Saturday, June 7, 2008

Got Wind?

Saturday 7th June

Rising at 6-00am to a warm and very windy morning. It's been blowing hard for a few days now and, although there has been a few branches come down, the veg plots are virtually untouched.

This warm and damp weather has certainly helped a few things along but before we start........

...a breakfast of fresh eggs, toast, low fat milk and a delightful organic peach.

Breakfast reading (highly recommended publication)

OK, lets brave the breezes...................................

Plot 1
This is still being frequented by the Bluejays and the plot is littered with beetle shells. Word must have got around as they are now being joined by a few Blackbirds.
More birds = less beetles? I hope so.

The front row of onions have romped along and the sunflowers are now well over a foot tall. I staked them when they were small but may have to do so again as they get taller.

Plot 2
Pole beans abound! One plant has outgrown the cage already so I had to extend it by putting another cage on top......

....another keeps reaching out and trying to grab one of the sunflowers but I wrestle it back to the cage. Hey, who's running this garden?

The watermelons too seem to have a mind of their own...............

................reaching out towards the cucumbers and squash in the containers. I can't let the melon vines intertwine with them as the melons will become bitter if pollinated by either of these related plants. So, I keep dragging them back into place.

Plot 3
Not long ago this was the slowest moving plot of the six, now it's the greenest and best looking in my opinion.

The once feeble lettuce are now rampant and we need to get eating them. I pulled the radishes as they were not getting any sun, half the row was unformed and is now on the compost heap.......

.....but the best looking carrots are in here and the yolo pepper plants are covered in blossoms. Every plant is bearing produce though still too small to harvest. I gave this plot a feed of Fish Emulsion fertilizer before the sun got too high.

Plot 4
The 2nd crop of turnips has had a spurt of growth this week but the spinach is stalling.
I doubt that it's going to do anything so it's coming out and I'm putting in some more chard and radish. I'll need room................. I pulled a few red onions for the salad......

...and I'm suprised these have survived with all the rain thats been poured on them.

Plot 5
I'm worried. Lots of foliage loss, plant damage and general all round droopyness.....

....and it could be Late Blight (which, funnily enough usually comes before Early Blight).

And if it is, I'll have to cut back the plants to prevent it getting into the tubers which I KNOW are under there. Oh hum, one year the potatoes will grow perfectly................

Plot 6
I checked each plant this morning and trimmed off any suckers. All six plants are setting fruit.
The little weakling which snapped in half has made a complete recovery......

... and is the centre plant on the front row. Well done that plant !!!
I also gave this plot a dose of Fish Emulsion Fertilzer.

Hmmm, not sure here. I expected them to be a little more vigorous than this.

They seem to be languishing at the bottom of the cages. I gave them some fertilizer and a good talking to so we'll see what happens next.

All looking great, I had one out of the eleven not grow which I think is pretty good.

The sapling that didn't make it was pulled and replaced by a few Basil plants I've grown from seed and were requiring a home. Seen here lower right hand side pot.

OK, it MUST be beer thirty?

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's Friday!!

Friday 6th June

More thunderstorms last night, more rain. Hmmm.
Guess I'll just slip into something more comfortable..........................

The veg plot seems to have come through this latest downpour without too much damage.
And I even have a few tomatoes making an appearence. Three heirloom varieties are growing:

Big Red (from my own seed stock)
Giant Beefsteak
Old Virginia

I'm happy to report that all three varieties have set fruit.

The ongoing potato battle seems to have quietened off after applying the iron phosphate but the plants have suffered. At least I'm woodlice free (at the moment).

Still, new growth has appeared at the top of all the plants so I have my fingers crossed for at least a partial harvest. If the plants get to flower I'll feel a lot better but up to now there is no sign. So we wait....................

Another thing that has been on my mind is the overhead light that, unfortunately, is directly above the veg plot......................

This, I'm sure, is attracting lots of bugs that I don't need so I contacted the electricity company and enquired about having it turned off. Someone came and looked and said that they would surely extinguish the aforementioned light for us but not until the land had dried out a little as to drive the truck across the garden would do some serious churning up.

We are on hold...............................

As the saying goes "Every cloud has a silver lining" and the rain has attracted my old garden buddies back in force. Yes, the toads are here.

To make things easier we name all our toads "Froggy", a bit like calling all Australians "Bruce". It makes for a simpler life. The above froggy is a bit fickle as he's abandoned "Petunia" as his preferred abode and has now moved in with "Rosemary".
It's nice to have them around and they are one creature that the cats don't mess with much as the toads let off some kind of secretion that makes them taste bad so they leave them alone for the most part.

They also eat a whole load of bugs so they are welcome anytime.

But, it's Friday. I have the whole weekend to look forward to.

And this......................

Jan's homemade "Popeye Pizza" and a glass of red wine (or three).

Early start tomorrow. Busy, busy........

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another stormy weekend

Saturday May 31st

The weekend has started with yet another huge thunderstorm which started around 9-00am. The sky went black, the house shook with terrific claps of thunder as I stood at the window watching the rain approach. Lesser violent storms continued on and off throughout the day but I did manage to get out and inspect the trees

The young Fuji apple continues to grow. Last year it was quite slow progress but this year has seen it more than make up for it.

The peach has definately improved since I wire staked it back to almost vertical, the branches now hang more evenly and the tree has an all round better shape. I was going to prune this year but decided to leave it alone after the damage it sustained at the beginning of the year.

Its first crop of fruit has suprised me both in quantity and quality. Although the fruit is still small I have hopes of some harvest this year if the bugs dont beat me to it.

Here's another harvest that surprised me even more. Around the middle of last week I noticed that a couple of the potato plants were getting seriously chomped by some thing. I thought it was the dreaded Carrot Beetle at first and started to dig around the base of the infected plants to see. What I did find was these, and quite a few of them too so I snitched a couple out from under the plant. I also noticed a whole lot of Woodlice or Pill Bugs as they are sometimes known.

I consulted my gardening guru Dawn and she confirmed they they were probably the problem.

Here you can see leaf damage, not too bad but bad enough.

But there were literally thousands of them hiding in the warm, damp straw mulch and chewing through the plant stalks.
Luckily, Dawn had the organic, garden friendly solution................

Slug repellant with Iron Phosphate as the active ingredient. I had to make sure that there was no Mataldahyde in it which is a poison. The Iron Phosphate based product actually helps the soil so it's a win-win situation.
A trip to Lowe's organic gardening section came up with This

I cleared away all the straw mulch and spread the repellant and that evening the Woodlice population had reduced by an unbelievable amount. When it does eventually stop raining I'll go out and have another check on the progress.