Catching up on the season...

21 October, 2015

Due to my recent overseas holiday I feel like I've really missed the start of the growing season and have a lot of catching up to do.

So I've been spending a bit more time in the garden of late to catch up on some gardening tasks.

I got started in the backyard wicking beds.

I pulled out the brassicas in this bed, and planted corn and pumpkin seed in a two sisters arrangement.

I may later go the whole hog and add some climbing beans to do the proper three sisters thang.

The old carrots about to go to seed were pulled out, and new carrot and beetroot seed planted.

I love it when weeding makes a meal.

In the front yard, the white mulberry got netted with the assistance of my new favourite garden equipment: polytubing.

I expect ripe white mulberries to be not too far away.

I also weeded the lettuce bed and sowed some cucumber seeds.

The weeds got thrown down as a mulch for the plum tree in the middle of this bed, then the wire lattice got put down to stop the helpful local wildlife from messing up the bed and redistributing the seeds. I will likely need to put down the not organic friendly snail bait when the seedlings emerge, but that is a task for another day.

Not pictured, but ticked off, was sowing the eggplant, cantaulope/rockmelon and watermelon seeds. These are in the greenhouse, where I hope they will swiftly germinate.

Yay for garden tasks ticked off. Only another hundred or so to go.

How to stop earwigs eating all your apple blossoms...

17 October, 2015

Last year I had a terrible time with (what I am assuming was) earwigs eating all the apple blossoms on my apple trees. As such I had a pitiful harvest of only around 20 apples from my 60+ espaliered and free standing dwarf apple trees.

Something had to be done.

This year I was determined to prevent such a disaster from recurring. But how to stop the bastard bugs from eating the blossoms?

Solution: petroleum jelly.

When I applied this to the trees I didn't know if it would really work or not, but it appears to have done the trick as the apple blossoms are untouched.

So here is my method.

I pasted the apple tree trunks and espalier supports with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. This sticky barrier was aimed at preventing the earwigs from making their way up the tree trunks to the delicious blossoms. I needed something waterproof and robust as I wasn't going to be around for the next five weeks to reapply as needed.

I also applied the petroleum jelly to the supports so that all methods bug access were cut off.

When the blossoms are finished blooming I will remove the petroleum jelly barrier, as I'm not sure that its that healthy for the tree bark, though it doesn't seem to have caused any issues so far.

At the moment the apple blossoms are mostly at the just flowered, but not able to tell whether they have set fruit stage.

However there are some trees that are behind the eight ball and haven't yet flowered.

C'mon Pine Golden Pippin. Why so slow?

Luckily the Sundowner is ahead of the game, already showing good fruit set.

I'll probably need to thin these, but for now I'm enjoying the sight of multiple tiny apples forming.

Which is a welcome sight let me tell you. Fingers crossed for a bumper apple crop. Hahaha bugs, foiled you.

Getting my veg gardening hit overseas...

14 October, 2015

The island of Sant'Erasmo, near venice, was a must visit. It was full of home and small market gardens like this one.

Clearly they have no issues with birds here.

Along the way we came across these guys foraging.

They noticed my interest/nosiness and gave me a handful of what they were picking. I can't for the life of me remember what they called them. Anyone know?

Whatever they are called, they were really nice, kind of like a tiny pear, with a thicker skin and a seed.

More gardens, this time what Sant'Erasmo is known for; its artichokes, which are supposedly a delicacy. Pity we were there at the wrong season to enjoy them.

And the gratuitous Venitian shot, with the sort of garden we saw in the actual city.

Why don't Aussie cities plant more fruiting trees like this place?

Sadly the city isn't known for its fruit trees, but for this building.

How nice would it be to have a veg garden here...

...with this as your view. I mean really, who wouldn't want to live here?

This was the town, Vernazza which is part of the Cinque Terre.
Another nice place for a veg patch, on the island of Capri.

This garden was mainly for show, as it was recreated from what information could be gleaned from the archeological studies. Interestingly they were able to identify some of the plants and new there were grapes, as well as figs and other fruiting plants in this garden.

The garden was in Pompeii, which otherwise looked like this. I'm glad there was a bit of green to liven the place up, otherwise it would have been unbearably drab.

And that brings an end to the fruit and veg gardens of note along my trip. Sadly in Spain and Paris there was very little in the way of veg patches that I came across. It was interesting to see the differences between the countries in how much fruiting plants were either front and center, or hidden away. I loved that pretty much everywhere in Italy there was something edible wherever there was greenery. That's my kind of culture.

Garden post-holiday...

07 October, 2015

I'm back! While I loved traveling around Italy, Spain and a brief stint in Paris over the last five week, I am very happy to be home. And of course the first thing I did when I got back was go out to check out where the garden was at.

The apples are full of blossom. Hopefully lots of apples will result.

The brassicas are well on their way out. There are still however some that are harvest worthy.

I missed the tulips. This is all that is left of them.

But I am gladdened by the sight of the result of productive flowers.

The ANZAC peach is suffering badly from peach curl, but still appears to have set some fruit.

Likewise the pears have flowered, but I don't yet know if any fruit has set.

The cabbages haven't yet gone to seed.

They are small but they are harvestable.
There looks to be an excellent cherry harvest this season.

Likewise the raspberries are looking good. I look forward to a raspberry glut.

The lettuces have germinated, as well as lots of weeds.

The white mulberries are looking good. Will need to get the nets out soon.

Will need to get the nets out for these too.

No nets needed here in the fruit cage. The stone fruit hasn't set fruit but there are blueberries and hopefully the apple blossom will produce fruit.

There is also this self sown lettuce in the gooseberry wicking bucket.

And in the polytunnel the last few days of hot weather have thankfully not killed off the capsicums and tomato seedlings. These need thinning and feeding up to grow big and strong and produce lots of tomatoes.