03 January 2009

'Tis the Season to be Hoeing

Actually everything is pretty-much all hoed at the moment. I confess that I've seldom had the veggie garden so well organised at this point in the year. I even have the "leisure" to break new ground!

It's almost time for the Hopi Black beans to get harvested. They're looking pretty good, despite not having had water in over 6 weeks, now. I always treat drying-beans as a dryland crop, and we've not had decent rain since mid-November. Curses! The total rainfall for December was a mere 25mm (1 inch) and this month doesn't look like being much better... no reasonable probability of rain in the next two weeks. The dam is looking pretty empty right now, and I don't suppose I have enough water left for more than another 10 days or so, and, at that, I'm reserving the water for the highest-value crops -- the Tomatoes, Chillis and Squashes. After that I'll have to look into hiring a pump to move water from the Bottom Dam up to the Garden Dam. And buy 150m of pipe... :-(

The Squashes -- baby marrows and baby Yellow Crooknecks -- are producing nicely, as are Kohlrabi and the first of the Tomatillo. We're eager for the first Tomatoes, though.

The season's Mystery Tomato (in the 2nd pic down)... who knows? I'm very happy, though, since I've been longing for a larger-than-cherry-sized salad tomato, and this looks like fitting the bill nicely. The bush pictured here is a volunteer in amongst the beans, so my best guess is either Black Cherry (though I got none of them last year) or some random cross between something like Gold Nugget and maybe Tigerella -- based in the stripes. Or Red Cherry and Tigerella. Trouble is, there's another bush not far away, so that argues against a cross. Time may tell...

At least the Brandywines are looking good (pic 3.) and flowering nicely, if a little later than usual.

At the opposite end of the garden, we have OSU Blue Tomatoes (pic 4) -- seed kindly sent by a fellow denizen of Alan Bishop's Homegrown Goodness board. The seed arrived just yesterday, so I've banged a few seeds (3 to be exact) directly into the ground. It might be too late in the season for any good to come of it, but... nothing ventured, nothing gained!

The season has been so strange to date that there's no predicting what may happen with the weather, come May. November was quite "normal" with good rains, as should be! December has been very weird. Tiny, useless driblets of rain causing more harm than good, pretty high humidity (which usually doesn't hit us until at least mid-Jan) and lots of cloudy, overcast days. The result is that everything is growing quite slowly -- especially the Chillis. Thankfully no signs of Blight (yet!) Everything gets a good watering twice a week. As long as the water holds out.

At least the dry conditions mean that the lawn has stopped growing. No mowing! Yay!

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