Archive for the ‘Monthly update’ Category

November update

December 2, 2017

It warmed up for the last two weeks of November and we had several days in the low 30’s, fortunately punctuated by a couple of thunderstorms. The combination of moisture and heat has really pushed the plants into vigorous growth.

The redcurrants fruited very well this year. I can’t imagine why, but the birds never touch these, even though they’re highly visible on the bushes. I collected about a cupful and I’m putting a spoonful on my mueslii each morning. I must remember to save a few seeds. They’re easy to grow from seed and the smallish bushes can be poked into any odd space. I’ve found that they do like a bit of shade and some summer watering :

I’m in the process of making a new bed for veggies. As I leave the carport beside the front of the house and walk down the path, past the big water tank on the left and around to the back of the house, there’s been a nondescript sort of garden bed to the right of the path. It contained a native Midgin Berry, which never did much and a Scaevola ground cover which the rabbits would never leave alone :

This is looking back towards the small tank. I can’t remember offhand what the grey bush is, but it has curry-smelling leaves :

I considered removing the lot and just leaving the area gravelled, then thought…..a spot right next to a water tank is too good to waste, so I’ve installed one of those corrugated steel beds which matches all the tanks. I did think about a simple wire ring like the ones I’ve made down in the food forest, but because of the openings in the wire they tend to dry out too quickly around the edges. So :

Because of the slope I had to dig it into the ground at the rear and build it up slightly at the front. I’ve camouflaged the built-up front with some native daisies and local flax liles. I’m filling it with weeds and prunings which will eventually turn into soil, and when it’s ready to be planted I’ll rig up a watering system from the tank behind. It’s still low enough that the rabbits will be able to jump in, so I’ll need a higher ring of wire round the inside edge. I’ll use it for small herby things like parsley and chives and Asian greens in winter. It will be too hot in summer for lettuces :

I planted 22 tomatoes, all in either wicking boxes or large tubs. Species I’ve used are Green Zebra, Reisentraube, Grosse Lisse, Black Russian, Debarao (a tall-growing Roma type), Red Pear Cherry and Black Cherry. This year I gave them all a tablespoon of potash after planting and watered it in. This is the advice given by Aussie gardening guru, Peter Cundall and boy, does it make a difference. They don’t have stems, they have trunks! This is a Reisentraube in a wicking box (the name means small bunch of grapes). It produces masses of large cherry sized fruits which are good for drying or freezing for winter casseroles :

The milk bottle planters on the side of the deck are still going strong. I thought the plastic would have broken down and disintegrated by now but this is their third growing season and they’re not showing any signs of breakdown. Last year I put climbing beans in them and trained them up strings onto the deck wires. This year I’ve used fibreglass rods which a friend gave me. So much easier than fiddling with strings and they’re a stronger support for the tendrils :

I found room for two more on either side of the gas bottles. Snake Beans are just germinating :

Last year I grew eggplant for the first time. It was so successful I put in more seed this year. These three plants are in a wicking box. It’s possible I’ve overplanted, and should have been satisfied with two, but we shall see :

I’ve grown lots of endive this season. It’s more robust than lettuce as a summer crop (doesn’t run to seed and will grow right through into the winter) and the chooks love it :

I’m determined to grow good celery. I potted up a lot of seedlings and have planted them in various wicking boxes :

I also potted up a lot of silver beet :

I thought I’d try some unprotected in the food forest and see how it goes with the rabbits. They’re not eating the sorrel that has self-seeded, so maybe they’ll leave the silver beet alone too. Some will go into protected sites just to be on the safe side.

The cherries under their net are ripening :

I’ve tasted a couple but the full flavour isn’t there yet. This year I’ll save and sow the seeds again. Last year only one germinated, but that’s an extra cherry tree I didn’t have to pay for. It’s already been planted out :

Fortunately I had good germination of both red and yellow tamarillos this year, as the mature plants now look like their best years are behind them. They tend to be short-lived anyway. These are seedlings of the red variety. I’ll be planting out as many as I can find room for :

I have two baths now, filled with compost and growing more food. This one will eventually be a dedicated potato bed, but until disease-free tubers become available in winter, I’ve planted a pumpkin and a zucchini :

The box at the rear contains water chestnuts. I’ve put them up there as a temporary measure because I didn’t have anything to put them up on at ground level to keep them away from the rabbits. By the time they’re ready to harvest, I’ll have found a more suitable spot (they’re not doing as well as yours, Fran):

The second bath has cucumbers, a pumpkin and a zucchini. The cucumbers and pumpkin will eventually trail over the side, but that’s OK. The rabbits don’t touch them :

I replanted some of the turmeric tubers back into their original pots and they’ve just started to appear :

I’m still keeping them in the polyhouse because I’m not sure how they’ll go outdoors in winter. However I put a couple of small leftover ones in one of the baths and they’ve started growing also. If they survive the winter I’ll put them all outdoors in future.

And finally, I managed to get a yield of garlic this year after two failed years. The bulbs are small but I’m happy :

And now……onwards, to see what summer brings.

Whichever hemisphere you live in, I hope the weather is kind to your garden.