Friday, 5 December 2008

time for a little update...

My summer veggie garden is a little less ambitious this year. Until we get a water tank, the veggies are all watered by hand from a bucket - something that restricts the number of plants I've time to nurture. Grey water goes on the fruit trees (um, there's a few of them now...). I head off to work on one of the permitted watering mornings and the other is my one sleep-in morning of the week and much as I love my garden I'm not prepared to set the alarm clock for it just yet.

The plus side of this style of watering is the way it forces one to consider which plants are worth hanging onto. The raspberries are now gone, they gave so little fruit for the water they needed, and I'm debating how much I need a red currant bush.

Our poor old shed has no gutter so I collect the water that drips off it with the my collection of buckets. The last downpour was enough that the the green wheelie bin was filled as well. Will probably empty the last of it tomorrow.

Tomatoes dominate the garden. The first I planted was a cultivar called 'Stupice'. The bloke at the market stall said it could withstand frosts and I'd have fruit before Christmas, and he was right. Not perhaps the tastiest tomatoes and they are on the smaller side but it's not something I've ever achieved before, and I plan to save some seeds and grow a couple next year. Probably not so clear in my photo, but the leaves have far fewer leaflets than a typical tomato, the plant looks quite distinctive.

The bulk of what I'm growing is a San Marzano - the fruit above is is what I usually grow from seed from the local Italian supermarket. This year I'm also trying out a variety from Greenpatch Organic Seeds 'San Marzano Lapadina' (see the photo below). Both are intended to be cooked down and bottled. I've trying out a couple of plants of 'Daydream' from Eden seeds, no fruit there yet, and one plant has succumbed to a virus and been ripped out.

There are two zucchini plants which are already producing ferociously...

some Lebanese cucumbers and some pickling cucumbers - the prickly little fruit below (yesterday I attempted my first batch of cornichons)...

and a couple of yellow peppers which seem I have less trouble with than capsicums (plus my bloke makes a very nice dish with chorizo with these).

Then there's half a garden bed of spuds, Dutch Cream, my favourite at the moment. I don't know much about growing potatoes, I've just dug them in, mulched heavily and left them to their own devices. They look really perky so I've not been watering them.

And finally a small bed with a mix of salady things, rocket gone to seed, and some of the best spinach I've grown. It's gone a little yellow and sad in the last month, but we've harvested masses of leaves from it. I've had little luck growing it from seed - these were seedlings from the bloke at the farmer's market at Collingwood Children's farm that sold me the Stupice tomato.

Fruit-wise there are 6 apples on the dwarf apple tree, lots of divine apricots which will be ready soon, lots of blood plums and a sadness for my missing pears. The cute little buggers were there one day and gone the next, and I've no idea what happened, they certainly weren't ripe enough for birds. I planted the tree about six years ago and this was its first ever fruit.....

The blood plum tree and some of the plants around it have this odd yellowing to their leaves. I've been puzzling for a while as to what might be wrong, when by chance I read somewhere about nutrient deficiencies caused by alkaline soil which lead to this sort of yellowing. As the backyard was full of bits of concrete before we dug it up I suspect this may be the problem.

Another mystery is the mulberry tree. It fruits prolifically (below are some immature berries), but the fruit are utterly bland and tasteless. I've tried watering more, and not at all with no change. If I can't work out what's going on by autumn I think it might get replaced.

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