Friday, 2 February 2018

Blog February 2018

The seed ball of a purple coneflower is beautiful as you can see.  These hardy perennial plants are in their second year, and I look forward to using some of these seeds to expand my collection in future seasons.
Less elegant are my tomatoes which are very close to finishing.  As a group, they have been productive making good use of a small area, but their individual performance has been less than expected.  The weather has been unusual with periods of both unseasonably cool weather cycling with short spells of very hot weather, and this may explain the less than excellent performance of the plants.  Alternatively, they may have just been planted too densely, and I will test this theory by reducing the numbers from 20 to 15 next year.
Mauled but growing strongly, these beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes have coped with colder than usual mixed with very hot weather, heavy rain and high winds.
The fruit on my untidy capsicum bushes is also growing strongly.
Like all my fruit trees this year, vegetative growth on my olive tree has been strong at the expense of fruit set.  Fruit has been reduced, but quality is good.
The apple socks continue to provide excellent protection against codling moth on my espaliered apple trees.
My English Lavender is ready to be deadheaded to encourage future growth.  I grow it for the very fragrant flowers which attract bees and other pollinators to my garden. 
My grapes are ripe and ready for harvest.
Some of them were sun dried in the heatwave last week.
These large red onions have taken a long time to die back. 
My Camellia is setting buds already for winter long flowers.  I will reduce the number of buds to encourage larger blooms.
I prefer springtime in my veggie garden.  Its nice to harvest crops in summer and autumn and enjoy the benefit of all that good wholesome nutritious food, but the garden looks bleak as the plants die back.

Its harder to successfully establish seedlings in high summer too, and its inevitable that some beds will be dormant for a little while during very hot weather. Its important to protect the beneficial creatures in the soil during this dormant period with plenty of moist compost covered with a heavy layer of mulch.

My potatoes (for example) were grown this year in the above bed (middle of the photo) and harvest was completed by mid January.  Since then the bed has been dormant except for a row of tomato plants at the far end and a single silverbeet in the middle.

The bed will gradually fill up during February as a few more tomato and lettuce seedlings are added.  I don't usually grow a late crop of tomatoes, and it will be interesting to see how they perform at this time of year.