I’ve been meaning to write earlier about the progress of our tomatoes, from tiny seedlings, to transplanting, trellising, careful pruning etc etc, but life gets in the way and then WHAM:
before you know it the tomatoes are ripe! Such is the way of summer, with an amazing quickening of pace (for both plants and humans!), which can make it a challenge for planning crop planting sequences (a lettuce can ripen at least two weeks quicker in the warm weather – if it doesn’t bolt first!). We’ve had a very productive start to the season, and are now welcoming carrots, tomatoes and basil (and looking forward to cucumbers and capsicums) alongside our leafy green staples. We’ve also managed to squeeze in some flowers amongst the veggies, and have been repaid with some amazing insects visiting the farm, including a native blue-banded bee which does an incredible job of pollinating the tomatoes (sorry no photos at this stage – they’re too fast!). It is much “buzzier” than the european honey bee, so it shakes pollen all over the place, ensuring that a high percentage of the fruit actually set. We’ve also had some not-so-welcome visitors (mainly heliothis moth and rutherglen bugs), but are hopeful the ‘good’ bugs we’ve seen (e.g. parasitic wasps and ladybirds) can stay on top of them and keep the damage to an acceptable minimum. We’ve made sure shadecloth is covering all the tender greens to keep them cool in these hotter months, and are using drip irrigation to minimise water evaporation. So far it seems to be working (but if anyone knows of some summer hardy lettuces apart from cos, lettuce know! ).
Thanks everyone for your support of Wagtail in 2013, and wishing you all a happy, exciting and inspiring new year ahead!