I’ve been enjoying lots of summer produce from my garden – carrots, radish, pak choy, lettuce, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beans, strawberries, lots of herbs, and one leek. I already blogged about my adventures in growing garlic. And it’s so much more pungent than shop bought. They didn’t segment because I didn’t fertilize them enough. This April when I plant more I’m going to add lots of manure and compost before planting the cloves. And in April I’ll remind CW to plant some garlic in her garden. There was only one leek because from eight seedlings, only one survived.
My tomatoes were a bit slow to start fruiting because I didn’t plant them at the start of spring. The rain in November gave them a good start and I’m slowly becoming inundated with tomatoes. The compost tomatoes* came up earlier than the Tommy Toes I planted from Diggers seed, but the cherry tomatoes are now ripening too.
I was told cherry tomatoes are less prone to bugs, and I thought this meant they wouldn’t get caterpillars in the fruit – a problem I had last summer. They do get caterpillars, but there are still lots that are caterpillar-free. My uncle told me I should use a spray of garlic and chilli, but I haven’t got around to it.
I planted Lazy housewife heirloom beans, but next summer I’m going back to bush beans because I prefer to eat beans raw and the larger pods of climbing beans aren’t as tasty raw. My bush beans didn’t survive the heat last January and climbing beans were recommended as hardier, but they haven’t done much better in the heat this January. Every now and then there are a few to nibble on while watering the vegies. I’ve been aiming to water twice a day to help them through the heat, but sometimes this doesn’t happen, which may have contributed to the shrivelling of a few bean plants. I must be lazier than the average housewife :P
I planted Japanese climbing cucumber seeds, but like last year they didn’t survive the heat. I thought a cucumber vine grew from the compost* but the fruit looked more like watermelon. Then I realized its rockmelon. The vine is taking over and I’m looking forward to tasting it.
I haven’t been spacing out my planting of carrots, radish and pak choy and all through January I didn’t have any, but I’m aiming to plant a few every two weeks so I can harvest them continuously. The pak choy and basil get munched by caterpillars quite a bit, so I have to use Bt to kill them. And pak choy has a tendency to bolt to seed in summer – it lasts a lot longer in winter.
My winter climbing peas didn’t do too well because they got powdery mildew and despite using sulphur , it didn’t go completely. (I was later told I could have used a mixture of milk and water and I will try this next time black spot visits.) I had one or two snow peas that weren’t affected and they produced nice pods. I got a few stir fries out of them, along with radish and pak choy from the garden.
Towards the end of winter the grass came up through the newspaper and it started to look like an untidy patch of lawn. Before my spring planting I mowed the grass, spread the clippings around the area, added more newspaper, compost and hay and it was ready for planting. In December I harvested red onions that had been growing at the edge of the bed all year. They were very yummy. The grass is still coming up and after the tomatoes finish I’m going to plant green manure of clover and mustard. When that’s finished I’ll mow it and the grass and spread more newspaper, compost and hay. Maybe one day that grass will stop popping up.
*Note: compost tomatoes, lettuce, etc grow from my compost. I don’t remove them from the compost after they’ve rotted a bit, as someone thought when I talked about them. My compost is not the best example of compost in action, because if you’re doing it right the heat produced is meant to kill any seeds, but I don’t mind.
- McFarlane, Annette (2002) Organic vegetable gardening Sydney: ABC Books