With the strange weather patterns we have been having here in the Huon Valley, Tasmania, it is good to know I am not alone in not having tomatoes ripening in the garden. In fact my garden is slow in many areas.
I forgot to mention I picked some plums that had to ripen off the trees, as the birds were getting too interested in them. I was happy with the plums as this is the first year that I actually managed to get some. They have never produced as they did this year, and it was not a huge volume, about 3kgs for four trees. I obviously am not doing something right with them.
I am delighted with aspects of my Three Sister Bed, Corn, squash and beans growing in one bed. As you will see below the corn and beans are flowering, sadly the pumpkin is only just producing some flowers now.
I have a feeling that I will be buying pumpkins this year. I may have planted to many beans. I put in climbing and bush. All the plants look healthy, the corn has a few swelling cobs. Fingers crossed I will at least have succeeded in growing edible corn.
I harvested some things from my garden today Yipee! I picked some beans, tomatoes, silver beet and kale. They will go into my dinner tonight.
In my vegetable garden I grow flowers along with veggies. Sea Holly which I have no idea where it came from. I had this weird plant growing in a veggie bed, and thought I shall let it grow as it looks like no weed I have ever seen. I did and the first year nada/nothing well just green leaves flat on the ground. This year it has grown and I love it. Great for cut colour just watch the spikes, and as I said the bees love it! Not just our huge bumble bees. (above photo).
Bumble bees are not native to Tasmania or Australia. They were imported from UK to pollinate tomatoes in poly tunnels but escaped and are now found here. They can get massive here. When I moved from the mainland 20 something years ago, I had never seen a bumble bee. I loved them and would watch them flying about pondering how something so chunky could fly. I was told you could stroke them, and they did not sting.
You can indeed stroke them, but be warned Bumble bees do sting. Unlike honey bees and native bees (I think) they do not die after stinging you.
In the photograph above is a Honey Bee I assume from my neighbours hive. Similar to a bumble bee with a lot less hair.
Which makes me wonder how Bumble bees keep cool in the extreme temperatures we have been having this summer. Yet I see and hear them buzzing about the flowers on my deck.
I make sure I have water in small shallow bowls with some pebbles to help them access the water. I also put a rock and stick or some thing to help them access water in my other bowls and bird baths.
I have Blue Banded Bees but have not been able to take a clear enough photograph to share here.
I also see dragon flies, butterflies, hover flies and most delightfully frogs.
The little frog in the photograph above was rescued and just popped into the jar for a minute or two for safety as I was moving pot plants about the deck and he/she had been contentedly sitting about between them.
I popped a bit of shade cloth over the top of the plant where I sat the jar as I moved it to its new location and the other three I then let the frog out and it hopped in behind the pots. I see frogs regularly when I am out watering the pot plants on the deck.
I also see geckos.
A sad lack of sun ripe tomatoes growing on my vines out doors. I do have tomatoes, and some small ones have reddened the majority remain small and green. I am not having a good season with getting bigger tomatoes. Last year I grew cherry tomatoes. This year I am not but I may as well be.
Hurry up and turn on the red
The sauce must be made
before retiring to bed
The garlic, basil, and oregano are waiting
the jars sterilized and warmed
there can be no time for hesitating.
Mother can slow living down to a trickle
choices I honor, but please be fore warned,
you will soon be a jarred green tomato pickle.
Now onto the deck first order of the afternoon was to get all the brassicas together, then began the search and destroy mission. The enemy had succeeded in landing, and dumping leaving eggs behind. Which in turn ate and ate my brassicas! No option but to find these green blighters and leave them for the birds.
It was a task to gently rub my fingers over ever leaf, every nook and cranny of the plant to find eggs, cocoons, and caterpillars of the white moth! As you can see the mission bore great success.
I realised my current method for stopping the white moth from laying her eggs was not working. I decided to move all the brassicas under the netting I had put up to keep the birds from getting to my tomatoes.
Now in thinking about this I have come to realise that this may not be so great either. As during the day I usually drop two areas of the netting to create openings that hopefully will not let birds in but bees can come in and pollinate. (I have done some hand pollination). If I leave these openings the white cabbage (thought her babies eat all brassicas so she will lay her eggs on any) moth can also enter. Sigh. Back to the planning board.
A lot of people do not like leaving their gardens to self seed. I am quite happy doing this. I do not let everything and I do pull things out as I need to. I love letting any of the Allium family flower and go to seed. The leek flower heads are also attracting so many bees.
Capsicums (peppers) these were in a punnet that for some reason I just grabbed in December from the local hardware shops nursery. I usually do not purchase any vegetable seedlings from them. The one on the right is in the asparagus bed which is more shaded than the other two which are in the tomato bed, They are only about six feet apart, but such a difference. The one on the left is twice the size of the other two and has capsicums forming well. The other two have heaps of flowers but I am not expecting huge if any capsicums to develop.
Along with the capsicums, in another bed where the Sea Holly grows are some chiles. I have no idea what sort, nor what is going on with them. See photo below. It looks like something has been having a try at eating it. On the other side it has scratch marks. Mystery plant mystery as to what is going on.
When I was in the vegetable garden I realised that some of the tomatoes were beginning to go a bit reddish. That will mean the birds will be wanting to get them. I popped tow bird wire cylinder around them and I am pondering if the birds will still try and pop on down into the area. I may have to cover the tops with some netting and hand pollinate the flowers that are still appearing. You can see the protection below. I have used bent wire to pin them down.
In the right of this photo below you can see the self sown sun flower. It is growing and I may end up with at least one. Which would make me so happy.
In the back ground You can see the brassica bed. The Kale on the left of picture the dark green is tall and very healthy. On the right is silverbeet going to seed. The green bending plant is seed of the silverbeet.
On the 9th Feb I sowed some beetroot seeds and carrots in areas of the vegetable garden. I also sowed several cabbage seeds. I left them in small seedling pots on the deck. I was so pleasantly surprised to see some of them have already germinated. I am hoping that they can go in the garden and perhaps the cabbage moth will not be about to lay eggs.
My intention is to sow some carrots in pots on my deck and perhaps some carrots too. I am going to plant more in the veggie garden.
I cleared out the garlic and coriander bed, putting some old manure on it. I have to work out what I will plant there next.
I noticed this week in one of my smallish pots on the deck a couple of broad beans are growing well. I intend to plant more about so will put some about the vegetable garden
I am so thankful for my garden, and to be able to spend time with nature. I am grateful for the bees that come in to collect pollen for their own needs. That the insects, spiders, lizards, frogs, all the creatures that make their home in and about my gardens are here.
I am thankful for the garden producing food some of which I had for in my dinner tonight.
With the addition of garlic and spring onions from my garden, the only purchased items for my meal were two eggs. So my delicious meal cost me a whole $1.10.
The blackberries grow on my boundary, in a hedgerow. It is a wonderful season for the blackberries this year.
blessings to you all, Tazzie.