It’s garden share collective time again hosted by strayed from the table.
May has been an interesting time in the garden for us. The first three weeks were unseasonably warm, possibly too warm for the brassicas’ liking. The last week however, was rainy and cold. Much like usual May weather.
Our two patches at the Community Garden are growing well.
This year we chose to not use organic sprays to rid the garden of pests after receiving advice from Sophie Thompson of the ABC’s Gardening Australia. The Community Garden has been inundated with white fly and cabbage moth caterpillars; it seemed to us that the only way to be rid of them was to use our usual spray concoction of chilli and garlic. But Sophie showed us that some of our plants had parasitic wasps feeding on the white fly and said the spray would also kill them and any other beneficial insects that may come along. These tiny black wasps lay their eggs in white flies and Cabbage moth caterpillars. The larvae feeds on the bugs from the inside. They then spin a tiny cocoon on the remains of the bugs, and hatch out a few weeks later starting the cycle all over again.
So instead of spraying we have been carefully picking off the Cabbage moth caterpillars and taking great delight in squishing them. We are also squashing any of the tiny yellow eggs we can find.
We have yellow sticky strips to try and catch the white fly plus we have been disturbing them as much as possible in the hope they will become annoyed enough to leave. Not spraying has also bought in other beneficials such as magpies and stick insects. We found this beauty yesterday.
So even though the bugs are turning the outer leaves of our brassica crops into lace the damage isn’t that great that we have been losing plants. We have a few cauliflowers already and Jamie had been busy wrapping them in what remains of their outer leaves so they grow big and white.
Some lettuces have popped up amongst the spring onions; not sure where the seeds came from but the plants are welcome. The white violas are to trick the territorial cabbage moths into thinking the place is already taken.
We have been harvesting radishes – they were planted to help thin the carrots, this hasn’t worked so well as we now have plenty of radishes but not too many carrots!
And we picked our first cabbage.
Our second patch is currently growing a green manure crop; we hope to plant early spring vegetables in this plot.
Meanwhile in the home garden everything is growing well and the pests are minimal compared to the Patch.
Jamie cut down the green manure, dug it through and mulched it with pea straw. The bed will be ready to plant in about 6 weeks.
The dwarf snow peas are growing well.
The red pak choy has attracted a small brown caterpillar that lays tiny brown eggs. They have done a bit of damage but we are still eating the plants. Again, we have been squashing the bugs and eggs. The kale has also been ravaged by cabbage moth caterpillars. The silverbeet and yukina are slowly sprouting though we think we might need to plant some more yukina as the germination rate has not been high.
The fennel and rocket are booming and we have quite a few parsley parsnips. There are a couple of intruders: a borage and a nasturtium but we shall keep them to attract the bees.
The three lower beds are all promising to be very prolific.
The brassica bed is doing well. The random plastic moths seem to be doing the job of keeping cabbage moths away.
Two of the perpetual spinach seeds we planted in the rectangle pots have come along nicely.
The coriander is doing well too. The copper tape works well at deterring snails.
We cut back most of the herbs this month, but still have enough to use when needed. The flowers we have scattered around the place certainly seem to be helping to attract the bees.
Not much is happening in the front garden beds; we simply ran out of time to plant anything this season. The recent rain has meant the flower beds are full of both grass and bulbs making weeding impossible. Next year we will make sure we mulch early!
Our lime tree is blossoming.
And we have one glorious lime.
Being colder I have been able to indulge my love for pansies.
We also started a facebook page for the Kailyard; it’s for blog updates and anything gardening related that we find interesting. Pop over and say hello!
red pak choy
cabbage (just the one so far)
nothing new to plant at this stage
do something with the three front beds
turn over the green manure at the patch