Saturday, 1 July 2017

Blog July 2017

Mid winter approaches, and its cold by our standards.  The cool weather brings with it a fair amount of dew, which is keeping the ground moist despite the little rain we've had this winter. This is our first light frost and I hope its the last, but it might just persuade my apples to drop their leaves and go into dormancy for a while.
We have just harvest the first broccoli head of the season, and we will soon be enjoying the delicious small florets that will follow. 
This is one of my drip line beds in which I grow my peaches and olives.  I'm doing my annual soil maintenance on my perennial beds, and I've cleared about a third of this bed removing old flowering stems, debris and mulch.  Its been dressed with 60mm of homemade compost, and the next step is to cover the compost with organic sugar cane mulch to keep the soil and compost moist and the soil fauna active.  I'll start a new batch of hot compost in a day or two so I can prepare an Ecobed for potatoes.  There should be enough left over to finish this drip line bed and start on the others.
This bed is scheduled to grow potatoes starting in early August.  I will add them as the 3 successions of cabbages and lettuce are progressively harvested.  The silverbeet growing at the near end of the bed will be harvested gradually over the next month or two, and the space may not be available in time for the potatoes, so I will grow some in one of my small Ecobeds instead.  It will be available when needed in early August.

This is the small Ecobed designated to grow the overflow of potatoes next month.  The cabbages are ready to harvest, so it will be dormant for a few weeks.  A generous cover of homemade compost will keep those essential microorganisms active until August. 
My small (bin) propagator is still busy growing cuttings, but it will be upgraded to full size in time to meet the usual heavy demand for seedlings in September.
This creeping geranium has been overgrown by Hebe, but it keeps emerging to flower in inconvenient places.  Still its quite pretty really.
Very occasionally, we buy a geranium plant, but because they are as tough as nails in our climate, and propagate easily,  we seem to have them everywhere.  This one has a delicate flower and we bought the original at a country fair in Dunkeld a few kms south of the Grampians in Western Victoria.  This is the 5th generation and should be well suited to the local ecosystem by now (epigenetics).
This small pink flowering plant self seeds everywhere.  It fills in many open spaces around the garden, and is easy to remove when it grows where it shouldn't be.  The beneficial insects like it so I'm happy.
My favourite geranium certainly livens up this bed full of large brassicas.
I think this is the most elegant of my Hebe collection.  Its located under a south facing fence and doesn't get much light in winter, but it always puts on a great show at this time of year.
Even the Marguerite daisies are growing well in the shade of my Pittosporum hedge.  I will have to reduce the hedge height to let in more light if I want a good showing of flowers in spring.
I've chosen a cloudy day to take my photos, and the bees are nowhere to be seen, but if the sun comes out later they will be here on my Jade bush in large numbers. 
The broad beans have started to grow multiple stems.  In a few weeks I will need to tie the two rows to the frame in between, so they don't get blown over in windy weather.  Ecobed soils are so soft and friable, that even with a well developed root system, plants tend to blow over more easily than in conventional veggie beds.

Last years Blue Borage self seeded everywhere, but I removed all of them except this one.  I don't normally sow summer plants until September, so I'm very interested to see whether this one will grow strongly through the winter and bring more bees into the garden early when the fruit trees need them most.

Here's another strong self seeder flowering earlier than I would normally expect.  Must be something to do with global warming.
I have three different varieties of Nasturtiums clustered together.  This one is my favorite.