Let us know what you have been doing in the garden lately plus the tips and tricks to making it work.
Latest Activity: Dec 12, 2016
While we've been harvesting the odd yellow cherry type for a while, our red ones are just starting to colour up. I can certainly vouch for the planting method Cally described. It also gives you a root area which isn't obscured by plant if you need to top-water.
Assorted courgettes started developing blossom-end-rot so I scattered some handfuls of calcimate (which is the fastest-absorbed form of lime, get it from RD1 or Farmlands).
And the sole capsicum I put in has put out two lovely fruit - my first ever.
Our season started out very late and slow. Our tomatoes are only now in full production and, hopefully, will keep going for a while yet.Our corn has been pretty useless; pumpkins the same, even the courgettes have been minimal! But beetroot, carrots, beans and peas - great. The peas are the best I've ever grown, and just keep on growing - must put some more in, worth a try I reckon, given it seems to be a pea year for me. The cucumber we grew from seed and planted out have produced a few cucumbers, but the ones that grew up, self-seeded in the beetroot patch are seemingly never ending!Haven't got any winter stuff in yet but that's on this week's agenda.Tomatoes - decades ago, the husband saw something on tv about planting out tomatoes. It suggested that you dig out a hole, not super deep, but long enough to lie the seedling down in and cover it with just the top portion sticking out. He's done it ever since and it works well. The stems, as I'm sure you have noticed, produced roots even in the air, and when covered with soil do so rapidly. As Rex said, they aren't deep rooted, but spread out and this technique gives that root system a real kick start.
We've also had a glut of peaches from a tree that came to us as a seedling from underneath a friend's delicious old plum tree! I've bottles peaches, made fruit leather, and eaten peaches to the point of - no, you don't need to know about that! Now it's dealing with the nashi glut, and the apples are coming on. With just two of us at home now, and not going into town often, it really is a glut. We also have some golden queen and black boy peaches just coming ripe on wild trees - one on the bank outside the sitting room where we sit and eat and throw the stones out, the other at the bottom of the chook run. It seems things grow best around here it they just grow where they want to grow.A few more weeks and I'll be dealing with a glut of chestnuts - if anyone knows how to make chestnut flour, I'd love to know. Or other ideas.
My tomatoes are all but finished. had a good crop with some as heavy as 500g. However lost quite a few to weather and being away for two weeks at the peak didnt help.
Getting into the winter veges now - first lot of cabbage, cauli and broccoli are in. Also have a couple of rows of carrots and a row of parsnips peeking through. I have had no success with my broccoli seeds - not one seed has germinated after three sowings. Will be getting leeks and celery in today.
In my varied reading about growing tomatoes a lot of emphasis is placed on planting the seedling deep. I have noticed when I pull the plants out at the end of the season that they dont go deep - rather they spread outwards. One plant had a root that would have easily grown a metre away from the plant. Next year I am going to repeat my tomato composting system and will also mulch more widely around the plant to see if that helps. However we have had a great harvest with sauce, relish and a quantity frozen for later use.
Cleared most of the tomato plants out of the garden this morning, leaving just one acid free, which is still going reasonably strong. Have harvested and bottled some very nice beetroot and have harvested and frozen my first crop of nice tight broccoli heads - lovely jubbly! Tomorrow, I will be harvesting, processing and freezing about 20 bunches of celery. Have harvested HEAPS of herbs this year - they have done particularly well where I am now, so the pantry is full!
Not harvesting the tomatoes I had hoped for...low harvest, but will get through I guess. Have harvested heaps of beautiful celery though, and dealt with that to freeze. Lots more coming on. Haven't had the bean harvest I usually have either - only a couple of bags in the freezer so far. And only a small jar of borlotti bean seeds - very low. Potatoes didn't do as well as normal, and I'm waiting to see what's happening with the black potatoes I have - not ready yet. However, the first lot of Italian broccoli I put in several weeks ago are doing extremely well, very healthy foliage, and nice looking small heads have just started. I will be planting more of those today, along with standard broccoli, red cabbage, savoy cabbage and golden acre cabbage, violet cauliflower and broccoflower. More mesclun lettuce going in today as well as much of mine bolted and I currently only have butter crunch lettuce in the garden. The berries, on the other hand, are providing fabulous harvests. Strawberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and currants have been giving lots of fruit, and continue to do so. YUM!
