Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Blog October 2018

Spring brings warmer weather, and we have already enjoyed one day reaching a maximum of 26C.  Consequently the polycarbonate covers have been replaced with fleece and netting on my Ecopropagators, and insect netting now adorns 3 of my 4 Ecobeds.
Its been very dry this winter, but most of my ornamental plants have prospered.
I have lavender and rosemary bushes dotted around my garden.  They both look good, but more importantly they attract bees and other pollinating insects to attend to the needs of my flowering shrubs and trees.
Similarly, my Californian lilac is a bee and hoverfly magnet and looks great, especially when you get up close.
This simple combination of trees and flowering perennials looks good at this time of the year.
I have just started to harvest some of my peas and broad beans.  There is a light dusting of powdery mildew on some of the peas' older leaves.  Its not uncommon as the plant's energy is directed towards growing pods, but its usually controlled with aerated compost tea.  If the attack is severe, I may need to use an organic fungicide.  The beans usually get rust at this stage, but I haven't seen any yet. 
I have been busy sowing seed for summer veggies lately.  I experimented with seed tray cells this year with disappointing results, I have to say.  The mini-pots and fibre pots above were sunk into the composted wicking medium up to their rims and stayed moist without watering, but the trays couldn't penetrate the compost, so they just sat on top and needed regular overhead watering.  It defeats the purpose really.
This small Ecobed is producing a great crop of Broad Beans, but once it's finished, I will be decommissioning and replacing it with an in-ground drip line irrigated veggie bed.  It was designed to grow a dwarf lemon tree, and has a deeper than usual soil.  This resulted in a shallower than usual water tank which needs refilling far too often for my liking.
This bed has recently been covered with pest exclusion netting to protect the crops from the ravages of hungry insects as they emerge from dormancy.  I have been harvesting Silver Beet from this bed for some time, and it's still going strong.  The Beetroot and Carrots (front) are close to maturity and will be harvested sometime later this month. 
The potatoes are growing strongly, and we will start to enjoy small "New Potatoes" next month.  The main crop will be harvested in January.
My espaliered apples are starting to blossom, and the bees are doing their job.
We have had the best of the spring flowers in this bed, and the canopy of the apricot above which has set a potentially good crop of fruit, will soon provide shelter for the shade loving plants which will take over the bed in the warmer months.