October update

I’m a bit late with this owing to activities on the chicken front taking precedence, but anyway here it isโ€”better late than never and just to prove that things other than chook things do happen here.

The passionfruit climbing over the old chook run has finally decided to flower… :



…and produce fruit :


The redcurrants are colouring up. I suppose I’m going to have to think about netting them, although last year I didn’t, and the birds left them alone (although that ant seems to be interested) :


I put three cucamelons into a wicking tub and they’ve been slow to establish; maybe the weather hasn’t been hot enough yet. Their thread-like tendrils have finally found the wire support, so maybe that will jog them along a bit :


Last year was a poor year for the persimmon, with only three fruit and the blackbird got all of them while they were still green. There are only three buds on the plant again this year, but this time I’ll get in ahead of him with netting :


I planted out all the tomatoes during October because they were big enough and it looked like all the cold weather had gone. I did a quick tour & count and there are 36 plants out, most in wicking boxes or wicking tubs and just a few in the garden. This one, in a wicking tub, has trebled in size in just a couple of weeks :


These are in a wicking box :


The comfrey re-appeared with a vengeance :


These three chokos in pots are looking for something to grab onto. I don’t know where I’m going to plant them as I don’t have a trellis prepared. Maybe I’ll see if they’ll climb up a tree :


Well, I finally put one next to the wire corridor connecting the two chook runs. I have a feeling I’m going to regret it if it takes over the whole area :


The raspberries are in their first year of growth. Looks like I might get some fruit :


Basil futures. I froze pesto last year and it worked so well, I’m aiming for plenty more this year :


This is Wild Rocket. I think it has a stronger flavour than the common variety and the foliage is more attractive :


I go through 3 litres of milk a week. While I know the bottles can be recycled, it still pains me to have to throw out something I could maybe use. So I came up with this:


I’ve put 4 tiny holes in the bottom and I fill them from a bin that contains water with seaweed fertiliser, worm juice and comfrey tea, then sit them on a wicking box or wicking tub and let the contents trickle out slowly. It helps when I don’t have time to stand and water with the hose and it adds a bit of extra nutrient along the way.

I picked all my garlic. There were three batches, one (supermarket purchased) in a wicking box and two in the garden (one from Yelwek and another from a local source). The garlic in the wicking boxes didn’t form single bulbs, but separated into cloves, each with a single stem. Not worth eating, not worth replanting. I composted it. Was it because it was supermarket garlic or because it didn’t like the wicking box? I’ve grown it successfully in wicking boxes before, so I’m blaming the supermarket. It wasn’t that stark white Chinese stuff. I know better than to plant that! :


The local garlic in the garden was OK, but the bulbs were very small :


The Yelwek garlic produced the most robust plants, with the thickest stems, but that still didn’t translate into large bulbs. I think lack of fertiliser may be the problem. I really need to do more research into growing garlic :


The potato onions, also from Yelwek, aren’t doing well. After planting the bulbs way back in April, some in the garden and some in a wicking box, they sprouted and seemed to be growing well. Then in winter, they grew backwards and some died. Now it’s warmed up, the leaves are growing again, but the bulbs are small and I don’t know if they’re going to get any bigger. The batch I put into a wicking box all rotted away in winter. Too much water probably :


I’ve put pumpkins in the hugelkultur bed, in between asparagus which are only in their first year. In the other hugelbed I’ve put zucchini and button squash. I’ve made a huge hugelmound from raked leaves and twigs and put 3 extra pumpkin in there.

Pumpkin :


Zucchini & button squash :


Pumpkin on the hugelmound :


The strawberries in the strawberry wicking buckets are bearing, but a lot of the fruits are deformed. They look awful. I’ve never had this happen before :


Google tells me it could be caused by inadequate pollination or lack of calcium or boron, or attack by certain types of mites. I inspected, and there are aphid-like insects on them so I’ve removed all the trusses of developing fruits and given the plants a good spray with a garlic-pyrethrum spray. I wouldn’t be surprised if pollination was a problem, because they’re up on the deck against the house wall, where insects might not find them.

I always like to have a patch of calendula somewhere in the garden. The bees love the flowers and I can pick the petals for salads :


That’s all I can remember for October. I won’t write anything about chooks because you’ve had that ad nauseum by now and anyway that all happened this month. I’ll bore you with more on that in next month’s update.

