Reward For Effort

It has been over two months since I put some gardening pics up.  A lot has changed in that time.  Summer has been, wreaked havoc, and gone.  A warm and milder Autumn is progressing.  The plants have breathed a sigh of relief and are putting in extra effort to do their thing.  Thankfully.  If only it were forever Autumn or forever Spring.  But no, that wouldn’t do either.  The four seasons are necessary.  Just as long as they don’t become continuous Summer, which for those who haven’t been paying attention, is a distinct possibility.

Since I tend to forget what I have planted and where, as soon as I have done it (don’t have time for labeling), and also because I planted some unusual varieties,  I have had a few pleasant surprises in the past few weeks.  That’s always nice.

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I haven’t grown corn before so I am not sure when to harvest but judging by these ‘ears’, ‘cobs’, or whatever they are called, it is getting somewhere near time to do so.  This is a Balinese variety.

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The  Yacon, with sweet edible tubers, while it isn’t as tall as it should be, looks healthy and I expect to get a good harvest from its tuberous roots before winter sets in.

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Tomatoes are still ripening but mostly finished now.  I expect to replace them with a more seasonal crop soon.  Also, you will notice that I have removed (well, almost finished removing) all traces of grass from the garden, replacing it with straw.  a) that will cut down mowing time, and b) I hope to reduce the amount of mud and dirt that I trail through the house this winter season.  Although that may be a forlorn hope and I may find that I am making trails of  both mud and straw.  Such is life.

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Garden greens and beets.  Plus, because I allowed my ‘Freckles’ lettuce to go to seed, there are lots of little seedlings beginning to appear.  Hopefully they will mature while the weather is still mild.  I must plant some more Asian greens too, since the ones that were there have all been eaten away.  There seems to have been a plague of grasshoppers this year.  I am not sure if that is just in my garden or a more general infestation.

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The cucumbers, while they seemed to be flowering for a very long time without doing anything else much, have recently begun to produce profligate quantities of fruit.  I also planted a variety of Apple Cucumber this year (one of the things I forgot about) and was completely surprised when these round things (pic below) appeared.  They don’t have a strong taste but are very tender and watery (juicy?).  I will definitely be saving seed from these.

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Apple cucumbers invading my Rainbow Chard.

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I have not (successfully) grown Sunflowers previously.  These ones are supposed to have edible seeds in flower heads that can be up to 40cm across.  They were sun-effected or heat-effected while still tenderly young and so have begun to mature quite late in the season I think.  They may not reach their full potential but I remain hopeful to at least obtain some seed for future years planting.

Just on sun and heat effects, I have ordered both sun and frost protection materials, yet to arrive, which I intend to use with framework that I will construct (there’s always something to do to try to make things better) over the next few weeks.  I will report on this some time later, I hope.

Another task yet to be completed is framing up the rest of the garden.  There are large areas that I have not so far been able to utilise due to undefined edges.  Every square inch must become gainfully employed in food production.  So much to do.  So little time and energy (well, energy more than time).

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Look at those beautiful dark green leaves.  Full of nutrition and beneficial substances.

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I know, I know, it’s time I started mowing grass again.  It is not easy to see what is Goji berry bush and what isn’t, here in this pic, but I am so please that it is coming on so strongly.  There are still a few flowers and I was surprised to pick half a dozen fruits earlier this year.  So different fresh than the dried fruits available commercially.  It can only get better.

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I’m cheating a bit here.  This picture was taken in February but I haven’t published it before, so not really cheating.  I was surprised to find a blossom on my Passionfruit or Pomegranite bush (I can never remember which without looking it up).  It fell off in the wind without producing fruit but is a good sign for future years.  I would rather it put its energy into growing big and strong anyway just now.

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More Apple cucumbers in a wicking box.  This is the first time I have grown anything in a wicking box.  They seem to be smaller and the leaves are a lighter green than the ones in the garden but I think they all came from the same seed packet.  Interesting.

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Beginning to look a bit more like a garden now.

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Even the shrub garden, which suffered quite badly through the heat (I think I have lost a few plants), is beginning to show a hint of colour now.

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Some recent produce from the garden.  Forget the beans, they are just there for seed saving, not eating.

Finally a couple of pics from February when the Golden Zucchini were in full production.

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Oh, and below is what the garden looked like in February.  A marked contrast to today.  Satisfactory progress after only two years.

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…and when I think back to when I started…

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2 thoughts on “Reward For Effort

  1. Hey, that’s all looking good! You did better than me in the zucchini department. Those cukes in the wicking box….might it just be a nutrient problem compared with the ones in the garden soil? Corn….pull down a few leaves on the cob to expose the kernels. If bright yellow, stick a thumbnail into one of them. If the juice comes out slightly milky, they’re ready to pick. If clear…too soon….if white and dryish…too late…keep them for seed.

    I didn’t do any good with goji berries. The ones in the garden died and the ones in pots didn’t grow. Might try again.

    • Thanks. The Wicking box cukes are in the same soil (bulk, bought locally) as on the garden. I have thought of two possible differences: 1) plant watering – maybe I have over watered the box (it is my first attempt) 2) being in a plastic container, they may have suffered from excessive heat from time to time over summer. More (or some) shade may be appropriate. I know the water in my rain barrel garbage bins was too hot to put my hand in at times.

      I took your advice on the corn. Only a few kernels are yellow yet. I will try again in a week or so. They may have left it too late to ripen. We’ll see. I am doing this mainly for seed. Same with the Sunflowers. If I can’t get seed from them it’s not much good growing them.

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