Friday, 21 April 2017

Lack of updates - and planning for 2017/2018 season

Sorry about the lack of updates since November - pretty much the whole growing season. I took plenty of photos but just too busy to organise them and write blog posts. I am working on starting up a proper YouTube channel in addition to the blog, will probably start that next spring.

It was a disappointing season in some respects and a good one in others. Did well with some of the cucumbers, really badly with the squash. Most of the tomatoes did really well with a few exceptions. An overload of Jimmy Nardellos the point I got tired of eating them. Other capsicums and eggplants were variable. Poor main bed design meant too much shading, hard to do pruning/maintenance in the middle of the bed and so on. Definitely planning to do things differently next season.

The lime tree gave us limes finally and it's still putting out new flowers in mid Autumn so we might even get more over winter. I plan to prune the citrus pretty heavily early spring to shape them and possibly pot them up one last time to a 40L pot.

Chillis were really successful on the balcony, in fact, all of them are still loaded with fruit. Will try to overwinter the Jalapenos to get an early start next year, but might give the hots a break next season as I don't really have a great method of preserving the huge excess of fruit outside of freezing. I did make some hot sauce and try pickling some but to be honest I don't really tend to use them much like this. I still have bags from last season in the freezer too, let alone this season.

Haven't had a frost yet, it's been a lovely Autumn really, with the first of the real cold set to arrive next week. A little late with starting my winter crops, ending up buying most of the brassica seedlings because I had neglected my own seed starts and they had been eaten pretty badly by caterpillars.

One note of good news this season was the arrival of a tiny black ladybug which feast on my arch nemesis, the spider mites. I sure hope they overwinter here so that they can keep them in check next season as they really do wreak havoc with cucumbers, beans and some other crops. I suspect my strategy of hosing them off every few days in summer rather than using pesticides is what allowed the black ladybird population to flourish.

Next season I plan to do the larger capsicums in pots. My favourites this year with the anaheim, although I got very few because I planted it in a really sub-optimal position, and a supermarket-seed saved variety called bullshorn, which were simply delicious roasted. Maybe one of the smaller beds for the tomatoes plus one or two in pots. Main bed probably corn and squash. I am thinking of moving my raspberries into a raised bed by the fence as although they seem to do okay in a pot (bar some annoying new ant I got this year eating much of the fruit) I think they'll do a lot better grown in a more traditional fashion. I could add a second variety too. Could probably put strawberries in front of that. My focus next season now that I have tried out a lot of varieties in the past two seasons will be a "less is more" approach, trying to get better production with fewer plants, being those I've enjoyed eating the most as well as those that have done the best in our climate.

Thanks for reading and I promise more photos and updates in the future as well as hopefully videos.