Showing posts from June, 2017

How To Grow Great Peppers

Chinese Five Colour Peppers start off purple,  then turn cream, yellow, orange, and red.
Peppers are considered to be one of the trickiest vegetables to grow successfully. Folks just seem to have a hard time getting them to grow well and, most importantly, to produce well.

As they pretty much thrive on neglect, requiring little more than time and patience, it may simply be a case of too much kindness or tlc ; )

Here's a few tips on how to keep your pepper plants thriving and producing...

Plant peppers in three gallon pots
Plant them in pots.

While you certainly can grow peppers in the garden, they produce more peppers per plant when grown in containers.

Grow in a three to five gallon container, ideally black or dark in colour, so that they really soak up the heat. I use simple, black, three gallon grower pots. 
Fill the pots with a good quality potting soil, never use garden soil in any container. Mix in some compost or manure. I use my magic mix of 5 parts potting soil to 2 parts co…

Keep your Baskets Flowering and Thriving

As we start to get warmer temperatures, true summer weather, your hanging baskets may begin to look a little peaked.

How to keep them happy and thriving, blooming all summer long? Good watering, some feeding, and a bit of pinching, too. 

Water all hanging baskets (coir, poly, or moss) till the water flows freely from the bottom.
Go from basket to basket and then start all over again.  Thoroughly soak each basket two or three times each time you water. 
I water my baskets every second day in spring, once a day in summer,  twice a day in +30°C weather. 

After the watering, give them a really good shower. 
Spray baskets and planters from all sides each time you water. This re-hydrates tired baskets, hoses off stray bits of dry foliage and spent blossoms,  plus blasts away any bugs trying to take up residence. 

Feed them well! 
To keep baskets and planters looking amazing, lush and full of blooms,  watering is not enough.  Feed every week or two with a fertiliser that has a higher middle n…

Is Your Garlic Ready To Harvest?

The hardest thing about growing garlic is knowing when to lift it.

Planting is easy, growing is easy, care is easy ... but knowing exactly when to harvest can be kinda tricky.

Garlic harvest can also vary, depending on the area that you live in, when you planted, the weather, and the variety that you planted.

 Garlic growing in late spring
In general, for most of us here on the west coast, harvest will be in early to mid July.

Scapes ...

About a month before harvest, you will find scapes forming at the top of your hardneck garlic plants.

These yummy curlicues are super tasty greens that can be used in stir fries, made into pesto, grilled on the barbie, or chopped into your eggs/salads.

Scape season is relatively short, just a couple of weeks at the most. You want to harvest when they are young and tender, just as they have made one curl or are starting to do so. If you wait till they get older, they'll be tougher, a bit woody.

The scape is easy to harvest, no knives required. Go to…

Organic Pest Control

Insect pests can be one of the most frustrating gardening issues one has to deal with.

Which is why I am often asked what I use to fight bugs. If you mean, what kind of product do I use? Then the answer for the most part is ... nothing at all.   
Why not? The problem with any kind of insecticide or pesticide, even the organic earth friendly kinds, is that they do not discriminate between good bugs and bad bugs. All forms of sprays and powders will kill the good guys, too. Therefore, I try to use no product of any kind, not even soapy water.   
So... What to do about those bugs then? 
Add organic material to build up your soil
First...  Grow healthy plants in healthy soil. Pests prefer stressed out, unhappy plants and rarely bother happy, healthy ones.

Invest in good soil and feed that soil annually with lots of organic matter. When you add manure, compost, leaf mould, and other organic matter to your beds, you are feeding the worms and the microbial life in the soil, which in turn work …

June Garden Ramblings

Long awaited spring weather has arrived on the island. Happy dance!

The thermometer still seems to struggle to get up into the teens on most days, and mornings can be a bit chilly... Hah, whatever, we are all simply thrilled that summer crop planting time is finally here!

Cool weather crops have really enjoyed this extended cool, rainy season, thriving rather than bolting. Broccoli, radishes, kale, spinach, and lettuces are flourishing. Have grown the best broccoli of my life this year : )

Enjoy your cool weather crops now, don't save them 'for later' or for 'when they get bigger'. Harvest regularly as they will soon bolt in this new found heat.

New pockets of planting space will open up for your summer vegetables as you harvest these crops or compost the bolting greens.

What to put in those spots?

What to plant this month?

Squash. Pumpkins, zucchini, pattypans, all sorts of squash can be planted into the warm garden beds now. Start them from seed or starter plants, …