Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Water chestnut time again

Thank goodness, tomorrow looks like it will be the end of this spell of wintery weather so I will actually be able to get some work done. I have been doing a little bit between showers but really, I have been a bit lazy.

Yesterday I borrowed a big rotary hoe to dig up my new seed block, and today got a small truck load of compost delivered. After I get it all hoed in I will plant the silverbeet seedlings I have coming up in a tray in my greenhouse. At least I will get a few beds of stuff in before winter, and if it is mild I will get some seed in the spring. Otherwise, if it doesn't grow well I will be digging in the silverbeet as green manure and doing most of my planting next October.

Today I harvested my two bathtubs of water chestnuts. I have to say that the extra space they got in the bathtubs made the tubers grow much bigger than last year. They hate being crowded.
I still didn't get the yield I was expecting- I only got one kg per plant when they should produce two kg per plant. I will still have to work on the soil I think.
I planted three tubers in each bathtub.

I had to stop pulling up the plants in one of the tubs as I spotted a water spider in it. These spiders look like wolf spiders and live in the water, trapping air in their body hairs to breathe underwater. They are keen to defend themselves and give a painful bite so I will finish pulling these plants when I get some gloves.

I always wonder where some animals come from. It is over one and a half km to the river and no other suitable habitat for them close by so I wonder how this spider got into my tubs.

This is how the tubers grow on the ends of the plants roots. It is easy to pick them off, and as long as the soil is light and sandy they are pretty easy to pull up if the roots aren't too crowded.

 You still have to feel in the soil for tubers afterwards for any that broke off while you were pulling but that isn't too hard.

Here is a pic of how the plants spread. The mother plant produces lateral stems under the water that new plants grow on.

I will put in a couple more tubs next year for them

I did also pull up my lotus but the tubers were only finger size. I really hope they do better next year.

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