Thursday, 9 June 2016

Winter season, brassicas, alliums and ripe lemons

Winter has arrived, but not in earnest. Lots of rain and cool days but no heavy frosts yet. I'm sure they are coming though. It's a long time until spring, but even come August I'll have plenty to do. With La Nina forecast it's unlikely I'll get anything like the super-long growing season we've just enjoyed.

There's still a bit happening though and it was a nice day so I went out and took a few photos.

These were the first two Meyer lemons I picked. There were 16 in total. I an hoping for even more next year.

And this is what I made with them - lemon sago, a family favourite.

Mint is really enjoying this season. We haven't had any major frosts yet but so far it looks like they'll survive the whole winter in this spot.

Garlic and parsley. A bit of a black aphid infestation on these and the rest of my alliums, but pyrethrum is sorting them out.

Sugar snap and shelling peas. I'll plant the snow peas in August.

The leaf and stems reshooting from the bases of the harvested celery has proved quite useful in cooking, good flavour. Broad beans finally sprouted too - they were huge and bushy last year so I only planted four, a bit more than a foot apart. The shallots I planted long ago in the front have also re-shot.

Onions. I have a feeling these will bolt in spring rather than form big bulbs so I'll have to keep a close eye on them.

There are a lot of mushrooms in this strip, I'm not sure whether to leave them or remove them.

Miner's lettuce is growing very slowly. Sorrel likes this position but also grows slowly, so a few more plants might be a good idea in spring.

New and old spring onions.

Leeks in the main bed growing slowly. Radishes have grown quite well, I have quite a few ready to harvest and good ratio of bulb to foliage. I'm learning it's good not to give them much nitrogen. Turnips and carrots on the other hand aren't doing much yet, but I wasn't expect to harvest them until early to mid spring anyway.

I had planned to heavily mulch this bed with shredded leaves but because of the slow growth, I haven't done it yet. The rain hasn't helped either, not going to go collect leaves while they're matted and soggy.

Fennel bulbs growing slowly but doing pretty well. The volunteer strawberry seedlings in this pot will be transplanted out when they are big enough. In the front is minutina and leaf lettuce - no signs of the leaf lettuce yet but the minutina is starting to sprout. If it takes much longer with the lettuce I'll sow them again and put plastic over the top, but I didn't think they had problems germinating in the cold. Maybe it was all the rain.

The blueberry is starting to recover from the savage over pruning and repotting I put it through much too late in summer. It won't really pick up until spring though.

Very tiny minutina sprouts. Looking forward to trying these.

The sublime is not that cold tolerant compared to the Meyer lemon. It wasn't the best choice for our climate. Since I'll prune it back heavily in the early spring it doesn't really matter. It's mostly the new growth that is losing leaves.

Herbs looking pretty good, expecting the chives to die back soon. I really need to cut the flower heads off the oregano and marjoram at the top.

The variety of buk choy I am growing this year has these huge leaves, different to the bunching green stemmed variety I grew last year. The smaller ones are meant to be wom bok but I at the moment they look like buk choy too. The two in the back are broccoli de cicco, not expecting much until early spring.

These were all direct sown in mid autumn which is normally too late. I had started brassica seedlings earlier but I really neglected them and they didn't make it except for the kale. Thanks to the warmer than usual Autumn and the greenhouse covers though, they are doing great. This bed gets about 4-5 hours of sun in winter.

These are the kale I mentioned. As well as rocket and mizuna. It gets a little less sun than the other bed but still enough.

That is self seeded basil. I suspect they will not survive the heavy frosts even under cover but I'll just leave them and see what happens.


More coriander. It had a bit of an aphid infestation that went unnoticed but I am spraying every few days with pyrethrum.

Meanwhile on the balcony, I still have fresh chillis. Shame it's not quite compact enough to fit in the greenhouse up here.

Habanero has been harvested too but it's still trying to push out new fruit.

This neglected and abused basil is still going.

This basil germinated in this unheated greenhouse, where it's a balmy 28 degrees inside despite being 12 outside. Obviously this doesn't work at night without any sunlight to trap but it's a fun experiment.

Mini cabbage is doing great. I found a caterpillar and squished it. I hope there aren't too many more. The second from the back is a double header. This is the sunniest growing area this time of year, maybe 6 or 7 hours - will be even better once the oak tree drops its leaves.

Thanks for reading.