December in the Garden
December 2, 2013
Well…Summer………It has just started and I am sickened to have a tomato plant graveyard on my lawn. I have just pulled out 5 tomato plants that have been infected by a mold I think is caused by the unseasonable cold and damp conditions. Five plants is huge! Huge because I have already removed 9 others prior to now for the same reason, 14 in total. What a waste. Despite this, one of the first ones I planted has fruit ripening on it. That makes me very happy!
I am eagerly checking the fruit on a daily basis to make sure that all is well. Also, I must admit that, I think I probably had too many plants in the area. Creating the gaps now allows me to space the plants a little less densely.
I grew them from seed and they had grown and started to flower, which then rotted as mold and black spots spread across the plant. I can not begin to imagine the absolute devastation that a farmer must feel when harsh weather conditions wreak havoc on the crop that sustains their family and life.
This post is a regular monthly garden update with a wonderfully talented group of gardening enthusiasts around Australia and the globe called The Garden Share Collective, hosted by Strayed From The Table. Take the time to visit some of the other gardens. They are all inspirational.
My garden this month, despite the terrible weather has really moved along. After looking at last months pictures I am surprised by the growth.
The strawberry plants are spreading out and have a great deal of new growth. The tomatoes and eggplants in the same area are also progressing well, although I am yet to spot any fruit maturing on those.
The pumpkins are being trained to climb upwards and are looking healthy and happy. I have three plants in the area so may need to remove at least one but will wait and see how they progress.
After 5 zucchini plants were eaten and 2 more nibbled I have added 2 new plants that I was gifted to a different bed. I was beginning to think I was going to get a Summer with no excess of zucchini this year. Summer is not Summer without a glut of those 🙂
The soil in the big tractor tyre that I use for growing potatoes has the most amazing soil. It also has a million Slaters in there.
I decided to give some beetroots and carrots a try in there as the potatoes have finished. The Slaters loved the little plants. They have left me half of what I planted. Now we have had training! My kids have set up a smashing station and they find them and squish them. Gruesome but totally justifiable. I take offence to anything that messes with my garden!
The corn is progressing well. The plants are all of various heights as the germination rate was lower than I expected. I added seeds on 4 different occasions in order to fill the space I had designated to corn. This is not such a bad thing I guess as it will also space out the harvest when it is ready.
The leeks in that garden area are ready to collect but I am pondering what I will use them for. For now they will stay where they are. There are also potatoes ready to harvest but I will also leave them to continue to get a little larger and just grab what I need.
The little fruit trees that we planted as bare rooted in Winter are all looking healthy.
We removed and destroyed all of the leaves that showed signs of leaf curl from the Peach and it seems to have improved. I also removed all of the immature fruit to allow the plant the ability to recover.
I have not planted much this month just some more carrots, beetroots, lettuce, tarragon and chives.
We have now harvested almost all of the onions and garlic that we planted. I have picked kilos and kilos of onions and so many shallots I have no idea what I am going to do with them all. I planted them on our return from a trip to Thailand where I learned to cook many Thai recipes that use them – but I have so so so much! If you have any good shallot recipes let me know 🙂
I did read, and need to find a post I saw a little while ago about preserving garlic. I would like to try a similar thing with some of the shallots. If that fails I will finally head off to the local food swap that I have been meaning to attend for months and months now.
I have a row of garlic plants still in the ground. The bulbs are smaller than I would prefer but I will harvest them if the weather stays dry in the coming weeks. They have all other signs of being ready. At this point water should stop to them but the constant rain has kept the soil damp. I am nervous to leave them in much longer in case they start to rot.
The garlic, shallots and onions that I have harvested have been plaited and are hanging under the deck and in the garage. They will stay there to dry for a few weeks before being moved to under the house. There should be enough onions and shallots for the year but I will need to buy garlic down the track as we use it in almost everything and this year’s crop is a little smaller than I expected. I will be making a batch of my Onion Chilli Chutney in the next week or so to use up some of the onions also. I would also love to try out this glorious sounding soup from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. It has been on my “to do” list since last year.
The removal of all of these onions, garlic and shallots has created some lovely space in the garden beds.
I am going to wait to see how the weather tracks over the coming couple of weeks before adding more tomatoes and capsicums.
Last month in my garden I was a little distressed by the Slater attacks, the leaf curl and other issues I was having. I must have had a bad day when I was writing that post as although these things mostly remain I have persisted and things are turning around as the first days of Summer have presented us (finally) with some warmth.
I have netted the raspberries and we are collecting a small number of these glorious berries each day. The large straggly rocket plants have been removed and new ones are now growing well.
There has been no further work done on the backyard this month.
We are having a short break over Christmas. If you are taking a break you may wish to review my post from last year on tips to prepare your garden for an absence. Last year we had a long 5 week absence over the hot Summer period. The post outlines how I prepared my garden for my absence.
I will not be planting anything this month – I will not be offended if you do not believe that 😉
I will be monitoring the tomatoes and other plants, weeding and adding some liquid fertiliser if the weather is dry.
Have a great month in the garden and a happy and safe festive period. I hope that it is a wonderful time for you and those that you love.
My next garden update will be in February.
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