April in the patch

lady1
The mildew eating lady-bug.

April is that month where we get everything happening for winter. Old plants are dug up, strawberry runners are replanted into pots ready for next year and a slash, burn or bin mentality takes a hold.

Thanks to the prolonged warm weather I still have some powdery mildewed zucchini plodding along and taking up a huge amount of space. They’re great zucchini though and as every year, the light green ones have out-classed the black. I routinely remove the heavily dusted leaves and bin them. I did discover though that one of the friendly lady-bugs, one that eats powdery mildew, had taken up residence. Mind you with the vast expanse of powdery mildew that I have, these little bugs certainly have their work cut out for them.

To stop the spread of disease these zucchini won’t be going into the compost or the chook house, I might throw them onto the bonfire pyre or straight into the Otto bin.

Most of the tomatoes have been removed and so have the beans and in their place I’m planting silverbeet, broccoli, snowpeas, spinach and mizuna.

It’s supposed to be too late for silverbeet and broccoli but I have no choice as I spent most of March trying to stop another pest from ruining the patch.

My constant struggle against Fergus the Border Collie – Husky cross has meant that I’m well behind in most of my plantings.

He first learnt that tomatoes are delicious and during the night, he knew not to attempt it during human waking hours, he would push himself under the mesh fence and have a late night snack.

Tomato? What tomato?
Tomato? What tomato?

The evidence of his theft was everywhere, half eaten tomatoes strewn across the back lawn like a poorly played game of boules.

Then he discovered that after I fertilised with manure and blood and bone the soil smelt sweet. So sweet he’d dig the whole lot up.

I pinned the mesh down with tent pegs, tied inch thick dowel to the base and pinned that down, but he still got in.

Now I have removed all the mesh and replaced it on the southern and eastern sides with galvanised iron, on the north with two old bed frames and on the west with heavily reinforced mesh with sleepers on the base.

So far my new beds are untouched. That’s until he learns how to undo the latch on the gate or climb over the walls.

Category: Grow

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Article by: Mark Logan

Former photojournalist at the CWD, Mark Logan has mixed together his love of technology with his years of experience as a journalist and photographer to develop the Orange Post. The Orange Post is his baby. A baby whose gestation involved countless ideas, numerous bouts of indecision, an infinite number of hours cursing free software and more than one bottle of wine. Whilst he's not trying to cajole people into writing for the Orange Post, he's attempting to sharpen his vegetable gardening skills. He lives in a strangely shaped house in Millthorpe, loves ignoring recipe directions, dabbles in web design for fun, frustration and profit and is constantly in a battle of the wills with his dog Fergus