Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Egg shell seed tray update, fall berry bushes, compost tea

Left image: So the egg shell tray experiment earlier this month was a partial success, with 9 out of 10 pak choi egg cells germinating. This isn't the most efficient way to grow seedlings, but I imagine that I'll have quite a collection of egg shells by the time spring rolls around next year!

And on the right, to get ahead of the fall online ordering rush, I sent for a Mojo Berry mulberrry bush and a yellow raspberry. When the pandemic had us all on lockdown in March, garden nurseries were either at full stop or backlogged for weeks in processing orders. I hope we never have to go through that again.

This year I also tried using compost tea for the first time. Take several generous scoops of compost, add water, allow to sit for a day or two, and pour off the liquid into a watering can.! The amount of growth in everything that I used it on was utterly amazing. For instance, my potted kaffir lime tree. Note the leaves to the left: these are normal size, the same size when I first bought the tree. To the right are the leaves after fertilizing with compost tea. I gave only one application each to the kaffir lime and calamandino, and they look very healthy.

Cosmos varieties and Lilliput zinnia

The small harvests these days consist of the last of the tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, and Mara de Bois strawberries. Not a bad total yield for this year given a late start in June. Tuscan kale and kohlrabi seedlings are in the ground for winter, but the real stars now are the flowers as they continue bloom after bloom. I get so OCD about deadheading spent flowers that they don't stand a chance of reseeding until I say so.

Crimson Emperor nasturtium

Monday, September 7, 2020

August & September in the garden

Chopping down the mirabelle

Since my husband aka MotH does not read my garden blog I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm glad he's back at work! It has been quite the extended summer what with his smartworking from home during lockdown and then the 4-day work weeks when the company finally reopened. But when the office issued a mandatory August off to use up accumulated vacation time, I knew I'd never have time to properly sit down and blog. I would never have my own space!

That's not to say August went by without incident. On the contrary, it was a big deal to get rid of the mirabelle plum. For several years it had been plagued with aphids each season and failed to produce healthy fruit, so we both decided it best to chop it down. I will miss the small yellow plums that reminded us of northeastern France (that's where we first learned of mirabelles), but what to put in its place is still up in the air.

The vegetable yields are off this year since it was only warm enough to transplant in the 2nd half of June: moderate crop of tomatoes, zero zucchini (lebanese), a handful of Parisian pickling cucumbers, and just over a pound of patty pan squash. There were loads of male flowers on the zucchini and patty pan, but hardly any females. I can't say if it had anything to do with the weather (which stopped being hot at the end of August), but all I saw was a lot of powdery mildew and slugs in the garden.

Large patty pan squash bushes. Spread is about 2' with vine length at 3'.

Now, in September, I'm in fall garden mode and hope to get good germination with some new (and old) seeds in my stash. These egg shell trays are something that I'd seen on garden blogs and am giving them a try. If the chard and turnip leaves don't come up (old seeds), the whole lot will simply go into the compost bin.