Sunday, 9 December 2012

The perils and pleasures of gardening

It was very satisfying to get a bit of gardening done this weekend. I finally planted out some remaining eggplant and tomato seedlings that I couldn't work out where to put until now (having made space by pulling out several bolting lettuces), sowed some more carrot seeds (my last lot of carrot seedlings died after being accidentally mulched over by the other gardener in the house) and staked the larger tomatoes, some of which already have some decent-sized fruit on them:

Didn't notice those black spots til I uploaded the photo. Hmm, must check that out...

The lettuces are growing beautifully. I have one tub of lettuces almost big enough to start picking salad leaves from, and another tub with seedlings coming up, as well as a few mature plants still left in the main vegie patch. As we currently consume more than we grow I've decided to try out Liz from Suburban Tomato's growing system and sow seeds every month or so in little pots until they're big enough to transplant to the tubs or vegie patch. This way I should have a steady supply of lettuce. I'm planting mixed lettuce seeds and cos, as well as some rocket seeds from last year's enormous rocket plant.

We are also harvesting bits and pieces here and there - mostly lettuce, but also a few garlics (one large one, two tiny ones). Last week we picked most of the ripe strawberries - a small but delicious crop:

...and it was just as well we did because the few that we left were eaten the following day by birds. Now I've had to set up a ridiculous-looking netting system to keep them out, which is a shame, because strawberry plants are too pretty to cover up.

Also coming along nicely are the beans. I have personally inspected every leaf and removed several caterpillars. I am not so fond of butterflies these days... (and I have a serious gripe with insects in general, which I will get to at the end of this post).

M's chilli collection is flourishing (and yes, that is mint in the foreground, not a chilli). I have no idea what all the different varieties are, but there are chilli plants scattered all around the front and back gardens, as well as on our porch. Today he told me that one of them, the rocoto, will grow to be ten feet tall. What will we do with all those chillies, I wonder?

I'm looking forward to picking some basil this week for our first home-grown pesto of the season. Below you can see our two giant pots of basil, the one at the back doing brilliantly while the one at the front is looking totally puny. Weird. All we can come up with is that we think we may have used different soil in one of the pots.

I suffered a gardening-related injury today: an insect flew straight into my eye while I was harvesting rocket seeds. As I write this my eye is still sore and watering. What is it with these creatures? They invade my home (we had to take out a massive cockroach last night), they eat our plants, and now they are flying kamikaze-style into my face - a declaration of war if every I heard one. Tomorrow I will be stocking up on pyrethrum and keeping my sunglasses on!

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