30 December 2006

Garden Update

"Fruit, Pansy, I must have Fruit!"

This is the first year we are getting significant quantities of fruit off the trees we've planted over the years.

We're doing best with Apples and Plums.

We've learned that Plum varieties that don't turn red are best, since red fruits of all kinds (including Chillis) attract vast hordes of thieving Mousebirds.

The Anna Apples pictured here are our best performer, despite the tree in the picture having been severely damaged by a Baboon last year; he took out the main leader brach and left a very large tear in the bark of the main stem.  We painted it with tree-seal compound, and the tree has recovered quite well, though it remains a bit misshaped.


For the first time I have had enough inventiveness, energy and bed-space for reasonable Cucumbers.  I am trying a variety I sneaked in from elsewhere called "Telegraph Improved", and they're doing really well.I also have Lemon Cukes and Chinese Yellow elsewhere in the garden, though they're lagging quite a bit behind the Telegraph Cukes. I'm hoping to save seed from all three varieties, so they're well separated from one another.

It remains to be seen whether all these Cukes fruit early enough before Fruit-Fly season sets-in. If not, I have managed to acquire some 12% shade-net which I will use to make cages for the plants. Its an experiment to see whether the mesh is small enough to keep Fruit Flies out, and whether the cloth will serve well enough to construct isolation cages when it comes to saving seed from insect-pollinated varieties.


All nine varieties of Tomatoes are doing really well, and the earliest -- a strain of Red Khaki I have been selectively saving seed for about 15 years now -- are starting to change colour.  Hooray!  Real Tomatoes again in a couple of weeks!  I just hope that we do not suffer too much humidity come February, otherwise we shall surely be struck by Blight again, and I really need to save lots of seed from some of the old heirlooms -- Brandywine and Cherokee Purple -- which are, of course, the most blight-prone of the lot.  I am being particularly religious about keeping other plants clear from around the Tomatoes so that the air movement hopefully keeps the humidity down.

In one sense, now is truly the best time of year in the garden.  The first fruits of our Spring labour is starting to come in, but we're not yet inundated with harvesting and processing, and the Hungry Gap is past.  All the plants are growing vigorously and look healthy, no diseases or pests have taken their toll yet.  The only serious pressure is to cull weeds, mulch and the ever-present water worries.

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