Nice to see everyone is busy, busy like me. It does seem to be extra dry here too Rex, hope your vegs are mulched really well....sure helps in my garden. I am processing tomato with basil and garlic. plums just finished so trying to eat them before they are gone. Drying some hobenero (sp?) chillies and hope to make powder from them. Have only 2 bushes but they grew all winter too and produce a lot,.,.,.beaut orange ones.
Well, shoot and shucks Kyle! My Hawaiian pumpkins as well as two other types have not flowered yet either. They were fine last year though it was hotter. Actually the other two have lots of male only flowers so that doesn't help but how much time do you need in your area for your pumpkins to develop?. Have some other pumpkins which are fruiting and prolific and two are huge....I'm not sure if I should harvest as they seem to still be growing. Still getting lots of strawberries and now blackberries. We have sprayed with diatamatious earth and sprinkled around trees because the cicadas are out now and always rip the branches with their egg laying. Don't know how else to control them. Love their song though. Everything is doing well in the main.
My tomatoes have been fantastic this year - they have been an average of 500g each. I think the tomato compost that I during the winter has paid dividends.
1 constructed a compost bin dedicated to the preparation of tomato compost to be used when planting seedlings out.
2 then add a 30 cm layr of new compost
3 lay as much comfrey leaves as can be accessed and cover lightly with new compost
4 leave this to compost for two to three weeks then fork it over
5 Add a light dusting of lime - fork this in thoroughly and leave for 2-3 weeks
6 Add a 50cm layer of grass clippings and cover lightly with new compost. When this has decomposed fork it over thoroughly
7 Add half a bucket of wood ash - fork this in thoroughly and leave for 2-3 weeks.
8 Add a 30cm layer of new compost and fork this in thoroughly
9 other material such as seaweed can be added one layer at a time - cover the material with a layer of new compost and leave for about three weeks then fork over thoroughly.
10 Planting seedlings - dig a hole. add tomato compost, make a hole for the plant and add a tablespoon of milk powder. Stir milkpowder in then plant seedling.
I mostly grew beefstake but two plants of a diff variety [forget the name but pear shaped] and they both got blossom end rot on about 60% of the fruit.
I made damson cheese one year Pam, then next year I made a really thick damson jam, so much easier!!! I am getting a bit worried that most of my punmpkins have not even flowered yet, apart from the supermarket grey. I think there are a triamble and a couple of queensland blue babies, but the Hawaiian you gave me Kiwibrown show no signs of flowering yet at all, I guess being Hawaiian they will be assuming they have all the time in the world, but they will be in for a shock . Its been a dim damp season here, not many hot sunny days :( I had access to a b plum tree though and made three different batches of jam, some plum sauce and some worcestershire sauce from them, so happy cupboards! Also done two jars of gherkins, using a method where all are crammed into a jar with some dill leaves and garlic cloves, water, salt and a couple tbsp white vinegar added, then left in sun for 3-4 days, have also made one batch like it with zucchini sticks, hope that turns out ok, have soooooo many! have already made a batch of sweet zucchini pickle. Beans are coming on stream now and getting lots of tomatoes, I think bloody butcher and stupice are very similar if not the same! but they are good for me here as ripen earlier than all the others.
I think we might be in for a hot dry February and we are going away for 2 weeks so imagine I will come back to a scorched garden with most things dying off. Hoping to find someone to look after the tomatoes so at least the last of the crop will be saved and used.
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by Jacob Verbeek
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