Garden Share Collective: November - Growth...

30 November, 2015

It's been a while since I last posted for the GSC. Thanks to Lizzie et al (Krystie and Kate)  for all their GSC works.

Growth has taken off in the garden this month. Since I came back from my European trip I've been chasing my tail to get the summer garden stuff in.

Luckily the perennial garden (mostly fruit) has been growing great guns with very little help from me.

Raspberries. Nom.

Lots of pears getting bigger...

... and apples slowly growing.

The wicking garden veg patch has been mostly planted out with summer crops of tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, corn, beans and more beetroot and carrots.
Tomatoes with string supports.

Beetroot, how I love you.

This year I am successionally sowing corn. See big corn (right) and little corn (left).

Beans starting to grow up the bean tepee


A fair bit, which is nice. Raspberries and cherries are a daily occurrence, with beetroot, carrots, onions and lettuce being at least weekly harvests.


I'll be planting out the melons I germinated in the polytunnel in the next week or so. I'll try and sow some more corn in the next few weeks to keep up the successional sowing. I also need to sow more lettuce seed.

In long term harvests I'll be planting out an early sowing of Brussels sprouts, on advice I received last year. Will keep you in the loop with this one.

To do:
  • Keep up with staking and training the tomatoes
  • Prepare the brassica bed for the Brussels sprouts
  • Set up the lattice for the cucumbers to climb up
  • Figure out how to net the peach now that its at least 3 metres tall. I am not giving up those peaches!

What's happening in your garden?

Bean tee-pee in a wicking bed...

26 November, 2015

I have tried growing climbing beans in lots of different ways. 

I have tried growing them up posts, on plastic lattice (works well), in a three sisters arrangement up corn stalks (became a tangled mess), but this time for the first time I'm trying a bean teepee.

(Saw it here and loved the idea!)

But I had sown my climbing bean seeds in my wicking beds, and driving lots of long stakes into the relatively shallow bed wasn't going to leave my wicking beds wicking very long!

Solution: mini stakes and a lot of string.

I banged in a short stake next to each bean plant, short enough to not pierce the bottom of the lining of the wicking bed (I measured them to be absolutely sure!)

I then tied a string to the first mini stake, then wound up to the top of the teepee stick, and back down to the next mini stake, then back up... (you get the idea)

The top part was wound around a tall (approx 2.4m) stake so they would have plenty of room to climb up.

But how did you stake the tall stake for the teepee?

Like this:

I used my general tall stake tying method for wicking beds - stakes out side the wicking bed secured with metal tube thingies.

The finished teepee:

It will be interesting to see how this compares as a bean growing method. Supposedly the angle of the climbing bean allows for the beans to hang down away from the plant for slightly easier picking.

Either way, I just like having a bean teepee.

Raspberry failure...

22 November, 2015

There is something wrong with this picture.

Can you see my raspberry problem?

What about here, it is clear as day.

If you are still confused, this should make all clear.


Now this may seem like an overstatement, but let me elaborate. I first bought 6 Digger's Gold raspberry plants around 4 years ago now. They grew well, but when it came time for them to fruit they produced a tasty berry, but it was unfortunately red. Not golden as promised. No matter, I called them to explain the issue and they very promptly sent me 6 replacement plants. I planted these and dreamed golden raspberry dreams. Another year came and went and they plants flowered and then produced the much desired fruit. However, these berries were ALSO RED!

Can you see how I'm getting a little annoyed here?

I then called Digger's again and to their credit they offered to replace the plants again. I told them I had no faith in their golden raspberry plants, and they kindly offered me a credit, which I used to buy some nice regular blueberry plants which seem to be producing the promised blueberries.

But I still dreamed for golden raspberries.

I even bought raspberry seeds and attempted to germinate them, but these failed to come good.

So one day last year at Digger's I saw the golden raspberry again, and I succumbed. I bought one plant, and put this in a wicking bucket where it thrived. It set fruit and I eagerly awaited them, feeling that surely this time they would grow true to labelled type?

No, they did not. This is three separate lots of plants, bought over three separate years, and each and every one has produced a red berry.

What could I be doing wrong? I've read up online and there could be no cross pollination issues, or soil conditions, or anything else I could possibly come up with that could make a golden berry fruit red. But I am prepared to believe it could be due to me, and not Digger's making a fortune out of selling a dud plant.

But the problem remains, I still really, really want to grow golden raspberries.

So this is my last effort.

To be sure I don't need to wait for another 12 months to then find I have another dud plant, I found one with forming berries.

At least if it is not golden I won't have wasted 12 months in hope.

But for now I'm off to console myself for my lack of golden berries with these.

Morning meander...

15 November, 2015

I love a good morning meander around the yard to do some easy picking and check on how the garden is going.
First things first, head into the fruit cage to see what pickings there are.

Open up the net and in we go...

Lots of raspberries. This variety is Sandford and by far the earliest in my yard.

There are still some Early Burlat cherries on the bush, turning their dark cherry purple.
Check in on the other trees, looks like the Simone will be the next one to ripen and is laden with fruit. Happy times.

Out of the fruit cage and walk around past the tomatoes, they seem to be settling in well.

Lots of Zeigler plums this year too.

In the bed under the plum I planted about 40 seeds in four varieties of cucumber. This is the solo seed to emerge. Immediate re-plantings of cucumber seed are required.

