My garden in July - October 2019
Gosh! Summer is already coming to an end.
This time I managed to procrastinate to the max and not only missed @simplymike's gardenjournal contest of July, but August and finally September as well.
Right now I have the least amount of time for this, as I'm busy with my thesis, but ironically those are the times you have the most energy for doing the stuff you don't like. Stuff like cleaning. Or writing.
To be fair there has not been much active gardening going on over the past months, aside from the mandatory watering and weeding, of course. Over the summer I also fell into a lazy, unproductive state in which I didn't even check my steemit feed. Watching the STEEM price and ranking on coinmarketcap made the whole story a lot worse.
On the other hand the plants have been incredibly active and made huge progress.
Let's start off with my most favorite acquisistion of the year, the water-only plant growing device.
After having some issues with plants not growing and turning yellow, I changed the water, cleaned the pipes from algae and sediments, added more filters and a MacGyver-esque venturi valve for better airation, and gave it another shot.
Immediately after that there was a huge improvement, as the leaves turned into a healty green.
Unfortunaltely this didn't last very long and I still have some issues with the yellow leafes. As chlorosis can have many causes - in my case it's probably a nutrient defficiancy - I'm not sure how to proceed now. Maybe a special hydroponic fertilizer? I'm already adding different kinds of fertilizers on top of the fish poop but something still seems to be missing...
Furthermore it seems to affect only some plants. One tomato looks healthy while the one next to it does not.
The mint tho - it was growing so relentlessly, such that its roots actually cloaked the pipes and had to be removed completely in order to keep the System running.
For my next aquaponics setup I definitely need bigger pipes.
In terms of harvest I'm a little bit disappointed. The salad was 100% unusable and started shooting very fast, the tomatoes are not very tasty and the cucumber did not grow at all.
The mint was alright and some basil too, but most of em suffered from chlorosis and do not look very appealing.
One strawberry looks quite healthy and the wild strawberry made a huge amount of clones that I will probably spread throughout the garden next year.
For a system like this DN75 pipes are obviously not sufficient. They do work for seedlings - which is probably what I'm going to use them for in the upcoming season - but once the plants grow bigger the roots make water circulation almost impossible.
My initial goal was to keep the whole setup as minimalistic as possible, which is probably the reason it didn't work as intended.
The improvised filters needed almost daily maintenance, the small fish did not produce enough nutrients for the amount of plants I tried to grow and the pump was undersized and of low quality, which caused it to fail regularly.
Seems like I have a lot of reengineering to do for next year. Cold winter days should be the perfect time for that.
The birds nest
In my last garden blog - lightyears ago - I mentioned the birds nest that was inhabited by blacktits and later taken over by the bumblebees. After not seeing any bee for a few weeks I got suspicious and opened the housing to check on them.
Just to realize we had the third tenants for this year - WAX MOTHS!
I have to admit it's the first time I've ever seen those and had no idea these actually exist.
As I thought there is no real use for that kind of insects and admittedly got a bit angry on them for killing my bees, I decided to turn them into fishfood for my goldfish. At least they were good for something...
This is a nice demonstration on how placement will affect the growth of your plants.
Earlier this year I planted two different types of chili peppers in various places in the garden and in pots.
The potted plants exhibited the most insane growth rate on pepper plants that I have ever seen. Here is a little timelapse on how much they grew within one single month!
What's also quite remarkable is the fact, that the potted plants are mostly in a shady area behind the house without direct sunlight. The same is true for our tomatoes. Seems like plants enjoy a little shade too?
7 pot in the garden for comparison
In mid August the chocolate cherry chilis started turning into a brownish color and I decided to snack one of 'em. Despite beeing just between 500-1500 scoville, they are actually hotter than I expected but overall very tasty.
The color is a bit unsatisfying though. The shop image shows them dark red when in reality they are poop-brown. (The name should have been a hint, duh!) Whatever - I waited all year to finally harvest cherry peppers and turn them into stuffed antipasti. Finally, here we go!
The 7 pot douglah took until early September before a color change occured. They seem to grow without limits though and despite me snapping off some of the flowers, the plant is crowded with fruits and not showing the slightest intention to stop flowering.
