Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From the garden

Returning to my garden after two weeks in Europe was like being in a European garden - stinging nettles and Alexanders up to my shoulders - rather lovely. The vegetable seeds I had sown before I left had all germinated nicely and will soon be ready for planting in the veggie patch. The olive trees that I pruned so severely in July are loaded with blossoms - it will be interesting to see if they turn into olives. So far only the mission tree has ever had olives. Also the apricot tree and plum trees are in bloom. While I was in the UK, shopping in my favourite places - the garden centres, I came across plum maggot traps and codling moth traps as well as grease bands for the fruit trees. These were rather expensive when one converts the currencies, but in my pursuit of an organic fruit harvest, I bought them. This means that if I have a harvest it will be the most expensive organic fruit I've ever had. But I've found it almost impossible to grow fruit organically. I have never tried any other way because poison is banned in my garden, but all the fruit is affected by one or other grub or bug. So far I haven't found any organic traps for fruit trees here in SA, and have tried making my own with no success at all. I tied sticky fly paper around the barks and filled bottles with a molasses and vinegar mixture to trap the various moths. I used a non toxic glue around the barks as well, all in an effort to stop the coddling moth grubs from getting up to the flowers. Nothing has worked. Let's see what these latest efforts yield!!
This is the time of year where the quick growth of weeds brings a welcome lot of greenery to the compost heap. Later on it gets so dry that there is little to offer, so I make the most of this abundance. The wonderful nettles are looking extremely healthy and will be used to make smelly but nourishing nettle tea ( I just soak the fresh nettles in water for a few weeks and then use the "tea" to fertilise the vegetables), and I'll be using some in soups too. Nettles are extremely good nutrition as well as medicine.

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