1 March 2008

Garden Update

It's been a while since I posted about the garden, mainly because I haven't been doing much gardening. We're in that in between time when it's too late to plant summer vegetables, and not really cool enough yet to plant winter ones. There is plenty of stuff happening, just it is mostly doing it all by itself, with little input from me.

In the Orchard

We did a lot of mowing this morning, but still haven't ventured into the very overgrown orchard area. You might need to click on the picture to get a bigger one to really see how bad it is. Some of the grass is nearly knee high, and it's VERY thick.

Most of the trees are slowly recovering from too much water. So far we don't seem to have lost any. I thought the apple tree wasn't going to make it, it was down to 2 leaves, but as you can see, we have some new growth in the last week or two.

The citrus were quite badly affected, with the mandarin doing worse than the orange. The leaves were all yellow. But as you can see, the new growth is green again, so maybe it will pull through.

The peach tree is the only one I'm not sure of. It dropped most of it's leaves in the heatwave we had after the rain, and so far isn't showing signs of recovery. The nectarine, which was in a slightly shadier spot, is doing much better.

The lemon was planted when the worst of the rain was over, so it is doing very well. I'm watching these baby lemons grow day by day. I know you're supposed to take the first few years fruit off, but I don't have the heart to. There are only 3, so hopefully it will do OK with them.

Not fruit trees, but also in the orchard (how cool is it to say that? I have an orchard!), the Rosella's are doing well. They've almost doubled in size since the last photo, and more fruit and flowers are coming on daily. Still no ripe fruit, but hopefully it won't be long. I'm getting tired of buying strawberry jam from the store!

The cotton is also growing well, if not terribly fast. Up to about 6 leaves now, though this is the biggest plant. Wonder if they'll grow fast enough before it gets too cold?

Nearing Harvest

Many of the fruits and vegies in the garden are nearing harvest. The prize of course, being this beautiful watermelon. It is the only one that had made it past infancy on my 5 vines, but it's certainly making up for the other's lack of growth. Once this beauty is ready to pick (you can tell their readiness by the curl going brown), I'll pull out the rest of the watermelon. I'm not going to get any more fruit this late in the season.

I have two rockmelons this size on the vines. They won't be far away from ripe either. I believe you tell rockmelon ripeness by keeping an eye out for the delicious smell. Again, once these two are ripe, the vines will come out. Then I'll be able to mow all that grass that is going everywhere!

The cherry tomatoes are looking a little sad, but they're still producing a few tomatoes here and there. They can stay until they've finished, and who knows when that will be!

These brandywine tomatoes are just just starting to produce, this is the first lot of tomatoes from them. Hopefully they will continue to produce for the next few months.

This lot of corn has past it's used by date. We didn't actually get much corn off them, as they were planted at my aunts, were in pots too long, then transferred here. We ate a couple of cobs, but they weren't that great.

I've saved these last few cobs for seed next year, although I'll probably buy some new seed as well. Corn is one thing we can eat as much as we can grow of I think!

We should get one more lot of corn of this lot though, these were the ones I grew under my mosquito netting cage. The couple at the back are older, and were transplanted, the front ones were grown from seed in the bed.

This is one of those tallest ones from the pic above. There are two cobs of corn on it! This is the first time I've gotten two cobs off the one stalk. (Can you tell my corn has never been terribly successful before?) Since there are only two stalks flowring right now, I've tried to tap some th pollen (which grows in the grain like bits on the top) down onto the silks. Normally, corn has to be grown in a large block because it is wind pollinated. Hopefully my helping hand will mean these cobs will fertalise and develop.

New Growth

There are still some things that can be grown in this inbetween times. Aside from the tomatoes above, these carrots, which were planted when we first got here, and be grown all year round. Although the tops are growing really well, the carrots themselves still seem quite small. I'll give them a while longer, then try pulling one up to see.

Potatoes can also be grown most of the year round here, although they are susceptable to frosts if you get them. Not sure if we get frosts here yet or not, we'll have to wait and see. These should hopefully be ready to harvest before there's any danger of that though.

As you can see, they're already growing quite well. These potatoes were planted at ground level, and as they grow, I'm hilling up around them with grass, dirt and compost. Potatoes are a tuber, and they only grow above the origionally planted potato. Thus in order to get a good crop, you give them lots of room above that potato by hilling them. DH loves potatoes, so hopefully we'll get plenty out of these.

The sweet potato I planted a few weeks ago is coming up, and seems to be growing well. These are also affected by frost, but otherwise will grow most of the year round.

The strawberries seem to be done fruiting, they've been busy making up for it by putting out runners though. There used to be plenty of room for hay between these plants, now they're getting overcrowded, and I'm constantly turning back attempted escapees. Lots of strawberry jam next year!

These pumpkin plants haven't grown much at all since they were planted several weeks ago. I'm not sure if they were planted too late, if they don't get enough sun here (there is partial shade from a nearby tree), or if the soil just isn't good enough. I'll leave them and see if they pick up, but I'm not holding out any high hopes.

These ones, on the other hand, that sprouted of their own accord from the compost I dumped out here before we even moved, are taking off. They were being cholked by the grass nearby, but after I cut it back a week or two ago, they've taken off. Lots of male flowers, but no female ones so far, so not sure if I will get any pumpkins, or just a pretty vine.

I just planted these out yesterday, they're the tops from our last couple of pineapples. Not sure how they'll grow, as they were sitting at the side of the house for weeks, but they seem pretty tough, so you never know. They're covered because something ran off with the last couple I tried to plant. I do have a couple that are flourising in pots though, that I shall plant out in the orchard when I find time (and energy).

This poor little goosberry unfortunately isn't doing so well. It's being attacked by some little yellow and black striped beetles and their larve. I'm waging a daily battle and squashing them (which I HATE doing). Hopefully the poor bush will pull though, although again I suspect it's too late in the year for them to be terribly successful.

Well, that was certainly a mamoth post. Congratulations to anyone who made it this far! The next post will be shorter, I promise!


Bel said...

Hello! Your pineapples will actually do better having sat out before planting. That's what they do commercially, apparently. I always leave mine laying around in the garden until I finally get half a dozen or more then choose a spot and plant them.
Your watermelon is gorgeous! I hope it is super sweet! Are you getting much rain? When it's raining a lot I often put folded newspaper under pumpkins and melons so they don't get a soggy spot or ants attacking the bottom part.
Rosella jam - yum!
Thanks for all the pics and 'tour' - doing so well already!

Rinelle said...

Thanks Bel. Glad to hear that about the pinapples! They do seem to be very tough.

We've had a LOT of rain, it rained and rained and rained. Great to top the tank up though. I'm hoping it will have given the watermelon lots of water at just the right time! That's a good idea about the newspaper, I was a bit worried if they would rot.