If you’ve been following my nature blog for a while, you will know that I planted a red Capsicum (Capsicum annuum hybrid) for the first time in my west-facing balcony garden.
My younger brother had warned me they were a slow grower, but I persevered and waited and waited…………………and waited.
My idea was to have sufficient green salad and herb leaves (as shown on the right), or green leafy vegetables, to pick during the summer so I didn’t have to shop so often. All other vegetables keep well enough in the fridge when properly stored so it doesn’t matter if I miss a weekly shopping expedition. I did well with the Asian greens during Winter in my previous balcony garden (below) too.
In fact I did extremely well with my garden, located to the north-east of Melbourne, which had no direct sun but plenty of light (below).
My second Capsicum crop here in the western suburbs started with 11 thumb-sized fruit only a few weeks ago and being the end of Summer, I wondered if they would grow at all. I didn’t know they would produce more than one crop in the Summer, having never grown this vegetable before. Two fell on the ground attached to a large branch, which I presumed the possums had jumped on and broken during the night. That left only 6 fruit, from thumb-size to about 3″.
(Don’t know what happened to the missing 3).
I was surprised to see one turning partially purple earlier in the week and very quickly jumping to the red stage yesterday.
I lifted the leaves up with my left hand intending to make a one-handed shot with my right and was dismayed to see my Capsicum had ‘company‘ yesterday.
(I’ve even had Harlequin Bugs in my lounge room and the little blighters have proved hard to catch and despatch outdoors, but somehow, I still can’t bear to kill them as they’re so attractive).
The Sugar snap Peas only yielded one pea pod, LOL, with the Harlequin Bugs sucking the sap out of all the leaves of the 10 seedlings climbing up the bamboo frames. Those plants got pulled out a week ago.
One pea pod doth not a meal make.
I have several empty pots now.
The Sage was completely decimated by bugs and I pruned it down to 1″ stubble. Bitter sage leaves are supposed to be bug-resistant and was even recommended for growing as a deterrent. It’s now got about 50-60 new baby leaves on it. But Sage always dies back in Winter, so that will probably only last a couple of months.
I pulled the Bok Choy and baby Broccoli out as they were half-eaten (by the ‘pillars), and the meals I did have from them, were fairly bitter.
One Kale leaf and several baby spinach leaves are perfect for the occasional vegetable omelette in the meantime.
Next Spring I might invest in a covered raised garden kit for my low-growing veggies or invest in more blue butterfly scarecrows.
Or, maybe just have flowers 😀 (says she who just despatched another Harlequin bug crawling across her Canon Printer). I think the bugs get in via one of the large Rosemary branches which is lying next to my open lounge louvred windows, although I do have the sliding door fully open on sunny days.
Between you and me, I’m getting tired of hand watering every night. Especially as the time I usually water around 6.30-7.00pm (about 4-6 trips with the large watering jug from the kitchen sink tap) is the golden hour and might be better spent down the local river doing some photography.
After my initial enthusiasm with long hours of afternoon sun from the west, I’m gradually finding the temperatures too hot and the pests overwhelming.
I normally water my garden at the end of the day so it has the cooler night time to soak in to the soil. In our hot Australian summer, watering in the morning or midday has the potential to burn the roots of plants.
It’s only 13 degrees C (about 56F) at the moment and pelting down with rain, so looks like no hand watering needed tonight 🙂
Tomorrow it’s going to rain and cool temps also.
Was it only 3-4 days ago it was 29C (about 85F) 😕