Friday, 23 September 2016

Warming up

The weather has improved although it's still quite cloudy, good weather for transplanting seedlings.

All the eggplants, chillis and capsicum seedlings.

Tomato seedlings already starting to get a bit crowded, growing fast.

Fenugreek has germinated, first time trying this.

Bolting parsley and garlic - bit worried the parsley is crowding the garlic but it still has plenty of time.

Unfortunately the rat has destroyed all my pea starts, severing the stems. I don't know whether or not they will produce side shoots or not. I'm going my best to catch or poison them but no luck so far.

The Chinese broccoli is looking good, except the one the rat bit off the growing tip, not sure it's going to recover. I need to make some more of these little cages to protect the peas, beans and other things the rats like to destroy. Maybe I should put some spike strips on the ledge too so they don't traffic across it.

Covers have come off the brassica beds and I chopped and dropped the bolting mizuna and rocket. The kales are going to flower too. Hopeful that the beets will produce and not bolt, looking good so far. Still taking some small florets off the broccoli but it's about ready to come out too. Have some spinach here also doing quite well.

Kohlrabi are getting bigger and starting to bulb out slightly.

Leeks look fantastic, several quite thick. These were planted deep so should be a thick white stem below the surface.

The carrots seem to be a bust with most of them sending up flower stalks. Will need to plant them much earlier next year in Autumn or wait until late winter. On the plus side, I don't need to wait anymore so I can probably clear this bed to plant out the nightshades mid October. I am hoping it hasn't been too root invaded this year, so that I don't need to dig it over, just top it off. The turnips have already come out because they were going to flower too. I have a few nice lettuces too.

Potato bed is breaking down nicely, I will plant the seed potatoes here end of the month.

Blueberry is looking great and I have moved it here so I can net it from the birds. Bees not too good at making it through the net yet but if I get them accustomed to go going under they should be able to find their way through soon. When it's finished fruiting I can move it back out of the way and get the lawn back.

Up top I have buk choy and pak choy starts, new beetroot starts, spinach starts and basil which hasn't come up yet. Below I have rainbow chard and the only sage I managed to germinate this year.

Broad beans are producing their first tiny pods and continuing to flower. The celery looks really good and no flower stalk yet so should give me a decent harvest before I pull it out.

Lettuce starts doing nicely.

This pot of strawberries is coming back nicely. I hope it's not too root bound - if so I'll use these as transplants instead.

Coriander and tiny Paris market carrots either side. Shallots starting to separate.

New lime leaf and flower buds. I think I will definitely get limes this year as there are hundreds of flowers.

Florence fennel ready to harvest, no sign of bolting yet. I have already harvested one and it was really good. Another thing I can grow successfully over winter other than cabbage family.

Thankfully the rat hasn't touched these peas. The minutina has been fun to grow but it's pretty tasteless so I won't grow it again, at least not here.

Raspberry putting out it's second year growth now. Netting it is going to be hard, maybe if the birds have nothing to land on nearby they won't be able to pinch as much fruit. I could try netting each individual fruit cluster too but that could become tiresome.

Budding meyer lemon flowers.

Chard is starting to bolt, fine by me as I would like to dig over this area before planting. Last year I direct sowed some things here and they became very leggy, my thinking is if I can get them started well in modules first they might tolerate this part shade area better. So I'm going to put more chard here, some beets, spinach and some buk choy. It's a tricky area because it's in the shade all morning until it's in the hot afternoon sun.

Herbs really taking off. Chives and tarragon, prostrate rosemary looking better than it has in a long time, lemon balm, chocolate mint and sweet mint. 

Sorrel producing a lot now too.

I'll let these spring onions flower for the bees and I could probably use some more seeds too.

On the balcony the volunteer strawberries are growing very slowly, I should probably give them a liquid feed a few times a week as it's going to take a while for the blood & bone to break down in the potting soil. They probably don't need the cloches anymore. I have tried mulching with pine bark this year because the straw would blow away and I think it has powdery mildew spores.

Very proud of the cabbages, ready to harvest now.

