My small urban garden

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Jenny, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    Been having lots of rain since last weekend, which is a very welcome, since we have had repeated heatwaves since beginning September & the country is experiencing a drought.

    On my patio I am currently using an old wheelie bin with a missing wheel, propped up on bricks, as a makeshift rain barrel (it holds about 240 litres) and it has filled up twice since the rains started - I empty the water into buckets when it gets full, so that it can fill up again. I plan on buying a few more wheelie bins this year and then I'm going to place them next to each other and connect them with pvc pipes, so that I will have multiple "rain bins". It will work out much cheaper that buying proper rain barrels.

    Unfortunately on New Years eve, the heavy rains caused a massive tree on the pavement outside my house to topple over from the base of the trunk at ground level. The uprooted tree fell over my gate, damaged my gate and palisade, tree branches damaged my son's car and the top of the tree ended up on my patio, covering most of my patio. Thankfully the gate supported the toppled tree, else damage would have been far worse and cars would have been completely crushed.

    Miraculously most of my plants on my patio survived, but my prickly pear grown from seed lost 2 pads, some pads were damaged on the other prickly pears as well, but at least it did not break off completely. I'm waiting for the broken off pads to callous over, then I'm going to plant it in a pot so it can root. My goji berry plant, lemon trees & satsuma trees lost some branches and my pumpkins growing in the alleyway up the trellis, ended up loosing medium sized pumpkins at the top of the trellis. Shame and the tall agave flower stalk with its beautiful yellow flowers is no more, the falling tree broke it right off. :(

    On a more positive note, plants in alleyway are growing nicely - quite a few turnips and gem squash ready for harvest & yellow and black mustard plants are in flower. On the patio the chilli peppers, tomatoes, herbs, fruits and everything else is growing nicely . I'm letting the mints and basils go to seed, so I can save some seed.
    The water spinach (kangkong) grown from seed in September, is getting bigger (last year I ended up killing my seedlings) and I planted out sweet potato slips in a bed in the alley way as well. - will post pictures in a few days time.:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  2. Tony Baker

    Tony Baker Active Member Premium Member

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    Jenny have a look at getting an ICB tank (Food grade). Holds 1000lt and only takes up 1 sqm of space.
     
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  3. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    That is a great idea Tony. Pricing wise they are more expensive than wheelie bins , but hold more water, so definitely something to consider.

    I've actually been toying with the idea for a few years now, to try my hand at aquaponics (I like the idea of having fresh fish on hand) and using ICB tanks for that, but alas so far I have been unable to convince hubby to let me dabble in that, ditto when it comes to chickens (purely for eggs) and beekeeping...doesn't want me to turn our urban property into a mini-farm:(. Guess I can't blame him, cause knowing myself, if I am given free reign, I will most probably have a cow crazing in the front yard, so I can have fresh milk!:ROFL:
     
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  4. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    Took a few photos today of my plants in the mint family & included the vics plant and lemon verbena. I planted korean mint and bergamot seed and one of them germinated, not sure which. Forgot to add a pic of my Nepeta Mussinii to this mint collage, but I have already posted a pic of that before on this thread. mintfamilyplantpics2019.jpg

    And here are some random images taken today: randompics2019.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  5. Tony Baker

    Tony Baker Active Member Premium Member

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    Just start making it. Its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission;).
     
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  6. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    Lol very true. I've had my eye on the ready made complete set up on this website (a bit pricey though but it has everything I will need to get started): http://www.flowbins.co.za/?page_id=42
     
  7. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    On another note, yesterday I harvested a couple of gem squashes and some turnips from my alleyway garden & I noticed that some of the pumpkins that has formed on the ground as well as on the trellises, are getting black mold and kinda shriveling up, whilst the small newly formed pumpkins are yellowing & shriveling up - last week these pumpkins were still healthy and growing nicely.

    Guess this mold is caused by all the rain we have had since last week. The soil is drenched & more rain is coming today. I welcome the rain as the country needs it, but disappointed that I'm loosing my pumpkins as a result. Thankfully there are still lots of flowers on the vines, so hopefully I will get more pumpkins once things dry up again.

    Here is a pic I took now:
    pumpkinmold.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  8. Tony Baker

    Tony Baker Active Member Premium Member

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    Try some sugar cane mulch under them. It'll keep them off the soil.
     
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  9. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    Some pics of my curry plants & also my lovage which is growing in a tyre.

    The curry bush is a great perennial plant. When you wet the leaves with water, the aroma of curry fills the air. It is very easily propagated from cuttings.

    The curry trees have gone to seed, so once the seed berries are ripe (they turn a purplish black color), I will be planting them. It is a perennial as well. Last summer I planted a few seeds, but the seedlings died, so going to try my hand at it again this year. The tree can also be propagated from cuttings - I tried it once, but was not successful.

    Lovage is one of my fav herbs, I harvested a lot of leaves recently for drying, so in the pic below the plants are much shorter than before harvest.

    curryplants and lovage.jpg
     
  10. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    Great idea, thank you. Can't understand why the pumpkins on the trellis got moldy also, as it was not touching the ground and the plants itself do not have mold on them, the leaves and stems look healthy still.
     
