Saturday, October 28, 2017

Busy, busy, mowing and weeding

Now that sowing has nearly finished, just some resowing of patches to go, it is time to start mending and tidying after the neglect of winter. The grass on the driveways is growing strongly so I am mowing every two weeks to keep the place looking tidy.
I will be starting putting together more irrigation soon as I am guessing that I might have to start the irrigation in about three weeks, though the soil is still quite damp.

 The winter has left the shadecloth bed covers a bit tatty so I have pulled them up and doing some small repairs. Generally all I have to do is hammer in all the stabilising posts that came loose in the wet, and attach the shadecloth again to them.
Overall, they are still quite good.

So far we haven't had much of the strong spring winds that we usually get so I am not having to take them down and put them back up often.

Just about all my seed grow bearded iris this year are finished, just one more plant to go.
I am impressed with this particular one - it has large flowers and many on each stem. I think this might be the one I keep from all that flowered this year.

With the cold nights that are still going on my poor little zucchini plants are suffering a bit. I have planted new beds later so those new ones should be fine. Anyway, these little ones are just starting to show little fruit buds.

I really hope this variety is stable enough to offer seeds from this year. I hope I don't have to select and carry them over another year, but I suppose I will if I must, I have put too much work into it to give up on them.

 My oca plants are looking healthy and starting to bush out. I really hope I have a good year for them. I am testing every variety this year for heat tolerance and I hope some are good enough to offer for sale.
I will have half the plants under the covers and half out in the full sun.

Lastly, my peanuts are finally popping up. Last year the rabbits gave them hell so I wasn't able to evaluate my two varieties for production.
I was disappointed to find that I couldn't tell any difference in flavour between them. I was hoping that there would be more difference than just nut skin colour.
I have black skinned ones and red skinned ones.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Whew, sowing is finished

I have finally finished digging the beds and filling them up. Many seedlings are already sprouting and in a couple more weeks I will be able to see what needs replanting, hopefully very little.

I have been able to keep the earth mites in check with spray but I was hoping to be able to get some predatory mites to help deal with them. Unfortunately the predatory mites that will target them will only survive with warmer nights and the nights so far have been to cold to use them. I think that the nights are going to start warming up at the same time that the earth mites go dormant so I think it will be a waste of money to buy predatory mites this year.

Although the main block looks fairly clean and ready for growing I can see that a lot of nightshade and other weeds are sprouting heavily right now so I think it will be a busy year for hand weeding. Now that all the beds are full I will not be able to use weedicide from now on so it will be hoeing or down on my knees for the next few months.

Although the nights have been a bit cold my beds of beans are starting to show themselves now. There has been some snail damage but I shouldn't have to replant many.

I have put in the beans that stood up to the heat the best last year so these beds should be full and luscious in a month or two. I don't really like eating beans but they are satisfying to grow.

To stop the rabbits this year I am going to make up some hot chilli spray from dried chilies I have left over from a couple of years ago.

This year, instead of spending so much time planting corn seeds one by one, I have experimented with hand scattering the seed. I thought that since I lose a lot of seed to birds and mice that it might end up in bigger production and I will be able to afford to lose some seed or plants.

The beds are a bit crowded and I don't know yet if it is bad enough that I will have to thin, but it was so much faster - even though it used much more seed than individual planting.

I will keep you up to date on how this goes and how it affects production. And will update regularly with more pictures.

I have a lot of oca in this year and they are sprouting now too. I really hope they do better than last year.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spring flowers and busy, busy times

Although I didn't manage to increase my growing area by much at all due to troubles getting rid of weedy and VERY persistent running grasses, this season I will finally have all my beds in production. Last year many of my beds were empty as I struggled to get rid of the last remnants of grass and are now ready to grow.

I am putting in a lot more varieties of vegetables like new eggplants, okra and beans as well as my old favourites. I will take some pics of the place next update.

With some unseasonable warm weather I have got everything in early and even have some seedlings up, but the earth mites are giving me hell :(

I have some pretty flowers brightening the place up, like these seed grown bearded iris. I love growing them from seed as you never know what you are going to get.

I know that most will get grubbed out as they are no better than what is already out there but I am enjoying the flowers as they come out anyway.

These are the first two of my seedlings. I have bought some pieces of some pretty named ones to get seed off next year.

Bearded iris are one of my favourite flowers though I wish they flowered for longer. At least you don't have to look after them as they are so tough that they can cope with anything.

Of the three varieties of 'Paeony' poppies I planted only this common pink variety survived. I think the seeds of the others were duds.

I think I might get more for next year as I am going to be saving seeds from more flowers as I have room.

With seedlings popping up all over the place now I will be posting more often from now on, and longer posts with more pics, so remember to come back every few days.

Monday, October 9, 2017

So busy planting and digging for spring

I am still busy planting my spring crops. Today I direct sowed some beds of capsicums, sweet sorghum and beans. I was going to leave the beans a bit longer but the temps are getting higher and I want them to be well established before the soil dries out. I think I will also start on the the okra and other warmer weather crops.

 I have a little bed of self sown 'Camo Oakheart' lettuce. I am not fond of this lettuce mix even though it looks spectacular because it is always bitter, no matter what I do to it or when it is planted. I will save some seed though as some weird people actually light lightly bitter salad greens.

It is so pretty that I always have to stop and look at them when I walk past the bed.

The Chines Mahogany (Toon) trees are shooting now. The shoots have a lovely, savoury flavour that goes particularly well with egg dishes but I also like to nibble them while I am working.

I think they would also be lovely in stir fries and perhaps in savoury salads. The trees are supposed to sucker badly so I am being careful what I plant near them as I won't be able to dig. They are not showing any sign of suckering yet but they are only young.

Mine are seed grown and have reddish shoots but I would love to get a couple of trees with the bright pink new growth that many people like about these trees in spring.

Everything is growing so fast with the nice weather... well, the grass and weeds at least. I will have to mow the walkways again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Yay, time to plant and the weather is perfect

The weather is warming up, actually a little warmer than expected, and my blocks are finally dry enough to dig. I am exhausted after spending much of the day with the rotary hoe, and planting. After doing nothing for the past three months or so even a little bit of physical work is very tiring.

It feels so nice to get out and actually get things done, and the weather is looking so nice that I decided to plant my corn a month early. As long as the temps keep up it will be nice to be able to harvest the ripe ears without having to race the mould causing dampness and cool of autumn.

I managed to plant 5 x 40m rows of oca as well as a couple of rows of arracacha.

I hope the oca flowers this year as I really want to harvest seed. It didn't last year and it flowers at different times each year. Not sure why, probably has to do with the temps or humidity.

I think I may have lost all my yacon because of the swampy conditions. It is a shame as I had some new seedlings, which are very rare. If any do survive I will have to start overwintering them in pots rather than in the ground.

I will be very busy in the next two weeks as I have a lot more to plant this year than last. My cucurbits will all go in this week but I might hold off another couple of weeks for the stuff that likes warmer conditions like beans, eggplant, okra and sorghum.

I still have a lot of digging to go but it will get done quickly now that I can walk on the ground.