In My Garden – Garden Share Collective February 2014

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There’s really only two words to describe gardening in these parts at the moment…. HOT and DRY.  It doesn’t make for very pleasurable time spent among the plants and most often my trips to the patch are after dark or very quick – partly because I usually go barefoot and the ground has been scorching!  There are lots of jobs that need doing, but I can’t face doing them in this heat so they have sat on the to-do list untouched.

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The harvesting has been getting bigger and better despite the heat, or perhaps because of it in some cases.  We are picking cherry tomatoes and strawberries everyday, still only a small handful that gets eaten by two cheeky monkeys before we even get back inside.  The greens, nicely protected my the forest of tomato plants, have been keeping us in good supply for our daily salads – although the rocket has all gone to seed and is quite bitter now.  The zucchini plant is going gang busters with zucchinis going from finger size to huge in just a couple of days.

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There’s also lots of potential in other areas.  The pumpkins are growing nicely, the corn is starting to develop cobs and the very slow cucumber has picked up pace, but is still a ways off growing a full size cucumber.  I have dwarf beans showing the heads after I replanted them a couple of weeks ago – I lost most of my beans to the extreme heat earlier in the year.  The potatoes are looking a bit better, but still in the dying back stage I think.  I don’t hold out huge hopes for the harvest from them considering how dry it has been but only time will tell.  I am most excited about all the bigger tomatoes forming in the bushes, but again they are a while off being ready to pick.

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Other than some dwarf beans and yet another failed attempt at leeks – will try again in the Autumn when the weather is more condusive I think – nothing has been planted.  I fear that anything that does go in will be quickly cooked in this harsh heat we’re experiencing and I can just barely keep up with the watering as it is.

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The to do list is quite lengthy, mostly involving keeping the plants going during the hot days, so lots of morning and evening watering (I’m dreading my water bill!).  I also need to try and tame some of my many wild tomatoes, prune off some dried and yellowed leaves and attempt to tie them up a bit more.  Both Mr Good and I have had a few goes at this, but the plants are really huge and get quite saggy after a hot day (how many times have I used the word hot so far?).  I also need to prune off the ends of the monstrous pumpkin plant so that hopefully it stops its attempt at world domination and concentrates on making bigger pumpkins.  And still the paving is waiting, first waiting for funds (thanks to some fortunate ebay sales that is now sorted) and now waiting for cooler weather.  The kykuyu grass I spent days digging out before Christmas is back with a vengeance and will need attention soon.  In fact weeding in general is needed just about everywhere in the garden.  So that’s my list but I actually make no promises at getting in done given the current forecasts, I am such a wuss in the heat.  All too soon I will be complaining about the cold of Ballarat and then you can tell me to stop whingeing and get working.

Finally, I’m in need of advice, below is my poor long-suffering lemon/lime tree.  With barely a leaf left and almost off the potential fruit gone, I really don’t know what to do with this.  Help, anyone?

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The full Garden Share Collective list will be posts at Strayed from the Table in a day or so.  I will definitely be checking it out.

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18 Responses to In My Garden – Garden Share Collective February 2014

  1. Sue says:

    I am envious of your Pumpkin, my bush looks rambling but no Pumpkins….. Your Lemon is heat stressed and the pot looks to be a bit dry, I would put in the shade add some citrus feed and pull flower buds off so it can concentrate on growing. Mine actually looks worse and it’s in the ground I have no Lemon luck!

    • Barbara Good says:

      That’s what usually happens to my pumpkins Sue, don’t know what I did different this year. You’re probably right about the heat stress with the lemon, I have been watering it everyday but this heat is quite extreme. I have added the citrus feeder and it is shaded by the tree next to it for much of the day, I don’t really have any other shady spots I could get the pot into (it’s very big and heavy) but maybe Mr Good could move it for me. I’ve been wondering if it would be happier in the ground?

      • Sue says:

        Yes I would plant it but your going to probably have to wait for some good cooler days – the run of consecutive scorchers don’t make for such good transplanting weather. I would add good compost to soil when transplanting too, good luck!

  2. Glenn Finlay says:

    Hi
    I suspect you might get quite a bit of advice for this one. Here is my 10 cents worth. Number 1 is water. I can’t tell how big the pot is but if the soil is fairly free draining I think you would have to water it every second day over summer or every day in hot weather. Number 2 is could it be magnesium deficiency. Yellowing leaves with green stems? Perhaps try Epsom salts at about 1 teaspoons per litre. Good luck!
    Glenn from Sale.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Love a good ten cents worth Glenn. I have been quite diligent with the water, just about everyday especially during the heat, but it is in a terracotta pot which probably doesn’t help. I wonder if I should add a wetting agent or somethin? THe pot is quite large, about wine barrel size. I did notice yellowy leaves so added iron chilates a month or so ago. I’ll try the epsom salts too. As I said to Liz, if it’s going to die it will be from too much love. Question, do you think it would be better in the ground?

