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High everyone ,apart from our yams and other reliable plants in our survival garden,arrowroot ,tumeric,sweet potatoes,ginger etc wich basically anyone can grow the summers garden has been a real fizzer.Many crops have failed or growing poorly  compared to other years and its been a battle to keep our most important herbs going as well ,you know things are bad when even a pumpkin vine struggles and the jerusalem artichoke has only grown to half its normal height.There have been limited success stories with my chillis doing ok and my quail keeping me happy with eggs.However amidst all the gloom I just wanted to show my only major success story a pineapple grown in a pot.I do hope everyone is doing better than I.

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 3, 2017 at 7:02

Great Pineapple Darren, and the perfume still lingers in our Rumpus Room this morning. Roger, it is great to see you were able to get some value out of the horrible weather we had over the last couple of months.

Comment by Roger Clark on March 3, 2017 at 6:45

Well yes they are cabbages, but before you get too excited these were good cabbages that I grew in a polystyrene wicking box in winter. I chopped them off when mature but left the stalks in place and they regrew. When I kept the water up to them because I was allowing runners to root there next to my strawberry's they grew again, but haven't hearted up. Maybe some added fertiliser would have seen them heart. The grasshoppers love them though!!

Comment by Susan on February 27, 2017 at 21:34

Roger, are they CABBAGES I spy???? You are a garden guru if you can get those growing well in summer.

Comment by Roger Clark on February 26, 2017 at 21:25



My usual plantings for summer don't require a lot of care, Ginger. Turmeric, Eggplants, Cherry Tomatoes, Pumpkins, don't need a lot of care beside watering and mulching, so I've coped with that plus I've covered up most of the rest of the garden beds with old sacks to protect the worms, fungi and bacteria from dying out.


As most of you will know, my soil is hard to grow in at the best of time, let alone during drought/ heat. That's why I grow in baths, sacks, etc. These retain the moisture much better, I can provide a soil mix that will give me a chance of success, but at this time of the year I don't bother except to grow the hardiest and most heat tolerant of plants.   In the photo below Ginger and Turmeric are growing in the same bath.


In the next photo you can see how I propagate last years strawberry's into new plants. The bath has last years plants and I place sacks and poly boxes, alongside for the new runners to bed into. 


As the new plants will be too close together in the sacks I will plant these out into other baths as soon as the weather gets a bit kinder. I have no idea what type of strawberry plants these are, but it would be good idea for me to swap some of my runners for someone else's so that I have a good variety of types that may offer a spreading of the harvest. 



The figs have fruited well this year, I believe that this is in part due to pruning them back in winter, I do this also to be able to strike new cuttings into plants. I still don't have a very good range of figs, The ones above are White Adriatic, I have three of these in pots, but other types have not done as well. Ones that I have planted out in the ground have mostly perished.

Well, that's all from for now. If it does rain over the next few days I might get motivated again, who knows?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 25, 2017 at 21:08

Start the plant anew: some Pines do produce pups either between the leaves of the mother plant or on the stem of the fruit. Use those, strip off the lower leaves as you would for a top. Use the tops too. I believe you can get another fruit from the mother plant but with limited space, taking the spent mother plants out, re-doing the bed and re-planting the pups/tops elsewhere has been my way of dealing with that.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 25, 2017 at 21:05

'Back to normal' my foot. It will not improve until many countries make super-human efforts to stem the tide of human-induced global climate change. Do not expect any quick fixes from any government and especially not this federal one.

Use shadecloth where it can be used - some plants thrive under it, some do not.

Pineapple plants have generally upright leaves - well 45deg perhaps but not drooping (in my experience). There are some pix on this site and this is one just about ready to pick:

Not so easy to see the upright leaves in this one. The fruit's stem is bending over indicating ripeness. Don't go on colour, some of my sweetest have been allover green. A fruit takes about 6 months from the first appearance to picking although there's some variation in that time.

Comment by Susan on February 25, 2017 at 19:26

Is it supposed to go so flat once the fruit has developed??   It is the first time I've grown pineapples and I have one on but it is only small yet and the leaves are still upright.  Can you leave them grow another year and get another pineapple or do you restart the entire plant?  I've been more productive this summer because of the wicking beds, it has made my life so much easier.  It's taking me a while to get the hang of it but my results are starting to speak for themselves.  I have been harvesting rockmelons, corn, trombonccinos, capsicum, tomatoes, lettuce and silverbeet out of the wicking beds all summer.  I definitely don't think I'd have the same level of success without the beds.

Hey Elaine, I'm getting a bit wary of buying tomato seedlings -> I keep on seeming to import problems with them.  I've got some tomato seeds from a nice grape tomato and fig type and I've just started some babies.  Hopefully they'll do better than their parents which I've had to baby.    

Christa, all my persimmon plants have died.  I'm about to give up on them and in their place plant my fig trees which I currently have in wicking pots.  You are so lucky with yours. 

Comment by Dave Riley on February 25, 2017 at 18:30

But hey! It's over!

It is, isn't it?

No more of that  sort of Summer...? Back to 'normal'....?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 25, 2017 at 11:51

Not 'better', Darren - probably only just 'differently'. Reading all the posts, my garden is just about average.

So many of my seeds either didn't come up or came up late and few prospered. At least the survivors are the tough ones and worthy of seed-saving. Many of the bought Tomato seedlings did not survive either or if they did, were leaf-crinkled in a way suggesting mineral deficiencies. Can't blame that on the weather though.

Only plants which have done well are the Pineapples and Dragon Fruit. Despite the DF being a rainforest plant, it does not like shade and seems happy enough to be sun-burned in some parts yet produced wonderful fruit for us. The Pines in the wicking beds made some luscious fruit, not as big as the ones in the shops but with a fine sweet flavour.

Hoping the Strawberries make enough new plants for an assault on the new season's fruit. Strawbs are my absolute favourites and one plant from which I have had dismal results.

The weather has been tough and won't get any better anytime soon. Now's the time to re-assess what we're growing and simplify our gardens so maintenance is not so taxing. Even with wicking beds, I have to watch the plants to make sure I don't let them dry too much - at the worst of the weather I was watering 2-3 times a week, back to 1 a week atm; not much rain just a few mms not the inches we need.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 25, 2017 at 11:30

*Andy watches a tumbleweed roll across his back yard.*

Yep, even the chickens and quails are off the lay.  Aside from everything green burning to death, the drought has done me no favours.  I've started experimenting with things like sprouts inside.  Oh, except for trees.  I've got grapefruit and lemonades going very well and even a bunch of bananas.  

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