Sunday, 27 January 2013

Vegetable garden low

Last summer was warm but no-one could really say it was hot. As I am constantly outside working on gardens I was pretty pleased to say the least. Many of my friends and family (who work indoors) complained that we really didn't have much heat and felt it was a bit more like an English summer. This year is quite a different story. We have had very little rain and the temperatures have broken records.  

While my loved ones have had to listen to me complain about working (and nearly dying) with the heat it is nothing compared to the poor suffering garden. While I have added compost, peat, manure, mulch and surfactants by the bucket load I am on sandstone, with very sandy soils. My plants have gulped any water they get but they are becoming more hydro-phobic as the extended summer goes on. I also live in high forest country so I am grateful the fires that are burning around the country have not been started in our area. Here are a few plants after our hottest day on record.

The chilli colasped while the basil thrives

I have re-planted the rhubarb in part shade of  the front garden, of course it is not the time for transplants so I cross my fingers it survives past February

I had only just taken some beautiful photos of the Eucomis for bloom day
The vegetable garden has suffered the most and like Liz it seems I also have a rat problem to top it off. The cucumber and beans have not only lost their get up and go but any flowers have been munched back to sticks and seem to have given up the will to carry on. I should have taken a photo before I left for the weekend but forgot.

The cucumber flowering and fruiting happily in it's early days
The pumpkin is threatening to take over and have a flower or two but I am yet to discover anything else. The zucchini I think is working with the pumpkin (ie veggie patch domination) and seems to have eased on fruit production. 

My biggest battle is with the eggplant. I have to say they started life in the front under the liquidambar where they didn't grow at all in the 3-4 weeks until they took up residence in the new vegie plot. They are completely covered in holes. I thought at first it might be caterpillar but I have searched and there is no sign of them or even any poo. They are however completely covered in ladybugs and their larvae.

Does anyone know if these guys are good or bad?

Holey leaves
There is some fruit production but they have green bottoms and are quite small. I have yet to try them so I don't know if they are worth it.  I wonder if I should simply pull them out re-fertilised and start again.  I expect there is still going to months of hot weather ahead.

On a more positive note the corn is charging on and I don't expect it will be too long before we are happily munching away on them. How are your gardens coping with the weather conditions at your place?



  1. Those ladybugs are enemies...they are called 28spot ladybugs. I remember seeing them in my first year of veggie growing and thinking it was great to see them...until my zucchini and eggplants got eaten!

  2. Thanks Cynthia I had my suspicions about those bugs. Too many spots. Damn I will see if the fruit is worthwhile before the get pulled out, sigh.

  3. i suspect we are not alone - I heard on the radio that a lot of people are having problems with rats this year - there has been something of a population explosion. I often eat my eggplant with a bit of green on the bottom (although usually normal size) and they are still delicious - Bonica I find often doesn't lose its green tinge. We had our first rain of the year last night - yay for 1.4mm - not good is it? Hope your plants recover from the climate and pests - gardening aint easy sometimes is it?

    1. Oh damn a rat population explosion is not something I am keen to hear about. Yes we have had a huge amount the rain (thankfully not as much as Queensland or Northern NSW. The garden looks quite happy.

      Crazy summer with fires and floods...

  4. I think we are all suffering. What a shame about that chilli plant! My eggplant have the same lady beetle on it and I have no idea if it is a good or bad one! I think I will get some eggplants this year but they are tiny. I keep waiting for them to get bigger and they haven't so I think they are ready to pick. Its a tough year!

    1. A tough year indeed. Lets hope it all starts to settle down a little now. I picked the eggplants not the greatest will post about them on Tuesday