Thursday, 26 April 2012

In the Vegetable Garden

I thought I would write a vegetable garden update so that you can all see how it is growing but also my blog will act as a garden diary for my reference for next years planting.  I will be able to look back and see what works and what doesn't and which garden pests have been to visit and when.
Vegetable gardens in full production

I am still picking copious amounts of cucumbers from my 4 little vines and now with hindsight I know that next year I will only plant 2 and I will still have more than enough fruit.  I'm not really sure why I didn't pick up on this earlier in the year when I planted 2 Zucchini plants and had so many I didn't know what to do with.  Maybe I will win a 'Neighbour of the Year Award' with all the produce I have been able to give to others. 
Yet more cucumbers ready to be picked
When my kids visit I send them home with a box of fresh veggies.  Just last week I sent my daughter home with Lettuce, Cucumbers, Parsley, Basil, Kaffir Lime leaves, Spring Onions, Wombok cabbage and Choy Sum.
It is nice to be able to help them reduce their cost of living through my excess.  My son is at university and he also appreciates an armful of veggies to take home with him when he visits and I also know he is eating his greens :)
Clockwise from the top, Fennel, Spring Onions, Choy Sum, Wombok and Broccoli and there is still a little Pak Choy squeezed in there too.
Over the next 3 weeks I hope to eat down what is in the garden and be able to replenish the soil in readiness to plant out the next crops.  I have my mother and my auntie coming for a 3 week holiday so there will be 4 of us to feed instead of just 2.  Luckily my Mum just loves cucumbers!  We have had some warmer than usual weather in the past week, although with the cold breeze blowing in the window this morning you wouldn't know it, but that has given the lettuce reason to bolt so they need to be eaten quickly. There will be plenty of salads on our menu this week.
Lettuce have bolted and need to be eaten asap
The growth on the citrus trees has slowed now but a few weeks ago they were growing at an alarming rate.  I hope to get fruit in next seasons crop as this year there were only 2 limes and no lemons or oranges, but I actually didn't expected any fruit at all as I only planted the trees in December so they are just 5 months old with the Orange tree only being 2 months old and having to struggle against the hardships of the dog chewing on it for the first few weeks of it's life.

L to R Orange, Lemon, Kaffir Lime
Lately I have noticed the trees not looking as healthy as they should and saw two large black caterpillars on the lemon tree and also some black scale insects and leaf miners on all the citrus trees.  Three different pests at the same time, poor little trees.
Black Shield Scale
I am using a natural spray to discourage them from hanging around.  The caterpillars were easy I just flicked them off and squashed them.  The black shield scale and leaf miners are a little more difficult to deal with particularly at the moment when it is raining so often that I have to spray frequently, but I would rather take 2 minutes every day or so to spray with a natural spray than expose my family to a chemical that affects the nervous system of bugs and humans alike.  I will also spend some time physically removing the scale insects as the infestation is only small at the moment.

Leaf Miner damage
Scale Insect & Leaf Miner Natural Spray
1 tsp liquid dishsoap
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 cups warm water

Mix together in a 500ml spray bottle and spray both sides of leaves once a week or more frequently if it has rained.

The oil helps to smother the scale insects and get through their hard shield-like shells and the detergent discourages leaf miners from enjoying a snack on the leaves.  I have only made this small amount as my trees are very small at the moment and I like to keep the batch fresh.  This amount of spray will last me a week or two with regular applications.

I hope you have enjoyed our wander though the veggie garden this morning.



  1. Your veggie garden looks very productive. Is the dark green vegetable choy sum? That looks like one I will have to look into. I always donate a few leaves to the caterpillars. Citrus trees host the orchard swallowtail caterpillars.

    1. I think it is Choy Sum, well that's what I'm calling it anyway. It came in a punnet of mixed asian greens and I have tried to identify it from internet searches. You have reminded me not to be so hasty in squishing the caterpillars. I must have a look and see what type the two on my tree were. There is always so much to learn.

  2. I've found out that the dark green vegetable in the garden is Tat Soi. We have a chicken stir fry tonight with heaps of Asian greens and it was delicious.


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