Mid summer

 

It’s been a while since I shared what’s happening in the garden, so here’s a little update of what’s growing in mid summer…

Chillies & capsicums are going absolutely nuts! We have about 50 plants of mixed varieties growing in the ground, raised beds, pots & foam boxes all over the garden. Looking forward to experimenting with different hot sauce recipes once a few more chilli pods ripen, but for now we are enjoying an abundance of various capsicums.

 

A well deserved honorable mention to the variety of pollinators that have taken up residence in our garden. We are looking to build a range of bug hotels this year, but it looks like we hardly need to…

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The flower spider AKA goldenrod crab spider is an interesting character. The yellow and white spiders pictured above are the exact same species, they start out white but can change to yellow depending on their surroundings, and what will provide the best camouflage. While the yellow & white spiders are on the same species of plant, (yarrow – Achillea millefolium) the yellow spider is located right next to Calendula (Calendula officinalis) which has yellow – orange flowers, so he must have been waiting their for some prey & realized it was best to move over to the yarrow. Now he is slowly making the change back to white to camouflage with the white yarrow flowers. Fascinating stuff!

 

Of course, the humble and not-so-humble tomatoes need a mention. This year we really ramped it up with our tomatoes, we have several interesting heirloom varieties including Brandywine, cherokee purple, black Russian, pineapple & yellow pear, as well as some classic varieties such as roma & red cherries.
This years winners (in our eyes) are the purple Cherokee and brandywine.
The purple Cherokee has a flavour unlike any other, sweet and rich, perfect cooked or raw. They have won over Jesse who is not exactly nuts about tomatoes, and he now boasts them as his favourite variety.
The brandywine is a winner for a different reason. The flavour is nice & sweet, but the size is incredible! Our first ripe tomato weighed in at just short of half a kilogram – the biggest tomato we’ve grown by far.

Of course, we have plenty of other veggies around from a variety of Asian greens including pak choy, tatsoi & okra, to stacks of rainbow chard, spring onions, sweet potatoes, and even more eggplants (might have over done it with the eggplants) but these guys are looking particularly lovely & worthy of showing off.

 

As always, there’s plenty of fungi around – even in the middle of summer! We are harvesting kilograms of blue & elm oyster mushrooms, grown both inside & outside.
The mushroom cultivation workshops held at Joe’s Connected Garden have been a real hit, and we look forward to hosting bigger and better workshops in 2018. We will be attending the ‘radical mycology in permaculture’ course at Milkwood in February to learn new non-sterile cultivation techniques and further our knowledge of incorporating fungi into garden designs.

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We have had great success with our first crop of sweet corn this season. Last year, we grew a great crop of the heirloom glass gem corn using the three sisters technique. This year, we are growing 2 varieties of sweet corn using a similar technique, but with watermelon in place of squash. One of the little fellas has decided to form kernels outside of his cob, which is technically a deformity, but we just think he’s unique…

Deformed corn!

But it’s not all deformed corn & insects around here. We have made a real effort to diversify our flowering plants in order to attract different insects and add colour to the garden. Here’s some pictures of just a few…

A new addition to the garden this summer is the pickle tunnel – a walk- through bamboo trellis planted out with several cucumbers of the mid east peace variety. We picked our first fruit and ate it raw to make way for more.

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We’ve been utilizing a lot of compost/weed tea to fertilize the garden. This particular batch is made from comfrey leaves, mallow, purselane, amaranth, dandelion greens, sow thistle, brassica leaves and a bit of worm juice to kick things off. Will be letting it soak for about 2 weeks with regular mixing to stop it from spoiling (very important step – you DO NOT want this stuff to go un-stirred, you’ll have to deal with it eventually and it will not be pleasant when you do.)

compost tea

Well, I suppose that’s all I have to show off for now. Looking forward to watching everything continue to grow, sharing the harvests with friends and learning from the garden.

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If you’re interested in coming to see our garden & our neighbours, come along to Joe’s Connected garden open garden on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th February 2018 from 10am – 4:30pm.

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