Around to the white mulberry and into that net cage too. Lots of ripening mulberries and lots more to come.

Cant do this with a black mulberry, unless you want a purple top.

On the way out and fixing the net, I came across a few of these little fellows. Tiny baby praying mantises (had to look up the plural for mantis). Grow big and strong and eat all the bad bugs.

Overall, not a bad haul.
Around past the banana. It seems to have shaken off winter and is putting out new leaves, along with its babies. Will homegrown banana's be in my belly near future? I hope so.
Around the front yard the nigella is going nuts. I might try and save some seed again this year.

Into the polytunnel and checking on the germinating seedlings. Melons and a few eggplants are up, I've got some succession sowings of corn in here too.
Around to the orchard and the apple set is looking good. This is Early Victoria and should ripen around January.

This one is St Edmund's Pippin and hopefully will be ready for eating around February-March.
The fruit set on the Sundowner has been amazing. I will need to thin these but am expecting this will hold me through the winter months. These will be ready for eating around June-July.

Around to the backyard wicking beds, the first sowing of corn has come up well, and the pumpkin is also growing well for a two sisters arrangement.

The celery is going to seed. I'll pull most of it out but leave a few plants for seed collecting, not resowing (it was bought plants and I assume is a hybrid) but for culinary purposes. I love celery seed!

The climbing beans I sowed a couple of weeks ago are up. Now need to put together a climbing structure for them to grow up.

Extra laden blueberries. Need to watch out for these to ripen and then net. I'm so happy to finally be looking forward to a decent blueberry harvest!

And finally, some onions gone to seeds, but boy the flowers are pretty.

Netting fruit = picking fruit...

13 November, 2015

If it wasn't for netting my fruit trees there is no way I'd be picking this bowl of awesomeness every few days.

Out with the old, in with the new...

08 November, 2015

The garden is always in a state of evolution. Today one of the backyard wicking beds was up for a makeover. 

This bed had housed the peas over winter. But now the plants were dry and crisp and the spare pods I let go to seed were ready to be harvested. Likewise I had tomato seedlings which needed a home. 

These peas are purple podded peas which I have been growing and saving from the first packet of seeds I bought five or six years ago when I first started this garden. I like them because picking the pods are so much easier than the green types, which I always seem to miss when I'm picking. 

I always leave some at the end of the season for next years' garden. 

The time had come for these to come out. I ripped out the dry straw for the compost, pulling out the well developed pods for the seed collection. 

This should be enough. I'll leave these to go fully dry, then the will go into the seed boxes for sowing in around March next year. 

Now with a clean slate, I planted out eight tomato seedlings. 

I've left up the posts as I'm going to try tying up these tomatoes using a string method I read about last year after I had staked all my tomatoes as I usually do. I think this method will be ideal for the wicking beds given I can't stake them as usual as I'd pierce the pond liner. 

What did you get up to in the garden this week?

Weekend gardening tasks...

01 November, 2015

Many gardening tasks are not too time specific. Yes, a few weeks here or there, or months here or there depending on the task, can make a difference in how early a crop you get, or how well a plan recovers from a bug attack. But often there aren't really dire consequences if real life means you cant get into the garden and complete said task right here, right now.

Not so with these tasks.

The raspberries had shown signs of bird attack. (Apologies in advance for terrible focus on this shot.)

I love raspberries, so any berry that ends up in a birds belly and not in my own I feel is a grave offense.

The cherries likewise had started to ripen, and I knew this was a sure sign of an imminent bird attack.

There is nothing worse than going out to net your ripening cherries to see that the birds have already beaten you to it.

As it happens the raspberries and cherries in question are situated right next to each other. As this is the first year these cherries have set fruit, I decided to net the whole lot in one go.

This meant that I had to do a bit of creative netting, as I didn't actually have a large enough net to cover the whole structure. My current preferred method of polytube arches was also employed as well as using some metal arches to ensure the cherries won't grow into the net. The closest (and by far the largest) cherry is touching the net, but the others have enough space to move. There is also enough room for me to move around and harvest under the net around the plants. The nets are well overlapped and attached to ensure no wiley bird will be able to get in.

I then got onto the next task of planting out a few tomatoes. I have very lazily not yet planted these out, so knew that I had to get a move on.

Eleven tomatoes were planted out with wood stakes in one of the outdoor beds. I prepared the bed with a bag each of manure and compost. The plants were laid out about 70cms apart and then stakes in and tomatoes planted.

Grow and prosper tomatoes!

The polytunnel tomatoes were way overdue to be planted, but finally they went in. Six tomatoes, including the one of the Polish tomatoes Mike gifted me (thanks Mike!) went into this space. Hopefully the extra heat of the polytunnel will ensure these get a kickstart to growing and cropping!

As the weather is quite warm I fully opened the ends of the polytunnel to ensure good airflow and make sure the plants don't overheat.

I also pulled out the garlic as the tops had completely died back.

I was very disappointed with this years crop. The pic makes the lemons look massive, but really its just the garlic that is tiny. I'm really thinking that it isn't worth my while to grow garlic. But knowing gardeners optimism by next year I'll have forgotten this disappointment and plant out some cloves, thinking this is the year for massive garlic crops. Who knows, maybe it will be true.

That was my gardening weekend. What did you do in the garden?