January in the garden

Yes, I know it’s February.

As with all things, I harvested, I took some photos, and then I forgot to blog about it.

It has been a hot, dry summer. I can’t remember when the daytime temperatures dipped below 30 deg C (86F). We started in October with some really bad bushfires in the Blue Mountains – nearly 200 homes were lost. This was in Spring, before the official bushfire season had even started. Now that it’s February, we have some awful bushfires in Western Victoria and Victoria. And yet our Federal government denies that “climate change” exists.

I was away in the early part of January, so I missed the opportunity to dance in the moonlight with my corn to help it fertilise. No matter, it managed fertilisation on its own.

What is odd is that I first planted babycorn (you know, that tiny stuff that usually comes in tins, or that Tom Hanks ate in a funny way in the movie BIG). That didn’t seem to take, so then I planted sweet corn. Which then cross pollinated. So I got some full sweet corn cob ears, and then some tiny ones which were baby corn in length but with full sized corn kernels. I also got up to about 20 corn kernels forming on what was probably a baby corn female ear. Hmm.

January 2014 harvest

About 10 ears of corn
8 capsicum
Lots of sweet potato leaves
Various herbs: basil, mint, parsley, perilla.

The sweet potato leaves shrink quite a bit when you cook it, like english spinach. They bleed a white “sap” when you pick them, so usually I cut them with a pair of scissors, and then wash the leaf. You can also eat as a salad green.

Sweet potato leaves

Um. Corn? No, I claimed that in November.
Well, I enjoyed my ten ears of corn so much, I tried to plant some more. Nothing has come up yet.
I’ve tried three times with the seeds of a Queen squash (whole roasting squash). I get the seedling, but as soon as I transplant it, it gets eaten by snails. I have two planted this week, one using the shelter of my corn plantation.

January 2014 - queen squash

Based on my post in November 2013

1. Anonymous Citrus. Lost the fruit I told you about – probably due to heat stress. Growing a little more now. There’s a lot of new lush green growth, but the darn thing has picked up some citrus leaf miner. I haven’t gotten around to spraying it, so I think I’m going to have to cut off each affected leaf, and hope I contain it. I captured a single bronze citrus bug off the plant in January.
2. Strawberry planter box. This just keeps on keeping on. Unfortunately because of the heat, it keeps losing fruit which shrivels up. I cut off all the leaves which seemed to have picked up a spot type fungus….but.. I think it’s come back. Apparently strawberry plants need to be thrown out every three years or so, or else they pick up a disease which I think becomes endemic. I haven’t wanted to throw out my original plant of 4 or so years because it is such a prolific fruiter. It might be crunch time.

Hanging on:
Because of the weather, a lot of things have just been “hanging on”.

3. Fragrant steppables. 2/3 barely clinging on. Low growing scented plants – pennyroyal and some things smelling of mint. I killed one of them. What’s hard is that I have to water this stuff every single day. I wasn’t around in late January – so one of the mint-smelling plants has disappeared.

4. Rhubarb/rose/asparagus patch. Last winter, I planted a rhubarb victoria crown which had a guarantee of red stems. There was another crown which I planted about two years ago (bought from the big green hardware store), but its stems always seemed a bit weedier in comparison. Rhubarb Victoria is just clinging on to life, and I mulched it (again) sometime this week. The other one which has been giving me green stems has died off again (second time!) due to lack of water.

5. Banana plant
Banana on the left, apple on the right.
January 2014 - banana
It’s grown a lot since November. It’s not liking the strong sun or the heat – look at the sun damage on those leaves – yet I thought that a banana plant was a tropical plant. I guess I was wrong.

Show and Tell

January 2014 -frangipani

Frangipani! For the past few years, whilst I have been watering this frangipani stem in the pot, I thought that this was a yellow flowerer. I generally prefer these because the flower is longer lasting. This month it has sprouted flowers, and it turns out it has a pink flower. Hmm. I like picking up the pink flower from the neighbourhood because they have a sweeter scent than the yellow, but they don’t last as long. The other frangipani I have growing in a pot has an apricot coloured flower, but is about two years younger.

Over winter, I would like to plant one of them permanently in the garden. Which would you chose – pink or apricot?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by The Editors of Garden Variety on February 12, 2014 at 15:23

    Looks like you had a productive planting season.


  2. Thank you! A lot of it was down to luck methinks, rather than any attention on my part.


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