Thursday, 31 October 2013

Ladybirds, beans and feijoa flowers

Today I found the first ladybirds of the season….
 … there were just a few,  but I do expect more.   I had seen baby ladybirds on the parsley that had gone to seed a while ago  (this photograph is dated 24 October) and today there are quite a few adults.  The babies were plentiful…..
 …. and the parsely patch quite large…..
… and so I expect to find many more ladybirds in the coming days…. and no aphids.

The old snow pea plants are looking quite forlorn….
 … and I keep thinking that it will soon be time to pull them out.  However,  they are still producing at least ten pods per day…..
 … and so I leave them there and pick them daily.  Mine is not the tidy rows of weed free and well mulched, picturesque potager of the gardening books….  more like a rambling mess with edible patches that make it nearly unneccessary to visit the local farmer's market.  (I still go,  weekly, as there is always something new and interesting to try.)

The new season's beans are climbing….  and flowering….
 … they all seem to know how to find their way.   This year I have three bamboo lean-to's each with five stakes.  These are the furthest advanced….
 …. and there are several beans planted at each stake.  The seeds that I had were quite old,  and so I planted them generously.   They seem to have germinated well and I will have plenty of plants.  It will be necessary to make sure that they have enough water for the extra plants…. I hope it works.  

I have had some difficulty with beans in the past…. sickly plants and often stunted…. despite "everyone" assuring me that beans and peas are so easy to grow.  After my experience with silver beet and beetroot and their need for boron,  I began to suspect a lack of trace elements.  (The soil in Kapunda is very old and depleted.)
Since that lesson with the boron and the beetroot family,  I have tried some soluble trace element mixtures and these are good,  though not very long lasting and probably includes elements that are surplus to requirements,  especially in a copper mining area with thick layers of limestone about a metre or so under the soil.  I have also found a source of "rock dust" which is just that… crushed rock that can re-mineralise the soil.  This seems to ahve solved my problem…. I have been inundated with peas (snow peas and pod peas) this year and I can't wait to see how the beans manage with the new minerals around their roots.

In other news,  the feijoa (pineapple guava) is flowering….
…  the flowers are lovely.  This poor plant has survived about 10 years of competition from a giant buddleia that had taken over that part of the garden.  That buddleia had also taken over half of the clothes line and much of three garden beds.  I know that the butterflies and honey eaters loved it and I have planted a substitute,  and so the giant buddleia is gone (it has made marvelous kindling and firewood) and the surrounding garden has "taken off".   The feijoa flowered last year,  though jsut a few flowers and no fruit appeared.  This year is is covered in these lovely flowers and who knows…. there might be some pineapple guavas in the future.

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