5 February 2024

How is everyone coping with the heat?  I have to say I’m not a heat-lover, so I do go out in the early morning, but my favourite time in the garden is 7-9pm.  There’s a cool breeze and a stillness which is a great time to be communing with nature.

I saw Jenny Lux of Lux Organics calling her tomato crop this year a glut, and while it’s an ugly word, it describes our tomato beds too.  The plants had been looking all green and glorious, and the fruit was plumping up but still green, then a week later the tomatoes turned red and the plants were a mess.

This is one day’s haul, so you can see the challenge.

I’m making tomato sauce and tomato relish and using every tomato recipe I can find, as well as giving lots away to friends and family.  Nothing like feasting on this crop right now to make you happy to wait another year for the season!

We have our onions and leeks sown and they’re popping up now.  Depending on how well they do in these punnets (which are smaller than I usually sow them in), I may do an intermediate nursery bed out in the garden to fatten them up, before planting them out individually.

I’ve also sown a few brassicas, a month earlier than I would usually, just to see if they fill the transition between summer and winter or whether they’re too early.

Our pumpkins are great this year with the plants strong enough to provide shade for them which prevents sunburn which can cause poor storage.  Don’t let them wander forever however.  If you have 2-3 good-sized pumpkins on the vine, cut the end off so the plant focuses all its energy into those fruit, rather than trying to make more.

We have powdery mildew on the pumpkin leaves now.  Best to apply something to alkalise it.  We recommend 1 teaspoon of baking soda per litre of water, or 1 part of milk to 10 parts of water, or liquid seaweed to help, but not cure.  Fortunately the fruit was a good size before the mildew arrived.

The watermelon and melon plants are scampering away. I can see a couple of melons but no watermelons yet.

The kumara is up and away too and I will eventually trim their ends off for the same reason as the pumpkins.

I’ve got our lettuces in a bed which gets a good amount of shade, but if yours are out in the open, you’ll be surprised how much better they do with a bit of shadecloth over them.

The radishes look the healthiest they ever have.

But our beautiful passionfruit vines planted just last winter have a few passionvine hopper and fluffy bums (the nymph stage) on them.  So it’s out with the Neem oil to combat that.  I’m spraying the vines 3 times in the evening with 3 days apart each time.

Keep cool and enjoy your summer bounty!

From Jan and Rob

11 Responses

  1. I love to read your blog Jan and Rob and see all your beautiful produce! Any chance you can share your tomato sauce recipe…I have kids who eat it by the bucket full and would feel better if it was homemade!

    1. Hi Saskia Just when it really starts to take off. It needs to be a bit more rampant than the image in our post. Remember I planted ours a bit late, so yours could be ready for a trim now.

  2. Hi, I love reading your blog and pictures of your vegetables, it’s very helpful. I’ve cut off the end tips of my pumpkin vines after 2-3 fruits. Do you have to keep checking on the vines because of side shoots?

  3. Hello Jan & Rob
    Always love this blog and find it so informative thank you.I have grown a Ox-heart tomato this season and what a wonderful producer they are quite a large fruit and very meaty so good in sandwiches,and all the usual uses for tomatoes.Have not made any sauces or chutneys this year so far ,still have lots of fruit to come so will get busy.
    Also like you having a Vine hopper problem.

    1. Hi Beryl Yum sounds delicious. Nothing like a good meaty tomato – juicy, tasty and substantial. Yes, get onto the passionvine hopper before it does damage 😊

    1. Hi Eddie We would only put them in a hot compost, not a worm farm or cold compost. They are from the solanum or nightshade family which in large amounts can have a toxic element.

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