Garden Update & Observations

I spent a little time this evening wandering the garden hand watering. I find that watering with the watering can makes time for me to observe what is happening in the garden and to notice the daily changes. And at this time of the year there are lots of daily changes.

For instance. The choko on the west side of the house has been averaging about 10cms growth on its main runners the last couple of days.

Joy of joys! I noticed several tiny flowers forming on the Babaco. I’m looking forward to seeing what this plant creates with them. The other plant has not formed flowers yet but I think perhaps it may given time now.

The tamarillo is an absolute giant. I’m really not sure what to make of it but I am enjoying watching its growth. It is now probably ten foot high and was about 2 feet high when I bought it and planted it out in Jan/Feb of this year. I was delighted to see it had about 3 flower bunches on it and began to form these much further just a few weeks back during the warm spell. Now as the top continues to grow there are several branches out and each one of these has a flower bunch forming on it as well. It is fairly heavily mulched and I’ve even had to trim back one of the mallees to give it more growing room. It is also companioned with a very exuberant nasturtium that is protecting the soil around it. I give it a decent amount of water but it is not regularly and the odd scraps of blood and bone and dynamic lifter are thrown its way. I shudder to think what might become of it once the chicken coop is in place and it has chickens running around under it dropping manure!

I noticed that the tahitian lime is still holding many of its tiny fruit and those remaining are starting to swell out. This is heartening as I really would like some limes this summer and I would like to be able to grow citrus well after the success we had in autumn with the meyer lemon. I thought we might have lost the lemon as it wasn’t looking well and on closer inspection I discovered it was water logged in the half wine barrel. I drilled some more holes into it one morning and the small tree now has flowers nearly ready to bloom.

The watercress in the water pot with the gambusia has grown quite tall, but with tiny leavs and I noticed that there are small aerial roots forming near the leaves. I’ve never really noticed this before but I guess it is what it would do on open water as do some mint.

The day lillies are expected to bloom in the next few weeks and the fuchsia is doing really well as are some of the rescued hydrangea from the beach house.

The ground tomato planted with the other tomatoes is increasing its coverage and leaf size and is now starting to fruit prolifically. The initial plant was rather stunted and yet had tiny, tiny flowers on it. These still seem to be developing, but the plant is now also developing much more mature looking fruit and leaves. As is the apricot after being in small pots for the last 7 odd years. If it wasn’t for the heavy shower and the odd hail storm while it was flowering, I’m confident it would have supplied fruit this year – as would the nectarine it not for the showers and a nasty dose of leaf curl I didn’t catch in time.

Even the guinea pigs are doing well and have beautiful shiny coats and a good demeanour. So much more happier than when we first got them. They were in such a sorry state – now that we have seen how well they are doing after recovering from mange.

I am pleased with the first stage of the chicken coop which I have made from abandoned packing pallets and two old wooden bed frames. I still have a small salvage yards worth of wood and bits and pieces under the house to finish it off with. I am looking forward to getting chickens though.

The asparagus grown from Diggers seed is doing well also. Another near miss with a water-logged barrel, but they are doing really well and once they die down I have plenty of room to give a good top coat of manure and mulch now that the soil has settled. I have planted them in a barrel so that they can be moved around or even move house at a future time. I know they don’t like too much unsettling.

The pepino is flowering madly and sending out branches everywhere. Even getting quite intimate with the sunflowers that are nearly over fence height and at least seven foot. Still no visible fruits forming on the pepino. I thought today that I should take extra cuttings also and plant it in other areas of the garden.

I got a generous handful of alpine strawberries this morning. These were from plants grown from seed which I am proud of. I usually leave them for my wife to pick as she LOVES strawberries and likes to treat the “binnies” (guinea pigs) to a taste test sometimes. They needed picking today though and tasted delicious. They have a normal, sweet strawberry flavour with a hint of something much more floral and intense lurking in the background. I could almost describe it as an ‘artificial’ taste it is quite unusual, but pleasant.

The majority of the cabbage have been a disappointment. I throw the odd leaf to the binnies and rest is slowly going into the compost or used for mulch. There are some small hearts available, but some are also bolting and splitting straight out. I plan to have a couple of beds in my eventual aquaponics set-up dedicated to cabbages, broccoli, basil and tomatoes.

The nelly kelly passionfruit is doing extremely well and I am surprised at how quickly fruit is forming. It’s almost like the fruit is doubling over night.

There are lots of cabbage moths and diamond back moths around and I have sprayed some of the plants with Dipel to knock back a few of the caterpillars. They are just munching through everything it seems. Even the nasturtium has take a nasty hit.

I have also sprayed and treated some of the garden to a fulvic acid solution as recommended to me. I am interested to see what effect it might have.

Today I also invested in a paper shredder. I have put it off and tried to look at alternatives for what I want to do, but it seems such an easier way to get to what I am trying to achieve. I wish to use it as a garden mulch amongst other things.

There is something special about sheep manure too I think. It has really lifted the richness of the sandy slope that the garden is based on. It attracts and keeps earthworms around and I think after further mulching I will scatter some more around and then mulch over that also.

This evening I planted out some more cosmos seedlings into the food forest and some cucumber seedlings that I had planted our for my brother to use. The zuchini seeds planted out a few weeks back appeared to have slowed down but the last day or two are doing well. Probably not getting much water on a too well drained slope.

The lobelia and coastal daisies are doing well in the planter baskets. I suspect it has something to do with me putting water crystals in the soil as I am not watering too frequently and they are blooming nicely in a very sunny and windy spot.

The top garden tomatoes are setting their fruit well. These have survived the winter and came up through the horse manure I laid out. I am not sure what kind of tomato they are but if they are no good I am sure the binnies will love them just the same. They LOVE tomatoes. And parsley and strawberries.

I have also planted out peas that I had ready for my brother but it doesn’t look like he will have time to look after them so they are being placed in random spots around the garden.

The raspberries and gooseberries I planted out last Thursday are doing well. Minimal leaf burn and just the odd curling leave. I have surrounded them with a good compost mix from the very bowels of the aerobin and keep the water up to them while they settle in.

The jeusalem artichokes given to me by a friend are in a bit of soil in a cardboard box and they seem to be liking it too. I wasn’t sure where to put them and thought that they might go ok in the chook yard area. My friend disagreed and warned me the chooks would love them. So they are in a box with a couple of other cardboard boxes for company that are filled with potato plants that are rocketing along as part of the living mulch at the base of the giant sky-seeking tamarillo.

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