Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Late April, cooler temps but no frost yet

Down to days under 20 and single digit nights but no frosts yet. Might still be a time off yet. Plenty of nice sunlight but garden is increasingly in shade. On the other hand the balcony is getting more and more sun due to the elevation against the lower angle of the sun and not being shaded by the oak. The balcony will also provide shelter from the first few light frosts, so I'm thinking of putting a table up here and putting all the chilli pots up here and maybe some of the frost sensitive herbs. This will give me room to move some of the other potted plants into the centre where they'll get more sun again.

Habanero has already given up at least 50 fruit and seems to have about 25 or so still ripe or ripening. Looks great really.

Razz very pretty. I should have provided a coin context for the huge chilli above on the left compared to the others.

Aerial view. Main bed half shaded now, although if I top the hedge again this season it'll reduce that a little. Everything has been removed and I have sown carrots, radishes, lettuce, leek transplants and turnips (in the back - they grew well last season in shade). 

This bed has been planted with brassicas. It will soon be covered with a greenhouse cover. The bed seemed a bit lifeless when I dug it over, still had some dead roots from last season. Not everything came up, what I need to learn to do is plant seeds less close together so that if I need to fill gaps I can transplant more easily. I'll top it off with worm castings and composts then leaves once the seedlings are big enough.

This strawberry plant is flourishing after being cut back. I may keep just this one over winter - the rest are seem continually susceptible to spread of powdery mildew.

Last few sweet bananas ready to come out soon. The diseased tomatoes will be pulled soon too as they probably won't ripen before being eaten by the rats.

Parsley and garlic on the other hand doing nicely.

Ready to harvest this beetroot at any time now.

 Blue lakes bean still making new beans.

Coriander enjoying the cooler temperatures but I really need to plant some more. I'm leaving the basil for the bees until the frost take them down.

These kale seedlings didn't look so good after going without watering while I was away down the coast but don't seem to have died. I can plant them pretty deep I think, maybe even up to the foliage.

I'm not sure if this Kiwano is ripening or starting to rot?

More... not sure they are getting enough sun any more to ripen.

Cut celery still growing.

These are the onions that fell over and died during summer but have now all re-shot, looking forward to harvesting them in spring.

Bolting cos lettuce.

These troughs aren't really ideal for strawberries. I think I need to get the dedicated strawberry planters.

Blueberry coming back slowly. Florence fennel in background.

Strawberry seedling in fennel pot. Not sure if it's from vermicompost or one of the temptation. I think I'll let it grow for now.

Eggplant and capsicum bed has a lot of fruit to be harvested before I remove the plants.

Late season black beauty has some nice colouring.

Ripe chocolate beauty capsicums. The small ones behind are the sterile yellow ones.

Hot cherry ready for roasting and ripe poblanos, and ripe jalapenos.

Lots of Jimmy Nardellos.

Cherry tomato. I should probably pull it before it's diseased spores get everywhere. Might leave the basil for a bit though.

Once I move the chillis upstairs I can put these guys in a sunnier winter position.

This season's corn bed is now basically an open compost area. It should break down over winter and be ready to plant again late spring. I'll see if I can get a big bag of coffee grounds from a local cafe to add in before I top it with shredded leaves. The worms and microbes should do the rest.

Chard doing okay but in total (but not heavy) shade now. So probably won't get a lot of production before spring. If I'm lucky I'll get some good production in spring before they bolt. I'm thinking these beds weren't the best idea as I'm fighting a constant battle with invading root systems from the other side of the fence - might have been better just to have them bare and used for more container garden area.

Lots of self seeded borage and marigolds to weed out. Luckily they are easy to identify. I should get some more when I dig it over again late spring and I'll probably let a few grow.

When life gives you lemons... looking forward to these ripening in the coming months. I'm hoping to get alot more blossoms on the lime next season after cutting it back.

I'm not sure the seed heads will mature on the fennel before end of season but it was an interesting experiment nonetheless.

Thanks for reading and happy gardening!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Mid Autumn wind down

It's middle month of Autumn. In many years the first frost date has already been, but generally it's sometime this month. So it's not far off in any case.

This will be the last update before I pull all the summer crops out of the beds. I'll let the frost kill the potted ones, and I'll see if I can put a cover over maybe my 4 favourite chillis.

Here's what I've been havesting in the last few weeks:

Probably the last big capsicum harvest, although I have many poblanos and the autumn jalapenos are starting to ripen.

