Saturday, August 14, 2010

Caring for perennial Vegetables

I have spent some time this week reading up on how to care for my perennial vegetables, fruit vines and berry canes. My gardening books all talk about adding 2:3:2 and 3:1:5 but as we have successfully managed, for the most part, to grow and feed our veggies organically, I needed to "read between the lines" and see what I could find from natural sources.

These are my perennials that need some TLC at the moment, photos were form last season.

Grape Vine ~ Strawberries ~ Blue Berry ~ Black Berry ~ Lemon and Orange Tree ~ Olive Tree ~ Granadilla Vine ~ Rhubarb ~ Asparagus

I started with the simplest - rhubarb. Our chickens have enjoyed eating all the winter leaves off my humble rhubarb. So yesterday we decided to uproot the 4 plants and put them into a side patch in the fenced garden so that they can yield again in summer. These just needed some compost and water and a replanting.

My asparagus is still in the trailer park and Superman and I are debating their permanent position. Yesterday we trimmed off all the dead fronds and fed them some worm juice. More on worm juice in a moment. In the next two months we need to have them planted in their permanent position.

Our grape vine is still bare, new leaves should appear in about 3 - 4 weeks time. It's time to start watering it with a slow trickle of a hose. It will also enjoy a nitrogen feed about now.

The granadilla vine needs nitrogen now too, as well as some epsom salts. A natural source of potassium like wood ash, or volcanic ash is also a good feed right now. Tomorrow Superman and son are going to make upside down L-shaped brackets so that we can train the vine to grow forwards and the fruit can hand down. At the moment it is trying to lace itself into our electric fence which cause the poor thing to get fried!

For my black berry plant, I was told to feed it a banana smoothie as the flowers start to show. Bananas are high in potassium so when you have over ripe bananas, blend them up, skin and all, and place it around the base of the plant.

Blueberries need an acidic soil and peat moss is the best source for this, unfortunely using peat does not = green gardening. Peat beds are being dug up at a rate faster than it can replesnish istself, so it is best to stear clear of using it in your garden. A great organic substitute is Rooibos mulch or going for a walk in a pine forest and collected some needles. These can just be used around the base of the plant and the acidic residue will leech through to the roots.

Yesterday we repotted our strawberry plants that we grew from the parent plants. We have another 10 or so plants now for this coming season. All fruit plants benefit from SEAGRO or LIQUI-nure. This is where the worm juice comes in. Worm juice is very high in nitrogen and other nutrients. I dilute mine 1 to 10 and feed to my hanging baskets at least once a month. But in the height of summer we don't get enough juice so I do buy liquid feed.

I am toying with the idea of making some KELP TEA as this also is full of wonderful nutrients for my garden.

My olive and citrus tree need to be replanted. They are in big wine barrels at the moment and as soon as we have done our big clear out in the last part of the garden, we will transplant them there.

In my reading I saw that BAT GUANO is brilliant for promoting flowers on fruit trees, so I am going to have to source some of it somewhere....mmmh!?!


Jane said...

I was also training and feeding my granadilla this weekend. I could not find potassium sulphate, and after reading your post, I decided on some organic 6:3:4 that I found in the garage. In 2 weeks time, I think I will use the banana idea for potassium, and do that regularly until it flowers.

I have collected kelp before, put it through the chipper and added it to the compost. I do want to buy a lemon tree - do you know where I can find a good one somewhere in greater Cape Town
Spring is coming early!

Wendy said...

Hi Jane

I do hope we get two more months of rain here after this long dry spell. We will all be in trouble in summer if we don't!

I bought my lemon tree at Ferndale Nursery, but you should be able to pik them up anywhere.