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.

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