Season summary for my food garden in Ballarat (Victoria), Spring 2021. This is mainly of relevance to gardeners living in the Ballarat area, but it might be a useful comparison for food gardeners living further afield.
It was a cool, wet spring. The average maximum temperature for Ballarat was minus .4 C, with November’s average maximum temperature coming in at a cold minus 1.4 Degrees. But the average minimum temperature was right on average, probably due to the higher than usual cloud cover. Cloud tends to trap heat in at night. Rainfall was 9 % above the long-term average.
The higher than average rainfall and cooler conditions have kept the soil moist and the water tanks full, which hopefully will translate into a good vegetable growing season.
All vegetables planted thus far are doing well, though most are a little behind for this time of the year due to the cooler weather. Almost no major pest problems, earwigs and slater numbers are well down on last spring. Despite the rain, snail and slug numbers are no higher than normal.
The apple crop looks bigger than last year, though the pear crop is down and all the stone fruit trees are looking like they will produce less than last year. Absolutely no apricots on my apricot tree and the cherries got almost wiped by an infestation of black aphids. The quince crop will be large, and all the citrus trees are doing well with plenty of lemons and grapefruit to pick.
The big disaster this spring was the loss of my three remaining chickens to foxes. While foxes have killed chickens in the past it has been over ten years since the last attack. I will beef up the security and fallow the chicken run for a few weeks before getting new chickens. Fallowing a chicken run occasionally is a useful thing to do as it is an opportunity to rid the run of parasites.
Harvest results chart of what was produced in my food garden this Spring and how well it went. Click HERE to see a .PDF of this chart. Note that this is too specific to interest most gardeners, I produce it primarily as a record for myself.
Part of the main vegetable patch with corn and bush beans and recently planted Brussels sprouts and kale seedlings.
This spring I grew some of my bush peas on 120 cm black cone plant trainers as an experiment. Bush beans grow as an unsupported bush, whereas bush peas need support if they are to grow upright. If given a frame to climb they can grow up to 1.5 metres high, if no frame is provided they mainly grow along the ground. I usually use bamboo sticks to support bush peas but these small frames have turned out to be an excellent alternative. The pea variety in this photo is Greenfeast.
My tomato plants are doing very well, though due to the cool spring I expect the crop to be late this year.
Everything in the main greenhouse is doing well with no sign of disease or significant pest damage.
A little experiment I am undertaking – growing Wasabi. This plant produces a pungent root used in Asian cooking. It is native to Japan. Wasabi loves cold moist conditions, in the wild it grows in and on the edges of mountain streams. However, it can be grown artificially if it is kept in a relatively cool place in permanently wet soil. This Wasabi plant is being grown in a wicking tub on the south side of our house.
Damaged shoots on one of my cherry trees. The damage was caused by a heavy infestation of black aphids, which resulted in most of the cherries dropping off.
The fox got into my chicken run by chewing through a section of the chicken wire perimeter fence. I will need to replace it with something stronger, while chicken wire is strong enough to keep foxes out it does become weaker as it ages. This wire was over twenty years old.