  11. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    February 2019 garden update:

    Overall this year my veggie garden did not do as well as last year and the year before that, and I put the blame squarely on the erratic summer weather we have had so far.

    We have had a lot of heatwaves and high temps, as well as heavy rainstorms & hail and this has caused havoc in my veggie garden. The pumpkins on the trellises and on the ground, rotted and lots of fruit drop - a total fail so far - still lots of flowers, so will have to see if I end up getting any pumpkins eventually. My Egyptian walking onions almost died because of all the rains - the stems were going soft, so I had to pull them up and transplant them in a drier spot.

    Funny enough the gem squash plants handled the alternating heat and rain quite well and produced quite a lot of gem squashes so far. Tomato plants are suffering in this weather, with fruit splitting due to too much water and rust on some leaves, ditto for tomatillos. Both runner beans and bush beans are producing abundantly, despite issues with spider mite and rust on the runner beans.

    My tamarillo tree has set fruit, despite all the flower drop. Pepper plants are doing great, with lots of fruit setting. Various spinach varieties & kales, brassicas, lettuces, mustard greens, herbs and so on are doing great also .

    I created a new bed in my front yard under my fig tree and planted sweet potatoes there. Since the bed is in partial shade, the sweet potatoes are not growing as fast as they normally do in full sun, but that is ok, I'm sure I will still get some potatoes nonetheless. I inter-planted "Pigeon Peas" with the sweet potatoes. I planted lots of "Pigeon Peas" all over the veggie garden and in my front garden and they are now forming pods BUT turns out the "Pigeon Pea" seeds I ordered online, are not pigeon peas at all! I had a look at pigeon pea plants online yesterday and saw that my plants looked nothing like the plants online. So I did a google search for pictures of my pigeon pea seeds and also the leaves of my pigeon pea plants...........turns out that my "Pigeon Peas" are actually "Australian Sweet Lupin"! http://www.lupinfoods.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Australian-Sweet-Lupin1.pdf

    Has any of you guys grown or eaten these sweet lupins before? Since I planted so many of these plants, I'm sure I'm going to have a nice harvest, so I need to find ways to eat and use the produce. I found this pdf now, which contains some recipes which looks promising: http://www.giwa.org.au/_literature_225676/GIWA_Australian_Sweet_Lupins_Cookbook_2017&usg=AOvVaw1u80ZfGuChEa39YvYBZw9c

    I got my hands on some Rooibos tea seeds last year and planted the seeds out today - holding thumbs that they will germinate, so I can grow myself some tea. Also planted some more moringa seeds, since all the rains killed my moringa seedlings. Curry Leaf tree seeds are just about ready for harvest, so I planted 2 berries today and will plant the rest next weekend, once all the berries are dark purple. Also planted garlic this weekend.

    Will take some pics of the garden and upload in a few weeks time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  12. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Oh Jenny, I've missed your posts this year! I've been in hospital a lot.
    Just referring back to those photos of the boer pumpkin s I think I see white fly or perhaps some sort of aphids or other sap sucking pest. Which would indicate not enough sunlight. The white fly will transmit disease from fruiting tip to fruiting tip.

    Now to your pigeon pea saga. Gosh what a mix up! But from reading the PDF and seeing the photos, I can see how easy it would be for someone to mix up the seed.
    I presume the plant you are growing is reaching hip to waist height at best? Are you harvesting seed yet? It looks nutritious enough.

    Just remember your dragon fruit plant will want to be transferred to a fence post sized post very soon. It will reach the top of the post and begin to trail down again. You'll need to allow a couple of segments in trailing length then keep the plant pruned. They will need a good amount of sun and heat to flower.

    Your weather issues sound exactly like ours in Australia this last year.
    Another plant I saw in a previous post was the pepino. By now it will be wanting to burst out of it's little pot. It is a great rambler and develops a large root system. You can use a large sharp knife or shovel to cut through the root mass to make new plants. But it still needs a lot of real estate.
     
  13. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member

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    Sorry to hear about your health, not nice to be stuck in hospital.
    I saw little sting marks on some of the other pumpkins that rotted away, so you could be right in that its an insect and not the weather that caused the fruit drop and rotting.

    So far the Lupin plants are still very short, about knee high, but already forming green pods. I think harvest will only be possible in a few months time. Going to be interesting to see how cooking it pans out. I still have a few hundred seeds left, so if it tastes ok, I will be planting the remainder of the seeds next spring.

    My pepino plants died off due to the rain and heat unfortunately, but I left the roots in the soil, in the hopes that it will regrow - I have never had good luck with pepinos before, if its not spidermites attacking them, then its too much water that kills them. Will see if they pop up again next spring, if they dont then Im done with trying to grow them.

    Im planning to plant my prickly pears and also dragon fruits out into the garden sometime this year still. Going to convert my agave corner into a small orchard, once I take the agave plants out. It is a very sunny spot, gets sun the whole day, so it will do well there I think.

    Wishing you all the best with your health.

     
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