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First time tomato grower

This summer, I had my first attempt at growing cherry tomatoes.

I bought a raised garden bed, some soil and three cherry tomato plants – two Tiny Toms, a miniature plant suitable for growing in pots, and one Tomato Sweet Bite (Solanum Lycopersicum).

The tiny tims were a dud. Bland flavour. Not many tomatoes. Won’t bother with them again. My advice is, even if you want to grow some in pots on a verandah, don’t waste your time with this variety.

The Sweet Bite was a success. Cherry toms after cherry toms. Seemingly unending. No bought cherry toms have as sweet and fullness of flavour.

Early on I had a problem with caterpillars eating the leaves. Turns out they are a common problem. Bud worms. Luckily I got onto them quick smart with an organic treatment that only kills the caterpillars. The caterpillars only got into a few tommies. The advice is to spray every week. I only sprayed twice and that stopped them.

Did you know tomato plants grow from cuttings too? Mr S knocked off two stems which I popped into some soil. They grew roots and are now producing fruit.

As it’s been a very wet summer, sadly the late tommies split. and as it was also very hot – summer here desiccates plants in a matter of days – the leaves all fell off.

I didn’t fertilise as often as suggested by the bottle of fertiliser. Not sure I needed to do more though the later tommies were small. But that may have been due to lack of consistent water as I was away for a couple of weeks.

The raised bed could only cope with one plant. The plant was really too tall and too heavy for the pot. Next year I will plant cherry tomatoes in the ground but I think that I will lose them to possums. (The possums couldn’t get up the raised bed.)

Anyway, that will be next year’s challenge. Grow more cherry tom plants somewhere in my garden.

The tommies are all finished. No earlier photo due to camera issues.

Budding

What’s this?

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Let’s look closer!

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Yes, it is a magnolia budding.

Nooooo. I actually like winter. I’m not ready for spring. I like the cold and wet. The hibernating indoors. Being able to go for a walk without dying of heat exhaustion. Snuggling in bed and having no trouble getting to sleep.

Actually it is not just spring I’m not ready for. The whole year is going too quickly. I haven’t done I whole heap of things I have been meaning to do.

Remember my Year of the Garden? Well, it hasn’t gone too well. I was planning on getting a man in to work on the garden. (Officially I have three men in my household but getting them to do anything besides mow and edge the lawn is a pointless exercise.) However, due to unexpected expenses (ie a trip to England) that is off the books for another year or two, so I will struggle on trying to keep the triffids and privet and wandering jew at bay.

Damn you, privet!

Unusually warm weather (“Global warming! What global warming?” say our Tory leaders across the globe.) has meant the plants in my garden do not know they should be slowing down.

In my optimistic state I thought I would have “degardened” (aka as decluttering the outdoors; the more prosaic among us may just call it overdue weeding) most of one side of my back garden by now, and be ready for planting.

But no! It’s been much slower than I hoped and slightly slower than I more honestly planned. All manner of obstacles have got in the way of gardening – death, taxes, work, court case, reading, rain, lunches out, holidays, TV/movie/DVD watching, bad back, red wine/beer/bubbles.

Anyway, this weekend I tackled another sneaky privet plant. It tried to camouflage itself among my mock orange hedge, and, except like the cuckoo, it grew too big for its home.

Another green bin filled!

I wish I had some beautiful vistas, cause the before and after photos would not show how much work I’ve done.

One day, dear readers, one day!

In the meantime please content yourselves with some flowers from my garden. (If we focus on the detail, we can forget the big picture.)

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And then there is the prolific lemon bush. Neglected, never urinated on (nitrogen, you know), never pruned, often overshadowed; still it produces.

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That photo was taken after I picked masses of lemons, a shopping bag full to share at work and a centre piece for my table.

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And although the photo of the lemon bush doesn’t show it (couldn’t get the right angle) there is at least two more shopping bags’ worth of lemons.

I wish I had time for a vegie garden!

Opps! The year of what?

It’s not like I forgot I wanted this year to be the Year of the Garden but I have been busy and we’ve had some very wet weather.

Anyway I spent three-quarters of an hour continuing my deforestation after work one day last week.

Privet! Nasty stuff! Read more about this noxious bloody weed here if you are interested. Chopped down and poisoned a plant growing near our pool. And I chopped a rogue branch of my crepe myrtle.

Only stopped as the light was fading.

There is one more privet next to the pool to go. And go it will. Here it is dominating my mock orange hedge. How’d it get so tall so quickly? Wasn’t there at Christmas. Nasty, nasty stuff.

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Luckily we have a large bin just for garden waste that the council collects every fortnight.

I chopped down more than one bin full. The bin emptied last week, I spent half an hour on the weekend cutting and snapping and sawing the cut plants to fit the bin again. And I still have more to fit in.

At this rate it is going to take me more than a year to clear the weeds and plants that are consuming my years, garden and house!

And the bin is quite a large wheely bin.

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Oh, and let me share a photo of a spider that uses the hedge and privet as anchors for its web.

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Nice, eh?

Defoliation

I know I’m prone to exaggeration but here is evidence of the triffids that lives next to my pool.

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The tape is over 1.5m long. There are three rose vine canes next to it. Two of them were ONE cane. ONE cane that is over 4 metres long.

This triffid has perfected the art of ambush. It grows up through the beautiful and lush camellias that border my verandah, well camouflaged. Then, when you least expect it, it pokes out like a sniper and hits you on the head when you are sitting on the verandah.

Its partner from the other day is less subtle, preferring to stand in full view and use a frontal attack.

I am slightly worried that that they tap, tap, tapped prior to their demise and I will find more triffids tomorrow.

I am not sure if what I am doing counts as gardening. These photos of my two hours in the garden may attest to my acts of defoliation. Perhaps I should call on Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore? He’d do more, with less effort.

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(And yes, I’m gardening on Boxing Day. Have to work off yesterday’s over-indulgence.)