Progress in the Veggie Patch

Simone - Picnics and Paddocks is talking about growing Beans, Beetroot, Carrot, Lettuce, Peas, Pumpkin, Sweetcorn, Zucchini from Northland

Garden in progress

Most things in the garden seem to be doing quite well now – beans are popping up, tomatoes are starting to flower and the courgettes are already fruiting. We did have one little slip up this week though when one of our pet ducks got into the backyard. That saw about half of my lettuce plants getting a decent haircut. Out of all the things she could have eaten, the lettuce is the least of my worries. It was looking so good in its tidy rows though. Oh well… lettuce is easy to replant and will grow again quickly.

The tomatoes are all growing well, but once again there’s the odd leave that looks like it’s showing signs of early blight. I’ve done everything right and have been extra careful with the tomato seedlings I’ve planted so I’m unsure why. I’ve only watered them early morning and only at the base of the plant. I planted the plants up to their first leaves, but also made sure none of the leaves were coming in contact with the ground. I know blight is only meant to infect tomatoes via the soil or by being close to other tomatoes, but part of me thinks there is more to it. Anyway, I’m going to remove the couple of leaves I’ve noticed with these symptoms and spray with Nature’s Way Fungus Spray. Worked wonders on my other plants that showed similar symptoms and they’ve been good ever since. Note: the previously infected plants are nowhere near any of my current plants, nor are they in the same gardens etc. I feel like if I were to pull all my plants and replant new ones in different gardens that the same thing would happen anyway. Is it an airborne disease and if so, to what extent? I’m still learning a lot as I go. One article I read even suggested that if you’re neighbours end up with blight, that it’s likely you will too. Is there any truth in this? It’s an interesting one anyway. Currently I’m giving the tomatoes a deep water every second day. They’re also being well fed. I’ve read everyone’s posts on tomatoes, as well as have spoken to a Yates expert so no idea what other changes I could be making. We will continue on anyway. I’m at the point where if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be with tomatoes. There’s only so much you can do. 

The sweetcorn is doing well and the runner beans have started to pop up now. My plan is to grow some up a frame and some up the sweetcorn. I’ve also planted two miniature pumpkins in the same garden. This is the only garden I bother with companion planting different vegetables together. I’ve decided to only use herbs and flowers as companion plants in my other gardens, as it’s too much of a hassle with my crop rotation.

The potato towers are working and I’ve added another layer of compost on top to cover them over again. Mum said her workmate has offered us some Maori seed potatoes so we may give those a go as well. The kumara slips didn’t overly like the cold snap we had a week ago. Some of the leaves have gone a dark purple so today at the growers market I picked up a few more as replacements. Otherwise they’ve been growing well in the old sandpit. The peas by the potatoes are now growing rapidly and are all in flower, which is exciting! The pepino plant is also covered in beautiful purple flowers (see photo). The root/onion crops are beginning to take off too – carrots, onions and beetroot. 

At the growers market this morning I also bought an apple cucumber and some comfrey. I also picked up a Cape Gooseberry bush from Mitre 10. I’ll look at planting those tomorrow. Paul (my other half) put some more stakes in for tomatoes and courgettes today, so adding plants there will be another job for tomorrow too. I plan to slowly start underplanting the fruit trees in our backyard orchard, which is why I’ve bought the comfrey. In the future I’d also love to make a comfrey tea for the garden from it. What other plants do people use to underplant their fruit trees? So far on my list I have things like Comfrey, Borage, Purple Tansy, Bergamot, Rue, Forget Me Not and Nasturtium.

Below is my little ‘to do’ list for the weekend. I’ve tried to keep it simple this weekend and things are super busy at work at the moment. We also have a family thing on Sunday for my Dad’s birthday. Such a busy time of year – in and out of the garden!

Weekend ‘to do’ list (a couple of these I’ve already ticked off)…

  • Cover the potatoes  with another layer of organic compost.

  • Replace struggling red kumara slips with new ones.

  • Feed all plants with seaweed tonic.

  • Weed the little pieces of kikuyu out of the older raised garden beds.

  • Sow rainbow carrot seeds.

  • Begin underplanting fruit trees.

  • Plant Cape Gooseberry bush and Apple Cucumber.

  • Plant tomatoes.

  • Spray strawberry and berry patch with Apple Cider Vinegar mix.

  • Give the melons and pumpkins a deep watering.

  • Sow microgreens in mini dinosaur pots with Mr 3.

  • Tie up tomatoes to stakes.

  • Sort out the couple of tomatoes showing early signs of disease.

    I’ve created a photo collage so I can squeeze a couple more photos in. 

    From top left – progress of the potato towers we put in a couple of weeks ago, Solar Flare Courgette flower, red onions doing well, Pepino in full flower and Shiraz/Golden Sweet Peas coming into flower in their pot (one of three places I’m growing peas this season).