Water conservation at the allotment

I’m putting the allotment to bed for the summer.  This week I ripped out the lettuces that had bolted, and the climbing beans that had done their dash before covering the whole allotment (all 16 square metres!) with another layer of sugar cane mulch.

The water bill over at the farm has escalated to such a degree through the past dry months that we have been asked to be more diligent with our use of water and a good layer of mulch is the answer.  After watering it keeps the moisture in the soil, and it protects the soil from drying out in the hot sun. It reached 32c degrees today.

So although I mulched a few weeks ago I topped it up. That should be enough now to take me through the summer.

The summer crops are planted – zucchini, Lebanese cucumbers, eggplant, melons and pumpkins. I also have a small bed of dwarf beans which are flowering but have already been attacked by rust on the leaves. The hot humid weather seems to bring all the pests and diseases with it.  Despite that, it never ceases to amaze me just how much stuff I manage to harvest.

I am growing capsicum and tomatoes in pots on the balcony at home so that I can give them daily care. It’s rather thrilling to see the little capsicums emerging, and I’m rather proud of the single tomato now growing strong.  (I know. I don’t get out enough!)

I realise that a photograph is straw is not very exciting. But here it is anyway.

Lebanese cucumber – keeping it’s roots nice and cool

Happy gardening.

Much Mulching

Plenty happening over at the allotment today.

The weather is warming up again so I made an early start over at the allotment at 7:30am and I harvested what was left of the kohl rabi, flat leafed parsley and giant endive before clearing the ground. I added manure and blood and bone before using the ‘Big Fork’ to turn it all over.

I hosed over the whole allotment and covered it with sugar cane mulch which should hopefully see me through the worst of the summer, keep the weeds down and keep the moisture in the soil.

I will be planting zucchini in the foreground, where I cleared the ground this morning.  I have already planted melons, dwarf beans and cucumbers but they are only just emerging as tiny plants so you cannot see them in the photographs.

Here is the allotment from the other side. I still have plenty of silver beet, Cavolo Nero and curly leafed kale.  In the foreground a row of Freckled Lettuce and the potatoes growing in the orange bags. Still a few weeks before I can harvest the potatoes.

Below is my first climbing bean of the season. Should have a nice handful for dinner by the end of the week.

I have lots of these Freckled lettuce, better eat them pretty quick as once the weather heats up I’m expecting they’ll bolt. Silly really, we can grow lettuces in Brisbane in the winter, but in the summer when we all want salads – lettuces bolt!

I finished the heavy work by 9:30am which was good because Linda Brennan from Ecobotanica arrived at the farm to give us a workshop on growing “Fruit in Pots”.

Tatiana and Linda at the workshop

While we were walking around the farm and snipping clippings from trees to propagate we came across this cute little fellow. Look closely and you’ll see the tiny tree frog sitting on a kafir lime leaf. If you know the size of one of these leaves, and you see that the frog is sitting on one leaf without it drooping, you can guess how tiny it was. No bigger than the first joint of my thumb.

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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