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?

18 comments:

  1. Hi Bek, a few people I know have had disappointing results with garlic in Melbourne in the past few years. Do you have access to a copy of Garlic by Penny Woodward? It has loads of info (so does her website actually and organic gardener magazine online has many of her articles). I've just been rereading it and reasons for small bulbs that I can remember off top of my head (and apologies if I'm telling you what you already know) could be wrong variety for the climate (I know my silverskin garlics last year were tiny but I'm central Vic and we have much colder winters), planting too late in the season, suffering from lack of water along the way, and I think lack of nutrition. I know Woodward recommends a liquid feed once a month. I didn't do that, but I stuck to purple/hardneck varieties (all form Diggers Club) this year and had really good results in my no-dig beds. Cheers, Emily

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    1. Hey Emily. I will have to check out that book! Thanks for the tip. I know they are heavy feeders so I had loaded up their spot with chicken manure, but maybe it wasn't enough. I was a bit cautious of overwatering as I had read they don't like to be waterlogged, so maybe I went too far. Ah well, looks like I'll be giving it another go next year after all. :)

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  2. My garlic this year is tiny compared to last years crop, I'm putting it down to the fact that we didn't get as much rain this year.

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    1. Most likely. Rain is increasingly scarce isn't it. Always good to be able to blame the weather for gardening disappointments. :)

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  3. I had pretty tiny garlic from my Melbourne beds, too, and I put it down to overcrowding. I grew a few in pots, though, knowing I'd be moving house around now, and they're comparatively quite big? Really not sure how that worked out - better soil in the container, maybe? No matter how much I do it, my garden's still a bit of a mystery!!

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    1. Hmmm. I might try containers next year. I had shied away from them as another blogger I know who loves her wicking containers said her garlic did miserably in those, but maybe a proper container with normal drainage holes might be a good idea. Will put it on the to do list.

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  4. Touch wood my garlic looks to be going really well. Nowhere near harvest ready yet, think about 4-6 weeks at least. Good job with the netting, thanks for reminding me to get out the exclusion bags for my cherries (all 8 or so of them). You are the second person from Melbourne I've read about this week who have harvested your garlic and someone else is picking blueberries. I wouldn't have thought West Gippsland was so different to Melb but obviously it is. Love the planting name tags, any tips on where you can get them? Cheers, Maree.

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    1. I know, same state but totally different climate. I think we don't get enough of the cold nights that maybe makes the garlic think we are further into summer than we are. Last year I pulled my garlic in late Nov I think, and the tops were only starting to go brown. This year they were almost totally brown and I was worried if I didn't pull them up now I'd never find them.
      The name tags are from diggers. Chalk pens are the easiest way I've found to write on them.

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  5. Brilliant system of netting against the birds! I need that for my brassicas to keep the cabbage white butterflies off. I had disappointing garlic two years in a row and haven't bothered since but have been offered some to grow for a seed company. I'm in two minds whether to accept and not at all sure that I'm the best person to approach for this trial!

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    1. I net against the cabbage butterflies using these nets too! I'd give it a go if I were you; surely they need the feedback of the home gardener as well as the expert/market producer?

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  6. So impressed with your structure Bek! Last year, when my first tomatoes were attacked by birds, i went to the large green shed and bought some netting and constructed a seemingly impenetrable barrier. The next morning i came out to see the netting with a gaping hole....POSSUMS! Aviary wire and steel posts were then used. It became a very expensive tomato yield...

    Anyway last weekend i planted some pumpkin, broccoli and silverbeet seeds. The last 2 years i've planted silverbeet in the nature strip which consists of compacted crappy soil. Interestingly, it's out performed the crop i have in my garden bed.

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    1. Cheers. I'm lucky to never have had my tomatoes attacked by birds or possums. Touch wood they won't discover how delicious they are.
      Interesting how plants can thrive where we would least expect it. It's a bit frustrating really. :)

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  7. Love the polly tunnels. We did something similar but I like how you have a door - sure does make things a little easier!!

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    1. Cheers! Yes, the door is very helpful. When the end flap is down its a bit annoying to open and get in, but mostly it works ok :) I am very hopeful that it will mean better and longer crops for my cold intolerant plants, but time will tell

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  8. I've been having a bit of an issue with the size of my garlic bulbs as well. I just recently planted up my bed and decided to up the amount of manure I was adding. I also didn't water as consistently as I should have over the summer and hope to improve on that next year. Gardeners are optimists, after all ;)

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    1. Aren't we! I read somewhere that there is never as nice a garden/crop as next year's and its so true. We gardeners are always looking to that next crop which will be perfect, of course. Ah well, sometimes it comes true :)

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  9. I'm in Mornington and I just pulled up our garlic and half of the crop was a really good size and the other half quite small (all in a line). The good sized half had a irrigation spray head directly on them and the small sized was just watered by a spray head that did that corner of the garden generally. Both lots fed the same. So I think it might be water quantity for me that impacted the size.

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    1. Hi kf. Thanks for your comment, it cements that I need to be watering more regularly next year. Cheers!

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