16 Responses to “October update”

  1. Bek Says:

    Nice to see all the things happening in your garden.
    My garlic has always been small bulbed, and this year I kept the best of the homegrown for re-sowing, upped the feeding and made sure they were in a full sun in winter position. I’ve only pulled half but they are much improved. I couldn’t say exactly what was the key, probably a combination.
    In related news, I also have both shallots and potato onions. They are in the raised beds which are probably less moist, but I had about half of the shallots just die on my. I have no idea why some did and some didn’t. So it’s not just you.
    Your tomatoes are massive! I’m impressed.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      I’m pretty sure the garlic didn’t get enough food and that’s why the bulbs were small. I’ve had better garlic in other years, but can’t remember what I did to get it.


  2. kayepea Says:

    I envy you your passionfruit Bev – cannot grow it here for love or money after having tried 3 or 4 times. Though having said that, have got three self-sown seedlings growing nowhere near where any compost has ever been put nor near where the plants that died were put in. Am leaving them where they are to see what happens..
    …fingers crossed!
    Your chokos should definitely grow up a tree – or forty three! I gardened for a lady once who had one up a tree, then it spread to 3 more of her trees and still ran out of room – so it went next door and grew through a couple more trees there. The crop was immensely bountiful for both of them need I say!
    Roy’s garlic was disappointing this year as well. Whether it was because he only used the previous years stock to plant up from with no fresh cloves or not he doesn’t know. Possibly too cold when it was planted is one of his suggestions.
    A very varied and interesting post so thanks for sharing and teaching. (I’ll use some of my calendula petals in salad and see if they can be tasted.) ๐Ÿ™‚


    • foodnstuff Says:

      You’ve almost put me off chokos and trees, but I’ll put them in a very dry spot and water sparingly and maybe that will keep them smaller.


  3. kayepea Says:

    P.S. I think the passion flower is one of the prettiest on the planet!!


    • foodnstuff Says:

      There are lots of flowers but not all are setting fruit. I don’t know what pollinates them and I’m not seeing any bees or other insects on them.


  4. narf77 Says:

    I am waiting on a passionfruit that a friend is going to give me. Just planted out 2 youngberries (thornless) and a thornless loganberry and a kefir lime tree today. I am most interested in hugels but haven’t gotten around to working out how to make them. We have so much woody debris on our property that we could probably use it to create swale contours for the whole property. Might even try that if our neighbour doesn’t dob me in to council for causing “fire hazards”. His property is whipper snipped almost completely bare to “stop the fires”…sigh… My choko died but then again I hate them so I guess it might have been a fraudian slip? ๐Ÿ˜‰ My cucamelons have just started growing and it is a wonder you couldn’t hear me whooping from there. We just put in some trellises for the beans to grow up as the scarlet runners are growing for the third year in a row. I am doing an experiment to see how long they will produce. Love the wicking beds and am about to water wick duckies boat for strawberries. Can’t wait to hear more about those lovely chooks ๐Ÿ™‚


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Swale contours with woody debris would be a great way to use it up. When you dig the swale (on the upslope side, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) you would throw all the soil onto the debris, plus any other mulchy stuff, and you’d have great hugel beds to plant into.


      • narf77 Says:

        “Digging” isn’t really an option on our property Bev, it’s pretty much rock central once you get below the top soil. That’s why we have raised beds in Sanctuary or we would have them dug into the ground.


        • foodnstuff Says:

          Oh blow. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I forgot about your rocks. It should still work though. Just put the woody stuff down and gradually add lots of soft green stuff which will rot down more quickly. I used a friend’s lawn clippings in my first hugel mounds. They filled in between the woody stuff really well.


          • narf77 Says:

            We have an enormous quantity of green stuff down in the jungle area that we are going to start on soon. We were trying to work out what to do with it all as we have a mountain of it down in the tea-tree garden (debris) that we generated from one small venture into this area and aside from the blackberries (that I am going to turn into blackberry tea!) most of it should be fine chopped up. If we could slow the descent of water from the top of the block to the bottom (very steep block) and keep some of that moisture in the soil for a bit longer it would make the world of difference to our property. Our neighbour will be twitching when he sees MORE debris on the ground but whatchagonnadoeh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cheers for the heads up there Bev. The hugels that we are about to make should be visible from Google Earth! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  5. chrysartglass Says:

    I’m very envious of your passionfruit. I am still waiting for my 3 year old vine to get a flower.


  6. kmfinigan Says:

    Ive had similar trouble with garlic before – absolutely a lack of fertiliser. Ive got a whole growing guide for garlic up on my blog which might help you! http://bit.ly/1mZfJsb


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks for the link. Loads of info there! If I can’t grow good garlic after reading that, I’ll never grow it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I love the idea of growing garlic wild in the garden. I’ll definitely do that this year.


  7. brymnsons Says:

    My how your garden grows! I love the milk carton idea, I’m going to pinch that one, thanks ๐Ÿ˜ƒ


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