Sunday, January 19, 2014

As summer rolls along

Sunflowers at the back gate

With summer comes the veggie pests and diseases, but when I walk through my garden and grasshoppers jump out the way, dragonflies and other friendly flying creatures flit in front of me and I see the ladybugs who sit on the leaves of the plants, I know that I have a garden that is a happy place for them.
Sweet potatoes
I suppose I could use sprays so that I get all the veggies, but I am happy that not only do I get "clean" food for my family, I also provide a place that friendly bugs like to visit. You see, those sprays don't just kill the bad bugs they also wipe out the beneficial ones.  Uuh-huh!

So my modus operandi these past few seasons is to leave some plants for the bugs to enjoy. Nasturtiums were planted along with the brassicas in winter and were a good decoy for the white cabbage moth to lay her eggs on. Her little babies munched away happily and got nice and fat then disappeared.

My cauliflowers, broccolis and kale all went unaffected by them for the most of the season and only one of the few kale plants that were left at the end of the season had any trouble. Even then I left the bugs on the kale and they too eventually left for other pastures, leaving the plant to continue supplying us with leaves to eat.

Harvesting is continuing with loads of marrows still coming in - in fact today I sent out an "SOS come get a marrow" text to 4 friends so that I can unload the last of these monsters. I planted way too many of them this year and will probably only plant 5 as versus 20 (what was I thinking???) next summer.

Today's tomato harvest
The tomatoes, even though they got blight, have reached the beautiful red stage. We have brought in about 20 kgs of them so far and turned them into sauce & eaten them fresh. The Italian sauce tomatoes are so lovely when roasted with herbs and garlic then blended.

Our first batch of corn was a complete failure, but our second planting has yielded some good corn. As a friend pointed out to me, the leaves of the plants are more yellow-green than green-green which indicates a lack of nitrogen in the soil. I did not add any manure in this bed as the last batch of manure brought so many weeds with it that I could not face all that weeding again. I am going to have to investigate alternatives for adding more nitrogenous matter to the soil which will not add weeds along with the nitrogen.

While it is so good to have a break from the hard work of digging in compost, making seed pots and getting seedlings started and growing well, I cannot ignore the fact that there are 6 more weeks until I need to have a plan in place and seeds sown for my late summer early autumn vegetable gardens. So this afternoon I plan to plan! We will see if I get to that.

I have been churning over ideas in my brain for a herb garden in what we call "Zeus's sandpit." This area has been a vegetable garden, a grassed area and now is where Zeus digs and runs and is simply a mess. I recently laid out some paving stones in his running track and he simply moved his run to the right of them.
Sweet lemon cucumbers

He gets 4 long walks a week in the forest and all other things that dogs need like bones to chew, grooming, swims on hot days and lots of love and he has another small digging patch at the back gate so I am afraid that his time in the sandpit is almost up.

When I have the plan in a more concrete way I will let you know what I am planting and why. I have wanted to grow more herbs for culinary purposes and also educate myself more on medicinal herbs that I can grow and use easily. "Easily" is the keyword here as time does not allow me to go into this too deeply yet.

I suppose this is the limbo period where I find myself right now...the harvests coming in, enjoying the meals, watching plants handle the heat and pests - or not - and planning for the next season.

One of the 5 pumpkins - just enough for a year :)

What are you doing for and with your garden right now?


Lois Evensen said...

What a pretty sunflower with the back lighting!

Olivia Langeveldt said...

I look forward to reading about your autumn plans. I've never done it before but summer was a bit of a fail because my attention was with our newborn.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful balance and wisdom in your gardening philosophy. Experience is such a great teacher!
Despite my poor sweet corn germinations (it took 3 attempts before my seeds sprouted) I am delighted to see the tassels and ears forming!
My neighbour had decided to plant pumpkins for a seed company and I was informed that I may not plant any pumpkins in my garden. But I happily planted soft squashes such as patty pans, zucchini and gem squashes. When she visited me in spring (and before they had planted their pumpkins) my baby plants had just come up and she told me to "pull them out". Well, I was shocked and dismayed. In short, our family ignored her and my plants have been a delight! I bring in baskets of food weekly. I'm also glad that I only planted a few of each!
Our cooler mountain climate keeps us a few months behind you, as my tomatoes are still green.
I have also found that the cow manure brings in tons of weed seeds, but chicken manure tea is an absolute winner. I soak up the straw and manure in buckets for a few weeks, lay the straw on a mulch and dilute the tea for weekly waterings. No weeds! Recently I was given a enriched recipe - add some molasses and a scoop of plant fertilizer to the bucket to soak. A cup of tea mixed in the watering can of water is a great fertilizer.
Enjoy the rest of your late summer bounty! Blessings!

plagiatro said...
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