From top left clockwise it's sweet banana, one of my elongated "California", one chocolate beauty, hungarian wax, poblano and Jimmy Nardello. The Nardellos are the sweetest and taste great without any help from cheese. I think they'll be bigger next year when I have one per pot rather than two.

My last decent harvest of late season tomatoes, there's probably about as much fruit still on the remaining vines but they won't be getting harvested all at once and they won't all be ripe when I pull the plants.

The potato harvest. I forget the variety, they were supermarket bought. About 6kg and some huge, sorry YUGE potatoes. Very mild scab here and there. I suspect could have gotten more if I'd been able to leave it a bit longer as some of the foliage stems were still thick and green but I wanted that area back.

These were waxy type, so I have been making potato salad with them, a family favourite! Good to know they grow well in this position for next year, even if it does occupy a walkway. But I might do them in a bed next year. 

The razz is flush with new autumn fruit after having all the ripe fruit removed. I didn't capture it but there is one YUGE chilli on the other side about 3x the size of the others. I wonder if I save seeds from it it will be any bigger than others next year?

Aerial shots of the autumn garden. The spider mite infestation did its damage but seems to have subsided, maybe it's the cooler weather or something has been predating them. I didn't plant peas, so I guess I'll not have any until spring.

The tomatoes didn't do fantastically here, probably because they only get sun from one angle and were trained up a fence. So I didn't get much fruit compared to the ones in the beds.

The sweet bananas are still producing, although next year they'll need better supports than a single stake.

My first beetroots which are more than just foliage. I have three good size ones in here. It's helping teach me about thinning strong seedlings - the seedlings which aren't strong might make it, but they will rarely flourish I think. Better not to thin too early either.

Yep, the Kiwano has produced some fruit after all, I just hope they are ripe before the frosts. It's vined out all over the place, through the mint and beans and over the neighbour's fence.

Neglected my pots a bit. I think there is an ant nest in the carrots. I should probably pick that small head lettuce before it starts rotting.

You can see the quality of spring onions is much better when you don't over-plant - had some YUGE thick and dark green ones, which I am treating as cut and come again. Compared to the thin ones next to it where I overseeded and didn't properly thin.

These were onions I planted out in spring, the stems rotted at ground level and fell over. I figured they were done for, but now they are coming up again. Very cool! I hope the shallots I planted here do the same.

I still haven't harvested any of the celery - I did try it, it was stringy and firery. I don't think I'll grow it again. It'll be fine for a stew or soup though I think.

Poblano laden with fruit. I found these taste a lot better with seeds removed.

Bees really enjoy the the marjoram and oregano flowers.

It took the whole season but the prostrate rosemary is recovering. On the left is the lemon thyme that started from a single sprig cutting.

More rosemary. It's not dead but not going gangbusters either.

Autumn jalapenos are ripening, yum!

I love growing chillis and capsicums. Pests and diseases do not trouble them and they keep on giving. Looking a bit light green? Late season or maybe I should fertilise a bit more often.

Jungle corner. Lemongrass, lemon and lime, tomato, fennel I hope to harvest seed from, and a cherry tomato with a woefully undersized cage flopping over everything else.

Corn needs to be pulled. I have not even been eating the beans growing through it. I should probably pick some and freeze them. Then again maybe I'll just dig it over and leave the corn stalks and bean foliage there to break down over winter, and cover with leaves. Not enough sun to grow on this side of the fence in winter anyway.

Repotted and pruned blueberry. Probably waited a bit long as it's going to be on the small side next spring, but perhaps this will also mean it won't flower so early in winter. I plan to keep a cover over it if it starts producing flowers too early. It has some mild rust so I'm spraying it with some fungicide.

Many late season eggplants. Looking forward to eating them.

Small unripe yellow caps - sterile too with no seeds. But still tasty.

Raspberry vine is at least 3 metres in some places. Going to cut it back to the height of the tomato cage in winter.

I didn't get a bumper harvest from my second round of cucumber starts but they haven't done too badly, especially the lemon.

A last shot of the tomatoes before they come out. The basil I have left go to flower for the bees. I'm at a bit of a loss on what to do with it all outside of freezing it. I could make pesto but it seems like a lot of work and wouldn't suit many of the varieties. Next year I will be less ambitious, maybe 4 varieties instead of 8.

Thanks for visiting.