Season summary for my food garden in Ballarat (Victoria), Autumn 2022. This is mainly of relevance to gardeners living in the Ballarat area, but it might be a useful comparison for food gardeners living further afield.
The autumn temperatures were .6 of a degree above the long-term average maximum and 1.2 degrees above the long-term minimum. April was much warmer than average while May was close to average. Rainfall came in at 81% of the long-term rainfall. While this makes two consecutive seasons of below average rainfall the moisture content of the soil is still reasonably high, at least in my garden.
Overall, the vegetable garden did well this Autumn with plenty of vegetables harvested. Some highlights (both good and bad) were: –
- TOMATOES: While the tomato plants were slow to get going in summer the Autumn crop was a bumper one, allowing us to bottle plenty of jars of passata and tomato chutney.
- LETTUCES: It was the best Autumn lettuce harvest I have had in years, which I put down to the new lettuce variety (Exanimo) which I have been growing, as well as improved growing techniques.
- BEANS: An excellent crop throughout the season, but it was capped off with a great harvest of Scarlet Runner beans in early to mid-Autumn.
- SPINACH: Excellent crop, the best in years. I put this improvement down to preparing the bed with Mudgee dolomite instead of lime. Dolomite has a much higher level of Magnesium than lime.
There were however some underperforming vegetables: –
- SILVERBEET: All but one of the plants went to seed.
- CHINESE CABBAGES: About half of them went to seed.
The Autumn fruit harvest was good, though not as good as the vegetable harvest. The apple trees cropped well, so did the Satsuma mandarin. The main disappointments were: Possums eating most of the remaining grapefruit and a non-existent autumn raspberry harvest.
Excellent Autumn. The hens averaged 4.6 eggs per day from five hens, though they were Highlines (excellent egg laying cross breed) and they are in their first year. There were no disease or parasite problems.
Harvest results chart of what was produced in my food garden this Autumn and how well it went. Click HERE to see a PDF of this chart. Note that this chart is too specific to interest most gardeners, I produce it primarily as a record for myself.
The spinach crop was excellent this Autumn, the best in years. Though I still must net the spinach plants (LEFT PHOTO) otherwise the sparrows would tear the leaves to shreds.
Examples of this Autumn’s harvest bounty. LEFT: Cabbage RIGHT: Potatoes. These potatoes show some signs of Powdery Scab, which is endemic in my garden’s soil, however it doesn’t greatly affect quality or productivity.
Damage to Wheeny grapefruit caused by possums. Note that some garden websites say that rats and possums will eat both the skin and the flesh, however it has been my experience that if the skin has been eaten, it has been done by possums while if the flesh has been eaten leaving a hollowed-out skin, it is rats.
LEFT: Little Gem lettuces. From late Autumn through to early spring I grow my lettuces in the greenhouse. RIGHT REAR: Coriander in a pot. Because Coriander tends to go to seed quickly I plant Coriander in pots every few weeks throughout the year. RIGHT FRONT: Onion seedlings in a styrofoam box. The seedlings will be planted out in August.