“Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.” ~Lou Erickson
What a massive long weekend I am coming to the end of! Lots to write about, but today I will focus on the veggie patch.
First things first, I pulled up the garlic as most plants had died back. It was a pitiful harvest. Out of the 50 odd cloves that I planted, I harvested about 8 bulbs worth keeping. All the rest were the size of my thumbnail. I was disappointed to say the least, but really it was I that was at fault. If I had have kept the black aphid infestation under control, then I would now have more than just the handful of garlic bulbs. Live and learn.
Melbourne Cup Day (today) is traditionally the day that most Victorians plant their tomato seedlings. This is because it is round about now that the soil is warm enough to encourage growth and the threat of frost has past.
I prepped the bed that the garlic had been growing in. I dug it over, then tested the soil pH. It was about 6.5 which is slightly acidic which is just right to tomatoes. I then added lots of pelleted chook manure, a bit of compost, and watered that in.
To obtain a layer of mulch (sugar cane), I cleaned out the chicken house and spread about 9 bucket loads over all of the remaining bare garden beds with Ben’s able assistance. I checked the irrigation for coverage, made adjustments where necessary, and finally rammed the stakes in the ground.
I will be planting out the tomato seedlings tomorrow night, because I want the bed to rest for at least a day. There are about 64 seedlings ready to go, with 7 different cultivars. Mortgage lifter, Thai Pink Egg, Black Russian, Yellow Current, Elfie, Tigerella, and bush tomatoes. I have so many seedlings that I plant two of each in the bed, and pot the rest up for swapping.
Then I planted some runner beans and three remaining pumpkin seedlings into the corn patch. All of the corn seedlings survived the transplant and have grown stronger over the last week.
In this bed, I planted three celery bunches (probably more) which I will have to thin out once they get a bit bigger. We also have lots of bush cucumbers in this bed as well as the winter crop of brown onions which are bulbing up. The onions will be ready to harvest when the tops go brown. I also popped a spare lebanese cucumber in a pot with a frame over it.
This bed now have two black zucchini plants, either side of the bed, far apart. This will keep us, the neighbours, and all our friends in zucchinis for the season. They are very prolific.
Tomorrow I will plant out the eggplants and capsicum (bell pepper) into this bed as well.
Around to the pool area, where we have three pots of strawberries which are growing like crazy. They are slowly ripening, and we have to pick them quickly before the birds and our dogs start to steal them.
The grape vines are are now about 60cm (2ft) tall. They look so healthy, and I have been cutting off any side shoots as necessary. This is to encourage them to grow as quickly and as tall as possible in their first season. I will keep tying with jute as they grow up, and wrap them around the posts.
Speaking of posts, I oiled all of them on Sunday as this will probably be the last chance due to the vine growth. Looks a bit like a resort, which is exactly where I like to spend my down time. We don’t go on holidays, and who would want to with a green paradise like this!
Around to the chicken side of the house, and the potatoes are doing very well. I stopped mounding them about a month ago, and just make sure they are moist all the time. I have had a little dig around and there are lots of tubers growing, so fingers crossed, it will be my biggest spud crop.
Lastly, the pumpkins. All are growing well, but I had to replace two seedlings that were decimated by slugs. Coffee grounds worked well after I sprinkled a handful around each plant. We have Australian Butter, Butternut, Queensland Blue, and one Pennsylvania Crookneck. Those cultivars should make for an interesting crop.
All in all, a relaxing day in the garden. It was great to get my hands in the soil.
“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” ~Mirabel Osler