Thursday, August 16, 2012

My August Garden 2012

Digging over my raised garden beds
Hi everyone!
I've had lots of requests to reveal how my late winter vegetable garden is growing here in South Australia.

I blog for a Temperate/Mediterranean climate.

We’ve had a lot of rain this year in the Southern suburbs. I really think we must be in the foothills because if Adelaide is going to get any rain, we’re usually the suburb that receives it! Not to mention the fog! That’s just magical. If you have ever driven along Majors Road, O’Holloran Hill you will know exactly what type of fog I’m talking about.

We’ve only received one frost this winter in my suburb. Keep in mind that Adelaide is really a series of micro-climates. I have lived in so many different places throughout Adelaide, and my growing challenges really test my data base of knowledge.

My late winter garden - August 2012

I am currently growing:
Dwarf Curly Kale
Tuscan Nero Curly Kale
Savoy Cabbage
Snow Peas
Baby Spinach
English Spinach
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Chilies (all dying due to excessive rain)
Dwarf Broad Beans (that are anything BUT dwarf! WOW!)

My garden update - or what's alive and what's not survived...

My dwarf broad beans have been amazing this year. They are a dwarf variety but I was recommended to try Power Feed for Veggies (from Seasol). They are not only tall but heavily laden with flowers with pods setting. The bees have been delighted. And I can see why. The perfume aroma in my garden is all thanks to the broad beans. Yes, wow! It's heavenly♥

On of my failures this year are my chilies which are are all dying. I do believe that it is due to the excessive rains this year. I have drained the planters numerous times and seen to their feeding needs to no help. I confess that I am a learner grower when it comes to chilies. I am much more experienced with growing super sweet capsicums.

My capsicum plants are on their last legs this month but they are producing the most intensely beautiful fruits even though they are so small. I am so very happy to keep them for as long as they will last before they need to come out.

The savoy cabbages were a hit and miss crop. At least I can plant carrots in those planters next as crop rotation requires. We made homemade Chiko Rolls (a great Australian icon!!!) which were GREAT!

The potatoes in sacks are growing amazingly fast. They have received several top ups of soil already, which requires the bags to be rolled up higher.

My pea crop is a late starter as I had a little problem earlier on in the season which I thought was only a slug and snail issue. Turns out that it was a family of rats coming from a neighbouring property. Changing my bait soon sorted all that out. Now they are finally bouncing back and looking wonderful.

The snow peas are bearing already but I can see signs of rust on a couple of the leaves. That's my next job.

Dwarf Navelina Orange Tree
Winter 2012 has been my citrus fruit tree year.
New additions to my garden include a dwarf Meyer Lemon, dwarf Emperor Mandarin and my brand new addition this week is a dwarf Navelina Orange which I will tell you all about very soon.

I have some very exciting plans for winter 2013. Stick around for more details.

Gardening TO DO List for August (Winter)

  • With the finer days (in a row) now is the time to spray for bindi weeds in the lawn.
  • Dig over the empty garden beds and renew them with a mix of Blood & Bone, Dolomite Lime and Compost.
  • Dig in manures for the nitrogen hungry plants you are planning to sow.
    (Not for carrots or they will fork or ‘grow legs’)
  • If you grow sweet corn, think about how you will be watering them. Install drip lines now. Remember that sweet corn like a lot of water. Letting the soil dry out will cause crop failure.
  • This is your last chance to clear sour sob weeds.
    They will have already gone to flower which means that the new bulbs are developing. Pull as much as you can around the plants you want to keep and spray the rest to stop bulb development.
  • The winter rains reveal where you have poor drainage. Now is the time to spot mossy or muddy areas. Add the needed compost, water saving granules (e.g. Wetta Soil), gypsum or pebbles.
  • Rain and removal of previous crops can affect the soil pH levels. Invest in a soil pH test kit or pH meter from your local hardware store. To ‘sweeten’ the soil up (neutralise) simply sprinkle over some Dolomite Lime.
  • Flowers that are self-seeding may need to be dug up and moved to barer spots in the garden.
  • Buy a Rain Water Tank. Any rain water harvesting you can do now before the harsh dry summer arrives will see your garden through.
  • Dig out old roots while the ground is still damp. Inspect your fence line especially to minimise future fence damage.
  • Sow a crop of Green Manure to increase the nitrogen in the soil. When tall enough, snip off tops, allow to rot down on top of the soil and dig through.
  • Last month to buy Fruit Trees, especially the deciduous varieties and berry bushes.
  • Inspect plants for signs of rust and mites. Spray with Yates Lime Sulfur.

Garden bed preparation time for Spring sowing 

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