Friday, November 18, 2011

Late Spring - November 2011

This post is very late. It is already the first day of summer.

17 November - Netted two tomato silvery fir plants to prevent caterpillar attack. Regular pruning of tomato leaves required.

18 November
- Did pH test for Eureka lemon and comquat calamondin - about pH 5-6 - treated with dolomite lime and fed epsom salts, hopefully their condition improve.

- Big fig is budding at the branch which I cut off in spring just for an experiment to see if it will re-shoot and also to test out controlling tree size. It seems to put putting on tiny figs but have to keep observing.

- Figgy is producing more figs on top of the two it grew in early spring. Exciting! Can't wait to eat figs again.

- Trying to figure out effective physical possum deterrent in the garden. Puts my head into full- time thinking mode.

19 & 26 November
- Rain Rain Rain...Shower Shower Shower...Hooray Hooray Hooray!!!

20 November
- Sweet corn seeds sown a week ago germinated quickly.
- Pruned rose bush. Remove old calendula plants.
- Remove fungus-infected hydrangea leaves.
- Pruned blackcurrant bush. Still no fruit in sight.
- Sown more sweet corn seeds.
- Eggplant peacock about 5cm tall.

25 November - Trimmed golden sheen hedges and work against possum invasion.

I removed all the plum branches overhanging this fence as I know the possum could use it to get onto the plum tree.

Hubby and I removed all these branches which were close to our roof to prevent the possum from getting onto our roof.

I drove in a few stakes and wrapped the trunk of my plum tree with strong plastic. This will deter the possum from climbing up the tree.

An ugly but workable piece of wire mesh to stop the possum from walking on the fence.

I need to buy about 8 metres of good netting to protect my grapes. Note the tall plum tree at the far end. If the possum can get up the tree, it can assess the roof to get to my grapes. No way am I sharing my grapes with them especially when it this is going to be my first harvest.

This is my back lawn in early spring, looking patchy and ugly due to my dog's urine and heavy traffic :
And I am relieved to see that most of the grass has grown to cover up the patches. It is almost impossible to believe that the back lawn will look good again. The difference in the pictures shows it is possible. Good thing we invested in self-repairing Buffalo Sapphire.  I have since trained my dog to do his wee on the big patch of mulch on the other side of the back garden. :

I finally bought $5 worth of duckweeds to cover the water surface of my water chestnut tubs. I put the two goldfish here to rid mosquito larvae :
Each of the two rectangular tubs  has a 20 cm pot planted with one water chest nut plant. I used some garden pebbles to stop potting mix from being washed out and plunge the pot into the tubs of water. Then I spread duckweeds on the water. I am not sure how productive these two plants will be.  It will be an experiment.  I have to get several more gold fish to rid mosquito larvae here as changing water can be a hassle.
Mr Spotted Neck is getting really fat.  He is about the fattest pigeon I have ever seen. He comes almost every day. Here we took a shot of him perched on the fence, all fluffed up.  He is still very scared of us and will take off whenever we went out into the garden.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gardening Update

There was a few nice showers last night.
Harvesting pak choy, spinach, rocket, coriander, parsley, tung O/Garland Chrysanthemum, strawberries.

My two pots of thai basil propagated from market cuttings. They started flowering straight away and I had to pinch them off to generate more leaf growth.
Pak Choy Green in a pot and doing so well.
I harvested the pak choy for dishes over the next few days. They are really yummy for soup.
The pot is now home for some lemongrass which I have pulled up from one of the clumps. I am hoping they will grow thicker stems here. I replenished the pot with lots of composted manure.
Three of my strawberry plants which I had propagated have put on lots of flowers.
However, my joy was short-circuited when I found the flowers of two pots eaten up in the night. I highly suspected some animal walking on the fence and eating them.
I cracked my head over what to do to protect more flowers from being eaten. Finally I used some wire mesh, wrapped it over with strong plastic sheet and clamped it over the fence to form a cover over the plants. (above pic) Then I threw a layer of net over as a double layer of protection. I think whatever animal that returns will have a hard time trying to reach the flowers now, since its body weight will probably make it fall over that cover.

