Seeds of Plenty: Dans Garden Update

Seeds of Plenty - Dans Garden Update

It’s been about 9 months since my last post and quite a lot has happened in the garden since then. In my last post, I spoke about all the Tomatoes and Chillies we were planning to grow. The good news was that we got seed from all our tomato crops and about three quarters of our Chilli crops. It was a strange summer in Melbourne: very hot early on, but after New Years, it really didn’t heat up for any prolonged period and many of the Chillies we had never ripened. 

2021 has seen a bit of change in the Seeds of Plenty main garden. I have built another 9 raised garden beds and this takes the total to 22. These beds will all be separated and covered with insect screen and once finished they will allow us to grow up to 22 different seed crops. There is still a fair bit of work to do on these garden beds and to be honest, with all the lockdowns, it has and will take a bit of effort to get them up and running. 

Crops for 2021/22

Sometimes I find the best way to get motivated to finish a task is to give myself a deadline. So, to ensure I don’t procrastinate with finishing the garden beds, I started most of the crops under lights in August and they are all now potted up, growing well and needing to be planted by early November at the latest. This year in our garden, we will be growing 14 determinate tomatoes and 8 capsicum/chillies. Tomatoes will include names such as Mint Julep, Solar Flare Cherry, Evil Olive Cherry and Dancing with Smurfs. Chillies will include Tobasco, Aji Pineapple, Bhut Jolokia and Firecracker to name a few. Here are some photos of our babies growing. 

Some Exciting News (Our new patch)

Last year, at our original plot, I grew approximately 240 plants in planter bags. Overall, they were very successful, and if you don’t have access to farming land, then planter bags are a good alternative for growing chillies and dwarf tomatoes. However, this year with the construction of the new garden beds, and an 11 year old daughter begging for a trampoline, there just isn’t space to keep using planter bags in our garden. We really needed more space to keep expanding our growing and to utilise the growing bags. 

Over the last couple of years I’ve been keeping an eye out for available land in the Eltham area. Through some good fortune, my next-door neighbours’ parents have kindly offered Seeds of Plenty some space to grow at their farm out in Yarrambat. It’s about a 400m area of land which will enable us to grow about 700 plants in planter bags this year. 

I know some of you might be asking: “Why bother growing in planter bags if you have land?” Basically, the soil profile in Eltham and Yarrambat is about 2cm of organic matter followed by metres of clay. It is possible to grow tomatoes in this soil but I would have needed to bring in many, many cubic metres of additional soil. It’s a big investment and an imposition on the kind people who are letting us use the land. With the planter bags, we can fill them up and potentially use them again or just empty them after the season with minimal impact on the land they were sitting on.

In terms of what we will be growing at the new plot, the plan is to have about 30 varieties of Dwarf Tomatoes this year and hopefully, moving forward, we will be able to continue using this land for growing more dwarf tomato varieties in the coming years. 

I really love the dwarfs as they are so easy to grow and really just perfect for all the people who love full size tomatoes but just don’t have the garden space to grow the large vining varieties. We don’t all live in big ¼ acre blocks anymore and lots of people want tomatoes that grow well in pots and small spaces. Many of these varieties were also developed by amateur breeders in Australia, and it’s my hope that Seeds of Plenty can keep these varieties alive in Australia for future gardeners. 

Here is a list of all the varieties we are planning to grow. Some are already available, but most are new varieties for us. If you want more information about them, you can find information at the Dwarf Tomato Project website

GONDWANA ROSE

GONDWANA THUNDER

GONDWANA LAVA

GONDWANA MOON

GONDWANA LIGHTNING

FRED’S TYE DYE

SUMMERTIME GREEN

KANGAROO PAW YELLOW

It’s going to be fun filling 700 x 25 litre planter bags. We have access to a small digger and my neighbour, who is very handy, has developed a frame that should help us fill the bags without needing to dig the soil ourselves and move the full bags around. (I really hope it works 😨) 

All things going well, we will have all our tomatoes and chillies planted around Melbourne Cup Day which is traditionally when tomatoes are planted out in Melbourne. You can do it earlier but for some reason, I end up with numerous projects on the go in Spring and never get mine out before then. 

Anyway, that is what is happening at the Seeds of Plenty Garden for now. We had a very successful spring this year with our online store and I want to thank all our old and new customers for continuing to support us.  I will endeavour to update a bit more often over the coming months and all going well, we will have lots of new tomato and chilli varieties for next season. 

Happy Gardening

Dan

2 thoughts on “Seeds of Plenty: Dans Garden Update

  1. Dan Ross
    . says:

    Thanks for the update and I will look forward to growing the new varieties of dwarf tomato project plants. I really like them and I had trouble finding them in Australia till a mate told me about you guys. The only problem I find with a lot of them is a reduced germination rate which can be onerous when you are only getting 6 seeds in a packet.

    Good luck in the garden for the coming season.

    • Dan Ross
      Dan R. says:

      Hi

      Thanks for reading the article and your comments. Sorry to hear that you didn’t get the best germination. We are always happy to help if needed or send out more seeds. I would really love to include more seeds in the dwarf packets but in regards to what we have in stock they were very expensive to produce and pack so we could only allocate 10 seeds to a packet. (6 seeds sounds like a small packet which would be due to a packing error)

      At the moment we count the dwarf seeds and It’s a really time consuming job counting out ten seeds, two hundred times. We pack 95% of our seeds using a volumetric measuring system which usually involves using a rack with holes which we then fill up with seed and drop into the packets. It is not 100% accurate and we usually allow a bit extra seed in each lot. To pack the dwarfs by volume with an advertised seed count of 10 seeds I would need to allocate about 15-20 seeds per packet. My hope with the larger plot this year is that I will get enough seed to do this and whilst packets will be advertised with 10 seeds you are most likely to get a packet which is slightly larger with 15-20 seeds.

      I’m also seriously thinking about importing some starter seed for many of the dwarfs that you can only get in the USA. They won’t be available for sale here until 2023 but there are so many great varieties like Bendigo Moon which had the preliminary selecting done in Australia but then got sent to the USA for stabilizing and due to quarantine rules have actually never been sold in Australia.

      Good luck with your garden too.

      Dan

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