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Tereza's 2019-2020 summer garden (southern hem)

 
gardener
Posts: 1828
Location: South of Capricorn
714
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
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So here is what I've got so far. I don't get cold enough to have "truly fallow" beds in the winter. Crops keep growing, so I generally have 1 or 2 beds planted with some sort of rabbit forage (oats, buckwheat, sorghum) after burying a bokashi bucket in it, "taking a break". I try to keep it all mulched with sugarcane bagasse. I've kept these rabbits for a year and a half now and they are making a marked difference, both in terms of their manure as well as their eating the weeds I pull (much less to mulch, and better mulch).
I have a lot of bug pressure, lots of bugs I never saw before. Nearly everyone uses toxic gick but there are some folks with ideas on Youtube lately and I've been testing my luck. Lately doing well with a disgusting fermented onion skin concoction. The bean beetles have been amazingly terrible the last few years, so I'm trying whatever I can find.




Overall view looking out off my porch (my house is behind the porch. The house takes up the whole lot, there is no connection between front yard and back yard, and everything (including the bundles of sugarcane bagasse I get out of the trash and bring home to mulch) has to go through my small house's kitchen. But it's a great house, no more than I need, and I'm thrilled with it.
The lot is 7 m across and maybe 8 m down. Soil is heavy clay, so the main path (down sloping) was concreted to avoid the old muddy boot problem. Beds were enclosed using recycled clay roofing tiles to try to keep down invasive grasses. I catch rainwater in that big old barrel. In this pic you can see it's spring and everything is going wild with regular rain and heat. The things on the walls are passionfruits (the one on the right got shredded by a hailstorm about a month or two ago but you'd never know it). I have a lot of volunteers and let them stay if they`ll be useful- which is why there is a weird wild chicory, a bunch of white mulberries, and red shiso plants absolutely everywhere.



This is my "hospital" area (it's protected under the eaves) as well as mulch storage. This poor blueberry is recuperating from drought. I plant my scallion tops in the "manger". You can see a plant on the left with a weirdish snowflake-shaped leaf. My mother in law gave me the seed saying it was bitter melon (which has exactly the same leaf and growth habit) but it turns out to be achocha- a good cucumber substitute for rainy years when cucumber doesn`t do well. I keep it and enjoy it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclanthera_pedata





Looking out for cats amongst the basil




Pole beans, bitter eggplant (jiló), kale, and a mystery volunteer squash. I think it might be acorn? You can also see a white bag at bottom, it is blue potatoes. So far so good, my second season with them, just unrolled the bag and heaped up earlier today.




a half-fallow bed. Far part got a bokashi barrel dumped and buried a few months ago and black oats planted on top to feed rabbits later. In the mid ground there is a patch of garlic, and foreground has some collards and kale. As well as chrysanthemums, which are mysteriously happy in the summer heat?




Next bed down, more pole beans and some baby Asian eggplants planted among the mulch. The papayas were compost volunteers and I'm letting them grow as trellises for scarlet runner beans; they seem to both be males so unlikely to fruit but they do make good supports. I use a lot of rebar in my garden, wood is expensive and tends to weather badly.
In the top right is a chayote I keep for rabbit browse (hello rabbits in the back corner), there used to be a tangerine tree in the middle of this bed but it was constantly full of leaf curl and never flowered, so I just cut it down.





farther down the hill I have a few things in pots (sweet potatoes, yellow plum) and a blood orange tree I just put in the ground after last year it was covered with some sort of scale bug. It looks much happier now and if I'm not mistaken I see some fruit. I had it for about 5 years in a container and got one orange; maybe this year I'll get lucky! Next to it is some buckwheat, that back corner used to be a sandpile after some construction, I'll probably cut it and feed the foliage to the rabbits (it's already flowering.... I planted it maybe a month ago) and then reseed it again. In the box at left is asparagus, grown from seed. Cant get that for love nor money here, I just dug up and divided the crowns this spring and am letting it recover this year. Next year, it's on my plate. The box is about 10 or 12 inches deep. My soil is clay and rocks, so I figured asparagus needed some special treatment.



