2017 Harvest

Friday, August 30, 2013

Guess who's back :)

 Ok so I took some vacations. A bit longer vacations. Actually to be honest there wasn't much work in the garden cause of the heat so I decided to relax and take some time off. It doesn't mean the garden wasn't growing...well actually it does. my last post was about surviving the heat, well that is all my garden was doing this past few weeks. Surviving. The heat was unbearable, so we didn't have lots of harvests. Basically everything was in some kind of stasis until a week ago.
Last Friday we got first real rain. Thanks to the last cyclone we got a month amount of rain in a week. Till last week amount of rain was 5mm and today is 128,5mm. Yes we got a lot.
And my garden seem to love it.
My beans are getting bigger everyday, peppers are looking better. Even my cucumbers are growing better.
Like I said there was lots of rain this week so today was the first day I could get in the garden.

I was really surprised to find my old bush beans(which I forgot to pluck out) were blooming again.

They even have beans on them

The reason I was so surprised is that here beans die after first harvest. The weather conditions don't let them bloom for the second time. I have no idea why they did this year. Maybe because I planted them late this year. They look awful but they still produce.

The beans I planted few weeks ago are also looking great.

Except it seems they are pole beans and not bush beans. Yet another seed that was labeled wrong.

I didn't wander around more cause the soil is still too wet for walking. You get tired easily when you have a kilo of mud on every boot.

So I did my harvest and went home. And today's harvest is: 2kilos of tomatoes
                                                                                         1 kilo of cucumbers
                                                                                          500gr of peppers
                                                                                      and 200gr of beans

And then there's this. Some of my tomatoes got damaged from too much rain.Luckily there weren't many so there will still be enough of the good ones. And this ones have already been used in  lunch.

So all I can say is. I'm back and garden is alive again  ☺

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Help your garden during the heat

As everybody already knows it's really really hot here. We have hot summers every year but this year heat is unbearable. Temperatures are over 35°C every day and morning temperatures are over 22°C. At this temperatures all plants in the garden are suffering so I decided to make a little list of things that can help every gardener when the heat hits their garden.

Tips for helping your garden:

  • Observe and plan your planting -> When you have hot summers the first thing you need to do is plan what plant will occupy which bed. Every garden has parts of it that are more and less exposed to the sun. There are some plants that tolerate the heat better than other. Plants that like/ don't mind the heat are tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers(when they have enough water). Keep your cucumbers, beans and brassicas away from the heat if you can.

  • Water your plants in the evening or early morning -> The best time for watering is in the evening. This way your plants will have time to regenerate overnight. If you can't water them in evening you can do it in the morning before the heat starts. Use drop by drop watering system if you can or sprinklers when drop by drop is impossible. Most of the plants have small roots so they will get more water if you water the soil and the leaves. The plants that have deep roots(tomatoes) can get enough water from deeper layers of the soil. Never water your plants while the sun is on them. The plants will feel like you threw a glass of water in the face of a thirsty man. The water will evaporate too soon and there will be no use of it.

  • Mulch your garden -> The best way to preserve the water in the garden  is mulching. After you watered your plants mulch will stop the evaporation, also mulch will help to make dew and it will protect your plants from dry soil. 
In the last few months I've heard many times that some people are trying to convince others you can mulch only with straw. And then I see people wasting money to buy straw for mulching while they have a whole meadow of beautiful grass.
You DON'T need straw to mulch. You can use any grass and old plants as long as you leave them one day to dry.
For example you mow your lawn, leave the grass to dry for one day and feel free to use it for mulching.
I use almost all green plants in my garden for mulching.

For my beans I used grass which we got from scything the yard. You can see I placed it between the plants.

 This is a good way to mulch if you want to keep your paths mulch free. This is especially good on downhill gardens cause there is no fear of slipping on mulch. Also you can be sure your mulch won't break your plants and they will still have enough protection(until Nero sits on them ☺ )

On my French beans I used leftover beans I pulled out just a few days ago. Since beans like water this will keep the soil moisture longer.

For the peppers I used pea plants. After the harvest I left them to dry for a day and they work the same as any other mulch.

You can also use leftover vine leaves, fallen tree leaves, even flower leaves you removed while pruning your plants. Just don't use thorny plants. You'll have a difficult time harvesting your vegetables around them :D

  • Make your plants a green shade -> Plants that don't like strong sun love the shades. The easiest way to shade your plants is by planting taller plants around them(this brings us back to planing) for example plant your peppers between 2 beds of tomatoes. They will be protected from the direct sun and your peppers won't suffer heat stress. Also you can plant some other plants between you vegetables to give them shade. Dill is an excellent shade plant. Just place it between peppers and it's flowers will make little umbrellas for the peppers.
This year I got seeds from Sorghum to get green shades. 

