Sunday, 29 December 2013

Summer harvest, and a New Year resolution

My vegie patch is going great guns at the moment.   This is very satisfying, as it is hard work keeping things hydrated at this time of year.

As you can see in the pic above, the lettuces have done well . . . too well really, as they have all reached maturity at once!  My fault - I should have staggered the planting out!  Luckily I already have a few takers who would like a fresh lettuce or two, so none of these will go to waste.  

As you can see, I don't have any ripe tomatoes as yet, but there are a few green tomatoes-in-waiting, and lots of flowers, which is pleasing.   (This is a Tommy Toe variety, which has apricot-sized tomatoes that have a wonderful flavour, and its small size means that it ripens before the fruit fly can attack).

The zucchinis are hitting their first fruits.   Here's the very first!

This year I tried to only plant what we could expect to use ourselves, plus a little to give away (but not so much oversupply that it feels wasteful).   With this in mind, I didn't plant corn in this year.  They were so bountiful last year that it was a struggle to cook, freeze and give away.  (Besides, we are all trying to eat low carb/ paeleo at present!)  

As for my fruit trees:

There are A LOT of plums on my 'Luisa' plum tree . . . some of the branches are quite bowed from the weight of the fruit, so I have thinned the fruit a bit so the branches don't snap from the weight.   My goodness this is a prolific variety.  

There are even a few quinces, despite my over-enthusiastic pruning after last season.   [The leaves are marked from an earlier attack of pear and cherry slug, which hit both the plum and the quince in the spring.  I controlled this pest organically by tossing lots of plain flour over the tree.  It worked a treat and only cost about $1!   However I will have to flour bomb the trees again soon, as I can see a slug on the leaf on the left of the picture.  Horrid things.]

I am very chuffed to see lemons on my new (dwarf Eureka) lemon tree!

I am praying that this lemon tree survives the coming winter, as lemon trees are such good value in the home garden.  Unfortunately they are marginal here.  My last (newly planted) baby lemon tree died, sadly, in a -15C frost a couple of years ago, despite my coddling, so I have planted this new one in a less exposed position.  If I can get it through winter, it will cope from then on with a bit of TLC.

I have been successfully using Rocket Fuel on my vegie patch and fruit trees and have found it to be very beneficial. This product supports the worthwhile Stephanie Alexander school kitchen garden program. 

I am also keeping a close eye on the weather.  We tend to get thunder storms and hail around Christmas / New Year, which would be quite damaging.  I don't want to lose my crops, and am feeling weirdly  Farmer-like and protective about them!  And I am praying for good, soaking rain!

The more I grow my own, the more I realise how rewarding productive gardening truly is.  My New Year Resolution is to undertake a permaculture course in 2014.  I will keep you updated about this as the year progresses.  

UPDATE: Spent a lovely weekend in May 2014 at Caroola Farm (between Bungendore and Braidwood, NSW) attending an Introduction to Permaculture course.  I learned a lot, and it has stimulated a lot of thought and, I hope, future results as I apply permaculture principles to my block.    


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