Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 2010 - Rain and More Rain

So far in November 2010, the Gosford area has had 168mm of rain in 11 days.

This has provided plenty of water for the vegetables to thrive.Unfortunately the wet weather has also increased the number of pests in the garden. Many of my young plants have suffered from bug attacks. The solution is to ensure that the foliage is sprayed regularly with Pyrethrum (Defender) and that Snail baits are used around the garden to reduce the numbers of snails.

Most of the seedlings planted two weeks ago have survived and the lettuce and tomatoes are going very well. The chili plants have suffered from pest damage and were also being slightly shaded by the parsley growing in front of them.

My next job in the garden will be to add a few more large tubs. I am going to move the chili plants to a tub near the citrus trees. This area gets a lot of sun and will be more protected from ground pests.

The pumpkin plants are getting larger and I will need to remove the wire mesh from this end of the garden to allow them to spread.

Until next time. Enjoy your gardenings.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 2010 - Chillies and Capsicum

More seedlings planted into the garden this weekend. I picked up some more bell capsicum seedlings and some chilli bush seedlings from a local nursery and planted these out to replace the capsicum plants lost to the local wildlife (rabbit).

As well as these seedlings I also got some mixed lettuce seedlings which I have planted out. These were more established than the seedlings I have grown from seed and I will use my seedlings for a second crop later in a couple of weeks.

My tomato seedlings have reached the stage where they can be planted out, so I put these in next to the lettuce. I selected the three strongest looking seedlings and planted these. I will probably thin these out to the two strongest in a couple of weeks as they will require more space to grow.

The pumpkins are growing well and I have three healthy looking plants.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 2010 - Fruit Trees and Rabbit Protection

Busy day in the garden today. I planted two fruit trees into some large plastic containers. This is a technique I saw used on Better Homes and Gardens and thought I would  give it a try. It has the advantage that these plastic tubs are very inexpensive compared to large planters and the only necessary modification is to drill some large holes in the base for drainage.

The trees I planted today are a dwarf lemon (Eureka) and a dwarf lime (Tahitian). There trees only grow to around half the size of a normal citrus tree and can be grown in large containers. The fruit produced are of a normal size.
Along with planting the citrus I also planted some more corn plants. The reason I had to do this is that our pet rabbit has recently been spending more time outside his hutch and has managed to find my garden.

After replacing the corn into a not so accessible part of the garden I also spent some time creating a barrier out of chicken wire and tent pegs to try and discourage the rabbit from nibbling on the seedlings.

The tomato and lettuce seedlings in the planter are going well and hopefully will be large enough to plant out next weekend.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2010 - Seedlings Planted into Bed

As it was a nice cool and wet weekend, I decided to plant out the seedlings I had purchased last week.

I planted Butternut Pumpkin, Sweet Corn, and Capsicum.

Hopefully, I will have better luck with the Sweet Corn this year. Last year I planted the corn in one long row and had issues with the pollination of the ears. This year I planted them in a clump of eight plants. This should encourage pollination.

Instead of the squash I grew last year I am going to try and grow some butternnut pumpkin. It is easier to find recipes that use pumpkin.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 2010 - Seedlings Ready for Planting

My second attempt at growing seedlings has been slightly more successful and they are now only a week or two away from being ready to plant out. The second planting consisted of two types of tomatoes and mixed lettuce.

To supplement these seedlings I also purchased butternut pumpkin, sweet corn and capsicum seedlings from the nursery. These seedlings will be planted out this weekend.

Last weekend I prepared the garden beds. The weeds were removed and the soil turned over down to around 20cms. I then put in some cow and chicken manure to improve the soil condition and removed more clumps of clay. The soil has definitely improved from the last year and hopefully will improve further as more organic material is added.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 2010 - Spring Preparation

Over the last 3 weeks I have been slowly preparing the garden to receive the first plants of spring. The remnants of the winter crop have been removed and bags of chicken and cow manure obtained to renew the soil prior to planting.

As well as preparing the beds I have also been attempting to grow some seedlings from seeds. I used the same seed planter from last year and planted lettuce, squash, and tomatoes. These were the most successful of last years crops and I know will provide a good harvest.

Unfortunately, just 2 weeks after the seedlings sprouted I left them on the outdoor table in full sun on the hottest day so far this spring. All of the seedlings bar a couple of the squash plants were withered. Today I replanted  the seeds, hopefully I will be able to plant these out by the end of the month.

Next weekend, I will prepare the garden beds for planting.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2010 - Winter Update

It has been a couple of weeks since I fertilized and re-mulched the vegetable garden and this has definitely promoted better leaf growth on the Pak Choy. I have managed to harvest a number of leaves from the 6 plants I have and I am looking into some recipes to use it.

Over the last week we have had some very cold nights and mornings and the temperature has dropped below zero. One morning it was -3 and the ground was covered in frost. These cold snaps caused some leaf burn on the pak choy but the damage was minimal.
The broccoli plants are still growing but probably need more water and nutrients. Over winter it is difficult for me to water the garden because it dark when I get home from work. It is not advisable to water in winter after dark because of the risk of fungus and mould diseases caused by the damp.

