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Wicking beds Beginning of Winter

Well, I finally finished 3 more self wicking beds in the back vegie patch.  I now have 6x metal beds (1.8 m x 1 m) and at the very back on the left, you can just see the bed I made out of the left over wood (1.4 m x 1.1 m).  I have filled them with zucchini and cucumber (back), broccoli cabbage caulies and beans (middle), and carrots, beetroot and spinach (front).  

I also am trying to grow potatoes for the first time ever.  It is in one of the dodgy beds made up down the side of the house.  We'll see how it goes.  I only have 4 in there mixed in with sweet potatoes down the other end.  I figure if I get a few, I'll give it a good go and devote an entire bed to them next time.  Does anyone know how long until I harvest them and also when I can plant them until?

Some things I am finding are going amazingly well in the beds.  An example is capsicums.  Every time I have ever tried to plant caps before, they have been scabby little, tiny things, thin fleshed and not nice tasting.  I was nearly ready to give up on them but the cost of store bought ones convinced me I had to give it another go.  I had 2 plants which I rescued from a normal dirt bed and placed into the wicking bed and boy have I been impressed.  Out of the 2 plants, I've had 3 massive capsicums taunting me with their green-ness.  This weekend, I picked my first red one.  I wasn't holding my breath for taste but OMG!! Talk about sweet ( and it wasn't even fully red as I am too impatient).  Since harvesting it, I've noticed new flowers and fruit.  Unfortunately, they took forever to ripen so it will be ages before I get any more fruit.  I've just planted 4 more plants so hopefully when they are fully productive, I'll be getting a ripe one every 2 weeks or so.

Other things like corn, does not seem to do well.  I'm not going to give up yet though.  I do think the beds need some time to settle in and for me to get nutrients right etc so will give corn another go in them when it warms up.  At the moment, I have corn in the 2 dirt beds I have left and it is doing really well.  I would have said tomatoes as well but recently, my toms have recovered and look amazing and producing decent fruit.  One thing that is driving me crazy is in my 1st broccoli bed, something keeps 1/2 eating the stems of my broccoli.  I have resorted to toilet rolls which has allowed me to grow some but it is really annoying when they've rotted down and I get too lazy thinking "they'll be right" and then go out to find my 10cm high broccoli plant chomped on.  I think it is slater bugs as the bed is loaded with them and the pattern looks the same as what I have seen on google.   

One last update, my chicken coop extension.  It is now approximately 4m long and 1m wide and the chickens have heaps of room.  

Hope you enjoyed the update.  I'm also due to host a garden visit in july so hoping I will see many of you here and am praying that the garden will be in peak productivity by then.  

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 11, 2014 at 22:11

Once in a while I've seen a skink sample a Tomato leaf but since they're mostly insect-eaters and scavengers, I doubt chomping seedlings on a regular basis is what they do.

Comment by Susan on June 11, 2014 at 21:30

Lizards might be able to Elaine, but I have yet to see one in my beds.  Yet they are overly abundant on the ground so it could be that while they might be able to get up - they have no inclination to in my garden at least. 

Comment by Lissa on June 9, 2014 at 5:44

Yeah, not everything is going to survive. Keep watching and you may find out through observation what has caused the death. Sounds a bit like the cut worm death that my seedlings have suffered. Simply cut off at the base of the seedling stem.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 8, 2014 at 20:38

That's a neat theory, not something I'd thought about … lizards would be able to get into the wicking beds but not toads.

Comment by Susan on June 8, 2014 at 18:09

I don't know if it is slaters or not  but I have been reading and like Rob said, there are definitely some sites that do suggest it is possible.  It is heartbreaking as I never had this problem in dirt beds and one suggestion why they are a problem in raised is that their population can multiply as they are separated from natural predators such as lizards toads etc.   I was originally just adding compost straight from my piles into the beds but the last few, I've tried to reduce the bug load by tipping it into an old kids plastic sandpit and letting the chooks have at it first.

Comment by Rob Walter on June 8, 2014 at 11:27

I do, and I haven't had any problems with my other plants. I'm going to put it down as a mystery. I have four cucumber seedlings 30cm away that are absolutely fine.

Comment by Lissa on June 8, 2014 at 0:41

Do you mulch to provide shade to the roots?

Comment by Rob Walter on June 7, 2014 at 8:36

They went in as seeds, so if there's root damage it wasn't me. I find that things tend to look OK first thing in the morning before the sun hits, even if they are in serious trouble. In fact you could probably snip the stem and they would look OK before they got thirsty. That's why I find rotting diseases are so frustrating, because things wilt during the day but look fine the next morning, giving false hope.

Comment by Lissa on June 7, 2014 at 7:19

How long had they been in the ground already Rob? If brand new seedlings perhaps the roots were damaged during the planting procedure?

Comment by Lissa on June 7, 2014 at 7:09

So many marauders sneakily come out at night time. Your cucumber seedlings dying during the day is a different kettle of fish. I would think heat stress myself but you said you watered the roots thoroughly before going to work, so it's a bit odd.

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