June 2012 Week 2

First Frosts

We are now definitely into our winter season. Morning temperatures have been very cold and this week saw three frosts including our first for the season. I always enjoy a good frost, the plants seem to love it and it reminds me of my early years in Terheyden, The Netherlands when I looked at our front window with frosty patterns over the windows. We never get that amount of frost here and if we get 6 frosts during winter and early spring it will be a surprise.

I spent the early mornings before work mulching the avocado garden and it is starting to take on the look of promise we all strive for after the first year of planting, although there is more to be planted here just yet.

MORE ON FITTING UP THE TANKS

With very little daylight these days not much can get done before and nothing after work. The winter solstice is only a week away and then we see even darker mornings but we shall start to see a lengthening at the end of the day. On Saturday afternoon I added a permanent 18mm hose connection point to the 27kl tank. This is to make water transfer an easy process by simply clicking on the 18mm hose when pumping from the other tanks. The connection is located above the overflow of the tank so there will always be an air gap and therefore no risk of cross contamination. At this time the tank is at about the 50% level. There is no more rain expected until the end of next week.

Pumping Inlet fitted to 27Kl Tank

Later on Saturday afternoon I also set about refitting the outlet to the 22kl tank near the growers. I had been concerned that the outlet structure could hit by the truck when being backed into its usual packing space so I set about reducing its extension and now I simply have a ball valve, brass tee with 25mm riser to a ball valve, a male camlock fitting with a camlock dust cap attached. Total extension is now about 200mm compared with 350mm previously and the risk of  being knocked and damaging the threaded outlet is significantly reduced.

DOWNPIPE FITTED TO WORKSHOP ROOF

One thing I really hate is heights but on Sunday it was necessary to get on the roof of the incubator shed and fit a downpipe to the workshop roof so that the water from its gutter gets into the tanks. There was no intention to make this a permanent job as the gutter on this roof will have to be replaced when I finish the new access door and wall (yet to be reported on here). Anyway I simply installed a 1 metre section of downpipe with an elbow directed into the 5000l tank gutter.

SUNDAY PLANTING DAY

With the exception of the downpipe I had decided on Sunday being planting day in the back area.

PINEAPPLE QUINCE

Snow at Peninsula Nursery had a selection of Quince trees and I decided on the Pineapple quince as it is better suited to jellies and pastes than some of the other varieties he had available. The quince was planted against the growers’ fence next to the Lady William apple and will be espaliered against the fence. I am not after a huge quantity of fruit but just enough to make some nice jellies and pastes to go with our blue cheeses.

Quince newly planted June 2012

NOT ANOTHER PASSIONFRUIT

Passionfruit vines generally do not start well around here but once under way they produce really well. Our first three twenty years ago failed to take off and just sulked until we ripped them out. The fourth took off almost immediately and produced thousands of fruit over the next four years. We then decided to plant another to take over in a couple of years and the same happened. several plantings before one eventually took hold. Once that was under way it also produced tons of fruit. Eventually that died when we took over the toy shop in Maitland, possibly due to neglect as we were severely taxed physically trying toe get on top of this new enterprise. Since then I have tried another three: the first simply sulked and remains in the orchard area but showing no advancement, then next was dug up by a fox after the dead chickens planted under it as advised by a garden ‘guru’ and the third was planted on Sunday. The latest is now planted in the place of the failed kiwi fruit vines and hopefully that will go on and make use of the trellis frame. In the past I have been told not to overwater the plant but that was of no consequence so this time I am going to keep it very well watered for a few weeks to see if I can force it into making growth!

Grafted black passionfruit planted 1206

CREEPING ROSEMARY

Peninsula Nursery was having a sale on plants where there were 5 plants for $20. I latched onto a few prostrate rosemary plants in 125mm pots and thought these would make a good groundcover at the front of the Avocado Garden so they are planted between the Hippeastrums and over some of the bulbs. This is just an experiment to see if I can cover the bulbs with a green mulch and still have them flower next season. If the worst comes to worst I will at least have some culinary rosemary making an ideal ground cover under the avocadoes.

Creeping Rosemary June 2012 newly planted.

GALTONIA VIRIDIFLORA

One of the recently arrived Lambley bulbs despeartely needed planting. At least one of the bulbs, all of which were very wet, was sowing signs of breaking down with some slimy patches even though they were in the sawdust they travelled over in. All planted now and mulched over so I hope they will take off and become established.

