Thursday, 23 November 2017

Summer round the corner, full capacity reached!

What a beautiful morning. There is a week of cloud, showers and rain forecast, so I decided it was a good time to take some pictures.

The garden is now at full capacity - with every single pot I own (bar one potato grow bag) planted out with something. So that's

10 x 25L pots
10 x 15L pots
2 x 19L pots
4 x 80L troughs
5 x 40L pots
6 x 11L self watering pots
20 x 8L self watering herb pots
8 x 8L self watering troughs
1 x larger self watering trough
2 x 45L potato grow bags

And a couple of extra bits and pieces, all squeezed into my tiny approximately 6x6 metre square garden (plus balcony) along with the three raised beds and 2 whiskey barrels. It's been a lot of work squeezing it in around our new baby (having two months off work has helped) but feels so worth it now.

First, a couple of harvests.

 I'm pretty happy with my garlic harvest from 3 pots, bearing in mind the planted cloves were not huge. This photo was taken shortly after harvest, the garlic are now dried and ready for storage.

I cut back the mints all the way and moved them into a sunnier spot, and here I've dried what I had for making tea.

I let two buk choy go to seed this year, a purple tinged one and one I call "easy tear" because the leaves separate very nicely from the base. From the looks of it I will have plenty of seeds, just in these bags to finish drying out (with the top open to let the moisture escape, of course).

I also saved seeds from a bolted Chinese cabbage, not sure why as I never have had any luck growing them to size here, but the native bees enjoyed the flowers.

Also let a red and green cos to go seed, first time saving lettuce seeds.

And here is the garden as of this morning, taken from the balcony. I really love the addition of the large troughs this year.

In shadow there is the lettuce pot that I harvested from all spring (definitely worth the $5 or so I paid for the mixed punnet), lettuces now bolting. Considering trying to save seeds from the red green speckled butter variety but I might put it in a new pot first as this pot is going to be replanted.

Okay, so that's Swiss chard on the left (harvested heavily last night) with a few radishes, in the first whiskey barrel are my purple podded peas and a few head lettuces, this too will be replanted soon. In the other whiskey barrel is supposed to be a sweet dumpling squash in back and a crookneck in front.

I say supposed to because it sure is growing bushy, not vining like the ones I had last year. I may have done another seedling mixup. The growth might change or it could turn out the one in front is the dumpling one, which is going to be tricky because I need to train it back to the fence there. We'll see what happens I guess.

In the pot in front there is another crookneck. To the right, a cucumber from seeds my mum gave me. In the smaller pot in the middle is rocket just planted a few weeks ago.

A closer look at the purple podded peas, my favourite snacking variety and also for their pretty flowers. I am going let 3 pods go to maturity as I am out of seeds. Next year I'm going to add another (temporary) section of trellis on top as these get around 2 metres tall and as you can see from them flopping over, just need that extra bit of support.

The peas and broad beans were all pulled a week or so ago, as they were diseased and just not doing well. Overplanting for the peas, broad beans started too late maybe, not sure.

In three of the troughs I have transplanted our favourite yellow Romano beans, plus a few cucumbers - in the second one I am trying the Kiwano or African horned cucumber again. There will be space for other things in the front of these troughs, for now I am growing one last round of radishes, beetroots, spinach (bolting) and mixed loose leaf lettuce (also not enjoying the heat).

In the leftmost trough, I have planted Max sweetcorn which are just coming up now. Might be a bit tight but we'll see how they go.


In this corner is a volunteer cucumber, I'm letting it grow for now.

Here you can see the cut back mints (regular, chocolate and lemon balm) next to the garlic chives (yet to flower) and regular chives (already flowed) and on the left, shiso. In the front, I have another pot of golden shallots, hoping it wasn't too late to start them.

A couple of things in the greenhouse, now by the gate. It was 40 in there this morning despite being mostly open so I am hoping I didn't cook the lettuce seeds inside. In the back are leeks, a sage plant and a sad little Jalapeno that will probably never planted out...

... because I had two survive winter, and as you can see, loving it's second year of life. There are already many pods on here and no sign of stopping.

Herb tower. The rosemary and oregano plants need repotting, which I will get done this week. The 2nd year basil is still going strong.

Things are growing wonderfully in the first of my small beds.

Lebanese cucumber.

Everything is a bit stunted in the second one. Could have been I didn't fertilise it as much, the cabbages sucked a lot of life out of it or (I really hope not) tree roots have found their way in again.

The dense masses of foliage in the middle are poppy plants, first time growing so no idea if this is normal. I am hoping some flower stalks shoot up soon.

 Cornflower or corncockle, I forget which was planted where and they look basically the same. I am looking forward to these flowering.

Nasturtiums in these beds, orange and yellow.


Here are my potted peas, did much better than those on the fence but are on their last few weeks of life due to both disease and heat. A copper spray did arrest the powdery mildew somewhat but it will spread again after the rain.

