January – A month in review

If I am to learn anything from this month is to lower my expectations.   This is not a normal month where life ticks by with the ebb and flow of a reliable routine.   It is filled with holidays and opportunities to hang out on the beach, or to visit or be visited.  Not many people work normally for a large chunk of this month and I need to acknowledge I am not one of those people.  The plans for the day can be cast aside for the opportunity to bask in the sun and do nothing and meanwhile zucchini remain unharvested. 

Twilight garden
I like being in the garden in the cool of the evening after a long productive day toiling away in the midsummer heat.

But things haven’t been completely neglected and snatched days here and there have resulted in a garden that doesn’t look too bad all things considered.   I put it down to the sector system I use to manage my garden as no one area is raging out of control in my absence and it only takes a short amount of time to set things right.  And in some cases, I can take care of more than one sector in a day with no great inconvenience.   It also helps that I can set up the irrigation to water the garden without me.

If you look past the powdery mildew riddled leaves you will see loads and loads of melons….

The tomatoes have been terrible again.   There is something going on and I need to get to the bottom of it.  I have been so good sanitizing the snips between plants, weeding, watering, and feeding regularly and spraying at the first sign of stubborn pests.  I think next season I will need to do things dramatically differently if I am to see a bountiful harvest, but at this point I have no idea what that will be.  

The rag tag collection of tomatoes need a bit of love to limp them to the end of the season.

To be honest I haven’t been inundated with zucchini because at the end of December the wind snapped the tops out of three of the plants.   So, I popped in new seed and hoped for the best.  It couldn’t have worked out better as I had a good supply before we went away and now that life is returning to normal the new ones are starting to crank up production.  So, I didn’t end up with mountains of marrows while I took my eye off the garden.  Although the UFO scallopini stayed intact and so I have loads of giant ones that need to be dealt with ASAP. 

The zucchini plants are at that perfect stage, nice and young and vigorous and not bothered by old age related problems.

I haven’t given up on my attempt to have 4 varieties of corn in one season.  The popcorn is drying nicely, the sweet corn is nearly ready, and the glass gem corn isn’t far off sending up tassels.  But the Painted mountain corn only had one germinate.  I don’t know if it is because the seed is old (it is old seed) or something stole them from the soil.  I should have a bed with 10cm high corn right now but there is only one.  I soaked some more seeds to help with germination but then left them outside by mistake and surprise, surprise they have gone without a trace.  So, I will have to try again.  I think I’ll start in seed trays so I can control the conditions better, protect them from being eaten and keep and eye on them.   It is getting a little late in the growing season so I will also have to pray for a long hot autumn.  

corn seedling
One lowly painted mountain corn. As determined as it is, it isn’t enough by itself.

This also isn’t the best month to start a huge project.  But I did.   I needed some content for a deadline and thought it shouldn’t take long.   My bare wood sheds were beginning to show signs of the wear and tear this brutal location can do to wooden structures so I decided to paint them, to protect them from the elements and to kill two birds with one stone, give me something to write about.  Unfortunately, painting isn’t a quick task and I remembered not long into the project that I hate painting!  But once you start you can’t really stop. 

Painted sheds
After all the stress of getting every nook and cranny painted, I can now stand back and feel pleased. It has completely changed the look of the garden.

So, I have reached the end of the month with a garden that doesn’t look too worse for wear, a harvest at the point of a glut needing processing, not just enjoying the first fruits.   I have had a fabulous break – albeit in a tent (seriously I’m getting too old for a tent – give me a caravan any day) and spent quality time with family and I have protected my sheds which are now sporting a delightful blue and white coat. 

Giant pumpkin
I’m impressed with my Giant Pumpkin – I could be tracking for a personal best….

All going well February will be a better month with the return of routine and a sense of order and control.  Unless of course I take on another hairbrained project – which is quite likely as I have something rather large I want to create… 

Come again soon – the summer growing season is still in full swing.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

7 thoughts on “January – A month in review

  1. My tomatoes did terribly also. Watered and feed but they still did poorly. I gave up trying to o work out what was wrong … not sure whether it was blight or what. But I do know that they suffered from white fly this year! Guess what I’m not growing next year! Love those sheds 🙂

    1. That sounds like Psyllid – their poop looks like sugar crystals on the leaves – that could be what you are seeing ash? They are hard to get rid of and carry a disease that can harm the plant. It certainly makes growing tomatoes more challenging. : o)

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