Sadly these are bolting before getting very big. I don't think buk choy likes to be transplanted, or it could just be the time of year I started them. I will be more careful with my starts not to disturb the root ball too much. Still they are a useful size for eating so I'll eat them in the next week. I have sown some more seeds in the pots, although I will be using these pots for the hot chillis this year when it warms up a bit more, I can pull the buk choy as baby plants if they aren't very big yet. Or I could just let them grow with the chillis until they are ready to harvest.

Overwintered razzmatazz looking a bit beaten up but I'll trim it and re-pot it in a few weeks.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Gearing up for the growing season

It's been a lovely couple of days and I've been working hard in the garden.

Tomato seedlings which have been potted up, will be potted up one more time before planting out November or so.

Eggplant and chillis/capsicums.

The rest of the chillis and capsicums and trying again on a few things that failed to germinate. This setup works pretty well.

Main bed is getting full sun at least some of the day now.

Pots enjoying the spring sunshine and putting on a lot of growth.

In the brassica bed, I'm going to pull out the mustards (rocket and mizuna) and chop them up and just leave them on top to break down I think.

Unfortunately I noticed tiny flowers in the wom bok so that's another fail, I guess I tried it wrong time of year or kept it as a seedling too long.

That's one huge mizuna plant!

Herbs all back in full swing.

Mints. This will get less sun as the season goes on so I'll either move out the stand a little or relocate them.

Snow peas and Chinese broccoli. Haven't had as many rat problems as last year with them biting off my seedlings.

Transplanted beets, giant red mustard - probably not the best place for it but I have nowhere else to put it right now.

Miner's lettuce and sorrel growing prolifically, I have snuck in another red veined sorrel plant.

Broad beans flowering and looking great - no signs of the brown spots I had last year, I have been careful to keep leaves away from the stem.

I've tossed a bunch of spring onion seeds here. I think the over wintered onions will probably flower and subdivide, so I might be able to dig up sets to plant out again in autumn.

New lettuce out of the greenhouse.

Strawberries are sending out new stems.

The strawberry volunteers are back on the balcony, trying to get as much growth as possible so they fruit this season.

Kohlrabi getting bigger.

Fennel is huge and I have some huge bulbs so growing them over winter has worked well. They don't appear to be bolting yet but I should start harvesting them soon.

Snow peas with makeshift trellis. There are regular and purple podded, I'm looking forward to seeing the flowers.

Minutina growing great. Still can't really say it has much if any flavour but it's been an interesting thing to try all the same.

Blueberry has lots of new growth, flowers and green fruit. I'm probably going to put this on the lawn and net it from birds, to maximise growth as well as make it easier to harvest.

Lime buds.

Lemon buds.

It's a few weeks behind last year but raspberry is finally putting out its second year growth. There are 5 canes instead of 2 this year so I have high hopes. Not going to be easy to net it though!

Chard is enjoying getting some afternoon sun, fingers crossed it doesn't bolt. Put another red veined sorrel here and a red mustard, will see how it does in this part shade area.

Borage volunteer and a tasty looking leek.

Not sure about the carrots - some appear to be putting up flower stalks. The perils of planting biennials in autumn.

Turnips nearly ready to harvest, most of them golf ball size.

Not for the hard work bit - harvesting the worm castings. They were still quite wet but I did my best, added in a bunch of shredded cardboard when I was done. It really needed to be done and it was a bright, calm day so I couldn't wait for them to be dry as well. I mixed them in with old potting soil which will be used for the warm season's container plantings. These large black tubs are extremely useful for things like this as well as making up potting mixes and so on.

I also potted up some carrots and an early cucumber, will see how it goes or if I have gone too early. Being in a pot I can move it under cover if I need to if we have a bad frost.

Mystery herb in brassica bed. It tastes like oregano but there was no oregano here, only basil. It could just be a weed.

Well that's it for now. The largest of the balcony cabbages are pretty much ready to harvest and look fantastic, so thinking of what to do with them - can always make coleslaw if I can't think of anything else!