  3. Liz says:

    I’m with Glenn on the water. I’m also wondering when you last fed it and what you fed it with. If it was longer than 6 months ago or it was fed with something other than a slow release fertiliser, (and even then it needs to be one that you know lasts for 6 months), then I would definitely think about feeding it. Otherwise, could something be eating it?

    • Barbara Good says:

      Okay, if this tree is going to die it will be from love and not neglect. I did feed it a couple of months ago, but gave it some more citrus fertilizer last night with a big drink of water and worm wee. I don’t think anything’s eating it, can’t see anything on the plant and definitely no lumps that you get with wasps.

  4. Your garden is not looking too bad with the weather you have been having. I always pluck my tomatoes in the afternoons, then water them. I find that overnight they recover. But I also give them a break if I need to do it a lot so I give them a few days to recover before continuing with more thinning.

  5. narf77 says:

    We haven’t got tomatoes yet but fingers crossed they will arrive before autumn. I am with you on the can’t be bothered in the garden while it is so hot. Today is a delicious 23C but by the weekend we will be back up in the 30’s and I will be just like the queen “not amused!”.

  6. Rachel and Jamie says:

    We always plant leeks in early Autumn and harvest late Spring. They take a long time to grow, but are so worth it! Pumpkins look great!

  7. Mr Good needs to water your lemon tree, man style. 😉 Lemons love nitrogen and urine is full of it. It may be malnourished as watering washes nutrients through the soil and in potted plants that can be an issue (or so I’ve read). I’d put some mulch under your lemon tree too which will help with keeping the soil moist just a little longer at least. I’ve lost over 50% of my beans and had germination of less than 50% in the first place so I am taking the lesson the sun has given me and trying to work out ways to protect the garden from the extreme heat. With a warm week forecast I see no forseeable let up in the watering either. I ws out there for 45 minutes this morning and that’s the back garden only. 😦

    • Barbara Good says:

      I’m a bit worried about the man water – a friend killed his wife’s tree getting a bit too enthusiastic about this style of watering!

      • Maybe it was what he had been eating or drinking that caused it to die. I know at our old place we had some grass die off under the lemon tree from over “watering” but that’s not a bad thing. Our gall riddled and totally neglected lemon tree provided us with literally hundreds of lemons due to the high nitrogen liquid fertiliser. 🙂

  8. your garden is doing pretty well – despite the heat. it can be heartbreaking when the weather is against us though. people don’t think hobart gets hot, but in my suburb, we have had a few high 30s, even a couple of 40s, and it is just treacherous for the tender summer seedlings.
    have you considered getting some water tanks? i pay for my water but my dad got me some small, secondhand small tanks (the biggest only holds 1000 litres) and they alleviate the dreaded “what will the water bill be” feeling. i just bucket out – i think of the bicep exercise 🙂 of course, they are getting very low right now, no rain to replenish.
    thank you for the tour around your veg (and visiting me!).

    • Barbara Good says:

      I do have a couple of small tanks that I use when I have the time, but often my watering has to be done with a sprinkler on a timer while I get the kids bathed and ready for bed. Or else it is a quick fifteen minute run around with the handheld hose while the kids play. I did use the tank water last night though as I wanted to give everything a feed with some seasol as well. I really should do that more often.

  9. Your sunflowers are gorgeous Barbara and those corn are healthy and soon to reap rewards. picking cherry tomatoes and strawberries daily is a good thing. Mine seem to be eaten by chickens and blue tongue lizards lately. PUMPKINS are just wonderful so you are certainly doing well with this endeavour. Your citrus tree, yes, a man water can help but mainly plenty of fresh water, don’t let it fruit and mulch mulch mulch, whether you put hay, straw or old dried out leaves on the top, stop the surface soil from drying out. Plant it in the ground if you can, freely draining soil will help with all of the water, citrus feed or liquid fertilizier you will be feeding it. Give the leaves a tickle with your fingers, let it know you care 😀 Please keep us updated with it’s growth.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Thanks Merryn, the corn is looking good. I am slightly annoyed at one of the sunflowers though, it’s huge and beautiful and FACING THE FENCE so no one can see it! Thanks for the lemon tree tips too.\

  10. Pingback: Garden Share Collective: February 2014

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