Beets, Leeks and Other Good Food from the Garden

It seems like time for an update on the state of our vegetable garden. Parts of the veggie garden are still looking very scruffy, with late summer crops dying, and/or going to seed. Other areas are bursting with new Autumn plantings, or offering up long-awaited goodness.

Red cabbage

We are having a long, mild autumn here, and are still picking bell peppers, as well as a few last miserable looking tomatoes (they taste fine!). With the changing season, we are now enjoying lots of delicious leeks and beets, as well as greens such as swiss chard, garden cress, and mustard lettuce. Also, we recently harvested the first of our autumn crops of turnips and sugarsnap peas. Yum!


As last season’s collard greens and kale go to seed, it is gratifying to see little collard, broccoli, and red cabbage seedlings thriving in newly mulched beds. We are amazed at the improvement in soil structure in the garden beds after just one growing season. As we replant, we are adding lime and sometimes gypsum, and mulching heavily with dried-out kikuyu to protect the soil and improve the tilth.

Also planted and thriving: more leeks, beets and green onions. Salsify, peas and cilantro.


Big failure: Carrots. We got a good strike on both batches, but all got eaten by mystery pests. I suspect slugs, but Dad says it might have been woodlice. We’d really like some carrots, so will try again with more coffee grounds sprinkled about as a slug deterrent.

Jobs to do: Clear out dying summer crops, and prepare the remaining beds. Put some of our scavenged weed mat around the edges of the newer beds to the north of the house. They are a weedy mess without it! Start onion seed, and more turnips. Plant corn salad and miner’s lettuce for tasty winter salads.

2 Responses to “Beets, Leeks and Other Good Food from the Garden”

  1. Sara says:

    Your vegetable plants look very healthy. I can’t seem to get peas to grow very well, but yours look great. How do you support them? Did you grow your carrots in sandy soil as that is what they prefer?
    Sara from farmingfriends in the UK

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for your comments.

    For the peas,we make an A-frame structure out of bamboo, and then attach some plastic netting to the top for the peas to grow up. We anchor the netting to the ground with bits of strong wire, so that it will support the peas better on windy days. The plastic netting was among some stuff that we scavenged a while back, and has proved quite useful for this purpose. I’ve heard that the peas also like to grow up twiggy branches, so we could have secured some of those to the A-frame instead. Peas are a chancy crop here. If we get hot weather in the early or late summer, then they shrivel up. On the other hand, if winter comes early, an autumn crop might not have time to produce before it gets too cold. We are lucky this year with a long, mild Autumn — perfect conditions for peas.

    As far as the carrots go, we don’t have any sand to use for planting, so were just giving them a go in some of our garden soil. We chose a well-dug area with reasonably good tilth, and raked it over thoroughly. We are not sure if our soil is friable enough, yet, for a really decent crop of carrots, but thought it would be fun to try putting some in, anyway.