A visit from a great gardener & some unwanted guests as well..

Posted April 1st, 2013 by Rob Bob : )»

A wander through the patch with a great gardener...
Had a bit of a slower week here so was able to take some time catching up on odd jobs inside & under the house as well as spending some time with visiting family.. I had an Uncle and his mate stop by on his way around Australia this week & it was great to be able to show off the patch to him.. He really enjoyed having a wander through & was very interested in how the hoop house was set up, as well as the aquaponic system.. He gave us a few pointers but the best was how we could be using comfrey a lot more in the patch as a mulch, compost tea, feed for the chooks & how to prepare it for ourselves.. I am actually thinking of dividing the plant under the lemon tree & spreading it all out to make a carpet under there.. It will also help suppress the weeds.. He also shared his method of sowing his seed potatoes on a bed of dried comfrey leaves & he said he always gets a great harvest.. I am more than willing to give it a shot following my past few dodgy harvests.. He has also given me a few ideas on the new layout on the front yard & what we might plant in there..

Hoop house extensions...
Didn't manage to make a start on the hoop house itself but I did trim back the lemon tree that was hanging into the patch..
As you can see the comfrey in the foreground is looking rather healthy & could do with dividing.. Another thing you may notice is the Jarrahdale pumpkin growing up through the lemon tree & onto the shade covering.. As much as I would like to let it grow it will be getting cut back.. We have only gotten 1 fruit from this mammoth vine.. (It has also taken over a neighbour's backyard)..

More pests in the patch...
Most of the green lemons that came off the pruned branches had what looks to be red scale growing on them..
This really doesn't appear to be a problem that affects the inside of the fruit.. They have been collected & will be squeezed & the juice frozen for later use..
I also spotted a bad outbreak of aphids on the snake beans in the hoop house..
They have set up shop in a part of the plant that is a bit hard to see due to the layout of the hoop house.. I ended up blasting these guys off with the hose after remembering a recommendation from a member on SS a while back..The ants are farming these aphids so I might also try to take care of them as well with some cinnamon powder.. I read that it might be a good deterrent for them, so worth a shot I think..
Have also been finding a fair few of these grubs on the okra plants.. Made a quick 30 second clip showing one of the ways we deal with them..

If only we could let the fish loose in the patch :D»
To take care of the rest of the pests in the patch I think I will pull out the spray pack & give the plants a good spraying with the neem oil.. It should hopefully take care of the aphids, scale & the green stink bugs on the snake beans..

Update on the seedlings...
The broccoli (right hand side of the bed) has been coming on really well.. I think they are almost doubling in size every week..
The cauliflower in the beds outside the hoop house are starting to get eaten by cabbage butterfly caterpillars but are also putting on some great growth.. I think I need to get a wriggle on with the extension of the hoop house or all that great growth will end up in the caterpillars bellies..
The garlic that was planted at the start of the week has already started to shoot.. 7 of the cloves that were stored in the fridge have shot while none have shot from the untreated cloves.. Am wondering if this is a sign of things to come with the fridge garlic out preforming the other...

This week's sowings..
Decided to fill in a few gaps in the aquaponic beds by sowing a few seeds.. A small handful each of Touchstone Gold & Detroit beetroot was tossed in, with some watermelon radish.. Due to a poor germination rate with the last lot of red ribbed Brussel sprouts I sowed another 4 lots of seeds in a tray.. This time I made certain that the soil was nice & firm in the tray just to see if that would help like it does when you sow out brassica seedlings....

Pickings from the patch...

As you can see from the pictures here we are still getting a fair amount of okra & snake beans at the moment.. The Gympie Gold cucumbers we have picked so far have been most welcomed.. It has been a while since the last cucumber crop..

The eggplant has been busy setting loads of fruit and it has been used mainly in stir fries. But this week some will be pan fried with sweet potato & mushrooms methinks.. Really have a hankering for it as a side to some spiced chicken thighs..

Picked the first decent lot of raspberries yesterday..
While we were picking them we noticed 2 more canes with small flower heads on the tips.. Have really been impressed with the amount of fruit that it has been setting on..
This is a bit of a strange harvest...
The cucumber actually has a hitch hiker in it.. I have noticed that the caterpillars on the vine will just as happily tuck into the fruit as well as the leaves.. The plant was sprayed with Dipel on Saturday but the caterpillars are still happily munching away.. Think I will give it 1 more day before treating the plant again.. The carrots came from the aquaponic set up & were really just a bit of fun as I didn't expect much from them.. The roots found it a bit hard to work their way through the clay balls so have ended up a tad split & deformed.. Still tasted good in a stew our eldest made :)» The green okra down the bottom was left to dry on the plant because it was one of the best looking pods from that variety.. The seeds will be saved for next year's crop as the green variety just didn't that well this year..

That's about if for this week... I hope you all have been able to spend some time with family & friends over Easter break..
Have a great week all...

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