Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Accidental Gardening

The first year I grew these  golden dwarf beans a large proportion of the plants inexplicably died, nibbled through at the base of the stem and many of  the beans were taken out with mildew; like those 3 on the right. Grassgrubs were the culprit firstly. Secondly, the mildew is easily averted: a eureka moment, stake the beans. In their native environment I'm sure the gentle rain falling is no problem but here, the weight of the crop combined with high pressure hosing  and they hit the deck and rot. Gardeners are a resourceful and ingenious lot and sure enough I found something sufficient to the task,  the little metal bar on the basket; one per plant.

These beans came through at 9weeks from seed and are still cropping and flowering. They freeze well, that's good, and the kids all like them. That's very good.
Runner beans start flowering from the base up and the first beans were set also at 9 weeks and they will crop for weeks. First job this week was pull out the thistles from around the base. I want to encourage the community to forage around for those beans that get away to seed and slow production down.

My first humble pie of the New Year will be corn pie. I have yet to tell Bart (Otepoti Seed Savers) but out of 2 packets of Early Gem, say several hundred seed I got 26 precious seedlings below. The seed bed was bird proof but not mouse proof and it/they ate the kernels even as they sprouted. I'm supposed to be saving seed for which I need a minimum of 50 plants. I left the sprouting till after the last minute anyway because I can't put the corn in until Boxing Day when the beds are clear. The new potatoes are out on Christmas Eve and well, I have Christmas Day off.

Ran out and bought some Yates seed and seem to have thrown out the packets. It wasn't a hybrid. Having learnt my lesson it's coming on in trays. I will be cutting it fine to get cobs. I have planted a wall of cannellini beans between the two corns to separate them...not quite the prerequisite isolation distance of two miles, barely two metres.  As a result of my big win I now have the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth to guide my way and I'm going to paperbag them and keep seed for me by way of experiment.

If you ever take your child to the doctor only to find you really should have taken them in a week ago that's accidental parenting (sorry Pomble). A repeat performance,  I got down to the glasshouse after the holidays to tie up tomatoes and was already too late for some where the weight of the fruit had left the branch hanging by a thread. Accidental gardening. It's those brandywine pink (the two left photos) with their indeterminate stems and branches everywhere.The fruits are massive and delicious however they are tricky and there is some pretty dodgy foliage about. It's one of those crops where you hold your breath almost wondering whether you will pull it off.
Top right is moneymaker which is suddenly looking so attractive, completely reliable and consistent fruiting.
Blackjack cherry is the bottom right. See how big the flower sprays are. This variety is prolific, very vigourous, I am pinching out the tips as they are getting higher than I can reach, and has the best flavour of all so far.

Oh here's that photo of the corn round 2. Here's Hoping and Happy New Year too.  Posted by Picasa


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  2. Happy new year to you, too! Purple beans have been our crop of the year so far, we picked a whole lot before going away and a whole lot more when we came back. Ours are randomly growing among the beetroot, parsley, and strawberries which makes finding them rather difficult, but exciting.
    Good luck with the corn round 2.
    And thanks for the birthday present!

  3. So many delicious foods in your garden - how on earth do you decide what to cook every night?

  4. Seeing what you grow is so inspiring. My garden has been hammered by winds and general neglect. It is a very sad sight indeed