Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tying up loose ends

1. Kings seeds got back to me real fast and I immediately wished I had contacted them before pinching out all the growing tips on the Brandywine Pink.  The plants now look as if they have amputated limbs; which they do of course, and I see that I have foreshortened their productivity needlessly.
To quote Mr Martin, 'Brandywine Pink is one of the old tomatoes that didn't have a single stem leader bred into it, rather it takes the form of an indeterminate triffid that branches.'
Yes it does. Triffid is a good description.
'American home grdeners use an upright cage like a teepee for supporting these so the branching habit isn't an issue. They are worth preserving as they're a very tasty prolific tomato.'
Our tomatoes are strung from overhead and I have left one leader on some of them and a fruiting spur on each of the arms that were pinched out. This variety has grown the fastest and I expect them to have the first fruit ready.

The photos this week are by way of an aside. We visited the Dirt Doctor in Kakanui and were privileged to have a look around his garden. This is probably what it feels like to meet royalty. He was busy tying up tomatoes and delateraling and I knew exactly the spot he was in, leaving that to show us around. I thought of all the people I have talked to as I work without moving from the job and I was so pleased that he extended a bit more graciousness to us.
I've picked that photo of the brassicas to try and illustrate the amazing productivity of this relatively small garden. The vegetables crowd out the weeds, there's probably three times as much in his space as I would have in the same area.

Same garden, this section is right beside the sea and is surrounded by trees and shrubs to provide the first windbreak. Compost piles. No wasted labour here, they are right beside the garden, Jerusalem Artichokes to the right (Somebody out there must like them).

 2. Reporting back on the couch ('cooch', not a large sofa) that I had submerged in a barrel to drown. I put a lid on it to prevent an explosion of animal life. The nettle tea in the glasshouse had become a soup of rat tailed fly larvae that was particularly gross to dish out. However, the lack of oxygen was possibly the reason it went sour, really sour. Heaving in a bag of horse manure to speed things up may not have helped. Soon there was a white scum on top. I've incorporated some of it in a compost heap and ladled the rest around the fruit trees as a mulch. The couch looks as if it might spring back into life but it smelt absolutely dead. I hope this is the end of the story. Have cleaned out the hapless barrel and filled it up with seaweed and fresh water.

It was a hideously cold day. Is anyone surprised,  I had packed a few sacks in the car just in case we got the opportunity to collect seaweed.
3. Back to the question of the garden I want or the garden I can manage. Advice taken. I think I can have my cake and eat it too by redefining the 'manage' part. I'm thinking about taking small parts of the garden and doing them really well (the garden I want). Keep on recklessly planting seeds and put in what I can but leave
the rest (that's the manage part).

The bank drops away to the sea and Bill had to heave the seaweed over his head to get it up. Thank you kind friend. I had to keep my hands clean to take the photo. Posted by Picasa


  1. Sounds like Bill got a bit of a work out with that seaweed. I think you and seaweed collecting must be a bit like going on a trip with me when we pass a thrift shop. "let's stop and see if some old biddy has donated her stash."

  2. Brandywine sure had you fooled! Well, I hope the remaining shoots bear thooosands of pooounds of delicious fruits.
    Disgusting cold, complete with coldsore, at this house. I'm just grateful school doesn't break up until next week.

  3. That's interesting about the Brandywines. I have noticed that my Black Krim seem to want to branch a bit, I wonder if they're the same. I kept thinking I must have missed a lateral or two, and this year I determinedly cut any branches I saw off - since I 'knew' tomatoes must grow with a single straight trunk! (In the past I have just jammed extra stakes in around them to support the extra weight, but this year I was determined to do it right...)
    Great photos of Kakanui, I remember holidaying there as a kid. The beach was fun to swim at.