AVOCADO SERVICE

Last year we planted some avocados and settled them in with 1.2m high guards. This worked well, as it has in the past, but in the past we let them grow out of the guards then removed them altogether. It only took one summer like this for trees to become sunburnt on their trunks and branches (or that is what it looked like) and they simply die. The plan this time is to make bigger and higher guards to keep the entire tree protected for at least another year. If bark forms on the trunk and the main branches are shaded by a good quantity of leaves we may remove the guards but even then I intend to paint the trunk with white acrylic paint as a sun protection measure for at least another summer.

Two of the avocados have not fully recovered from lime induced chlorosis although they have improved significantly. While the new guards were being made up (by Pamela after I made the first one) I tidied up the trees and retied the stakes and mulched underneath. I then gave each one another dose of ultraferro to overcome the chlorosis suffered by the Hass and Bacon varieties. I will monitor the trees and see an improvement.

New avocado guards built to a height of 1.8m but with one corner tied with plant ties to allow service access.

TAKING CUTTINGS

Pervoskia & Meigan’s Magic Salvia

I have been so impressed with the duration and colour of the perovskia this year I thought I would test my new heated propagation tray on these and the following cuttings.

My new propagator (birthday present) in use for the first time June 2012.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato Beauregard cuttings a week after being in a jar of water. June 2012.

QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY MONDAY 11th June 2012

It is great to have a Monday off, the extra day tacked onto the weekend makes all the difference to a retailer’s recovery. It gives that one extra day to wind down and clear the mind, not to mention getting my projects advanced a bit.

This time I devoted to my vege garden as it has long been overdue to plant our my garlic bulbs, start my onion seedlings and  harvest the sweet potatoes.

The bed for garlic has been ready for a few weeks now with only a few carrots already sown. I planted up a section each of Elephant garlic saved from my own plants from last season, Cream Garlic saved from my own plants and Purple or Spanish Garlic also saved from my bulbs.

In the last remaining unplanted section of Bed 2 I set aside a section for onion seeds. These will be germinated here then transplanted in July to their final growing spot. This worked really well last year so will repeat the process. Planted this year: Yates Sweet red Onion (full packet); Yates Brown Spanish (full packet); Diggers Sweet Domenica (half packet left over from 2011); Eden Seeds Ailsa Craig (half packet left over from 2011).

SWEET POTATO HARVEST

The sweet potato harvest is over and what a bumper crop we had this year. The potted plants I bought from Diggers and Daleys have produced equally well. Apart from growing well above ground, which was obvious as they covered the entire trellis provided, the underground tubers were amazing!. One before, about 10-15 years ago, I planted a shop bought tuber hoping to grow some sweet potatoes. The tops grew very well but when I looked below ground there was nothing. I was pretty new to sweet potatoes then and just about everyone told me they were a sub-tropical plant so a failure was no surprise.

I didn’t try again until I saw Digger’s magazine promoting sweet potatoes. I plunged in and had another go but because of several failures of Digger’s plants I also sourced another plant from Daley’s Nursery. Both plants were supposed to be the ‘Beauregard’ variety, and they may in fact have been so, but the shape of tubers from the two sources were entirely different.

Adrian beside the Sweet Potato trellis in June 2012 just before harvest.

Each plant produced about equal weights of roots, 6.5kg each. Daley’s plant had tubers that were smaller in diameter than those from the Diggers plant but were much longer. Taste seems to be about the same.

Diggers sweet potato’s tubers were literally bursting out of the ground. June 2012

Harvesting the Diggers Beauregard Sweet potatoes June 2012.

I can’t stop grinning with the great haul of sweet potatoes. June 2012.

The Daley’s sweet potatoes, while just as prolific are much longer and narrower than the Diggers plant. June 2012.

I intend this year to try and propagate my own sweet potatoes. I took some slips from the original plants put them in water inside in full light on my heated propagator. If they don’t strike, being June, I have the roots which I will strike in spring and if necessary I will go back to Diggers and Daley’s. The result has bee fabulous and we do love Sweet Potatoes!

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2 Responses to “June 2012 Week 2”

  1. theprimalsexy Says:

    You have quite an impressive garden! I’d love to try planting my own avocados and sweet potatoes. It must be a great feeling when you finally get to harvest and then cook them!

  2. Adrian Kuys Says:

    I love trying new plants but not all are successes but these went well and it is very exciting when new projects work out! Give them a go, you never know, it just might be good for you as well.

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