Well, I think I can safely say…….Summer is finally over in Melbourne, Australia.
No it’s not.
Yes, it is.
No it’s not…… and so on.
Every time I (and my Balcony Garden) heave a sigh of relief at the cool morning breeze wafting over the area, the sun starts heating up again.
This morning, it’s blissfully cool sitting at my desk in the morning shade (as the hot western sun hasn’t crept over my apartment building yet). I’ve been more attentive to the thirsty plants and especially attentive to the daily task of looking for those pesky little Cabbage Moth Caterpillars and Harlequin bugs.
I HAVE noticed the Kale and baby Spinach grow much, much slower under the pest ‘cage’.
Obviously the netting diffuses the hot sun quite a lot.
I found one large plump caterpillar on a half-eaten leaf of one baby Tuscan Kale plant under the new ‘pest net’ a couple of days ago and sighed one of those frustrating sounds yet again.
How in the hell can those pesky Cabbage Moth Butterflies have got under the pest net and laid more eggs?
I’m beginning to wonder if ‘pest eggs’ are in the potting soil I bought from the local Plant Nursery Warehouse a couple of weeks ago. I still haven’t potted up all the seedlings my friends brought me several weeks ago and a few yellowed and died.
I have the tiny Curry Plant (Helichrysum angustifolium) above, sitting on my desk (still in its seedling pot) with one (of two) Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilica) and my French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) in the hope that keeping them indoors will escape the ravenous appetites of the pests.
On the bookcase near the opposite side of the sliding door is the other Sweet Basil, one small pot of Mint (Mentha spicata) and the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum).
I bought the Peace Lily about 2 months ago to clear and detoxify the air in the lounge. It grew so fast, I had to re-pot it in a larger pot 2 weeks after purchase. Now it’s growing so fast – about 3-4 leaves EVERY day – I need a larger pot again!
It’s staggering how fast most plants grow either indoors in this light-filled modern apartment, OR in my west-facing balcony garden.
Just goes to show what a lot of light and some TLC will do 🙂
Sure, I’ve had quite a few failures (incl. 2 baby zucchini above), in the blistering heat of our recent ‘record-breaking’ Summer, or attack by Harlequin bugs and Caterpillars, but on the whole, my gardening efforts since I moved to this western suburb of Melbourne 2 1/2 years ago, have been mind-boggling.
Now it’s cooler and I’ve moved the Zucchini to in front of the window near my desk so I can watch it growing, I now have 4 new zucchini babies. In fact, one of those babies, is growing about 1 cm (1/2″) EVERY day at the moment!
I am not exaggerating. At this rate I should have a zucchini to cut in about 7-10 days.
I looked Zucchini up in the new Organic Gardening book my brother gave me at Christmas and apparently the flowering stems with fruit are the females and the long thin stems (and no fruit) the male flowers! I still can’t quite believe these vegetables have grown in such a shallow small trough. Quite the opposite to what my new gardening book says. I’ve never grown zucchini in my potted garden before.
I planted the Climbing Spinach (Basella alba ruba) seeds a few weeks ago and 6 out of the 10 seeds have sprouted. The other 4 seeds must have been ‘duds’. Can’t wait for it to start climbing the trellis I made out of 4 bamboo garden stakes tied together at the top.
So far, no half-eaten leaves.
Hopefully the caterpillars will leave this pot alone as I have no netting to put over it.
The weather is gorgeous today and barely a breath of wind.
Blue sky and sunshine with a couple of overnight rain showers have been blessed by cooler breezes in the last week.
I’m still having to water every night at dusk, but that’s a ‘given’ when you have a garden made of potted plants. The strong gusty wind in this area dries out every pot almost every day.
I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t even had time to try making Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) after my brother kindly bottled some leaves from his farm (for me). They look a bit ‘fiddly’, but I’m determined to give it a try.
My Balcony Garden is in a state of constant change as something dies, or is eaten by the pests, OR I decide to try growing a different plant/vegetable.
Life is just one big experiment at the moment, but at least with the cooler weather I can find some Joy in my Day (instead of wilting in the heat). My apartment has air-conditioning, but once the hot sun hits the floor-to-ceiling windows, my desk area still gets very hot in the mid-to-late afternoons in Summer.