The self propagated tomato plants are still growing and do have some fruit on them. At the moment they have not started to ripen but I am still hoping to get some fruit off these before spring.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 2010 - Winter Vegetable Update

Been a few weeks since the last update. Things grow slowly during winter and we have had a few weekends where no vegetable gardening was done.

This weekend however I managed to do some cleaning up and weeding around the vegetables. Hopefully, this will promote better growth over the next couple of weeks. I also put some fertiliser on and watered the garden well. Once this was completed I mulched the entire garden with sugar came mulch. This will help with water retention and lessen the affects of the cold weather.

An overview of the garden showing the self-seeded tomatoes at the  top of the garden with the broccoli, cauliflower and bok-choy next. We then have the strawberry plants and the plum tomato plant which is still producing tomatoes so I have left the plant alone.
Most of the seedlings planted were damaged by insect attack soon after they were planted but have now recovered and are growing quite well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 2010 - Winter Vegetables

This weekend some winter vegetables have been planted. We have a broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and parsley. These have been purchased as seedlings. The gardens have also been mulched with sugarcane mulch.

The capsicum plants have been removed and this garden used to plant some parsley. There is further space in this section of the garden for another crop.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 2010 - Preparation for Cooler Months

Over the last month we have had some failures in the garden. The watermelon seedlings planted in January seemed to suffer during a cold snap and did not survive. The iceberg lettuce seedlings survived but never really developed a 'heart'. The plant produced many leaves but never really looked like an iceberg lettuce you would buy in the shops. Now that these plants have gone to seed I have removed them from the garden and prepared the bed for planting new seedlings.

What has survived and flourished are the tomato plants and the capsicum. We have harvested 8 - 10 capsicums and about 12 truss plum tomatoes over the last 4 weeks.

 The other garden bed where the watermelon and bok-choy was planted will be cleaned up and the garden prepared for winter herbs. This garden bed does not get a great deal of sun and I have decided to use this bed for herbs and other plants that do not require the same amount of sunlight as some of the other vegetables.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week 25 - Repotting the Seedlings

Due to some extreme weather conditions last week (over 40 degrees celsius on the Monday), the seedlings planted the previous weekend were almost all dead. This weekend I salvaged one tomato seedling and one capsicum seedling and replanted them into larger pots. Both plants are only around 3cm high and will need some further growth before  being transplanted into the garden.

To ensure the seedlings do not dry out too quickly I placed some upturned bottles on them to create mini greenhouses.

Other tasks performed this week were:
  • Adjusted tomato stakes to ensure the new growth on the plant was better supported. There are already small green tomatoes on the plant and I am hoping for a good crop.
  • Cleaned up some of the beds and removed a couple of bucketfuls of weeds.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week 22 - Seed Planting

Over the past two weeks, it has been a time of maintenance and care of the plants recently planted. The watermelon, lettuce and tomato plants are all growing well and I have been using pyrethrum on the new plants to ensure they do not succumb to the same pests as destroyed my Bok Choy plants. It only took a couple of days to cause the damage in the second photo.

During the weekend I also planted some more seeds to get some  seedlings to fill some of the empty spots in the garden.

I have planted some more lettuce varieties. Roma tomatoes and capsicum. These are the three vegetables that we most often use for lunches at home.

The plan for the next couple of weeks is to get the rest of the garden planted out with seedlings and hopefully get some produce from the strawberries and capsicum plants.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 20 - Garden Overview

Last weekend had the first major changes since starting the garden. The squash plants and tomato plants have been removed and some new seedlings planted.

Here are two photos showing what the two garden beds look like now. I still have a considerable amount of space left to plant out. Will spend the next week considering my options.

My other task for this week is to work out how best to keep the pests off the Bok Choy plants. These plants have suffered badly from caterpillar attacks over the last two weeks and a couple of the plants may need to be removed.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 20 - New Plantings

Over the last three weeks I removed all the squash, tomato and corn plants in readiness for replanting these beds with new seedlings.

This weekend I managed to find enough time to go out and get some of the seedlings to plant. With some help from my 5yr daughter I picked truss tomatoes, watermelon and iceberg lettuce.

Late on Sunday afternoon I planted the seedlings out. To minimize the potential of diseases from one crop spreading to the next I swapped the section of the beds I was using for the tomatoes. 

I also planted the watermelon in the far section of the new garden bed. This will mean when the vine starts to spread it will occupy a lesser used part of the garden (behind the trampoline) and wont be spilling over into other plants.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Week 17 - New Garden Bed Part 3

The new garden bed has now been partially planted out. A row of spring onions has been planted along with two rows of Bok Choy (Green Stem).

What is going into the rest of this garden has not been decided. The next couple of weeks look to be a time for additional planting as both the squash and the lettuce appear to have finished fruiting/growing.

These will be dug up and the bed renewed ready for a new crop.