Plans for Summer

10 Aug
I have big plans for summer. Last year was my first full summer growing season, and I learned some big lessons that inform these plans.
  1. Sydney really does have a fruit fly problem. If you don’t take precautions they will spoil your fruit
  2. Capsicums and chillies require lots of sun
  3. Don’t bother growing full-size tomatoes in pots
  4. Plant more corn, but in successive blocks so it doesn’t all ripen at once.
  5. Zucchini isn’t worth the space
  6. One okra plant will give you only one okra fruit at a time
  7. Don’t forget to plant dill
  8. If you let the chickens out, they will eat everything – including your mustard plants and dormant oriental lily bulbs
  9. Don’t harvest garlic while it’s wet – the bulbs need to dry rapidly.

So with these lessons under my belt I have planned to grow this season (in no particular order):

  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • dill
  • parsnip
  • celery
  • celeriac
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • capsicum
  • chillies
  • okra
  • eggplant
  • golden nugget pumpkins
  • lettuce
  • mustard
  • potato
  • wild rocket
  • sugar snap peas
  • sunflowers
  • watermelon
  • basil
  • borlotti beans
  • dwarf beans
  • daikon

I sowed the tomatoes a week ago, but the weather was a little cold and I was avoiding the nasty wind so the rest of the seeds had not been planted. Yesterday I bit the bullet and sowed them indoors. I figure that they’ll germinate quicker inside anyway.


I plan to make this the year of the paste tomato. I have sowed 6 different varieties with the intention of identifying one or 2 that really suit my climate. That way I can focus on that variety next year and hopefully get a bumper crop for canning. More likely is that the fruit fly will attack with a vengeance and I’ll just have to grow tomatoes for preserving in winter.

The paste tomatoes I am trying are:

  1. Palmwoods
  2. Pacesetter
  3. Amish Paste
  4. Napoli Paste
  5. Speckled Roman
  6. Rio Grande

The Rio Grande seeds were from LizΒ and the rest were ordered from Eden Seeds. In addition to the paste varieties I’m growing Grosse Lisse, Brandywine and a variety from my neighbour Adriana for slicing and Camp Joy, Tiny Tim and Broad Ripple Yellow Currant as cherry varieties in pots.

Have you made plans for Summer yet?

18 Responses to “Plans for Summer”

  1. Liz August 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Oh nice tomato choices! And now you tell me zucchini’s not worth the space – mine just germinated….admitedly only one plant but I did spend last summer congratulating myself for not having bothered growing it but then I saw a nice looking salad I wanted to eat and…..

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

      Oh don’t do it! They do produce well, but they take up space better utilised for, well, pretty much anything else!

      Oh, and did the seeds arrive?

  2. Daphne August 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    I’ve always loved Amish Paste. It is a wonderful tomato.

  3. Frogdancer August 11, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I don’t agree about the zucchini. I grate and freeze it and we eat it all winter long in soups, bolognaises and stews. I love it!
    You’re WAY ahead of me with the plans. I harvested all these seeds last year and they’re still waiting to be planted. Hopefully you’ve propelled me into action.
    LOVE Amish Paste tomatoes, by the way.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 11, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Oh good – another recommendation! πŸ™‚
      I have just found that zucchini doesn’t produce for me unless in full sun. My 10m2 of full sun is precious, and last year the zucchini took up almost half of it, sabotaging my grape vine in the process. Maybe I’ll get over it by next year πŸ™‚

  4. lindawoodrow August 11, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Last year I grew trombochino as well as zucchini. This year I’m just going with trombochino. And only a couple of them. They climb, which makes much better use of space. I don’t try celery or celeriac over spring and summer – they want to bolt to seed, and take too much water. Mustard get’s got by cabbage moths up here in northern NSW,
    and all the pea family are vulnerable to powdery mildew as soon as it starts to get warm – my best pea planting season is autumn into winter. But oh, isn’t it nice to be planning the new season’s garden!

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 11, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      Trombochino is a brilliant idea – thanks for the insight Linda.

      I have a nice protected area on the south side of the house that I think I can get away with Celery/celeriac and the sugar snaps are really just a short-term crop before the dwarf beans kick in. I might be pushing my luck with mustard, but I want it for seed, so if I molly coddle a single plant enough and pick off the grubs then hopefully it will work out.

