It is lovely to be back to my garden. Not that most of it looks lovely at the moment, but it’s good to get back to work in it. It seems there was a bunch of rain while we were away and the weeds were rather pleased about it. However, we’ve had beautiful sunny days since we got back, until a few days ago, so I’m exceedingly pleased about that. It has been a particularly mild Autumn so far and much less wet than last year, which is very helpful. But I took heed of the rainy patch we’re in now, so it was all go outside trying to get bits and pieces done.

The Vege Garden is getting tidied up bit by bit. Before we went away I had pulled out most of the dying tomato plants, and The Little Fulla and I have now finished them off, except for the tomato forest in The Jungle. The Golden Roma on the fence beside the deck was extremely prolific and long-lasting. The tomato plants in the tomato forest are still going with a few fruit. We cleared up the Patio Area beside the deck and covered the soil with cardboard to suppress the weeds. Hopefully we will get this area paved some time during winter. Otherwise I’ll be tempted to plant in it again. Meanwhile, the strawberries on the other side of the fence are a happy, crazy mess. I need to extricate some runners to replace older plants and tidy everything up.

One of the first garden jobs when we got back was harvesting the kumara growing in a raised bed in the Vege Garden. I didn’t get time to do it before our holiday and I was counting on there not being a frost before we got back. Fortunately, there wasn’t. We had a few nights down to 3 or 4degC. Apparently the kumara turn to mush if there’s a frost. So, more vine hacking was in order and out they came. I was a little disappointed in the size of the harvest, but I think I took the ‘sand’ part of sandy soil too literally. More compost and less sand next time. They still look good though, much better than the ones that were grown in the pots. Some of the pot-grown ones really didn’t taste good. I think they had too much sand as well. The raised bed-grown ones are quite tasty though, so the variety is getting a thumbs up now. I have chosen a couple of the best-looking ones to sprout for next season and have stored them in a box of hay until sprouting time.

Many of the veges are still hanging in there despite the fact that the first month of winter is only weeks away. The Yard Long Red Noodle beans have just recently petered out, the capsicums are still going strong, although maturing very slowly, and there are still lettuces, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, silverbeet, kale, rocket, leeks, spring onions and celery growing. The Little Fulla’s two zucchini plants are still alive, to my surprise. I mean because of the cold, not his planting skills. But as they were planted so late the little fruits on them are not getting any bigger. We have harvested and eaten some of The Little Fulla’s yellow beans. I’m glad they held out as he enjoys eating things from the garden.

I have started planting out brassica seedlings and have been sowing more carrots, beetroot and parsnips. There have been many vicious caterpillars in the garden in recent months, which aren’t in a hurry to die off. Some have decimated my carrot leaves and I have even found them on things like thyme and rosemary. My garden seems to have fostered some kind of evil robot super caterpillar that will eat almost anything in its path.

There is much weeding to be done. We have cracked into the Vege Garden, part of the Herb Garden, and part of the Plum Tree Garden, but there is much more to be done. There are still weeds in the paths around the Vege Garden that need the living daylights squashed out of them by covering them with cardboard and mulch. In the raised beds, parts of the soil without plants or seeds are being covered with old chicken bedding or cardboard to suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion and increase microbial and helpful organism activity.

While the weather was being stunning, ie, not raining, for an unusually decent length of time, I also cracked into some pruning. I started pruning the leaning apple tree down the back and tackled the loquat tree in the Maple Garden. It had five trunks. It used to have more but I have previously gotten rid of the others. I chopped down three of them. I’ve left two because the main, straight trunk has damage further up from a branch that got broken in a storm. It is handy having some shelter over winter, so come spring I will cut the main trunk below the damage point. It will re-sprout quite readily (after we moved here I figured that’s how there came to be so many trunks) and if it doesn’t cooperate in a satisfactory manner I’ll have the spare trunk to fall back on.

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The Herb Garden is looking slightly better after a lawn mowing session, but there are still weeds in there. We’ve had foggy mornings but no frosts at all yet, despite being only two weeks away from the first month of winter.

While we were away a new resident moved in. No, not another rat. The roof rats seem to have enjoyed the bait while we were away and are no more. This dude is rather much more welcome. When I went to get some firewood I found this Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) quite at home under the black plastic cover. We could do with more frogs to eat the mozzies and flies around here. However, Mr or Mrs Frog seems to dislike repeated disturbances and ‘house renovations’ and has disappeared. Hopefully to somewhere not too far away.

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The Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) thought he’d found a nice house on the firewood stack.
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