Sunday, 4 August 2013

Thinking ahead

Despite the fact that August has only just started, I'm thinking ahead to Winter! As I wrote in one of my recent posts, gardening is in some respects like Project Management - you have to plan what you are going to do, well in advance. If you leave things to the last minute, chaos will ensue. For this reason I have been giving thought to my Brassicas. The Brussels Sprouts are well advanced now, and tiny sprouts are beginning to form in the leaf axils:


In order to keep the Brussels Sprouts in good condition I have done the following:
  • Fed them a couple of times with proprietary plant-food
  • Picked off as many butterfly eggs as possible
  • Tied them to their supporting stakes with soft string
  • Removed lower leaves that have gone yellow and/or fallen off



 Meanwhile, I have planted six miniature Broccoli plants ("Matsuri"), four of them at the corners of the bed in which the sprouts are growing:


You can see why I have only put these broccoli seedlings at the corners: they wouldn't get enough light elsewhere, particularly since I have the chillis lined-up alongside the Brussels Sprouts. The broccoli plants will mature pretty rapidly, and I think they will probably be ready in about late September.

The Cavolo Nero seedlings that I planted out a few days ago seem to have established themselves all right and are beginning to grow.


They have no doubt been assisted in this by the vast deluge of rain that we had last Monday. The rain on that occasion was truly torrential - probably the heaviest rain I have seen EVER - and I have lived in the tropics for a fair portion of my life! In fact I feared for the safety of many of my smaller plants, like the Lettuce seedlings. The rain shredded many of their leaves to a pulp, and I thought they would probably die. Fortunately most of them seem to be recovering and producing new leaves.

Both the Cavolo Nero and the PSB seedlings (the latter still awaiting planting) have been the subject of much attention on the behalf of the Cabbage White butterflies.


Despite my efforts to remove eggs before caterpillars have the chance to hatch, some caterpillars have emerged and my seedlings are therefore looking somewhat ragged.


With the need to make frequent visits to the hospital to visit poor Jane, I have had less time than usual for gardening, but she is home now and trying to take it easy and build her strength back up, so we will be staying firmly at home for a few days - therefore I will have no excuse to avoid picking off caterpillars!

8 comments:

  1. I am intrigued by these miniature broccoli. How much smaller are the plants and how much harvest do you get out of them? I planted broccoli this year for the first time and we were thinking of not doing it in the future because they take up so much space for not a large yield. But I'm sad because broccoli is one of my favourite veg!

    http://liveintheyard.blogspot.ca

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    1. The "Matsuri" broccoli is a lot smaller than the usual Calabrese type - perhaps half the size. The yield is proportional. The main head is OK, but the secondary shoots are very small. This type of broccoli can be grown in pots if necessary. It matures quite rapidly too, in my experience.

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  2. My garden has been a disaster this year but I will do better this fall, I hope. I have missed a few of your posts and will have to go back and see what happened to Jane but I wish her all the best and hope she gets plenty of rest so she can get better.

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  3. We haven't had the torrential downpours that you have had but have had a good amount of rain. You could almost hear the garden sigh with relief!

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  4. You are right about planning ahead with gardening! I find the biggest challenge is to think about planting in the height of summer when all I really want to do is harvest! I am still learning the best times to get the late plantings started.

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  5. I hope Jane gets better soon. And I wish I could grow Brussels sprouts. I've tried for the last three years and failed each time. This year the seedlings were eaten down by something while they were still small. Not your caterpillars as they were covered, but I suspect the pill bugs, slugs, and earwigs. Any of the tree could have done it.

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  6. Most important is Jane is home and resting! This is good news. The sprouts look good. Been an odd year for weather hasn't it?

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  7. Hi Mark! I agree!! It is like project management and if you want those winter crops and to do some over-wintering then you have to plan ahead! I've been getting into my 'late summer - what's for winter this year mode' too.

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