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that I’m also going to try Jicama this year. It’s another American thing that my Mum loves but she hasn’t had any success growing it herself. Hopefully I can get it to germinate.

  5. Barbara Good August 11, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Oh so organised L. I’ve got my tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant and lettuce going inside, of course the eggplant and capsicum have done nothing yet. Everything else is up and going. I really should get on and plant the rest. Totally agree with the succession of corn planting. I’m not sure I agree about the zucchini though, I didn’t have a good season with it last time, but usually I love growing it and like frog dancer it goes into all sorts of dishes.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 11, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Oh dear, now I’ve offended all the zucchini lovers ;P

      I haven’t actually sown eggplant seeds because I don’t have any for the lebanese variety and I did so well with store-bought ones last year.

      I think eggplant is one crop that is cost-effective to buy seedlings because they take so long to germinate and get going. For all the effort I can buy a batch of established seedlings for $5 – I reckon that’s a bargain for all the molly-coddling I’d need to do if I sowed them myself.

  6. Beth August 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    What precautions do you use for fruit flies?? I’m an American ex-pat new to Sydney and will be planting out my first spring & summer veggie patch this year. Any and all tips appreciated!! πŸ™‚ Love the blog, by the way!

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      Hi Beth, thanks for visiting. For tomatoes, stonefruit and apples i have to bag the fruit to exclude the fruit flies. I bought bags on eBay fairly cheaply that do the job. Later in the season the capsicums also suffered, so I’ll need to bag them this year too. Fruit flies are just horrible- I understand why unaffected countries go to such lengths to avoid their introduction. This year I will also try some traps and lures- I’ll post on my progress.

  7. Sydney Gardener August 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I remember no fruit fly when i was a young child living in Sydney(the 60’s).. peaches, tomatoes, everything just so prolific. Oh well those were the days.

    I nearly gave up on tomatoes but manage one or two accidentals and then a few tom thumb varieties. Im anti tomato dust which i know the Greek and italian neighbours think is stupid. I just cant stand the smell and dont reckon water washes the bad stuff away

    Stumbled on your blog and its inspired me to post pictures that I’ve been collectiong

    At the moment, im growing triffid snow peas. over 8ft tall so looking forward to fresh snow peas soon. The wind had me out in the garden rescuing many of the slightly bent branches but they seem to be ok even though bent. Nature is wonderful.


    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Great to hear from you – thanks for visiting. I really wish we could go back to the no fruit fly days, but alas, it seems they are here to stay. I don’t like tomato dust either, but I have resorted to it on occasion. I’ve never really had difficulties with grubs, only fungal issues, so perhaps I can use some of the organic anti-fungals in future – have you given them a go?

      I’ll be reading your blog with interest – the triffid snow peas sound fabulous!

  8. Louise August 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    What a great set of things you learnt from last year. It’s very good of them to share these learnings so thanks so much.

    I have some seeds in – cayenne chillies, padron chillies, a lettuce mix, garlic chives, spring onions, lemon balm, basil, red marigolds, broad ripple yellow currant tomatoes, a zebra tomato mix, sugar lump tomato and brown berry tomato, zucchini, eggplant, comfrey. That’s it to date, some things are up, but last week’s cold weather set everything back a little. As for tomatoes and fruit fly – I grown the more resistant cherry types and have pretty much given up growing the larger variety in Sydney. I still set traps and put up sticky glue traps. I found both these excellent ways of really reducing the numbers.

    Hope your garden grows well.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Oh the cold weather- it killed my tomatoes! I think I can rescue some cuttings from the growing tips that may fill the gap between now and the summer tomatoes, but the weeks of bumber tomato harvests are over for the short term 😦 It has been freezing out there!
      I think I’ll give traps and baits for fruit fly a go this year. Last year I was still in denial that we had a problem, but i need no more convincing.
      Good to know that someone in Sydney is planning to grow zucchini – I may need a swapping partner ;P

  9. Robyn August 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Lesson 10: Don’t leave your seedlings where visiting toddlers can eat them??? πŸ˜€

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney August 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      I maintain that all seedlings are fine! Those that aren’t will be subtly re-sown πŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: