Is it over?

Summer, I mean. Only 2 weeks to the official end of summer and 5 weeks to the autumn equinox, which is when I prefer to mark the end of summer. I hope we’ve seen the last of the heat. This coming week will be the first in a while without a forecast temperature over 30º C. It’s quite novel to be putting on a windcheater in the evenings.

While a lot of plants have been stressed, burned and even died because of the heat, the strawberries have thrived up on the deck outside the living room—two in a wicking box and one in a large tub—so I can pick them easily. A small handful each day gives me a tasty addition to my bowl of breakfast fruit.

I want more plants and more strawberries. Enough to make some strawberry jam. How good would that be!

The plants are starting to produce runners. I’m pegging them down into small pots so the roots will grow. Once they’re established I’ll cut them away from the parents and have a whole new collection of plants:

strawberries1

I’ve bought some cheap, ordinary plastic buckets to plant them in. I’ll make them into wicking buckets by drilling a drainage hole about a third the way up from the bottom and I’ll fill them with chook poo compost. The soil below the drainage hole will always stay saturated and water will wick up into the top section.

I’ll keep them on the deck where I can easily protect them from the birds. The only vacant spots on the deck now are under the eaves, but the handles on the buckets will make it easy to move them out into the rain if I want to.

I’m thinking it would be a good gift to give someone, too. Who wouldn’t be happy to receive a bucket of strawberries just ready to be picked?

Look at this!:

grapes1

The grapes are ripening! This is a native American variety called the Concord. Here’s what they looked like a few months ago:

grapes 004

At the time I thought they were tiny flower buds, but they were already baby grapes. I never saw the flowers. Not every one has developed into a mature grape, but what the heck! I’m so chuffed to actually have grown some grapes. Growing grapes from seed is so easy and cuttings strike readily.

I don’t bother sowing, potting up and planting out lettuces. It’s far easier and less time-consuming to sow the seed direct into a wicking box and thin (and eat) the seedlings:

lettuce

Same goes for mizuna and purple tatsoi:

mizuna

I don’t even bother to thin these. I just grab a handful and chop above the growth point with the scissors and they keep regrowing. I use these like lettuce and in stir fries, or lightly steamed.

3 Responses to “Is it over?”

  1. narf77 Says:

    I think I might head into the city and hand my horticulture qualifications back…I NEVER thought to peg runners in soil like that…you clever girl you! How bloody simple! I have pots stacked up in the shed almost to the roof (and more than one stack) so why the heck am I not using them to catch my prolific crazy strawberries prospective babies?! I noticed what I thought were weeds in one pot only to discover that a ripe strawberry must have fallen in the pot and now there are lots of teeny tiny baby strawberries growing! I am with you on summer I am SOOOO over that heat! I can’t wait for rain but then again I hope it doesn’t rain too much yet as we need to get our big new rainwater tank installed.

    We have inspired a friend’s mum to install wicked beds on her terraced unit before she moved in and now it’s up to us to sort out how to fill and get them going. We designed some water wicked beds when we were doing our diploma in hort but now it’s crunch time! I might have to pick your clever brains in the near future…don’t worry if you receive a panicked email in the next few weeks 😉

    I agree about the cuttings…where have you planted your grapes? I have a stack of struck cuttings languishing in pots as I have NO idea where to plant them to prevent complete and utter predation by just about every native animal known to man. I wanted to install them in the new veggie garden but that presents problems as well…mine are Muscat grapes, those old fashioned big green grapes that taste like perfumed Nirvana around about the end of summer when you are in need of something sweet, wet and uncooked. Any ideas?

    We just threw seeds in last year at the last moment and got some amazing lettuces but this year we resorted to punnets and our lettuces just haven’t thrived. I have no idea what went wrong but we have spindly half-arsed lettuces that just failed to thrive 😦 We have 1 enormous green thing that has gone feral and is flowering and I am going to collect seed from it as it was so prolific but the speckled brown ones that Steve likes just didn’t go anywhere

    Good to know about the mizuna and tatsoi. My daughters have gone to seed and I might pinch a few seeds from her :). This gardening lark is GREAT fun…so long as Mother Nature (including all of her little minions) can be kept happy 😉 (I just realised the value of correct grammar…I had typed “My daughter’s have gone to seed” rather than “My daughters have gone to seed” I am sure my 2 mid 20ish daughters would LOVE to know that they had gone to seed! 😉 )

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Will send you some photos of the grapes and some more ideas I have re planting them (not sure if/how I can put photos in the comments box…might blow up WordPress).

      Er…regarding that wayward apostrophe…DAUGHTERS is plural, so if your daughters have gone to seed it means you have a couple of seedy daughters! DAUGHTER’S is possessive, meaning the seed belongs to your daughter, so daughter’s seed means the seed you got from her. Not sure if that’s what you meant or not 😉

      I have enormous trouble with that apostrophe. Its & it’s. I will preview a post a dozen times, click ‘publish’, have a look at it at the site and find that bloody apostrophe missing or in the wrong place.

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      • narf77 Says:

        LOL! WordPress could do with a bit of a stick of dynamite under it sometimes 😉 I have NO idea which one I mean but I don’t think my girls have gone to seed quite yet 😉 I hate its and it’s as the stupid spell check can’t quite seem to make up it’s (its?!) mind which one it wants it to be and keeps highlighting it and changing it so I just ignore it and hope for the best ;). Cheers for the ideas about the grapes. I don’t think I am planning on going into full blown Muscat production but a bunch or two that haven’t been guzzled by possums would be a lovely thing to slowly ingest on a future hot summers day 🙂

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