Thursday, 1 June 2017

Blog June 2017.

Its the first of June and winter is upon us.  The weather has been quite mild for Melbourne at this time of year, but it was 4C when I got out of bed yesterday, and everything is slowing down in the garden including me.  Here's a shot of my backyard.  Its grown like topsy I'm afraid, and this is not the preferred layout.  It used to be a largely ornamental garden with the clothes line fenced off, so the Ecobeds have been installed where the ornamental beds used to be.
I have been enjoying my apple a day for about a month now, and the Granny Smiths are now at their peak, so its time to start bottling them.  I have filled 5 preserving jars so far, but its a laborious task, and its going to take a couple of weeks to get them all done ( some will be frozen in resealable bags).
I will harvest one of these mini cabbages early so the others can continue to grow.  We use them in salads as coleslaw, steam them with other vegetables and add them to vegetable soups.  There should be plenty left to make Sauerkraut though.
There are 2 successions of cabbage and lettuce here, and we have started taking leaves off the biggest lettuce.  There is space at the back for a third succession, and by then we will have harvested the first lot to be replaced by succession four currently in the propagator.  The use of vegnet (despite a good covering of straw mulch) is to protect the soil against digging birds, and to keep the product clean (lettuce are vulnerable to bottom end rot in my garden, but this technique is working very well).  At the back there are two silverbeet with a few remnant leeks slowly moving towards their harvest.
The broccoli are growing well and beginning to show why they need so much space.  There are 2 cauliflowers at this end of the bed growing much more slowly, but they will get big too.
This bed is the dedicated allium bed this year and I there are garlic, onions, shallots and leeks at various stages of germination and early growth in place.  At the near end of the bed is a couple of rows of beetroot.  I usually get an infestation of black aphids on the alliums in spring, so I will need to be alert and deal with them as soon as they appear.
This bed is planted out with climbing peas and broad beans.  These broad beans were direct sown and all of them have germinated.
These "Telephone" peas are doing well, and the Purple Podded Dutch peas, which were sown at the other end of the bed and later than these, are just starting to emerge from the ground.
My Geraniums are still providing a splash of colour in the olive tree's understorey.
I harvested about 12 litres of green olives 5 weeks ago.  They are being cured in 2 ten litre food quality pails and will be ready in a week or two.  The rest of the crop is almost all ripe now and I will start to cure them when the pails become available.
This is a new lid for my thermal composter under construction.  The idea is to use the 2 lids alternately as the lid and the base of the unit.  I'm trying to close off dead spots in the composter so that all the space inside can get up to and hold the 55C to 65C temperatures required.  Heat leakage to the ground in winter is enough to stall thermophilic microbe activity in the bottom of the heap if its not insulated.
This nice mix of succulents is in need of a light prune, but not before the Jade bush (top) finishes flowering.
Every year I expect to lose some of my nasturtiums, because I rely on them to self seed.  But every year they seem to get bigger and better.  They are still young in this photo, but by the time they flower in spring, they should be quite big.
The small Ecobed in the centre of the photo has got its new climbing frame, and 2 rows of peas now straddle it.  I'm using a more open plastic coated wire net in this simpler design, and I will be interested to see how it performs.
This time last year, I had a large White Cedar tree right in the corner between these two trees.  To my great sorrow, I had to remove it because the invasive root system was threatening to lift my concrete drive.  Since then the remaining trees have prospered because they now have full access to the sun.
I gave the Californian Lilac shrub (right of centre in the photo) a serious haircut after it flowered early last summer, and its looking great.  I need to do the same thing now with my Pittosporum hedge (left top of picture) which is getting very overgrown and is threatening our neighbour's power supply cables.