My tomato silvery fir plants grow bushy very quickly despite weekly pruning. Both have lots of flowers and also some fruits. This time I am very excited about growing tomatoes cos I have found a new way of eating them - salsa!!! Why didnt I think about doing home-made salsa before? It's yummy!
Rhubard Sydney Crimson is establishing very well. I like the idea that its new leaves are all crumpled and gradually they become pretty flat leaves.
Our little corn patch is doing great! I am already spotting the male corn flowers!
Candy Red watermelon seedlings finally taking off. I wonder if I seriously have time and space to grow some watermelons for Yates watermelon challenge. For the sake of free seeds and free fruits and fun, I will continue to nurture them.
Early spring when I looked at my lemon verbena, my heart sank. It was a dry leafless lifeless twig outside my bedrom window. I pruned it hoping it will spring to life. And it did!! Full of new growth!! Looking forward to making more lemon verbena tea this year.
Today, after thinking so hard and reading up a lot, I improved on how I am growing my water chestnut plants successfully. A new pot is hard to come by even if I have money to buy it.  I decided to use a strong plastic tub, add heavy clay soil (fortunately I kept some from our lawn project last Sept), composted manure and replanted the strongest plant there. I added water and the two goldfish that I bought. My son decided to name them Goldie and Fishie. How original is that hahahaha!!!
The original tub looks bad. The water is murky thanks to me putting in garden top soil which is a true disaster. The mud is also too shallow to accommodate so many growing plants. As much as it was a pain, I had to dig up several plants and dump them to avoid overcrowding. I wont be able to accommodate so many big tubs of water chestnuts as it would be too time consuming taking care of mosquito/algae problems. I read that one or two plants can give a lot of chestnuts, so if I am successful, I should just need two plants.
The kang kong seedlings which I have planted out a few days ago are doing well.
These carrot plants are home for tiny critters which fly very fast like whiteflies but they also hop and they are green. No idea what they are but hopefully they are not too pesky.
This is the first year our pomegranate tree produce a dozen or more flowers. Will I get to eat some pomegranates?
Caught Mr Spotted Neck sunbathing on my kang kong patch. He is so adorable. I think he comes every morning and coos on our roof. Almost works like a rooster and my alarm clock each morning. Poor guy still no girlfriend in sight. Recently another pair of pigeons also started visiting our garden.

This morning as I was inspecting our plum tree, I found possum poo! Not very good news. I have been suspecting them as the culprits which nipped off a lot of young plum shoots and stealing my plums. Now the poo confirms my suspicion. And I also think they are the culprits which ate my strawberry flowers. I have to soon put up nets for all the fruit trees and vegetables.

My boy and I spent a whole morning in the garden. He stumbled upon a dead bee and we had a great time examining it. We also studied some ants carrying eggs in their tunnels when we overturned a square tile at the vege patch. Lastly, we studied one common brown butterfly which I caught resting on the grape vine few nights ago before freeing it. It was Insects' Day!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Quick Update.

9 Nov 2011 -  
Thunderstorms and heavy downpour with light hail overnight.
New kangkong / water spinach seeds germinated
Kangkong seedlings transplanted to patch B.
Coriander harvested. Coriander flowering.
Sown more pak choy, corn, spinach, carrot seeds.
Tung O / Edible Garland Chrysanthemum plant flowering.
Water chestnut plants taking off.
Harvesting rocket, spinach, snow peas, coriander and pak choy.
White flies problem.
Grapevine moth caterpillars on vine leaves.
The snow peas are slow to flower but once they do, their flowers quickly turn into pods and grow to maturity very soon.
So this (above) are unopened grape flowers of my Carolina Black Rose.
And this (above) is the flowers blooming. I could see both male and female flowers.
And this (above) is the cluster of grapes!!!

My pyrethrum daisies are a pretty sight.
They are the daisies which produce this chemical 'pyrethrum' that kills garden pests. I guess no insects will come close to them.

Never be sick of admiring my strawberry flowers - such daintiness, such sweetness in smell.

My hydrangeas are flowering soon but their leaves suffered burns by spring sun.
The lilies look even better this year, more blooms!
The Tung O / Edible Garland Chrysanthemum has flowered. I read that at this time, their leaves will be bitter. I hope the plant will self-sow before it dies.
Coriander flowers - I never knew they would be great at attract useful bug predators to my garden.
I am successful at growing choy sum (above) this round.
The pak choy and gai choy are allowed to flower so I can have new seeds, millions of them. Really enjoyable to watch bees clumber over the flowers out of my kitchen window.

Hooray that my water chestnut plants are growing!!! Hope to harvest some nice fresh crunchy corms in autumn!
"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541