Saturday, December 3, 2011

Edibles update (long)

I am making up for a slow posting in November by posting nearly every day in December so far... and I have five more rough drafts full of photos waiting in the wings, too!

So, as you know, we recently spent a month away on holidays and left the garden care (IE watering) to someone else. When we got home the garden was overrun with weedy grasses and thistles, and to my horror a couple of my veggie pots looked like this:

Eek! We'd had an early November heatwave, and some plants got frizzled! For the record, that pot of strawberries and the other heatwave casualties have been lathered with love, water, and Seasol and all are showing signs of recovery, thank heavens! And once I got weeding like a madwoman, the rest of the garden didn't look such a shambles.

But, onto the good news: Tomatoes!
Lots and lots of tomatoes are on their way, and the 'dwarf fig tomato' (Diggers) out the front in my rose garden has a few red fruits already (which I have eaten as I did my rounds deadheading all the icebergs).

I planted my pepino back in March or thereabouts after buying the plant for $2.50 at a market and having never eaten it before and no idea what it tasted like. I have since seen plants in biggish pots selling for $20, but mine has grown to at least four times the size of a $20 version in about 8 months. I got a bargain! I first noticed the flowers in June, so it has been a long wait over winter and spring for ripened fruits, but now there are flowers on the bush again already. It's quite a low scrambling and floppy shrub, about 1m across, and some of the stems are self-layering along the ground. The leaves are dark green and quite lush and tropical looking in our Adelaide garden. Occasionally something will nibble on the leaves but overall it has been pest and disease free.
The fruit are a muddy yellow colour and striped with mauve, and they don't taste too bad. They're not fabulous, not hugely delicious, but they taste quite a lot like honeydew melon and can be picked and eaten straight off the bush after a quick rinse under the garden tap which is always nice. The skins are edible but a little on the tougher side, but easy to peel, and I haven't found any seeds in any of the fruit yet.

I have loads of plants growing in Styrofoam tubs now, thanks to reading about it on KMKG's blog. The plant at the bottom of this tub is some sort of mini melon, but now I can't remember if it's a Minnesota rock melon, or a Tigger melon. The plant above is... I don't know! It looks kinda like basil, but has no scent so I don't think it's a herb at all. I think it's vegetable that I planted but then forgot to label, as with the melon plants. This tub is a clear demonstration that I must remember to label everything more diligently! I will have to wait and see what I'm growing here, it will be a surprise, I just hope it's not a weed which I'm carefully cultivating in a prime position...
Other herbs, however, like this apple mint are doing brilliantly and are rapidly becoming massive. What's the bet I will regret planting this one directly in the ground? It's in my 'difficult' spot, out in the front garden on the dark south side of the house. Over winter this area gets soggy and almost no sunlight, which I'm hoping will help keep this mint in check.

Unlike the poor potted strawberries above, most of the plants I put out in the front garden are doing very well despite getting minimal water. We get a couple of strawberries a day (so still not the overflowing baskets of berries I dream of), the only issue is trying to get the fruit before the millipedes do.

Still out in the front garden, my new Pineapple quince has seven fruits on it, which leaves me with a dilemma: the tree was only planted over winter (though it is about 6 feet tall). Will it be able to support the fruits? Will they get too heavy and make the slim branches snap? Or will they take too much energy from the baby tree? Should I remove them now, or can I leave them to ripen? Still, one way or another, these fuzzy fruits fill me with joy.

Another delicious 'fruit' I am waiting for is my rhubarb. Also planted in the front garden in amongst the roses, this plant is doing brilliantly and it huge with chunky stems one inch across which I'm eagerly waiting to redden so we can eat it.

Ironically, this teeny tiny unhappy rhubarb is planted only 1m away from the enormous one, and came from the same bag of rootstock! It's so small I had to go poking around in the borage to see if it was still there. Why one plant is 20 times the size of it's brother is a mystery, makes me wonder how different the soil must be even so close by.

Along the fence by the rose garden, facing west, is my banana passionfruit. It was one of the first plants I planted when we bought our house. I have childhood memories of eating these passionfruit when I was a child out of a family-friend's backyard. In the last 18 months it has grown enormously but still not a single flower has ever grown on it. Does anyone have any idea how long a passionfruit vine normally takes to flower? I have read that an excess of nitrogen with inhibit flowering (the vines will make leaves instead), but to be honest I'm a bit slack with fertilizing so I don't know if that is an issue or not.

And lastly, a little promise for the future: the raspberries planted all along the above fence. These babies I dug out of MIL's garden over winter. I had perhaps 10 plants all together. A couple have been lost since I planted them out, but most have survived and while they are small I am hopeful that they will be as wonderful as they are in their 'homeland,' here at MIL's. I don't know what variety they are, but I do know they are delicious.

Happy weekend gardening, all!

Next post: a bit of a floral update.

1 comment:

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I gave up with labelling sticks since my toddler will just pull it out. So I write with marker at the side of styrafoam box. I am trying to grow tigger as well this year. Looks like many of your plants survived well after one month alone in the garden.