Monday, October 29, 2012

My urban garden...where's SPRING?!

Well, I'm actually still alive everyone. So calm down.

Yes, the world has not brought me down just yet, almost, but not YET!

It has been such a busy time in recent months, and the amount of work that I used to put into my garden seems almost an impossible thing to repeat. I remember around this time last year, I had my summer crops in, and all I had to do was deal with my aphid (and DAMN white fly) problem.

I will admit, I have cheated this year. Last year, I ordered lacewings, used pest oil and garlic sprays to deal with the aphids. It seemed to have worked, as the beneficial insects took care of the aphids in the rose beds. I however, lost the whitefly battle through high summer as the population exploded amongst my beans and tomatoes. The impact on some of the beans was horrific.

I am not going through such effort this year to be beaten by those damn white flies again. As we've had a what seems to be a very cool October in Melbourne, the infestation has not been so severe (yet), so I decided I'd try out pyrethrum sprays, a botanical poison for insects and aquatic animals (and cats apparently). Luckily, I don't have aquatic animals or cats. The active ingredient is non selective and will kill all insects, good and bad. Not ideal, but let's call this an integrated approach to gardening...without using the systemic and synthetic poisons.

I've decided I will need to get the pest population under control early on so that it is not too late before they become uncontrollable. The plan is to spray for a few weeks and then introduce beneficials as the weather warms up to sustain them, to maintain balance in the garden.

So, yes blog buddies, I've cheated this year.

But other than that...this is what has been happening in my urban garden..N/NE of Melbourne.

 Purple podded peas - Angela's blue from memory. A beautifully deep purple pod with lime, almost fluorescent green. I swore I'd never grow peas again...but this may have changed my mind.

Staggered harvests of some rainbow carrots - from purple dragon, solar yellow and lunar white carrots. Funnily, I don't actually have orange carrots.

As far as the eye can see - my strawberry plants from seed (and some more mature white alpines fruiting away). Alexandria, Reine de valles, Mignonette, Yellow Wonder, Pineapple crush and Musk Berries (soon to be transplanted!).

Of course, what would Summer be without these? My tomato seedlings, smaller than hoped but they'll be fine. Tommy toe, Yellow pear, Red fig, Aunty Ruby's Green, Maldovan Green, Hillbilly, Stupice, Rouge de Marmande and my two hopes of this season - Red Brandywine and Pink Brandywine. The Brandywine are meant to be the best of all tomatoes.

Some horseradish with lettuce and beetroots. My beetroots did not get very large...and I don't know why.

I aim trying to be as productive as possible with the land that I do have, so in went a Jiro Persimmon, and a White Shahtoot Mulberry.

And I have to end with this - a random potato plant in the back of the garden in some abandoned soil through deep winter produced that crop of potatoes. Not bad for absolute neglect. 

My urban garden