With all the beautiful warm summery weather this week, crops are growing quickly and it’s been perfect timing to get all the solanums and cucurbits in.
The solanums (eggplants and capsicums) which we sowed 3 months ago are still quite small, but this was the week they were going in the ground regardless of size!
Having the soil covered with the black weed matting has ensured it’s nice and toasty for these plants. So in one bed I put 3 capsicums ‘Marconi Red’ and 2 eggplants ‘Black Beauty’. Now I’m sure we could have done with one less of each of these, but we have the room in this bed and I’ve just heard of a food market opening up near us soon and I thought I could potentially pop any excess on a trading table there.
We plant these vegetables, then put the goodies around them afterwards – gypsum (calcium) to prevent blossom end rot which can happen quite easily to solanums, rock dust to help the plants grow healthy and strong and ensure they’re nutrient-dense, neem granules to ward off psyllids which attack solanums and then chicken manure (could be sheep pellets) for a nitrogen boost as these plants all require lots of feeding. The earthworms will come up to the surface and drag this stuff down to the roots.
They will ultimately need mulching, but I’ll wait till the Last Quarter phase in two weeks’ time when the plants will be a bit bigger.
The cucurbits (watermelon, cucumber and pumpkin) have grown interestingly. The cucumber seed I sowed damped off and this little one is a replacement which germinated after 4 days. The watermelon is sulking a bit, hasn’t grown hardly at all since germinating. The pumpkin is hanging onto its roots with a tenuous thread strangely – I’m going to sow another one as I don’t feel 100% comfortable with this one.
The Watermelon ‘Sugar Baby’ (a cucurbit) gets popped into the end of the bed with the capsicums and eggplants because there’s nowhere else really. I think it can happily sprawl over the pathways in this position. It doesn’t get gypsum nor neem granules however, but it does get the fertilisers.
The cucumber goes in with the zucchini into another bed. There’s a big gap between them and they seem a bit lonely, but I’ll put another plant of each in in 2-3 months’ time to see us through the warm months and there will be a bit of overlap and hence space needed.
I have planted the pumpkin, even though I will probably replace it, in with the corn. All these cucurbits get generous amounts of chicken manure and rock dust to get them underway.
The solanum bed and the corn/pumpkin bed get hoops and netting. Need to make some for the zucchini and cucumber bed too. I think the others will be fine uncovered.
Then we focus on flowers. Marigolds in with the tomatoes and basil.
Phacelia in the insectary bed along with the borage which is doing nicely. The phacelia didn’t transplant well – it’s so spindly. Rob said I should have sown directly into the garden bed and if this lot doesn’t do well, that’s what I’ll do.
And I took the baby alyssum directly out of the seed-raising tray and planted it in clumps in a barrier row beside the Florence fennel.
Water everything in well.
Everything is a bit microscopic sorry this week. With all our beautiful warm weather and a bit of rain it will become bigger and more photogenic in the ensuing weeks!
Hubby very pleased that all the seedlings are out of our laundry now!
A couple of other matters: With all that warm weather the rocket has started to bolt. Rob says it could be dryness stress, so I’ve been diligently watering it, picking it now and I have cut the flowering tops off. So hopefully that will do the trick. Anyway we’re now abounding in rocket and mesclun – crisp and delicious – our first produce!
I picked half a bucket of comfrey leaves at Rob’s and filled the bucket up with enough water to cover the leaves. This will rot down now for 3-4 weeks, then I’ll apply this to the tomatoes (and possibly the potatoes) – full of potassium for fruiting crops. If you have good weeds around like bidibidi and puha, they can be added too.
And lastly, how beautiful is the feijoa flower with the promise of juicy fruit to come!
Next week… I need to find my niwashi and get weeding! And time to assess whether I have enough of a germination of carrots or whether I sow some rows in between the existing ones.
From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!