of asparagus. Only two spears, but it’s a promising start. I noticed there are another two generously fat spears almost ready for picking.
The warming weather has also inspired me to get back in the garden, preparing beds for lettuce, beans, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, zucchini and pumpkins, but I still have to work out where to sow the corn.
It will be a while before the onions and garlic, planted before winter, will be ready – and they are taking up quite a lot of room at the moment, spread across three different beds.
It’s a time of excitement and anticipation, a time of promise, with a healthy crop of home grown food to look forward to; a time before the pests emerge to compete with us for that food. And a time before our neighbours start avoiding us through fear of having to accept another kilo or two of our excess zucchinis.