The Yukomo snow peas have been great, even though they take a long time to start producing the pods and they really need a 2+ metre stakes, not the 1.8m bamboo I am using. Next year.

The regular snowpea variety has also done well in this spot.

I have repotted the kale and moved it downstairs, and also in these two pots I have planted the two buk choy varieties I saved seed from mentioned earlier. This is a morning sun only spot, so I am seeing if they will grow despite the summer heat because I really miss them in the warmer months.

A very well pampered basil plant that I put here because it's my only pot of this size and it's a nice spot for it.

The troughs that live above the worm bin. Left to right I think it's an all season lettuce, mixed leaf lettuce, spring onions, shallots which should be ready soon, buk choy (not doing well at all and needing replacing with something else), more spring onions and more shallots.

The lettuce from the other side. It gets a bit of shade in the hottest part of the day from the oak tree here, so it's doing really well.

The blueberry is growing back nicely. I need to be careful not to over-fuss with it next season, and probably give it a light prune end of season just to remove crossing branches and so on.

Here are the dwarf Florida tomatoes, which I think will give me the first ripe fruit of the season.


This is the main bed, bustling with life. A lot of the bed is volunteer borage, viola and marigold. Also volunteer beans in the middle. I still plan to plant the leeks in there when they are big enough, so I might need to thin it out a bit.

I also have salvia, cornflower/corncockle, nasturtiums as well as the vegetables I planted. Very well hidden in front are three capsicum varities, chocolate beauty, cubanelle and poblano.

The kohl rabi have done really really well, although they need to come out very soon as they are shading things with their massive leaves. The biggest sized bulbs I've yet grown though, we can thank our mild spring for that. In the back there is the San Marzano.

Volunteer beans. Probably rattlesnake climber.

Yellow button squash, I have tried growing this twice with no success but this plant looks very healthy.

A medium sized "truss" tomato saved from supermarket.

Zucchini (greenskin, I think).

Alyssum, eggplant and a volunteer parsley.

The two corn that germinated are doing really well. I am hoping they are bi-colour because I want to save some seeds, but they could be Max or one of each. Hopefully they'll flower at the same time to help each other out with the pollination.

Okra seedlings, a bit out competed for light right now but I think they'll be okay. That's a lettuce co-growing with one of them, a bit of a mixup with the seed starts, oops. I'll let the lettuce grow to a decent size then harvest it all at once.

This is a sweetie or similar (the berry sized fruit), also saved from a supermarket punnet.

The raspberries have done wonderfully, but we lost the first couple to some naughty but beautiful green finches. I have since erected this net, re-purposed from last year's blueberry net. Good thing I had several spare of the jumbo tomato cages.

The Red Gauntlet strawberries continue to disappoint, but we'll see. There have been the occasional larger/sweeter one, so they might just need to be better established.

In this afternoon sun spot I have direct sown two Hungarian wax capsicums. I know it's late but they are quite compact and small fruited so I am still hoping for an okay harvest. If they don't germinate I'll substitute with purchased plants of some new variety.

Here are the potatoes and underneath, the temptation strawberries. End of season I will compost these and put in fresh potting mix, and transplant / propagate runners from my other small tub of volunteer strawberries turned out to be large and delicious. 

Left to right we have Bullshorn, Meyer lemon, Borghese tomato, an unknown but apparently very nice capsicum given to me by a nice fellow on the OzGrow forums, Marconi, Blueberry tomato, Jimmy Nardello and Lime "Sublime".

This year I co-planted all potted capsicums with zinnias. A couple died from stem rot thanks to being planted too deep or with wet mulch around stem (oops) but most survived. Will be nice to have them flower earlier in the season and to keep them going by dead heading. Last season I tried to grow them in the native clay below the pots and they took all season to grow and flower.

A closer look at the mystery "Robust" capsicum given to me, there are two in this 40 L pot. Maybe once full grown with the help of the internet I can find what it is called.

I am trying something new this year, which is I am rotating all my round pots 180 degrees once a week, to stop them "leaning" one direction and give them a more even sun exposure. I would also like to do this with my two dwarf citrus trees but it would mean pruning them a bit more so they can turn unobstructed, so I am not sure yet.

Principe Borghese. All tomatoes are looking great this year, no sign so far of leaf curl diseases or blooms dropping.

Up on the balcony now. I think I'll replace the strawberries with a low maintenance flowers (probably larger multi coloured violas, since they don't mind winter). We also have Fenugreek and Chamomile. I am hoping I don't have a million volunteers all over the place next year by letting these flower up here. If nothing else the plant has been great at bringing in ladybirds.

These are both shisito, the smaller one keeps getting attacked by pesky aphids which I squish or spray off with water.

Anaheim, Razzmatazz (with special guest if you look closely), and the strange seedless Cayenne that overwintered.

The other Jalapeno that overwintered, not looking quite as prolific as its friend getting full sun below (to be fair, that one is also in a pot more than twice the size), but already with some nice looking pods.

And that's all I have for today. Happy gardening!