Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A new start in the vegie garden

While we were away on our holiday, my son did a great job looking after the chooks and the fish and, of course, Missy. He also mowed the grass and watered the garden and kept an eye on things for us. It was good to get home and find everything doing so well. We owe him a big Thank You!

The vegie garden needed a good clean out though. The pumpkin vine had taken over a couple of the beds and weeds had grown and multiplied. The corn was finished. My son said none was wasted. He enjoyed every cob. The strawberries had shriveled up in the heat and were beyond saving. Even the cherry tomato vines looked too sick to be worth trying to save.

Pity I don't like pumpkin, but I'm sure we'll find someone to give them to.

The eggplants are still doing well and so are the chilli plants. They both thrive in hot conditions. Also the asparagus seemed quite happy and some of the Mediterranean herbs, like the oregano and rosemary were fine - but that was about it. The rest had to go.

The beds were emptied and each given load of compost . Some potash and some blood and bone were thrown on as well.

Once that was all dug through, I watered the beds with some seaweed solution and covered them with a deep blanket of sugar-cane trash as mulch.
By the way this was done in bursts - mainly in the morning before it got too hot. We've had temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius the last few days and the heat will continue for a while yet.
Without mulch, the ground would fry and any water would just evaporate.

Next step is the fun bit - replanting.
I'm thinking beetroot, capsicum, cucumber, corn, carrots, plus rosella seeds and maybe some more beans. I may also buy some seedlings to get things going again - maybe lettuce, maybe a melon of some sort. 
In Summer I can't get lettuce to grow from seed. I've even tried putting them in the fridge overnight to fool them into thinking it's Winter, so seedlings are the best (and only the loose leaf varieties). They go to seed very quickly so I only plant a small number at a time, give them plenty of nutrient and water and hope they will be edible before going to seed (it's a race)  - But if we don't get to eat them all the chooks will.

Summer is the most difficult time for the vegetable garden. There are quite a few things we just can't grow. Even though it's hot and dry at the moment, within a few weeks it's likely to be hot, wet and humid. I've learnt my lesson in past years and don't even try to plant squash, zucchini, etc at this time of year here. They always seem to get mildew and/or rot. Tomatoes (except for cherry tomatoes) won't fruit - or if they do, the bugs get them or they split. If you forget to water, even for a day or so, everything dies. Last year I gave up at this stage and just waited for the weather to get a bit cooler.

Maybe I'll wait a couple of weeks, see if we get some rain and then plant.


  1. Yes our summers are harsh aren't they? I can understand why you wait to start some of your vegies. What a pity I didn't live closer, I would take those pumpkins off your hands. I just love roast pumpkin, pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin soup ... even on a hot summer's evening!!

    How wonderful that your son did such a great job of looking after everything while you were away. We had someone dropping in to water while we were away too, but unfortunately the job was done all that well and quite a few of the potted plants suffered as a result. Never mind, they seem to be on the mend now.

    I'd imagine you'd have the air-con on right now with the temps you're getting down there. I heard it's supposed to be at least 36 deg C today! Not quite so hot up here, but we have worse humidity!

  2. How can you not like pumpkin? Try some of the recipes on my blog.

  3. Glad to hear that it was smooth sailing at home whilst you guys were on holiday, kudos to your son for the fab job!

    Those pumpkins are fab!! Shame you don't like them but you'll definitely make someone happy with those nice veggies :)

  4. Your vegie patch looks great, Ros, and pumpkin and eggplant are pretty much my favourite vegetables. I don't really have the space here, but you have inspired me to try my luck with at least a couple of potted cherry tomatoes. Just knowing things are homegrown seems to make them taste that much better.

  5. The 40 degree days do suck. The hot spell we had over new years fried my garden too. Wait a bit although it seems so sad to have a bare garden bed!

  6. How nice to have your son take care of things while you were on holiday! That's always half the battle for me, knowing stuff is taken care of at home.

    Your vegetable garden is amazing, someday I will have to get more serious about tending my plot. The last few years have just been disasters. Love the pumpkins!

  7. Would peppers, sweet potatoes, or watermelon do well for you? Those all grow well in the humid southern areas of the US. Maybe the chickens are encouraging your lettuce to go to seed just so they eat it. :o)


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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