In the garden :February 2008 wrap-up

Posted Tue, Mar 4 2008 0:17 by bill

February certainly has been a month of plenty :)


In the Orchard:

The fresh eating blood plums have come and gone (most deliciously). The last of the blood plums are still on the trees, and are nice for making jam. I've been adding Nashi and some apple or pear with the plums and it makes a great conserve (no need for sugar as the pears/nashi sweeten it) !

The apples have begun to ripen. There's some great eating ones now:

And the pears also are ripening. The standard type (Bartlett or similar) are ripening. They fall off the tree pretty quickly as they ripen, so you have to be vigilant or pick them slightly under-ripe and let them ripen inside. I tend to go for the later. Superb eating this year.


In the veggie path

The big new addition for this month has got to be the sweet corn :)


One unexpected early addition was a "Queensland blue" pumpkin.  I was turning it, and it broke off, so I had no choice but to harvest it ;)  To my surprise and delight it was quite ripe inside, and has been lovely steamed or roasted :) It was probably a 6 or 7 kg pumpkin (12 to 15 lb)

The tomatoes are doing well, with the late crop just starting now.  The grape tomatoes have been the main stay for salads (definitely on the plant next year list).  Sweet basil is flowering, although I am trying to delay that a bit by pinching out the tips.

Capsicums are all ripening and growing well:

And cucumbers are rampant at present (taking over the "rampant" growth trophy from last month's winner the zucchinis). 

The zucchinis have slowed down to a manageable harvest rate again (thank the heavens ;)).  Carrots are doing really well, getting quite large but no sign of hollowing and only the odd occasional one with a split. Celery is almost at "bunch" stage: I'm still thinning, and just taking a few outer stalks. Beetroot is also still doing good (no sign of bolting)

One disappointment turned out to be the scarlet runner beans. (or were they "purple king" ?) .  They have pretty much finished now, the plants have died back, and there's just the seed to collect.  The other green climbing beans are still doing well.  Looks like I need to investigate good climbing beans that produce over lengthy periods of time a bit more.  I really do like the "form factor" of climbing beans compared to bush beans.. aesthetically they impact on the entire feel of the garden (in a good way).

And of course there's silver beet and the next crop of lettuce is good for a few leaves here and there. Watermelons seem to be doing very little... I guess it's just not hot enough for them here. I doubt I will try them again.

The sunflowers are pretty much all in flower, with a range of colours. Some look like the petals have been painted with a brush, while others are reddish to orange and others pure yellow:



Seed:  I collected a fair bit of snow pea seed (well probably not even half a kilo, but still plenty for the next year and then some).  There's some cos lettuce seed and parsley seed almost ready to harvest, and the scarlet beans. Earlier in the season I collected a LOT of broad bean seeds as well.


Garden works: I dug up the second phase of the garden area, formed the beds and laid out T-Tape drip irrigation.  The new plot doubles the size of the current veggie patch, adding an extra 20 x 5 meter block. It's divided into six loosely raised beds for veggies, each about 8 or 9 meters long and roughly a meter (or 3 feet) wide. Each bed has two lines of T-Tape on it, with holes every 200 mm.On the outside of the plot, along the west, there's also a narrow bed that has vines (one grape, 3 kiwi fruit) and some black currants, as well as strawberries growing in between.  I planted that out the start of this season, but it was only this month I gave them automated watering with the T-Tape.  The difference the water makes is huge ;) 

Hopefully in the upcoming weeks I'll *make the time* to start sowing in the new section. At present the weed are only tiny, but everywhere as this is the first big dig and watering.  So a light cultivation and it should be ready to go :)  Two of the six new beds are mulched with all the weeds and veggie garden clippings (kind of open composting <g>), whilst another is occupied by the pumpkins that invaded from the first plot. the emphasis in there still is building up the organic matter.




The Beurre-Bosc pears aren't too far away now:


And looks like some peaches this year as well:


The weather:

February was colder than average by a good few degrees Celsius. The mean temp was about 24, and there was only 3 days above 30 (happened to be 3 days in a row mid month with temps around 34 or 35). The rest of the month was unseasonably colder than usual. Rainfall was about average I think.

I've heard a few weather men talk about the end of summer, but I am sure they are mistaken ;)  .... after all, it never ends, just shifts around ;)

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Friday, April 25, 2008 7:49 PM by sweet pea cultivation

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