Monday, 31 October 2016

November, start of the warm season at last!

The warm, sunny weather is finally here. Nights still chilly, in fact, last night was -1.3 but thankfully no harm done in the garden. Should hopefully be the last frost. A huge month in the garden, lots of work done - so much in fact I forgot to take photos of most of it. So here is a big update to make up for it.

Leeks, great lakes lettuce and some carrots harvested from the main bed grown over winter and early spring. Carrots disappointing (but nice to eat raw), other two I was happy with.

Chinese broccoli which was harvested, delicious.  I was hoping for side shoots but it's slow going.

Chocolate mint, shiso grown from cutting and Vietnamese mint. They only get a few hours sun here but it means fewer, larger leaves.

Garlic is starting to droop so hopefully this means it is ready soon. Chervil is flowering. The curly parsley is half bolting but can't see any flower heads yet. In the back are sugar snaps that were started in toilet tubes. Hopefully I can get the garlic out without disturbing them too much.

A pot of carrots.

In ground parsley I am allowing to flower. Sage doing really well just next to it.

Pot beets and cucumber/bean pot. I started this quite early but I suspect the ones I started a few weeks will catch up quickly because of the weather.

Chives, fenugreek and garlic chives. Chives have lovely flowers.

Fence peas - a bit of a setback with rats biting them off but should get some production from them. The purple podded peas have very pretty pink/crimson flowers.

I cut all the flower stalks from the second year celery, the rest of the stalks I will harvest as needed or when they die.

Broad beans doing great this year, healthy, a little bit of spotting on lower leaves but nothing like last year. Lots of new flowers and small pods - first should be ready to pick soon (I actually like the mature sized beans).

Miner's lettuce which has flowered, the red veined sorrel also seems to be putting up a flower stalk. The green sorrel from last year doesn't seem to have one.

Cos lettuce, leaf lettuce, spring onions (new and over-wintered ones I let flower the bees), baby beets, shallots and Paris market carrots.

Principe borghese and money maker in 40L pots. This area gets sun from early morning until mid afternoon.

Corn bed. There are some bush beans here planted which haven't come up yet, and if you look carefully a wee b little pumpkin in the middle. The pot is shielding a transplanted corn from the sun that didn't seem to have much of a root system as nothing came up in this spot (I might have missed putting a seed here, oops) hopefully it makes it.

I am growing spring season crops here, planning to plant corn here mid to late summer. I have pak choy and buk choy, spinach, beetroots and peas. The peas don't seem to be doing great, they were transplanted from fairly shallow cardboard pots and I wonder if they let enough roots through initially. It doesn't appear to be insects as the leaves look clear. I will persist with them and pull them if I need to. Alternatively I could try pruning them below where the leaves have started to curl and see what the new shoots do.

I also am growing peas in a pot this year. More of the pretty Dutch purple podded as well as snow peas. The first pea has finally appeared! One of my favourite parts of the season.

Kohlrabi finally getting there - set back perhaps by the beating it took from a freak hailstorm. Bulbs maybe an inch or inch and a half across now. Hopefully only a few more weeks as I need these pots for cherry tomatoes.

Herb tower. I think I will need to divide or even just cut back the oregano as they are out of control and requiring daily watering. The bottom row is coriander sown in succession.

The marjoram again nearly died again (seems to be quite fragile coming out of winter) but a section of it survived okay and I also chopped up the dried dead flower stems from last year and mulched it with them, and some of those seeds have sprouted.

Rosemary is doing great finally so don't need to feel so bad about pinching stems for cooking.

Lime flowers are opening. The little lime that was on this branch fell off.

I have potted up all the Jimmy Nardellos as the cabbage is finished and the pots were free. I harvested 20 or so "cabbagettes" from the original cut cabbage bases but I forgot to take a photo of them.

Unfortunately the kohlrabi is taking longer than expected so I have temporarily placed two cherry tomatoes (black grape and yellow pear) in 2L pots until those 25L pots are available. I will need to transplant with care as they will likely have baby fruit by then. The one in the middle is black cherry.

Lemon flowers are opening. Bees have not found them yet, just the hoverflies and butterflies/moths. Hopefully bees will find them soon.

I am growing potatoes in both bags and this bed, which was essentially an open green waste and leaf compost. I don't plan to hill up the bed up, just make sure the mulch layer is replenished if required.

 I am growing sebago and purple fleshed potatoes which have purple tinged stems.

Raspberry started late because of the weather but is now flowering.

Blueberries starting to ripen. The bush is about half the size it was last year but I am hopeful the fruit quality and size is better. Hopeful for another flush of flowers but it might not happen. These second year temptation strawberries have huge leaves and very nice looking flowers and early fruit - fingers crossed. They are netted too.

What's left in the greenhouse - some cucumbers, a zucchini, squash and the hot chillis, some more rainbow chard and beans, zinnias too. This is a good spot for it as it gets sun early morning till about 2 PM.

Main bed planted out about a week ago. Four tomatoes (money maker, green zebra, yellow heirloom and mystery volunteer), four eggplants (three black beauty and a tsakoniki), seven capsicums (purple beauty, chocolate beauty, poblano, either a poblano or a jalapeno, anaheim and bullshorn). Also planted out a few short season lettuce, spring onion as well as marigolds, heartsease viola and borage.

I have rainbow chard, curly kale, beets, spinach, pak choy and buk choy here. Seeing what works. Harvested some chard for dinner last night so there's not much there.

Some tubs with radishes and spinach.

Some flower and insect pics. I have a huge number of hoverflies around this year, I'm hoping to see more bees as more things start to flower.

Up on the balcony, the transplanted strawberries never took off (I think I cooked them leaving cloches on during sunny days) so I went out and bought some instead. The variety is "red gauntlet". I am trying pine bark as mulch this year because I think the pea straw has some powdery mildew spores.

This survived winter, a minor aphid infestation which was cleaned up by the hoverfly larvae and has now been topped up with fresh compost, fertiliser and re-mulched. I took all the fruit off too hoping it will spur new growth and buds, which it has (I'm sure the warmer weather also helped). I decided against re-potting it completely as I don't think it's root bound.

These haven't grown very well. The buk choy doesn't seem to do that well in the warm season, the pak choy does better. So I'll probably harvest these in a week and then put the hot chillis in these pots. I hope they get enough sun up here slightly tucked back from the roof of the balcony, they are shaded until about midday but then get sun all afternoon until nearly sunset.

Aerial view of how the garden is progressing. I am really liking the layout this year - you'd hope so as I spent a lot of time over winter designing it.

Thanks for reading and I hope your garden is growing along too.