Monday, September 26, 2016

More water woes

With everything still a bog and not a lot I can do there is still not much I can write about. We are predicted to have another heap of rain this week so there won't be any improvement for a few weeks. I really hope the rain ends soon.

I will have to delay my spring planting as it is way to wet to plant any seeds but I have a few melons and pumpkins, as well as some pots of oca and ulluco that really need to go in soon. Well, I will put them out in a couple of weeks and hope for the best.

I have bought a couple of big bales of pea straw and started putting it out on the oca and ulluco beds. Oca does so much better under mulch so I hope I get a good harvest this season.

The coming rain this week should settle the straw well so it will be ready to plant into when things dry out a bit.

My poor garlic is strugging under a mat of grass and weeds but I can't weed it because it is too boggy. Not only can't I walk on the ground but when I try to weed I pull up the garlic plants with the weeds.
Luckily garlic is pretty flood tolerant except that when it is too wet it tends to go 'hairy'. The cloves start to grow before the mother plant is ready to harvest and the leaves all grow out of the main stem.

At least I should still have enough bulbs to plant for next season.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

It's so wet I can't get on my blocks

Although I am thankful for the unusual amount of rain we have had this month - breaking the drought and filling the dams and soil, it is still a bit trying as I am so impatient to get my spring planting done but it is just too wet. It will be very delayed as I predict that the soil won't be firm enough to do anything with for at least a couple of weeks of sunny weather.
The soil is such a bog that I can't even step on it to do any digging or weeding, and our town and the next had flooding in their lower parts. Many shops and houses were flooded but luckily for me I live on a hill.

Many of the crops I had in the ground for seed have rotted but these purple asparagus are bravely doing their thing. At least it is nice to see some life in the ground. The green asparagus are also starting to show themselves.

I find the purple asparagus tastier than the green but I will continue to grow both.

My pots of oca tubers from last years seedlings are sprouting strongly and I wish I could get them in the ground but they will just have to wait.

At least these are a bit better going in late in that they don't seem to suffer as much stem rot later in the season when they are put in later.

I have a few trays of seedlings germinating but at least it will be another month till they will be ready, no hurry there.

These are some mixed colour lettuce seedlings. I have not grown lettuce for a few years but I am keen to try them again.

I have a few new colours of ulluco to try, and they are also wanting to get in the ground.

This year I am going to try mulching some of them, though they did fine with no mulch last year. I am a bit worried that the slugs and snails will get at them if mulched, but I won't know if I don't try.

I am looking forward to being able to offer quite a few colours in a couple of years.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Spring is springing everywhere

The winter is having its last hurrah as I am writing this with pouring rain and a possible thunderstorm tomorrow. The ground was just beginning to dry out enough to walk on and now I will have to wait another couple of week if the forecast of 30-50mm turns out correct.

 I have lots of seedlings coming up and tubers shooting now - from these ulluco tubers to water chestnuts and yacon.
The broad beans are all starting to set pods and are mostly looking great, and everything feels like spring.

As soon as the ground dries out enough to get a truck on I have to get some deliveries of lime and large bales of straw for the ulluco and oca.

I have put a few seeds in trays, a bit early but I was impatient. These are lettuce seedlings but I also put in some pumpkins and melons yesterday.
I generally don't grow lettuces but I have a hankering to grow some unusual ones this year, and I have been thinking of doing some crossing between 'normal' lettuce and celtuce to get some new varieties of celtuce with frilly and coloured leaves, and maybe more tender leaves.

Since I will be growing so many melons this year to renew my seeds I have bought a heap of insect netting to cover the rows so I can hand pollinate in peace without worrying about bees and other pollinating insects.

It looks like it will be very busy spring as I will be planting twice as much ground as last year.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mauka, broad beans and winter

Although the temeratures are creeping up it is still wet and my blocks are too boggy to walk on. My 'Bear Necessities' kale that I had such high hopes for is rotting in the mud though I should still get a few seeds when the remaining plants flower.
Like last post, I forgot to set the date on the camera so ignore that :)

I got my backflow device inspected this morning. It has to be done every year to make sure that anything that goes through the fertigation system doesn't get back into the town water supply. It is just one of the bills I have to pay this month, with car service, lime and a dozen more - isn't there any way to save money *sigh*

 As a great sign of spring some of the brassicas are starting to flower. This is a couple of rows of heading mustard. Unfortunately with the wind and rain there haven't been many bees around so I a not sure how the seed harvest will go.

