The edible garden is in full swing with lots of produce coming on.
We’ve found the weather a bit of a challenge this summer – mainly the intensity of the sun, with the leaves of some plants getting burnt from the heat.
The cucurbits and solanums are thriving though, as they really love the heat. One strange thing is that some of the zucchinis have been sending out more male flowers than female, due we think to how hot it got so quickly. The imbalance between male and female flowers will result in less fruit set, but only in the open-pollinated varieties of course. It’s nature’s way of keeping us on our toes I guess.
If there’s any spare space in your garden, you can still plant more summer crops. We’re planting a new bed of cucumbers, which should start to produce in early February.
It’s also a good time to plant a second crop of zucchinis, beans, main season potatoes like Agria, lettuces and mesclun crops. A good mulch will keep their roots cool and feed the soil.
Heavy croppers like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants will be smothered with fruit.
Remember to feed your crops when they’re at their peak. A dressing of a good potassium fertiliser like a liquid comfrey, or volcanic rock and seaweed will give them a boost to produce through to late autumn.
Sheep pellets are a great all-round tonic for the beds and will slowly release nutrients to feed the plants and earthworms. A healthy plant will be able to resist disease and pests better than a stressed plant.
Flowers Flowers Flowers
No organic garden is complete without flowers.
They can be grown near or in the vege bed, alongside your crops. Not only do they look great but they attract the good insects to the garden. One of our favourite insects is the bumblebee.
For those of you growing beans, the bumble is the best way to pollinate your crops. If you’ve noticed some of the little beans being nipped off, it’ll be the work of the honey bees. They can’t get down into the big bean flower so they try and get pollen from the back of the flower, causing it to fall off. Encourage more bumblebees into your garden with flowers.
Birds and insects alike need a source of water. The best way to do this is set up a bird bath with its gentle sloping edges.
If birds aren’t thirsty, they’re less likely to attack your tomatoes for the moisture. In the evening you’ll notice bees and other insects landing on the bird bath to have a drink. This way you also encourage them to stay in the garden.
This year we’ve tried a new type of pumpkin. I’m a great fan of growing and eating pumpkin and squash, so we’re trying out baby butternuts. Easy to grow and just enough for one meal. They’re great for the smaller gardens as they don’t trail and take over the whole bed. We’ll let you know how they taste!
From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!