Saturday, 9 January 2016

Early January update

Summertime is harvest time! Here's some of what I've been harvesting this month.

Sweet and hot banana capsicums, poblano, jalapeno.

Two types of eggplants and two types of zucchini.

Wee B Little nugget pumpkin. Shame I only got 2 on the plant - will manually pollinate next time, as I discarded about 5 that didn't set before the bush gave up (vine borer?).

All three types of eggplant I am growing this year. The Rosa Bianca doesn't look like the picture, it's more a solid shades of red or pink and not the stripy one I thought I ordered.

I'm harvesting a lot tomatoes now. The green zebra ones are especially nice baked.

First ripe chilli of the season. I tried to eat this one whole but it was too much - not necessarily the heat although it was pretty hot, just the size of it.

Dill has bolted but attracts nice insects.

Lemon balm is flowering this year. I should probably cut it back.

These sweet banana capsciums have produced about 20 or so fruit each and still going, growing very tall. The tomatoes (started from suckers) behind have grown quite tall and putting on fruit now.

Relocated various herb pots here to get more sun, and they don't really impede the walkway or shade things behind them. My coriander has finally started back up. The ones growing in the shady area were leggy and fell over, but are still alive (slow growing though). The one I let go to seed has produced mature pods. I have lots of green beans.

The heat wave brought on spider mites which wiped out my cucumbers and started on my beans. I'm trying to keep them under control with soap and oil sprays. I had some Lebanese cucumbers started which I have transplanted as well as sown new seeds to replace them.

Herbs doing well although my chives got a sudden attack of black aphids after the heavy week of rains - easily sprayed off though. The older spring onions to a lesser extent also got them.

Mints are pretty happy. No flowers yet.

I've sorted out the kale problems with hose sprays to dislodge the whitefly and BT (Dipel) sprays for the caterpillars - and eating the leaves younger too, while they still taste okay. The Dipel spray has also prevented me losing so many tomatoes to caterpillars.

Kiwano has not flowered yet, not sure what it's waiting on? The scarlet runner beans are putting on another flush - I hope the ants or whatever pest it was don't kill all the beans this time.

The broad beans were finally pulled, and replaced with these cucumbers. The sad looking one was just transplanted and hasn't established enough roots yet to stop wilting in the sun. I had some onions here too, I think I mulched too high over them causing the foliage to rot and fall over - if I just cut off the shoots will it just send more up? I will probably have to try it. There aren't many onions, just an experiment.

More replacement cucumbers, dill, sorrel and starting my winter brassicas too. At the bottom is some loose leaf lettuce and spinach that I am trying to grow despite the heat.

Cos ended up doing pretty well but has now bolted. In the middle is the new spring onions, I thinned them a bit early though because it appears some pest has nipped off a few. I can always plant more as they germinate quickly. And the older spring onions to the right which have flowered and are setting seed pods.

Lettuce (speckled trout) and two tubs of Paris market carrots. I find if I can get them to germinate in full sun like this they cope much better with the heat.

My two remaining bags of potatoes. I harvested the balcony bag, it was a bit disappointing - lots of potatoes but still small and some scab. Just not enough sun up there and inconsistent watering. These two should hopefully be much better (same problem with the flowers drying out before blooming though).

I found a spot for my last sucker cherry tomato and two of the basils I started from cuttings. This should ensure I get cherry tomatoes right up until the frost - the main bed should be planted with root crops by then.

This is where the pumpkin was. I replaced it with this purchased yellow button squash as it turned out my other button squash were zucchinis due to a seeds mix up.

New cucumber seedlings coming up. I'm only growing marketmore, lemon and Lebanese as I didn't like the white wonder.

This blanco lungo has escaped its supports, I may need to manually pollinate as the honey bees have gone MIA now the borage isn't flowering as much. I'm still getting native bees visiting but there aren't many of them. I'll just let it spill back to the ground and along it now as I don't have much other choice.

Yes, these weren't the yellow button squash I thought they were. They are black beauty zucchini! So they won't climb the trellis and don't even have much root space in this corner, but they should still produce some small ones so no reason to pull them. 

Grass looks quite good after the rains. A few bare patches but it is summer after all. My attempts to eradicate the creeping oxalis have been in vain but apparently it's easier to do in Autumn.

The capsicum and zucchini bed has done pretty well despite probably being over planted and even shaded by the potatoes now.

Like I said they don't look like the stripy variety I thought I ordered but they taste really good.

Long purple still being very prolific. I learned these are better if you only cut them in half before grilling or roasting, not into slices.

The yellow California wonder has finally set some fruit.

Chocolate beauty should be ready soon - a few of those dry patches, not sure what that is - like blossom end rot? A pest?

Poblano, I think I will let this one ripen.

California wonder - on the small side but fairly prolific.

In this shaded area I have pulled the endive and spinach, replaced with some beets and lettuce.

Corn appears to be doing well although some cobs didn't get fully pollinated (half cobs) and the climbing beans are now pulling some of the corn down. The smaller ones should probably have been pulled but for the moment I'll just leave it. I am still not good in picking them as I have harvested two I thought were ready but weren't now I'm a bit afraid to try.

Tomatoes are doing pretty well. Some signs of disease and blossom end rot on the larger ones but still getting plenty of tomatoes, much more than last year. I might save seeds from the one on the left as it appears a good compact variety.

I have moved the lemongrass to get more sun and the lime too. The lemons are getting bigger, the lime still worries me that I'll have none this year despite it putting on some new blossoms a few weeks ago. I cut the blueberry back, I butchered it really and seems in shock now but it should recover. I should have cut it less, and earlier right after it was done fruiting.

Chillis. The poblano hasn't put on any new blossoms for a while so I'm a little worried about it, everything else is thriving and I have my first ripe ones on the cherry. The ones on the balcony are doing well too, I'll include them in the next update as I should have some ripening ones by then. I have 30+ habaneros and even more Razzmatazz (I think they are sold here also as coloured "Thai" chillis).

Late started Jimmy Nardello with first flower buds.

The sunflower finally bloomed! Very pretty. It didn't enjoy the week of rain though. And after waiting all that time it's now about to drop its petals I think and form the seed head. I will check how root bound this one got end of season and decide if the pot can handle 2 or 3 next season.

Balcony Temptation strawberries doing pretty well, fruit on the small size as pot is likely overplanted (not really my fault, it put out a lot of runners). Very delicious though..

Finally some creature and macro photos. This is a baby skink that I managed to catch. Seems to have a few mites on him - parasites or hitching a ride?

Hoverfly in flight.

Assassin bug, young.

Grown up.

Capsicum flower.

Being enjoyed by ladybug.

Blue banded bee, really loves the scarlet runners. Also have another small native bee buzz pollinating my tomatoes and eggplants.

No idea what this thing is...

Lots of these minute two spotted ladybugs around, have kept a lot of my plants free from pests - shame they didn't populate the cucumbers and beans. Maybe I should try transferring a few?

Strawberry flower.

Thanks for visiting!

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