18 Feb 2013

late summer garden ramble

Let's go on a tour of the vegie garden; we haven't done that together for a while.
Late summer brings a mixed bag in the garden. The peas and beans are finally producing again, just enough to pick for a meal every second night. I haven't had much luck with these this year - perhaps it has been just too hot and dry for them. I have a small rainwater tank which I use to water my vegies, but nothing compares to the real stuff falling from the sky, and as everyone here will tell you, there's been very little of that around, even when it is forecast (I firmly believe it stays around the mountain and never comes across to my side of the river).
My beans though are having a good second flush. I love green beans, steaming them until they are just done and still 'squeaky'. The slim ones (above) are much more productive than one of my favourite varieties, scarlet runners (so named for their hot orange flowers). These have grown magnificently over their teepee structure, but seem to have been all leaf and no bean. Dad tells me to cool the plants down in the evening by spraying the entire bush with water (they like a cool evening, apparently). But by the time the day has lost its heat, I've moved insid,e and hosing down beans is the last thing on my mind. Sorry dad. Even for a favourite bean, I haven't got time for special treatment. I'll stick to other varieties next time.
Here is one of my favourite sights in the garden: a new bean seedling punching vigorously through the soil, with such vibrancy. I want to applaud its energy: bravo, bean!
Elsewhere, the kale continues to grow regally, and the grubs continue to enjoy the kale.
Tomato bushes look very sad. Still producing tomatoes (though am past the glut stage; twas all too brief). Dad says I am killing them with kindness, too much water (one litre per plant: good; four litres: better? Appears not). That or I haven't got the nutrients in the soil right. But tomatoes are a learning curve, more so than other vegies. I'll be better next year.
The fruit trees are a horror I'd rather forget. They were in the garden when I moved in; I doubt now whether I would plant a fruit tree. However, next year I will net them, because the birds get to the fruit before I do, leaving random pecks in my not-quite-ripe apricots, apples and nectarines - then abandoning the fruit to rot. Fruit trees are a full-time job that I sometimes feel ill-equipped to deal with; every year they are the most frustrating and upsetting part of my garden.

The apples, without fail, get attacked by coddlin moth and no matter what the weather conditions, the nectarines gets brown rot. I cannot enjoy a juicy piece of fruit straight from the tree; I have to take it inside and cut around the grubs or mush or bird holes, and either freeze it or cook it up. I would seriously think about cutting the trees off flush to the ground if only their pink spring blossoms did not fill my heart with such joy.

Probably on the other side of these apples are grub holes and bird pecks. Too good to be true.

So let's end this on a positive note. My basil contines to grow lushly, and I make pesto every week or so, and enjoy decadent handfuls of the leaves over my meals. Can you smell their spicy-fresh perfume from where you are? Amazing.
What's happening in your garden?


  1. A lovely ramble through your veggie garden. They're high maintenance aren't they? Great work.

  2. Hello FS, yes gardens are high maintenance. i laugh scornfully now when i think of peter cundall who used to say it was 'dead easy'. not always so! as many challenges as rewards.

  3. A lovely tour e, YAY for basil, it is lovely isn't it? What a shame about your beautiful fruit trees. Beans are amazing creatures aren't they...I love the way you describe bean energy :)

    1. hi jane, hope it's not too hot where you are today. i'm always amazed by the vigour of bean seedlings. peas are delicate and tender but beans are just so 'look at me!'.


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