Tuesday, January 20, 2015

pests, weeds, and harvests

The worst part about garden maintenance is the question of what to do about pests and weeds. It causes all kinds of issues in my indecisive brain, along with the eternal guilt of "maybe if I ignore it, it'll go away?" And the permaculture principles which is that weeds are plants in the wrong place, and pests are a food source for predators in your garden and therefore to be encouraged.

Garden in January

The biggies this year have been mildew on the zucchini (thankyou, Bunnings) and pumpkin (thanks to the zucchini), slugs on the corn (dealt with via beer), and now pests in the corn silks - including a few worms in the ears.

The mildew is being dealt with thanks to bicarb soda spray - 1 tablespoon bicarb, 2 tablespoons olive oil, mix well, add 2L warm water, shake and spray. I do need to do the whole garden a thorough going-over but with some cutting and trimming and spraying it's being dealt with. Mostly.

Garden Harvest

I put a whole bunch of mildewed leaves (as well as the zucchini stalks) into the latest compost which seems to be getting pretty hot, although I don't know if it's hot enough to kill the mildew. I had to pull up the zucchini to make space for other plants - they were getting outtahand.

The slugs eating my corn silks I got with beer traps. Most of them. They seem to be somewhat fewer these days - possibly because the caterpillars, bugs, and ants have moved into the corn silks. I tried spraying with vinegar and the corn husks went yellow and dried out. But it seemed to slow down the pest activity. However, recommended was to rub the tops of the corn together to kill the pests in the top which I will be trying with the corn in future. Or maybe a drop of olive oil.

Garden Harvest

Garden Harvest

But by far the worst offender - not in the backyard garden, but in the frontyard orchard, is what my mother calls 'onion weed'. The stuff is a noxious weed all over the place, whose 'use' is mostly attracting pollinators. That one's going to be a horror to clear out, because you need to pick out all the little bulbs and there are a lot of little bulbs! *sob*

Finally, my multicitrus graft is not doing so well in its new position - I'm not sure if it's because it's not getting enough nutrients or something else, but I'm going to have to take action soon...

In more positive news, the garden is producing madly: the zucchini are still huge and flowering and producing like crazy.

Garden Harvest

The gherkin cucumbers are growing so fast I think I"m going to have to do some urgent pickling pretty damn soon.

Garden Harvest

Garden Harvest

The pumpkins have been trussed and are being trained up lines and across gardens.

Garden Harvest

And, pests or no, the corn is ready!

Garden Harvest

Garden Harvest

Garden Harvest

And delicious!

Garden Harvest

The tomatoes are ripening - I seem to have tiny red grapes, tiny red cherry, and larger ones growing in the front orchard. Some of the seedlings I was growing back in November have finally gotten big enough to be planted out, so hopefully there'll be a harvest from them later!

In the area of neighbourhood foraging I found a lilly pilly overhang in the walk-through on the way to the station. Might nip out and grab a few berries for a try this evening!

Garden Harvest

And I have a lovely-smelling plant that I think is lemonbalm but which I'm not entirely certain...

Garden Harvest

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