Thursday, 24 September 2015

Early spring update

Leaf and container head lettuce doing really well.

My first broad bean pods, still tiny! I've read it's good to pinch the growing tip at this stage, but it's hard with so many new flowers still forming.

New sugar snap peas getting their first flowers. Some nasty rats have severed two of these at the base and I had to pull them out. Previously the rats had only gone after seedlings. I'm still experimenting with traps and baits.

My transplanted Majoram died (possibly oregano instead) so I've planted some seed, as well as Greek Oregano from seed. At the bottom I am have planted Green Perilla (Shiso).

The front row of corn has sprouted, not so the rear row. They were two different varieties, so one might take longer (or possibly the seeds were duds). I forget which was which. 

My old perpetual spinach clump I found out, when removing it, was actually about half a dozen clustered plants with their own tap roots. I saved the two smallest ones and transplanted them. It's their second season but being small and likely crowded by the old ones, I am hoping they don't bolt.

I have pruned my lemon tree and lime bush, and potted them up to slightly larger pots (25L vs 19L). They weren't that rootbound, so I think the size is adequate for the next two years.

My blueberry bush is looking good and the new blueberries are looking much plumper and healthier. I have been adding sulfur to the potting mix to correct the PH. I suspect this will need repotting after this season but I will need to wait until it is done fruiting and the older canes can be cut back.

Lawn is looking pretty good after winter! I didn't do any top dressing or rejuvenation. Just had its first mow since Autumn.

The row of pots will eventually house chilli plants (currently have some varieties of radish). The lemongrass in the middle will be potted up when the weather gets a bit warmer. It's just hanging on at the moment.

Raspberry canes are looking great. Several new canes at the bottom. This is an unconventional way to grow them, but if I plant them on the fence they might pop up on the neighbour's side. I'll keep the new canes on the inside of the trainer and the older canes on the outside. Then I can put the new canes on the outside next winter after they shed their leaves and repeat the process.

Kale is doing well. I should probably eat it. The rats have been eating the smaller one - better that than my seedlings. The cloches are more for rat protection than cold protection.

Kohlrabi are looking quite good, no sign of the bulb yet. At the back an old lettuce that I should probably make a salad out of, and two beets on the right. The smaller ones are turnips.

These are my repotted seedlings. They are outside, but seem okay in their greenhouse with the nights which are still near zero. I suspect they'll grow very quickly once the roots are established. 

My shallot in pots are doing much better than the ones in the beds.

I think I massively overplanted this with spring onions (even though they have shallow roots). Due to the clumping nature of the onions might be tricky to thin/harvest individual ones without damaging the adjacent ones, but we'll see.

Letting my rocket go to flower just for the hell of it, and to attract bees. I have a new pot started in the greenhouse.


My balcony Temptation strawberries are doing pretty good.

Still small plants but hopeful of having fruit this season.

My balcony potatoes. They miss the early morning/late afternoon sun but get good sun in the middle of the day, I think it will be enough.

The two varieties are Otway red (the broader leaves) and Royal Blue.  There is one of each and a mixed one. I have already potted up the far one, the other two I am waiting for the Otway Red to get tall enough.

The weather hasn't been brilliant so far this spring, maybe 3-4 nice, clear sunny days. And my ongoing battle with the rats. But I'm sure things will improve!

Happy Gardening.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Seedling transplants

Potatoes doing well. Too big for the greenhouse now, so I'll need to cover them if we get another frost (they should be protected enough from 0 or -1 just being on the balcony). Almost ready to top up again. Wonder if I should use more (expensive) quality potting mix or just some coco coir and fertilizer instead. I have plenty of spare seed potatoes, I might add one when I raise them up as I've seen some people get pretty poor harvests in the top half of their grow bags.

All my eggplants, tomatoes, capsicums and chillis are now transplanted to small pots. Will probably not pot any up again before planting in 6 weeks or so.

I planted everything quite deep, not just the tomatoes, hopefully won't get any stem rot. I've read conflicting information about it but generally people say you can bury them deep.

New container lettuce doing well. Rodents have been eating a lot of my new seedlings including my rocket so I'll have to cover it or move it. Keeping my new pea seedlings under protective cloches. They also just help themselves to large stems of Kale and so on. I might have to start using traps instead of baits as they don't seem to be controlling them very well.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Raising strip bed

An afternoon and morning of digging and I've raised my strip bed up with sleepers, also in the back to protect the fence from too much moisture/rot. The rats will need to find a new way in. The fungus infected peas had to come out. I managed to fill and pile around the existing plants, although the smaller kale was moved. Hopefully they'll flourish with the addition of more organic matter.

I dug a trench and put a few bags of peelings and other scraps in the bottom along with leaves, then filled that in. I added cow manure and finished compost, the rest of the original clay, and then topped with a bagged soil product. I was liberal with gypsum through the clay. There are lots of worms in this bed. Hopefully they'll mix it all up for me. I think I'll save my worm castings for planting holes.

Early spring now and this bed is now getting full sun at least part of the day. So this gives me planting options. I think I'll put the rest of the seed potatoes here, maybe onions in front.

Looking forward to my broad beans. Kale is enjoying the spring, still small but is definitely getting bigger.

Not long until I rejuvenate my main bed. Many of my tomato seedlings are ready to go into their own small pots. I also need to plant out some of my other seedlings into the west facing shade bed soon but I'll probably wait for my days off next week.

Happy gardening.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Goodbye herb bed, hello herb towers

Today I finally got around to digging out my herb bed. It's a pity as it was so vibrant with the onset of spring but it had to be done, I need this space for bigger crops, my capsicums this season

I've taken my greenhouses down, I'm growing some Kohlrabi and turnips under netting, should hopefully be ready by late spring when this bed will become my cucumber and zucchini bed. I'll probably keep the net up while they are young to give them the best start (protection from extreme sun and pests).

These are all the "spares" - I'll dry these or give them away.

Most of my herbs will now be in these two pot towers. This one gets all day sun.

This one is shaded in the late afternoon. So will suit things that like a bit of shade. These square pots are about 6L each which is a good size for herbs.

I will be planting biennials and annuals around the beds, like parsley, chervil, dill, basil, based on companion planting principles. This frees up my two barrels, where I was originally going to plant all my herbs into, for something larger - I think it's where I'll put my eggplants this year.

I've also taken the first steps in converting my in ground sprinkler system into a drip irrigation system. I added a filter/pressure reducer to my tap which feeds this whole system, which will eventually water all my large pots, whiskey barrels and garden beds. I should be able to add a timer at some point.

These will eventually be chilli pots in November but why waste the space, growing a few varieties of radish in the meantime.

I've added this sifted fine mulch to the pots, otherwise they dry out too quickly even with the coir and water reservoir. I've started a new pot of rocket because the original one is bolting.

Phew - made good use of my days off. Unfortunately back to work tomorrow.