Veggie Patch Ramblings – December and January
Wow! What a couple of months! We have gone from dry weather with extreme heat for days on end to an abundance of water due to floods in the last couple of days.
There wasn’t much human action in the veggie patch over December as it is one of our busiest times of the year and the GardenWare elves were packing orders.
Also, as we were going away over Christmas, I didn’t want to have any little seedlings that needed extra care so I made a decision to let the veggie patch go wild for a bit.
The heat and lack of rain didn’t help much, with the poor plants wilting in the heat of the day. I am on town water and have dripper hoses set up so was lucky enough to give them a good soak early in the morning twice a week. This managed to keep things alive!
Any lettuces I had quickly went to seed as it was too hot for them and I wasn’t going to plant anymore. Even the local farm up the road stopped growing them due to the heat.
The heat hasn’t slowed down the basil. I planted quite a few as I use them to attract bees into my garden. Which normally does work but hasn’t this year. Mentioned this to a friend as I wanted her advice on building some bee homes and she let me know that there has been an absence of bees all around the valley so it’s not just my garden they’re noticeably missing from.
Zucchinis! I used to have an abundance of them when I had them previously. However this crop and the last one, not much luck. After noticing the lack of bees I thought I’d give hand pollinating a go.
I had some success with some zucchinis growing and not having the disappointment of seeing them start off then go wrinkly and die.
I love carrots and have been waiting eagerly to taste the first carrot to come out of the patch. After thinning them out in early December and mulching between the rows, I actually got to eat my first carrot just before Christmas and it tasted divine.
Now, my 4 year old who also loves carrots and possibly could have been a rabbit in a previous life, is always at me saying, “please more carrots!”
They are not a bumper crop so I have to pull out a few at a time and hoping that by doing this, the others grow fatter. But with all this rain we have just had and the soil so waterlogged, I’m concerned that they may rot in the ground which is what happened to a crop of my beetroot during the 2011 floods so I’m tempted to pull the lot out.
Getting back from being away over Christmas was like coming back to a jungle. I spent a couple of hours tidying up, pulling up weeds and being amazed by how fast the climbing beans had grown.
I had tried to set up a tripod for them and the idea was to put some string around the outside of the structure so they’d have some extra space to grow however in the time we were away the seedlings that were in the middle of the outside of the tripod had decided to use their little tendrils to grab onto anything they could in their march upwards!
Bush Beans were still producing but were coming to an end and the cucumbers which were so affected by powdery mildew had to be pulled up.
With the powdery mildew, I tried a spray of milk and water every morning but I feel that I started this too late and the mildew had set in.
With my zucchinis, as soon as I saw the first sign on one of their leaves, I started spraying every morning and it didn’t spread at all.
While pulling up the bush beans, I decided to save some of their seed. I did buy these as organic seedlings from our local market.
They are tough little plants and survived a night of frost when they were babies and I first put them in the ground and forgot to put a fleece tunnel on them. They looked a bit sad come the morning.
I didn’t forget the fleece tunnel after that and it became an afternoon ritual for me to cover them with the fleece tunnel for the night….was a bit like tucking in the kids for bed. They gave me a bumper crop and I was a bit sad to pull them up as I did have a soft spot for them.
The kids’ sunflowers were a casualty of the recent wild weather. They were just starting to flower and every morning we enjoyed going out and checking out their progress.
After one night of extreme wind and rain, they were flattened. We might try to put some more in and maybe some in pots this time.
And lastly, this is one of my favourite reasons as to why I like having a veggie patch. You can always manage to find some fresh bits and bobs to put together a meal. We had just had a big day of travelling and there was no way I was going to stop and shop with the little ones who were swaying between tired plus cranky and hyperactive plus cranky.
So after getting home and unpacking the car, I had a moment in my little veggie patch to regain some serenity as well as do some gathering for the evening meal. Would love to hear about what is one of your favourite things about your veggie patch, feel free to comment away 🙂