Friday, 16 March 2012

Too little, too late

Our vegie garden is looking a bit of a wreck at the moment. When we got home from holidays in January I thought I would try to squeeze in an extra Summer planting. I should have known better. I usually give the vegie garden a rest in late Summer, but I got carried away seeing other people's gardens and thought I'd see what happened.

It's a tragic tale.

Too late in the season
The first crop of corn I planted in early Summer produced large sweet and succulent cobs. This second planting... well I'll let the picture speak for itself...

From a distance they don't look too bad. the leaves are healthy enough and there are flowers and cobs forming, but the cobs are skinny and aren't forming properly.

I do believe, however, that the grasshoppers appreciated the feast, so at least someone benefited.

The eggplants that I planted in Spring are still healthy and still bearing (athough smaller than the earlier ones).

Too much rain
The squash and zucchini haven't fared much better. Mildew on their leaves and any zucchinis that didn't rot look so shriveled we didn't bother eating them.

My spring onions look rather ragged too. I dislodged quite a few trying to weed around them.
The weeds are growing very well. Lots of heat and rain produces a great crop of weeds. To make things worse I think the compost we used hadn't "cooked" enough to kill seeds and that may have aded to the weed problem.

Too much heat

The lettuce grows well and looks great (for a week or so) until bolting to seed. The ladies have eaten more of them than we have.

The watermelon vine was planted in early December but was neglected while we were away. I probably should have pulled it out, but I left it there and hoped it may come back to life. It did, but too late in the season for the poor thing to bear fruit. Any fruit that does form, reachs golf ball size and then disappears.

I also planted some rockmelon vines in the same area in January. Our rainy weather has produced mildewed leaves and not much else. It's hard to tell which little golf balls are rockmelon and which are watermelon (and probably doesn't matter).

So lessons have been learnt. My big mistake was to plant at the wrong time. I should have known better. 

To my surprise
The beetroot and carrots are OK and the radish were crisp and tasty.

The herbs and chilli plants in pots are also fine - maybe because they're perennials and love the heat.

The sunflowers are just starting to bloom.

In a couple of weeks I'll rip almost everything out, give it a refresh and think about what we want for Winter crops. Over the Easter break I'll start planting. For gardeners, one bad season is soon forgotten as we look forward to the next.


  1. The summer rain and heat does make life in the garden difficult for some plants doesn't it? Sorry to see the results of your late planting. Of course if you hadn't tried, you would never have learnt the lesson. Still, there were some successes which is great to see. You now know the beetroot, carrots, radish, chilli and herbs will get through a summer.

    1. You're right Bernie. If you don't try, you never know.

  2. If only we could see ahead what the weather is going to do... My little seedlings I planted are going long and leggy looking for the sun. traditionally Easter is a good time to plant here too and I am really hoping it will be dry and sunny by then. Your lettuces look lovely - I wouldn't be feeding those to the chooks.

  3. Missy; it is the same here. The hottest summer month are never productive in our garden; like December, January, February. Over winter is a good time to plant, so the coldest month show a little setback too because the days are so short. Potatoes do well over winter, lots of lettuce, beans are in now, snow peas do very well, beetroot, carrots, eggplants were a disaster for us this year, yours look fine. No luck with capsicums either, but chilies always do well. Yours look so nice, do you make chili jam? Happy gardening "Missy" and do not bury your bone to deep! T♥

    1. Yes I should make chilli jam. What a good idea.

  4. At least you tried, which is more than others would bother to do. My beds have come to an end too, I'm on the Sunshine Coast QLD so not far from you. I have some seedlings on the go so will be planting them out soon for some winter veggies. The weather is a major player and this part of the world is sooooooooooo unpredictable that anything could happen!

  5. I think gardening is always a case of trial and error. It’s just the beginning of the planting season here in England but the prospect of drought and watering restrictions is something new to me so I have to think about what to grow this year. Don’t give up with a second summer planting it just a case of finding what will grow best at that time of year.

  6. As you are moving into winter we are just coming out of it. Lots of seed sowing and preparation on our side of the world. Shame about your sweetcorn. We have tried in our own garden without much success - not sure why as it grows fine for other people!

  7. It was a gamble but you wouldn't know how it will turn out until much later, and sometimes the weather can cooperate and give you a second round of success. Maybe not this time but it was still worth the try :)

  8. Gardeners are such optimists. There's always next year. At least you had a few veggies come through. I just tossed a flat of seedlings that were growing weird. Live and learn!


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


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