Tuesday, 6 December 2016

December 2016.

Its the first week of December, and its summer at last.  So far the weather has been mild in Melbourne, and the garden is thriving.  In this Ecobed, I have been planting Blue Lake climbing beans.  Breaking with tradition, these beans were propagated in "jiffy pots" in an EcoPropagator, before being transplanted (pot included) into the bed.  I couldn't be more pleased with the results with 100 % germination, rapid unchecked growth and less delay between crops than with direct sowing.
This bed has taken a step closer to permaculture methods with a good mix of varieties being grown together.  For those interested, I have Silver beet, Oregano, Sage, Marigold, Butternut Pumpkin, Onions, Nasturtium, Beetroot, Lettuce, Thyme, Cabbage, Dill, Cucumber, Sweet Basil and Borage all apparently growing happily together.
My small Ecobeds are growing tomatoes this year and so far so good.  These "Tommy Toe"cherry tomatoes are very promising.  Regular buzz pollination is necessary to ensure reliable fruit set with tomatoes (and capsicum), but in mainland Australia where most pollinators do not use the buzz pollination technique, you need to use an electric toothbrush to ensure a healthy crop.
Hand pollination will be necessary here too with my butternut pumpkins.  Transferring pollen from the male to female flowers helps ensure good fruit set.  Because of my limited space, I am growing my vines up a stake, and removing all side shoots to keep the plants compact.  When they reach the top of the stake, I will remove the leaders.
This is how pollination should be done.  Borage is a bee magnet, and is covered with them on warm sunny days like today.