When temperatues dropped below 10°C I moved the fella inside the house, hoping to keep it alive over the winter and see how long I can harvest peppers from it. Considering the time of the year I'm pretty sure that the majority of those fruit settings are not going to fully develop until the plant would die from cold temperatures if left outside.
Daily picture of the first 7 pot turning red.
Plenty chilis means plenty trials to create a nice hot sauce. For my first try I started a fermentation process with one 7 pot, a few chocolate cherries and a sweet chili, submerged in a simple brine. It turned out to be the perfect amount of spicy and is really tasty, too.
Taking the plants inside turned out to be a very good Idea. The 7 pot is pumping out those peppers like crazy and the second fermentation with 100% 7 pots is already running.
One major issue is occuring, though. A heavy infestation with aphids. Especially the cherry peppers are getting absolutely destroyed. It's not a big deal, as the 7 pots are doing quite fine and once they are all red and harvested I can wipe those suckers with some Neem.
At the end of July there was a fatal incident.
It was short but it packed a punch. The streets looked like a bloody mess and everywhere you went you could see branches or even whole trees that have been snapped or uprooted.
My garden looked like this:
The storm itself wouldn't have been that bad, but the hail damaged a bunch of plants and lots of the peppers now have holes and cracks. This results in rain entering the fruit and rotting them from the inside. Bummer.
No more zucchini please!! Just kidding. But with zucchini it's the same story every year. Either you are starving as they start rotting on the plant, or you get so many of them that even your neighbours are tired of zucchini.
Despite some people despice them for their lack of flavor, I really enjoy them as grilled antipasti or fried vegetables.
Even In October the plants are still pumping out zucchinis - I like it!
Apparently my countermeasures against the curly disease have proven effective and for the first year we actually have a harvest of peaches. There were still a lot of them falling off or infected with mold, but I still call it a successs. If the aphids didn't weaken the tree over the summer I'm pretty sure the peaches would have done fantastic this year.
I wonder if there is a way of breeding ladybugs or some other predator to get a natural and truly organic counter to my annoying aphid problems...
The pepper harvest this year was no comparison to last years pepper frenzy. A lot of them got infected due to the hail damage and the overall plant performance was a bit unsatisfying. Next year I shall start sowing them a bit earlier.
After my failed attempt of keeping my ginger as a rhizome through the winter, I decided to change my plan and keep it and its tumaric brother in the warm and sunny conservatory. If they keep their greens I will harvest them in spring, else I might have to store them in the colder basement again and hope for the best. It would be incredibly cool to get the ginger to flower for once.
The ginger almost broke the small pot and I actually had to cut it open in order to repot the plant.
The sweet potato is probably not as fruitfull as well, but I havent really checked on it so I can not give a qualified estimation on that situation. I will keep them in the ground until the greens start to die off. Not sure if that's the best way or if I should harvest them right away but I'm sure I will find out soon.
No, those are not the sweet potatoes but two regular potatoes that I also had in my garden - just for fun.
What didn't work at all this year was growing some snow peas. Maybe the seeds were bad or maybe I forgot the watering, but the amount of seeds that sprouted was pathetic and not nearly enough to harvest a full meal.
Some of the early July harvest that displays the puny snow peas between some berries and a carrot.
Sleep well, garden.
As the outdoor gardening season is pretty much at its end, this will probably be the last garden update for this year. There is still a bit of work to do, like finding a solution on where to keep my goldfish over the winter, or hopefully harvesting some winter lettuce, or maybe even cutting down some trees - but I figured it would be best to just sum it all up in one big winter garden journal like I did in this one.
Never had much luck with winter lettuce. At least some of it is sprouting.
Until then I wish all fellow gardeners in the southern hemisphere a great gardening season and a bountiful harvest. Luckily we have plenty of Steemians that share their gardening experience with us and @simplymike collects many of them in a monthly contest: https://steemit.com/phctop3/@phctop3/phc-top-3-monthly-contest-november-2019-share-your-top-3-to-win-a-steem-prize
Random tomato growing between the pavement stones
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