Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leafy Greens

With all the chatter lately about the renovation of the kitchen and its associated areas (aka the 'great room'), you might be under the impression that PK and I had completely forgotten all about our little raised garden and the bounty of home grown food to be found therein...
Fresh! Fruits and vegetables in León HDRImage by marcp_dmoz via Flickr
If you had thought that- well, you'd be pretty much on the mark! Unfortunately, with the past few months without any rain and more than 50 consecutive days over 30°C, the vegie patch has definitely suffered! I'm definitely no expert, but both PK and I have the basic knowledge that plants need water to grow, which unfortunately means another task to add to the daily list without the free stuff from the sky. We've been trying really hard to remember to water frequently, but bit by bit the plants have withered or just gone completely feral. :( The first to jump ship were the lettuces- with all the heat, they bolted to seed and started to resemble seaweed, a little like this: (If only I'd read this before ripping them up!)
From PatnSteph
The carrots didn't really ever take off- probably something to do with the way I planted the seedlings originally. They were the last into the ground and by that stage in the process I was quite exhausted and pretty much just plopped them unceremoniously into the dirt as they were in the container. That probably wouldn't have been a problem- if at some stage we had thinned them out a little! Ooops! The tiny baby carrots were still pretty tasty!
Baby Baby CarrotImage by essgee51 via Flickr
The perpetual spinach has been a consistent performer- I think maybe I got the planting just right for that one! Then there is the bok choi- I think it prefers this much warmer environment! We haven't been able to use it fast enough (and currently without a kitchen we can't use it at all at the moment!). Here it is going a little nuts, with some leaves as big as dinner plates:
Mmm leafy! The capsicum plants have by far been the worst hit though. They have been sucked dry by little blighters that I think are aphids. Whatever they are, the infestation was so bad not even spraying with White Oil was good enough to get rid of them. So then I decided that a little bit of airing might do the trick and pulled up a couple of the worst performers. (You are the weakest link- goodbye!) One of the plants had some form of fungi growing at it's base- no wonder that one didn't grow anything! The last remaining plants are still struggling through but I think we totally failed at capsicums this year!
Hidden just behind the capsicums is the real star of the show- the chilli plant! After its first flush of produce (which I was worried was taking too long to turn red), it has been bringing the heat consistently- here is a batch I took to a chilli-loving friend's house as a small house 'warming' gift:
So there have been some triumphs and quite a few failures this first summer in the vegie patch. I'm starting to think now about what we can plant next- and what we should do with the produce that is still coming. Do we need to do the whole crop rotation thing? When should we start planting? And what should we plant? If you have any ideas, let me know! Until then, I think I'll leave you with a last shot of the leafy green goodness of the bok choi!

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