Potager Journal 2005

Photos of veges can be found in the 'Photos' section above.

Happenings Early January
The potager has been very successful this year, probably due to the gardener actually being present. The garlic (first attempt) has just been lifted and should keep the household going for about 2 years! It's amazing how much garlic 5 corms? will produce. No reason for colds this year.

The first tomatoes have been sunburnt I think, their leaves have become rather dry and crispy. However, with a bit of TLC they are zooming away again and have lots of fruit on them, must keep up the water. The second lot have just been planted (heirloom oxheart) and are doing well. They have had sheep poo dug in at planting so we'll see how that goes. I have decided not to de-lateral any of the toms to see if that helps with the blight problem I had last year. I read this somewhere and it seems to make sense. Apparently the blight spores, if prevelent, enter through the wound and presto! blight!

The potatoes are all bushy and huge, sure hope there are spuds at the bottom. I wonder if the ambient temperature plus more moisture in the ground, due to a wet, cloudy start to the summer, has helped this season by giving the plants a chance to get their roots well established before being sun-baked, bit of a silver lining right there.

I have finally removed the wayward flowering yellow cannas which were getting large, from the vege garden and re-planted them in their rightful place by the pond. And popped some dahlias in their place...sigh. They have grown into glorious flowering plants, there is one deep magenta, one white huge flowered, a spikey one, a one yellow spikey one and a couple of roundy petaled cream ones with lilac centers. Must take some pics.

A pair of swallows have taken up residence on a small ledge above the french doors on the potting shed. This is their second year nesting and they had a few unsucessful attempts at sticking their nest against the wall in howling spring winds, lucky for them I had extended the shelf, silly birds!

Happenings Late January
So far the tomatoes have been growing brilliantly! No sign of any blight (fingers crossed) and they are huge. I planted the oxheart seedlings on the 12th Jan and they are now nearly three feet high and so bushy! Must be the sheep poo. They are very healthy looking and have sprouted about 3 leaders each (no de-lateraling) and I have had to add a lot more stakes.

Cucumbers rule the paths between beds, wonder if I should pinch the tips out before they head off over the road? Spuds must nearly be ready. Melons seemed to have a slow start, but are now throwing out lots of laterals and flowers.

Happenings February
Yippeee! The potting shed has its' new tin roof AND a pergola! The building bloke has been busy! So excited, even though I couldn't swing on the pergola cos it hasn't been concreted in yet, it looks so cute :) Can't wait for it to be covered (much to his disgust) with wisteria or grapes! hehe. The swallows were flitting around, yabbering away and ducking around my head while I was ooh'ing and ahh'ing. Not sure if they approve or not though I'm sure they will appreciate the added weather protection next nesting season.

The cucmbers have totally gone nuts, they are invading the paths and beds on either side of their alloted growing space, as well as taking advantage of the resident vertical climbing frame, Sally Holmes. She will be pleased!

The heirloom tomatoes are around my shoulders and because of my decision not to de-lateral them they are a thick, solid wall of vegetation. So healthy! So many tomatoes, big fat pear-shaped ones! So many holes in the lower ones, - big, fat bird ones! grrr. The potatoes are nearly ready to lift, yum. The latest pea planting is very lush looking and starting to flower. Not sure if the melons are going to come to anything they have done lots of growing but not much in the way of fruiting.

Happenings March
The cucumbers have just about finished (thank goodness) and the melons have suprised me and grown huge, they must be ready to pick soon. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks they have gone from golf balls to footballs.

The tomato's are a great floppy mess! They have grown so big and the fruit so heavy that the canes that were supporting them have simply folded and snaped, which means the birds are going to be able to roll around on the ground while they eat them! Next year I will try a 'manger' that a fellow forum-dweller suggested. This is built to cradle the bulk of the plant. Sounds like a plan!

Happenings April
The tomatoes have (almost all) been removed from the bushes to ripen up on a window sill as the birds were getting too well fed! Once I clear the bed of vegetation I will rebuild it using macrocarpa boards (same as the latest beds) to last longer. The original boards were a rush job and were of untreated pine, so they will start to rot soon. Potatoes are still being dug and I have heaps yet to remove.

The melons are still growing! They are getting bigger and the plants look very healthy although, I am not too sure when to pick the fruit, do I wait for the plants to shivel? They are smelling yum! Sick of cucumbers, I thought they had finished! I must check my trusty book and see what to plant now for the winter.

Happenings May
Spent a few days clearing all the vege garden beds except for the silverbeets and a few tomatoes. Dug over soil and added compost. Sowed seeds of mustard and lupin as a cover crop. Last year I did this in some of the beds and got loads of compost making stuff to dig back in a month before planting. All potatoes have been dug and are delicious! Soon it will be time to plant the garlic again! Cripes, that was a quick year.