 Here is a pic of some of my rows of Crimsone Flowered Broad bean. At least these are handling the wet a bit better than everything else.

With the soil so wet I dug up my Mauka plants to see if the roots were rotting - they were.
I separated them and planted them in pots till the soil is dryer. I can't afford to lose these plants.

I have managed to save a couple of roots to taste ina week or two after they have sweetened in the air.

This is an average sized root after one year but there were bigger ones. I read that you should keep them in the ground for two years to get them to a decent size for eating.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wet winter and broad beans

Sorry I have not posted in the last month, there was no internet access where I was staying.

Although there was hardly any rain where I was over the last month it poured here at home. I got back yesterday ready to do a heap of the work that needed to be done but it is so wet and boggy that I can't get onto my blocks. It is like a swamp.
My poor garlic is covered in weeds but I can't get on to water them.

 My camera gave up the ghost so I bought a cheapy from China to tide me over. It takes good pics but I forgot to set the date so the date and times aren't right here on these pics.

My crimson flowered broad beans are looking good all covered with flowers and am surprised to see that they don't have any sign of rust even with the wet conditions. This is a bit strange because Crimson Flowered is usually first to show signs of disease.

My other broad beans are not looking as good with many signs of nutrient deficiency and some rust spots. I went around and fertilised them to give them a boost.

My Bear Necessities kale is just about to flower but they are still putting out a heap of little and very tasty leaves that are perfect for salads.

I am definitely going to push this variety as it is so tasty and bears right through the year.

One of my rented blocks is now for sale so I have started cleaning it up and transplanting some of the plants I have on it.
It is a bit of a pain to lose a block but it is to be expected. Luckily they told me before spring planting.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Winter Ramblings

I know I haven't posted for a few weeks but there really isn't much to talk about over winter.

The winter has been just like it was normally before the drought and all the blocks are boggy and I sink up to the tops of my boots whe I try to do anything so I try to leave everything alone as much as I can so I don't bog things up.

The weeds have stopped growing and even though there is a bit of a weed problem in the garlic I am pretty happy with everything else right now. I have been doing some markets with my seeds but that is about the extent of my work.

Later this week I will be going up to stay with my sister while she has her baby to help with her other kids. While I am there I am going to make a her a nice big vegetable garden with dripper system to make things easier for her. Since her babies always thumb their noses at due dates I could be there for up to a month.

 I spent today pulling up a bed of 'Easter Egg' radishes and replanting the best ones to grow on for seed.
Any that were split, undersized or the wrong shape were discarded.

I keep telling myself that I would not plant radishes because they are hard to harvest for seed but I keep doing it. I never learn.

I always take a root cabbage to markets as they are so ugly that they attract lots of attention.
It is hard to imagine that such an ugly vegetable can be so delicious.
Actually a lot of people want to grow the seed just because it is so unusual.

I have a couple of small beds in to keep for seed but I am worried that the wet winter might cause them to rot. That is their one failing, they are so soft fleshed that they rot easily in wet weather.

After the markets my family eats the left over roots but I do have to think up some new recipes. They are too versatile to just steam or boil.

My camera died today so I am waiting on another I ordered from China - until that one comes I will have to use the camera on my phone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Weedmat experiment

It is still damp and cloudy so I am not getting anything done so I think I might have a break from my posting for a couple of weeks. There is still three months of doing nothing til planting time in spring so I will be struggling to find things to write about.
Next month my sister is having another baby so I will be there with limited internet for three weeks and that will also stop my posting, you will have to be patient.

 I am not able to keep up with the weeds properly so I thought I would do a little experiment. I put down a couple of rows of weed mat over the weeds to see if it would do a good job of killing them.

I used 'normal' weedmat on one row (the right) and the geo fabric that I like on the other to see if there will be a difference.
I prefer the geofabric because it is easy to handle and doesn't fray but the weedmat is half the price and lasts longer.
I decided to put it over the living weeds to see if it would kill them and let them decompose into the soil and feed the worms as when you put normal weedmat on bare soil it can cause the soil to go a bit stale, though not as bad as solid plastic.

Sorry this is so short, I really have nothing more to talk about.