Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two weeks of neglect

And so we hit the cooling of motivation that is Autumn. Yeah, yeah, I know. Its been here for a while, right? But it takes a while to get through denial (Summer can't be over), anger (Stupid daylight savings!!?? Fine. Have it your way!), bargaining (Come back daylight savings! I wasn't done with you yet! Please!!) before you hit depression, and depressed I am. Its cold and dark when I leave for work, and cold and dark when I get home. We've entered the time of the year when the only time you see a garden is on the weekends, and you got to fit that in around the rest of your entire life's living that exists in those two days of the week. And I'm depressed, remember. So to hell with it!

Well its not quite like that. But the shortening daylight hours, the easter holidays and now a weekend of doing, well, not much, lets have a look at how much fun the garden was having without me.

Lets start with the legumes. Purple King beans on the left, Snow Pea on the right. Both are pretty much cruising along without my assistance. I find Snow peas, like most teenagers, tend to be a little bit stupid left to their own devices. Take these ones for example, set out the proscribed regulation distance apart, and given some plastic-coated steel rod supports to climb up. Over spring I made the mistake of only putting in supports 1.2m tall (not so much a mistake as a necessity) - which the peas promptly outgrew to their detriment, doing the 'house-of-cards thing' the first time a good puff of wind blew. So this time I gave them 2m supports. Not that it really matters, because all they're latching onto is each other. Dumb snow peas. So they have required a bit of assistance in the form of some twine to make sure they make good use of those supports. This does only take about 5mins every couple of days when they're growing. With two weeks of neglect, they did start to bend over and break under the weight of their own stupidity - but most of them weren't so far gone they couldn't be saved. Both are now starting to crop. I'll be interested to see how they go once the colder weather kicks in.

Moving on the "not - your - regular - bed - companions - dept" capsicum / carrot bed. This originally had Capsicum & Tomatoes over Spring/Summer, but the tomatoes had an untimely end while Sydney baked over Janurary. During the earlier part of the season this crop fed a biblical plague of caterpillars and other grubs, leaving hardly a tomato for the wife to throw at me for such a woeful performance (this, before we even start talking about the licorice-flavoured basil I managed to grow beside them - it was no Italian summer in our kitchen).

But sometime towards the end of summer the Capsicum flowered again, and praise the lords, all the beautiful butterflies where dead, and there was not a caterpillar to be seen. I'll try this every spring/summer now: Plant the caps in spring, let the caterpillars take the first sitting (and harvest seed from the damaged fruit), and then wait until autumn for a good crop of caps (and they're delicious, too!).

As the keen observer may have already spotted, there also appears to be some cucurbits joining the party in this bed. Its one of the many squatters that showed up on my doorstep on the back of some keen composting from last season. At first I was horrified when they started popping up like weeds in spring (and some of my contemporaries would say they were weeds) - but since all my actual attempts at cucumber failed this year, I thought I might let this one go and see how it went over autumn. Theres a few small'uns on there now, just slightly out-pacing the snails. I don't foresee many cucumber, and after last season's harvest, thats just the way everyone I know likes it.

And of course you can see a lot of healthy carrots in the foreground. They need some mulch around them. The weeds are bloody everywhere.

And we come to the brassicas. Pictured is the kale I'm growing for the first time. I'm displaying them because the skeletal remains of the broccoli is just hanging in there, and is not a pretty sight. God knows whats eating them, but they've got to have a stomach ache. I haven't lost hope yet, because the same thing happened to me last year.

And finally, lets have a look at that little pot of inspiration that makes me want to progress along to the fifth stage of dealing with tragedy: Acceptance.

Don't they look grand. I don't usual have many victories in pots, but these Pak Choy look a million bucks. I've been giving them a bit of seasol, but absolutely nothing for the last two weeks. The pot they're in is large, round and deep - and they're really happy. True, this is probably because my broccoli is acting like the hunk of meat you throw in the water to distract the piranhas. I can only hope these little guys make it to safety before the hoards of evil get hungry again. I reckon these could easily be grown on any balcony - and they grow mighty quick too.

All in all, not bad for that lengthy display of sloth. I should stay out of the garden more often.


  1. Hi! found your blog through Blotanical. How are you? So, have you harvest and cook the pak choy already? Your vegetable garden is looking good. Have a great day!

  2. Hey Stephanie, lovely to see you dropping by. The Pak Choy are still a little infantile... they haven't yet developed the crunchy bases we love in our stir-fry - so their necks have been spared for now. I'll be sure to let everyone know how it goes :)