Sunday, 20 March 2011

late harvests

Well summer has most definitely turned to autumn.  In a normal or warmish year I'd still be letting the summer veg mature and finish up, but this year has been a bit cool and so humid that disease has ended the season early.  For example the watermelon vine completely died off, leaving only 4 watermelons in total.  And even though they all looked nice and sat on the vine for ages, they were all underripe.  Quite disappointing.
I only have two canteloupe on the vine but it's a race against time, the vine's pretty quickly dying to powdery mildew.  Now idea if I'll be able to harvest these guys.
The zucchini also suffered from powdery mildew plus an attack of aphids.  I only got three zucchinis off of it before it went back to making only male flowers.  Then the aphids slowed down and stunted a whole set of new growth.  There were finally two more female flowers last week, but no males to pollinate them, plus the mildew was getting worse and worse.  So I made an executive decision and pulled it out.
The tomatoes also reached their end.  The broad ripple never really gave up, as you can see here it was still ripening fruit even when branches were dead!
But the plants were really struggling, probably something fungal.  Although the one irony is that the Oregon spring, which hadn't developed a single flower since the first flush, put out a whole new set of growth and flowers!  But there was no way they would have developed into fruit in time to eat, so they all came out too.
The figs aren't doing very well this year either.  I got some good ones early, but now they're already bloated and messy.  At one point all the ripe figs, literally, exploded.  They looked quite beautiful, in a way, but inedible.
Not everything has been a loss though.  The cherrytime capsicum made about 8 or 10 little fruit.  They're a bit strong and sharp in flavour, though, I expected them to be sweeter.  The basil and parsley in the bed along the front of the house are going great guns too.
A real winner has been the firecracker chilies.  After the slow start when they were starved of nitrogen, they took off and haven't quit since.  I've started bringing them in to work to give away. They've got a decent heat to them, not quite as hot as a birdseye.
That's about it for the summer season.  I'll keep the chilies going as long as I can, and the herbs are all still happy, but I'm not optimistic about the cantaloupe.  I've started the first of my winter veggies - a Tuscan kale.  I'm also planning on growing snow peas and gai lan, since I know they produce well.

Monday, 7 March 2011

fruit harvest

Well I finally picked the watermelon.  The stem was still green but the vine is almost dead and it seems like it's been there forever!  I've also got figs just starting to come in, and I've actually managed to nick some from tree already.
And what a disappointment.  It's barely red inside with almost no flavour.  Not good for anything but the worm farm!  Such a shame, the weather's turned and the vine's pretty much dead from something fungal.  I don't think the other three watermelons will get any more size, but I'll leave them as long as I can stand it.
I'm saving the fig for tomorrow's breakfast, but if it's anything like the last one I'll be pretty lovely.  Not the sweetest but pretty good considering the cool, wet weather.