Hi everyone. Well, what a beautiful day today was compared with the last couple of shockers. So hot the previous week that I think I almost died :) and the cool change on Saturday felt like the onset of winter. Lucky for me, the beds continued happily on their way and most things survived. Only casualty was my broccoli and cauliflower seedlings. I planted seeds and they just shriveled up and died or didn't even come up -> too hot I guess. So, I gave in and bought green dragon broccoli seedlings at masters yesterday. There were two cauli's left so hopefully with the cooler change, they'll get going nice and strong. Also, my capsicums didn't come up at all, maybe I was too impatient? As I had a couple of plants in another bed that will need to get ripped up when I get motivated again, I decided to transplant them -> last weekend -> before the god almighty heat wave!!! I was so worried about them but I cut them right back (sorry baby capsicums, but you needed to be sacrificed for the greater good) and they bounced back after a couple of wilty days. So what you can see from below is that I finally finished the fourth bed yesterday (overcast = great day to work in garden) and this is one month on for the other 3. See here for previous wicking bed blog Corn and zuccs going great, beans far left good, toms, caps and eggplant in far right and I just planted sugarsnap peas, cucumber biet alpha and soy beans in the front right (new bed). Just to re-emphasize -> NO wilting of established plants even for the past week of horrible heat.
Here are a close up of the zucc and corn -> they look amazing!! Also I'm excited as my first white eggplant has appeared. Has anyone ever tried these? I was a bit disappointed with my black eggplant this year and thought I'd try something new when I saw these at masters. They're supposed to not be bitter at all and I'd be interested in any feedback.
I've had a few problems with the front self wicking beds. The Lebanese cucumbers got downey mildew (which I had never seen before). Have sprayed and am waiting to see if they will survive. I think it was my fault because I used cheap potting mix to fill that bed and didn't add any slow release fertilizer. I have planted new seeds from Mr Fothergill's (Biet Alpha F1 in the back beds) as I haven't had much luck with this batch of leb cuc's so it could be the seeds themselves. When they come out, I will add loads of compost and try planting peas or beans in it. Another problem was my beautiful Charentais rock melons. They're the biggest I've ever seen them, the vine looks great and healthy (minimal powdery mildew) but I've learnt a valuable lesson -> the large blossom end is very susceptible to rot. I've already lost 3 because I didn't realize that they were rotting until one collapsed. Inspected all the other fruit and only those where the blossom end was resting on the ground (as opposed to the side of the melon) was there damage. LESSON LEARNT!! I will from now on always twist the developing fruit slightly so the blossom end is not on the ground. (normal is on the left, rotted one on the right)
I have also built self wicking beds down the side of the house with some of the left over wood. These have the water reservoir dug into the ground and the wood holds the planting soil. I decided that the wood was not in good enough condition to build a proper double story raised bed for the back garden and rather than let it go to waste, am using it on the side of the house where nothing was ever planted (as I had hibiscus's that just got chopped down -> was going to plant screening bamboo and then realized -> DUH!! I can fit more veggie beds in). These are not as self sufficient as the properly designed beds as the water reservoir is much smaller but they still only need refilling every 5-7 days. As the are down the side of the house, they are currently being used for more rambling plants..... Pumpkins and moon and stars watermelon in the older one (built end of December - no female flowers yet) and I just built the one on the right yesterday. It's 2 meters long and one half will have sweet potato (the potato bags did not do well for me -> prob my laziness with watering to blame) and I planted new batch of charentais rockmelons on the left (circled).
My latest addition to my growing self sufficiency is a worm farm. I figured I can no longer rely on earth worms getting into my beds and need to start building up a supply of red composting worms to put into the beds with a built in worm feeder later on. So in aid of that, my little worm farm is the beginning. My son is so excited, trying to explain to him that he can't add all the scraps to the bin yet is very hard. Hopefully he'll get bored with lifting the lid and looking at them soon, though I must admit, I'm just as guilty... can't help myself, I have to see if they are ok. :)
The other thing I did this weekend (and it was thanks to the event page that I found out about it) was head down to the Wynnum/Manly community garden. I didn't even know it was there and was so excited to find something like that so close to home. Am thinking about joining but don't know if I will be able to find the time to attend all the working bees. Will email them for some info. Anyway, today was a harvest share (which I only found out about Saturday night) and I thought "crap - what do I have that I can take" I would have taken tomatos but just gave away a whole bunch to my neighbor the day before and the rest weren't ripe. Nothing is really ready to harvest yet what with the new beds and all. I have a bunch of banana's, not ripe yet but surely soon so I cut a hand (18 in all), had two green capsicums, 2 pumpkins, 3 red chillies, Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass that I put together. Took my little harvest down to the swap...... I loved it!! Banana's were the first thing to go so I felt happy. But I scored big time... There was rosella jam (my granddad used to make it so I just HAD to have some), small bits of honey comb (kids begged me to get some), tomato relish and beautiful purple beans. I also found a guy who grew edamame beans successfully and picked his brains about how to grow them. Also, it was nice and shady -> was worried about it being on at 2.30 in the arvo and had a nice shady park that the kids ran around in while I walked around looking at the great garden. Will definitely attend this event again but hopefully be more prepared for it and have more to swap.
Well hope you enjoyed the updates.. Elaine, if you could give me instructions on how to link to the previous wicking bed post, it would be appreciated.