I also have an entire container garden under the carport (plantport) in my front yard. The tomatoes have too much bug pressure out in the open, but under the carport they have a shot. This year this gladiola surprised me, I've never seen one so dark.

 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 1828
Location: South of Capricorn
714
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
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So here we are some months later and WOW things have grown! I originally had hoped to update every month but... between end of year work craziness, travel, holidays, etc, we are skipping a bit.

I took this yesterday before ripping out most of the green beans (which have yielded.... a lot.) Also right before a storm, and the light was very strange. Mint has taken over, the small trees are getting big.

The tiny papayas are now taller than me, and to a certain extent are interfering with the clothesline (only temporary, as they grow taller. Once frost comes in June they'll probably die back).
The one in the front did indeed turn out to be a male, but the hummingbirds love the flowers so I left it (for those days when I forget to keep the feeders full.... I know they'll have something to eat). The one in the middle turned out to be a hermaphrodite and has a few small fruit. These fruit we will harvest green when they get big enough and cook as a veg, which is one of my favorite things. The third papaya is too small to have declared its identity, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

It is so interesting to see the old pics, where the garden is under control. Right now everything is all over the place. The bitter eggplant was relentlessly attacked by sucking insects, but is still alive. The squash was indeed an acorn, and I got one tiny squash. Everything grew so tall (including the chicory, which is now in flower)

Orange has a few oranges on it, so far so good, and I put a rhubarb in the ground where I was trying to improve the soil. It was immediately stripped by leafcutter ants, but I put down lots of coffee grounds and some rotting mangoes to distract them and it seems to have bounced back.

The formerly fallow bed was planted with initial rounds of dill and radishes, now it has a few cucumbers, okra, and garlic (and yes, that is an old bed support). The cukes are the same ones I am growing in containers in the carport- the ones in the open air are smaller but fruited faster, the ones in the carport are enormous and have many more fruit per vine.

The hospital area is totally overgrown with the "crazy cucumber" (achocha). I just made mulch from scavenged sugarcane, which is piled up there.

The Asian eggplant were grown under cover until they got big enough, considering the bug damage to the bitter eggplant. They are just flowering now and I have high hopes for them. That large bean vine going up the tepee there will be ripped out and I think I might plant cilantro just to let it bolt to encourage wasps- it is hot and raining every day, typical summer weather, and that might be a question of only a few weeks.

Lastly, it's been a good year for sweet corn. Well, sort of. I planted old seeds for "Japanese strawberry" corn with no further info. It appears to be popcorn. Was a beautiful plant, stripey and small, but I was hoping for sweet corn to eat (I can buy popcorn, can't buy sweet corn here). Very glad I planted a round of normal sweet corn after that. It's looking good. My mulberry trees look kind of sad, the corn is taller than them, but all the mulberry trees this time of year look kind of miserable so I don't feel too bad.


So far the champs this year have been pole beans (asparagus beans are just beginning to form buds, but so far no fruit despite them being planted AT THE SAME TIME as the pole beans.....) and cucumbers, which I've never had luck with before in this climate. Many kilos of both. No yields yet for the popcorn, since I'm leaving it to dry. Okra is just beginning, and it's slow going, so I am putting in another half dozen starts this weekend. Also putting in more of our staples-- greens, scallions, escarole, romaine, etc. Put in a few peppers even though this year I have had NO luck with peppers. Had a few hot ones that overwintered, but the ones i planted did absolutely nothing.

I am applying rabbit manure tea every other week, and in some cases where I have ants I'm blending eggshells and coffee grounds and throwing that on the ground.
Snails and slugs have been ridiculous and I'm removing mulch from a lot of places to try to keep up with them.



 
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Posts: 11802
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
1051
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I love to see how much you can pack into a little space!  
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 1828
Location: South of Capricorn
714
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
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Thanks! We were looking at the deed recently and I was shocked to see-- the entire lot is only 7 meters wide!! I don't think the garden part is much longer than that. 7x7 is small, yet we get a lot of food out of it!
 
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