End of December garden update.

So, apart from some major landscaping, what else has been happening in the garden?

Some raging successes I’m happy to report, because along with that we’ve had some more run-in’s with nature. Grrr nature!!

Of the 7 sunflower seeds I originally planted by the shed, 5 of them germinated and have grown up into big strong plants, topped with magnificent flower heads!

Giant Russian Sunflower with bee

Giant Russian Sunflower with bee

The first one to open you got a look at in my last post, here’s another one with a busy helper inside it. Sunflowers are great for attracting bees to the garden, although our plants are also home to hundreds of ants. Not so great.

I have been slowly harvesting my garlic – here is 2 pots worth of Early Purple after it has been drying in the shed for a few weeks. Just under 200grams worth.

Garlic, first harvest.

Garlic, first harvest.

Most of the heads are quite small, I don’t think they liked being in the pots. Next winter I will skip the broad beans and plant the garlic direct into a garden bed I think.

So, my beautiful hand reared from seed tomatoes transplanted just fine into the bed we had prepared for them, and grew strongly despite some blazing hot days. However, 5 out of 6 plants, all the Amish paste and two of the Tigerella, succumbed to some sort of virus. Their leaved all curled up and went funny, and all the flower heads dried up and shrivelled. Nothing seemed to be helping them, so I had to make the sad decision to save the remaining plant, and ripped up all the rest. I put them in the bin, so they won’t infect the compost. I picked up a cheap punnet of Diggers Tigerella seedlings which I planted in their place, but they are pretty late in the season for growing, and still struggling to get established in this really hot weather we’ve been having.

Very sad tomato bed, with all but one plant having to be replaced

Very sad tomato bed, with all but one plant having to be replaced

My bean experiment with the sunflowers has been going ok. They have flowered and set fruit, but they aren’t as prolific as I had been led to expect. Possibly too much shade from the enormous sunflower leaves? At least I have some beans I can dry and save for seed next year.

Lazy Housewife Beans, growing up the sunflowers.

Lazy Housewife Beans, growing up the sunflowers.

The run of bad luck in the bean department continues. There is a cut-worm or something living in the bean/capsicum/silverbeet bed. It has been systematically destroying every seedling I have planted, waiting until the beans were nice and lush, starting to grow up the trellis before decimating them. I would go out in the morning and another one would be withered. Between the slugs and snails, and these grubs, I’m not going to get any beans I don’t think. 2 plants have made it so far, because their toilet paper tubes are well above soil level. Hopefully it doesn’t learn to climb!!

As a result, I bought some capsicum seedlings at the same time as the tomatoes, and replaced 2 of my seed raised ones that had been gnawed on. They are all wearing stylish yoghurt tub collars to prevent further attack. So far it seems to be working.

2 Zucchini plants have been tossed in this bed, next to my enormous cos lettuce and the cauliflower. This cauliflower has rather caught me by surprise. After weeks of caterpiller attack, and it looking like it was going to keel over dead any minute, the hot weather has bought on a massive burst of growth, and they have gone from spindly to enormous! I thought Cauliflower was a cool season plant? But I have much to learn from this garden obviously!

Cauliflower, cos lettuce and zucchini plants.

Cauliflower, cos lettuce and zucchini plants.

This photo is a few days old now, there is even more growth on everything.

Please insert clothesline HERE!

Please insert clothesline HERE!

As you can see in this picture of my sunflower row, there is also a pumpkin vine putting on some fine growth at the right end of the row. Checking it today, the very first flower is about to open, so we should be seeing some real progress there also!

Of course, knowing my luck, the ants will organise themselves and trundle off with my pumpkins as well. Nature is great in moderation I’ve decided, but these wee creatures that keep attacking my garden had better watch out! I’ve decided that at the end of the season, I will let my little attack chicken, Rebekah in there. She will hunt them down in about 10 seconds flat!

Rebekah in her warpaint!

Rebekah in her warpaint!

Grrrrr – Sick ’em Bek!!!

So, that’s the sad and sorry tale of my garden at the moment. Lots of promise, and quite a few fights on our hands. But learning, learning, learning all the time. Now excuse me, as we have another 40+ degree day forecast tomorrow, and I have to go hose everything off again!

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2 Responses to End of December garden update.

  1. Jenny says:

    Have you tried Diatomaceous earth in your garden? My folks mix just a little in with the soil and sprinkle it around their plants. It’s supposed to be really good for slugs and other ground crawling insects. They’ve even put it on the goats when one of them got fleas to help prevent the fleas from spreading.

    • Cassandra says:

      Jenny, I had heard the same thing about putting it around chickens to deter pests, but it had never occurred to me to try it in the garden! I will do further research on this -Thanks so much for the idea 🙂

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