I plan to collect seeds from it this year and use it to shade my plants next year.

It's already working even without planing it.
There is a bed with brassicas under the sorghum and one that has no sorghum.
The one without the shade looks awful. The heat is slowly killing it 

But the one with shade is growing. Slowly but it's already making heads and with watering it will grow in to a nice vegetable.

And the last tip is:
  • DON'T weed your garden -> yes I said it. Now I know there will be people  laughing but it is the truth. Weeds help when there are high temperatures. They act like almost everything I said before. Some of them grow tall and make shade, some of them cover the soil and act like mulch and some of them have long roots which help to soften the soil cause when it's hot the soil turns in concrete. 

Another great thing with weeds is you can always laugh at your pets when they decide to roll around on them ;)

With this small tips my harvests are getting bigger every day. So this day I got 5 kilos of potatoes, 5 kilos of tomatoes, a zucchini 

and 500gr of chili peppers

After using all the tips all you can do is wait for the heat to pass and hope to get some rain(we still have none).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Heat is back

Well we're cooking again. Temperatures are back over 38°C and gardening is reserved only for early mornings. This heat has taken out all humidity out of the soil so we're using sprinklers now. We're watering our garden one hour a day. Hopefully this will preserve the plants.

My beans are out. I was surprised to see that they got this big in just 2 day. I hope they will continue to grow like this. Maybe I will have more beans :D

Watermelons like the heat. There are 10 little watermelons. The size is from tennis balls to small handball balls.

Today I took out my onions and garlic. The harvest is pretty bad. The onion heads didn't grow. There are only few of them that are big. The rest is pretty small. I got 3,5kilos of onions and 400gr of garlic.

At least my tomatoes are getting better every day. Today's harvest is 3 kilos.

I also got 300gr of blackberries and beans and 400gr of cucumbers.

This year there is extremely small amount of cucumbers. At this time normally we had 50 jars of pickles and now we don't even have 10.
The ones I planted in April are just standing, they don't grow at all. I'm hoping that the ones I planted in June will give us some cucumbers or this year we'll be without pickles.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Collecting flower seeds

After more than 5 months of garden work I was forbidden to garden today. It's not like I had lots of work but today I wasn't the one that did the harvest.
So I had to find something else to do. I realized that it would be a good time to collect my flower seeds. I've been saving my plants and letting them dry and now it was the time to get the seeds out. 

I had some Nigellas 



some Digitalis and Columbines. I have to say I had no idea Saponaria has so small seeds. I'm never taking it's seeds again. It doesn't fall out so you have to open the pod to take the seeds, and seeds are too small. I have a feeling more seeds ended up under my fingernails than in the bottle.

When I finished this was the result:
Big bag-Columbines
L to R: Linaria, Digitalis, Saponaria, Nigella and Polemonium

I was doing this outside and I have to say I don't even want to imagine what my neighbors thought when they saw all this medicine bottles aligned and filled with strange powders :D

There is finally some blooming flowers in my garden. Canna lily has it's first flowers.

It's probably the only plant that loves this heat. It's 1,6m (5'2") without the flower right now and soon it will cover the whole window.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rain please

Like every week today was potato digging day. Every week I dig out around 5 kilos (11lbs) of potatoes. We use them for everyday cooking. Last few times potatoes were nice, a little small but healthy. And this time...harvest was pitiful.

I harvested 5 kilos like always. But the potatoes are small like marbles and the ones that are a little bigger look like this.

 Most of my potatoes have bites on them. I hope that it will be the situation only in the first row (the one I was digging): maybe if they eat enough in this one they will leave the other 4 intact.

I'm sure the fact that we didn't have a decent rain in almost 2 months also doesn't help my potatoes. All this time I have been watering the garden every few days but with the heat we're having (we're back at 36°C) it doesn't help much.

The soil is starting to crack in the whole garden.
(yes that is a tomato inside)

 Some of my cracks are so deep that I have a feeling they are cracks in the universe, and the Doctor isn't here to help. I understand he needs to take some vacations every now and then but he could at least drain his TARDIS swimming pool over my garden to help seal the cracks.

My harvest is every day the same. Yesterday I had 1,5 kilos of tomatoes, 2 kilos of beans and 500gr of blackberries.

And today 500gr of blackberries, 2,5 kilos of tomatoes, 200gr of cucumbers and few carrots.

I should start picking some of my baby carrots to make room for others to grow big but I can't pick them. The soil is so hard the only thing I get while plucking is a full hand of carrot leaves.
We really need some rain...fast.