This past week has been most frustrating in the garden. I seem to be inundated with very hungry and destructive bugs – we have slaters, snails, earwigs and grubs in massive numbers. I have also noticed a lot of birds, all carrying a little of my sugar cane mulch in their beaks, obviously nest building but ruining all my hard work in the process. And finally I’m also fighting off the enthusiasm of a two year old and a dog. I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to control them without out using harsh chemicals (or corporal punishment) so I’m after any words of wisdom and gardening tricks you may know of.
The beans that looked so wonderful in the mini hothouse and which were planted out last week with a tee-pee to grow up have been eaten down to the stalks. One of the three is perhaps salvageable and I planted another four seeds direct into the garden bed as a back up. Remembering that I only got a 60% germination rate from these seeds in the hothouse, I think I can already state with some confidence that I am going to fall significantly short of the 21kg target for beans. To be honest, beans have always been somewhat of a gardening enigma for me. This is my third or fourth in as many years and in all that time I have only ever pick ONE bean. Let me tell you, one bean doesn’t going very far! I will persevere though and plant out more seeds around the corn (when/if it germinates) in the three sisters garden.
A few weeks ago a planted out about 90 carrot seeds and again the results so far are quite disheartening. If you’ll remember there was something attacking this garden but I wasn’t sure what. After writing that I noticed birds in the bed so I constructed a sort of net over the top of the bed to deter them. The damage seems to have lessened, but I’ve still notices a few holes here and there. They are now all near the edge so it’s possible little two year old hands are sneaking their way into the bed. Anyway, so far I’ve counted only about 5 or 6 shoots (a germination rate of about 6%, how sad). I’m assuming many of the seeds were taken by the birds or disturbed to a point where they were no longer viable. I have some hope that I’ll get a few more come through over the next week or so. Once I’ve lost all hope of these I’ll try again with a few more seeds, and hope that I’m more successful next time around. In happier news, the beetroot seeds that went into this same bed have been more successful and I’ve counted about twenty good sized seedlings. Again though, some were lost along the way so I might fill in these gaps in a few weeks time, which will hopefully give me a longer harvest period in early next year.
I am anticipating a good crop of peas, from the plants you can see in the back of the picture above. Today for the second time in two weeks I had to extend the growing frame up the fence. The frame is now up to the top of the fence so if it continues to grow at this rate I will have to widen the frame and encourage them to grow out to the sides. There are also about half a dozen flowers on the pea plants already which brings a smile to my face after such disappointment in other areas.
One of my most heart breaking findings in the garden this week was my coriander. I had this growing in a couple of pots and it was looking terrific and perfectly coriander-like – I could taste the green curry already. Unfortunately, Miss Two has developed a fascination with my pot plants and I’m constantly finding that she has shifted them all around the garden (note to self, next time get heavier pots) and even finding them UPSIDE DOWN. I turned around from my weeding on the weekend and found that she had pulled off EVERY leaf and fed them to the dog – she liked them about as much as she liked the parsley Miss Two fed her the week before. I was devastated! I’ve moved the pots to a spot she can’t reach and hope that they re-shoot, but I fear that may be the end to any harvest-able coriander. This morning we went out and planted up her own pot plant with some marigolds and sunflowers, which I’m hoping will keep her away from my pots. I don’t care if she kills her flowers as long as stays clear of the herbs and vegetables.
Finally, I pulled up the last remaining broccoli plants, after harvesting enough for one last meal. Added some more compost, manure and blood and bone and planted out three zucchini seedlings. These haven’t been hardened before being planted out, so I’m hoping their not too precious and don’t curl up their toes and die on me. I’ve tucked them in nicely with plenty of mulch, so I’m hoping that will keep them happy. However this bed is particularly densely populated with slaters so I will need to keep a close eye on these seedlings and hopefully find a way of controlling the little blighters.