DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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28 April 2014

In the vegetable patch



Well, I'm still pickling cucumbers. Cucumbers are one of those crops that you have to be prepared for because you get so many of them. We already have pickled cucumbers in the fridge but I'll be making a few more jars from Saturday's harvest. Hanno pulled the vines out on Saturday afternoon and hiding under the terracotta pots he found 30 or 40 harlequin beetles and ladybugs. I'd been wondering what had been nibbling at the cucumbers and there it was - harlequins! It's a good reminder to look under the pots every so often. I've found spiders under them before but never a village of bugs.



The rest of the garden is growing well. We're harvesting French and cherry tomatoes, herbs, bok choy, ruby chard, lettuce, oranges and passionfruits and yesterday Hanno planted some black kale for the chooks (it grows really tall and doesn't take up much room), cauliflowers, kohl rabi, beetroot and more lettuces. 

It's such a pleasure to be outside in the sunshine at the moment. I think I enjoy autumn more with every year that passes. With the gentle breeze and the birds swooping in to visit, sitting on the garden bench under the elder tree is such a seasonal pleasure. Sometimes I feel like staying there all morning. The fresh vegetables there to be harvested are the icing on the cake.




This patch has now been planted with tomatoes and beetroot.


We've had problems with tomato grubs this year. Have you had it too? How are you dealing with it? We're using Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is a non-toxic, organic spray but I'd love to hear of other methods.  Generally we pick off caterpillars but this type burrows into green tomatoes before you know they're there and only see them when a black hole appears.  I've picked three with that hole and have them sitting in a basket with the chitting potatoes on the back verandah. I'll ripen them and give them to the chooks.

Ah, the chooks. They're laying like mad and I've sold two dozen eggs this week. We've decided not to keep Patrick. We are both big sooky-la-las when it comes to chickens and animals and we don't want to deal with roosters if we hatch any chickens. Patrick is a beautiful gentle boy - a pure barred Plymouth Rock. He hasn't started crowing yet. I'd like him to go to a farm or a good suburban home already set up with a flock of hens. I don't want him to be eaten. If you live on or near the Sunshine Coast and can fill those requirements, we'll happily hand him over to you and hope he fathers some magnificent chicks for you.

How is your garden going at the moment?

If you have a spare few minutes later today can you help Ripe Near Me get some vital points. I've written about it before here but they need our help now to gain international recognition and, no doubt, expand their service through that.  There is info here about it and you can vote for them here.

I hope it's a wonderful week ahead for all of us.

21 comments:

  1. Your garden does look lovely in the autumn Rhonda. I can imagine sitting on a wooden bench with the sun and a breeze for hours on end. Thanks for the reminder about the cucumbers. Although I must say, my daughter would be delighted to find that many beetles and ladybugs under a pot!

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  2. Rhonda, I just bottled the last of our cucumbers yesterday. They can grow quite prolifically, can't they? Autumn has overtaken Spring as my favourite season as last Spring started with a heatwave and wasn't the usual warm preparation for summer. The weather has been glorious here as well and perhaps we might get some showers this week. Have a great Monday.

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    1. We've had rain all night Chel. It might find its way up to you.

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  3. I've been waiting for the cucumbers to get to bargain prices at the market so I can make a big batch of Bread & Butter Cucumbers- we've eaten all our jars from last season (and there were a lot!). I really enjoy the changing seasons and the rituals associated- first fire, washing the woollens etc. I can't wait until our renovation is complete and we can have a veggie garden! I love nothing more than sitting in a sweet spot with a cup of tea watching the world go buy. If dappled sun is involved all the better! :)

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  4. Your garden is looking great! I'm an autumn person as well. Afternoons in autumn are my very favourite time!

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  5. Ah, I can see the change in the light even up in your northern latitudes.

