Dec 242014
 

In the late 1970s Dad and my great-aunt started comparing notes from their respective vegie patches in Albury and Canberra. A friendly rivalry developed, the goal being to produce ripe tomatoes in time for Christmas lunch. No greenhouses allowed: winning was as much about luck — and the vagaries of the weather in those cool-climate cities — as it was about horticultural skills.

These days Dad doesn’t do much gardening, but my sister and I carry on the family rivalry in our own vegie patches on either side of Port Phillip. This year we declared a dead heat — we both harvested our first ripe tomatoes on Christmas eve.

The first harvest of tomatoes for 2014-15

My first harvest of tomatoes for 2014-15

The photo below shows corn ears (far right of picture) just about ready for harvesting. Yum. You can also see how heavily-laden the two tomato bushes are with slowly ripening fruit.

Tomato bush and corn ears

Tomato bush and corn ears

Most of the sunflowers have finished blooming; they’ve added a gorgeous splash of color to the vegie patch over the last 6-8 weeks.

Sunflower

Sunflower

Years ago I bought several packets of oriental poppy seeds and tried planting them in various parts of the back yard. No success at all, over a period of about 4-5 years, and it’s been at least that long again since I emptied the last seed packet.

And this summer — a delightful surprise. Just near the vegie patch, where I had carelessly discarded some plastic bits and pieces, up sprang a little red poppy.

Accidental poppy

Accidental poppy

It’s produced multiple flowers and is now setting seeds on the spent stalks. If you squint, you can see a couple of seed pods in the photo.

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