Saturday, June 9, 2018

Powering down for the winter, and vegetables I most hate growing

After quite a few frosts even the weeds have mostly stopped growing so I don't have much to do for the next few months. I will mow over at the farm to tidy things up but after that I will be spending more time on Facebook annoying people, well, until I can find a winter hobby for this year.

After failing to get enough interest to start a yearly harvest festival a couple of years ago, I was approached by a local lady who organises the local market to see if I would be interested again if she helped. I will have a chat with her sometime in the next month to see if it is something we can do together with her experience.
It is something I have wanted to get going for years but it is almost impossible to get support for anything new in this very conservative town. We will see.

6 Vegetables I hate growing

I know that not everyone will agree with me on the vegetables I chose for this short article but the great thing about everyone having a different view is that it makes life much more interesting. Most of my hates are not with the vegetables themselves but with cultivation problems.

  • 1,  Sorghum. Unless I net it all the birds will strip every unripe seed overnight. I get a small type of finch that can get through normal bird netting which makes the problem even harder.
  • 2,  Tomatillo. The fruits are great, but it is difficult to harvest the seeds as the fruits are too firm for my plastic bladed food processor, and I have to spend a heap of time cutting the fruits up to get them to process properly. I could wait till the fruits are rotten but that is just yuk. An even bigger problem is that they self seed everywhere from every missed fruit. They turn into weeds very easily.
  • 3,  Hulless pumpkin. These pumpkins are grown for the seeds rather than the fruits. The problem is that each fruit has so little seed, only a handful after drying, that it is barely worth the space to grow them. I can never grow enough plants to provide enough seed to offer in bulk to my customers.
  • 4, Beefsteak tomatoes. Don't get me wrong, I love large tomatoes, but as with the hulless pumpkins, they just don't have many seeds. It is heartbreaking to destroy so many hundred kg of fruits/food just to get a handful of seed. 
  • 5,  Members of the hibiscus family. These plants  (cotton, rosella, and okra) are often so late that I struggle to get ripe seed before the pods start rotting on the plants after the cold and rain. Okra isn't a problem but I want to grow more varieties of cotton next season and I found that no matter how early I put them in the flowering and pod ripening is mostly at frost time. They are interesting though, and have lovely flowers.
  • 6,  Brassicas. I actually like growing brassicas but they tend to rot over my very wet winters so I don't grow many any more but there is another problem.If they were for fresh produce it would be ok but I have a bad problem with 'Small Pointed Snail' (some people who name things don't have much imagination). These snails are tiny, not much bigger than the brassica seeds, which makes them VERY hard to clean out of the seed. It is almost impossible to sieve or winnow them out so I have to shake the seed to make them come to the top and scoop off the top layer of seed with them in. After doing this a few times there is a lot of waste seed that has been discarded. 


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