Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Dense Kitchen Garden

I have to be more creative with the mix and match of vegetables and flowers in each patch in our garden this fall. Hopefully, looking at the variety of seedlings available in our hands that is currently growing well and healthy, I can make many happy groups and not bad companions in one of the patch. I would try my best to plant these seedlings in block, inter-planting, successional sowing and spreading the same variety of plant at different location. One of the combination of plants that seems to get along very well which I have planted last fall did seems to be working were my kitchen garden patch (very small area which is about 1.3 X 2 per-square metre).
Front view of the kitchen garden in early spring.
We trained nastartiums to climb trellis near the wall. Nastartium were choking the plants when we let it rambling at the ground. Self-sowed violas, celery and carrots (topweight) are growing in partial shade. Some polyanthus flowers which can tolerate shade. Leeks recently planted in spring as it was bare after we harvested that small area transplanted near over-wintered carrot. Bolting coriander/cilantro plant nursing capsicum back to health which survived winter but were infested with aphids because it was weak against the cold weather. We have self-sowed french marigold and aquilegia growing near the front door. All the winter brassicas have been harvested and while we wait for summer seedlings to grow like tomato, inter-planting with komatsuna.
Kitchen garden side view.
Can you see 2 tomato seedlings inter-planting with komatsuna?
A closer look.
Can you see at the front sunflower seedlings?

A few week later, over-wintered celeries have bolted so I have replaced celeries with one zucchini plant. Sunflower seedlings has grown much taller. I found that growing sunflower and zucchini close together has less crop compare with zucchini plants which is not growing together with sunflower. However, sunflower did not effect on viola. The reason we planted sunflower in front of the kitchen window is to provide us some shade from the afternoon sun. Moreover it is not ideal to plant herbs here during summer, too hot for them. In winter this patch received very limited sun, only leaf vegetable can grow well here. This is the main thing I have to remember when I plan to grow things in this patch, Summer-too hot; winter-almost no sun.

Photo taken in middle of summer where the sunflower has already fully bloom, the plants flop toward the ground when it is too hot and gradually start to go upright again in the afternoon after drinking some water. Over-wintered capsicum producing. Cherry tomatoes did well last summer. Bean and jicama (legume) not fond of this soil here. Aquilegia spent-blooms were left dry and collect the seeds later which is giving us lots of babies at the moment. I am still not satisfied on how I use the space here, need to think of new plan next summer.


Patricia said...

Lovely post. I have nasturtiums and I never thought of training them on a trellis. Thanks for the idea because they do go crazy when running free on the ground!

One said...

I wonder how you keep your veggie patch this healthy. I pruned away almost the entire chilli plant as there are lots of white flies. The plant is 1.5 m in diameter and fruiting abundantly. But I didn't want the white flies. Fyi, I saw a black ant eating a white fly. Black ant is not always bad.

miruku said...

I read from articles that sunflowers are not encouraged to grow together with veggies as they will consume all the nutrient from the soil. Your plants not only mix well but look good too.

Sue Garrett said...

It looks beautiful - nasturtiums can be thugs if allowed can't they?

kitchen flavours said...

I wish that is the view from my kitchen window! I love it that the flowers and veggies are in the same patch. You did a good job with companion planting!
The Nastartium seeds which I sowed did not germinate, I guess it won't as I sowed them almost two months ago! The coriander and broccoli have germinated and am still waiting for the celery to show themselves. I am really looking forward for the celery to sprout. Will keep you posted. Have a nice day!

takaeko said...

A third of my pak chois have been bolted so I pulled them out today!

Mr. H. said...

You have created a true permaculture garden there.:)

Malar said...

Good companion plants! Beautiful!
I don't have to consider weather when planting vegetables but....i need to consider monkeys!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Patricia~ I got the idea of trailing them when I saw one of the houses in my neighbourhood had nastartium covering their fences.

Kwee Peng~ Ants are good, they tell me that aphids are on attack. Not everything healthy. But I think the plants thrive better when they have many friends rather than just growing along side with its siblings.

Milka~ Sunflower does take a lot of nutrient. Sunflower root extract substance that inhibit other plants growth.

Sue~ Yes, nastartium can misbehave sometime.

Kitchen Flavour~ It might be the environment is not suitable for them. Kwee Peng (One) has also tried several time but not succeed. Celery in warm weather need a long time to germinate. Good Luck!

Takaeko~Bolted Pak Choi can also be eaten.

Mr. H~ That is a very diffucult word for me;-). I had to google it. That is the best I can do. Have many which fail though but I guess that the challenge and fun part.

Malar~Do the monkeys bother root vegetable?

Stephanie said...

The sight of your garden/vege plots always amazes me! Love those pretty nasturtiums and violas you posted here ;-D

Hughbert said...

Good job coping with difficult conditions. My courtyard has the same problem, on the south side of a big wall, so cold and dark in winter, and blazing hot in summer. It is tough to find plants to cope with such extremes!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Stephanie~ Thank you. Nasturtiums and violas is one of the weeds in our garden now;-). Self-seeded easily.

Hughbert~I thought I am the only one having this problem with this strange location. Tried growing rosemary once in this patch, it won't grow.

Hughbert said...

Wow... I thought rosemary would grow almost anywhere :-)