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  6. Your garden is looking lovely. I agree, I love this time of year, it's hard to stay indoors. A question...... a couple of posts back you showed your newly planted granny's bonnets...what have you sprinkled around them...is it to deter slugs and snails....I have something feasting on my cabbages and spinach. It's raining here too, northern NSW.... a nice steady soaking.

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    1. I had to look to see what you meant. We never sprinkle anything for slugs and snails because we so rarely have them here. That is just sunlight on the straw.

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    2. oh, how funny, I had to go look again too. I don't usually get slugs and snails either, so I'm not sure what's munching them, maybe green caterpillars. I don't use anything to kill things either, usually just pick them off for the chooks.

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  7. Such a joyful garden and so beautifully well-kept! We're up to our ears in eggs too at the moment, and I was able to trade some for a couple pounds of beeswax, which I'm pretty excited about!
    -Jaime

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    1. I love those sorts of trades. Well done, Jaime.

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  8. Hi Rhonda, I had harlequin beetles this summer, so many so that they made quite a mess of my garden. Every day while watering I squashed what I could see but I was losing this battle. I looked to Google for a way to dispose of them without chemicals, someone had tried dish washing liquid in a spray bottle which they claimed had worked. I tried this with little success, do you have any ideas? I don't have enough room for chickens. Best Wishes Wendy

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    1. Hi Wendy, we used pyrethrum spray. It worked well. We only had them on the cucumbers and Hanno pulled them out. Hopefully they're all gone now.

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  9. Hi Rhonda, (live not far from you) haven't had tomato grub problems as yet but am struggling at the moment with cut worms destroying new seedlings that I planted last weekend. Any new seedlings introduced now i am having to surround with plastic pots with the bottom cut out. Do you have any other suggestions.
    Cheers (Blinky)

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    1. Hi Blinky. Using the barrier method as you are is the usual way of dealing with cutworms but they are a caterpillar so you could try Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis). It's organic. If you spray the seedlings and the surrounding ground in late afternoon, that might kill them off. Caterpillers die when they eat anything with Dipel on it. You don't have to spray it on the caterpillars. It will wash off in the rain so when you have rain or heavy dew, you'll have to reapply.

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  10. Hi Rhonda,
    What gorgeous and inspirational photos for us to see of your garden. All I want to do at the mo, is be in my garden. I bought a teapot today, as an encouragement to stop, be still and enjoy some relaxation in the garden.
    I too have had problems with unwanted creepy crawlies on my vegetable seedlings. First I tried pyrethrum spray, which was unsuccessful and then I tried Dipel and so far it appears to have worked. Best wishes to everyone for a great week of home based fullfillment!

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  11. We had those harlequin beetles in our yard a few years ago. I'd never seen them before, and had no idea what they were until we spoke to some of our neighbours who are gardeners, and they told us. Not having anything worth eating in our yard, the beetles made up for it by settling on my washing leaving marks all over everything. I was so cross! Had to wash everything again. I don't remember doing anything to get rid of them, they just disappeared after a week or two, probably because there was nothing to eat.

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  12. Your garden is gorgeous! I had entertained the thought of creating a small garden this year but didn't get around to it and am doing some reading on container vegetable gardening -- more my speed I think!

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  13. I am in the US so I am just getting my garden going after a long hard winter! When I work the ground in my raised beds (mostly by hand) I find these white grub looking worms... Are they something that I should exterminate or are they a beneficial bug? UGH! I never know the difference. Is there such a thing?

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    1. There are many beneficial bugs. I don't know much about American insects, Joyful Reader, but it sounds like it's the larvae of a beetle. They often hatch large grubs buried in the soil or compost. I'd leave them. I doubt they're doing any damage but if you don't like them and have chickens. pick them out when you see them and give them to the chooks.

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  14. Hi Rhonda, Our growing season is just getting started here. I have started some seeds indoors. We just ordered 4 more hens for our flock. Your garden looks lovely as always and the girls too! I wish our growing season was as long as yours. As for ladybugs we have them in our house every spring crawling on the windows.
    Carol

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