21 March 2017

March 2017

My blogs have become rather cumbersome over the years, so for convenience I have restored an old unused blog to manage my data.   This blog "Sustainable Organic Gardening" will be used as a portal to simplify the presentation of my story.  Through this portal, you will still be able to access all my blogs and blogpages.   I will deliver a monthly post to this new blog portal, and will continue to post regularly to Facebook, but I will not maintain any of my other blog posts.  I will however keep all my blogpages up to date to the best of my ability.

9 March 2017

March 2017

The capsicum are at their peak, but the tomatoes are almost finished.  For the first time I am growing a second crop of tomatoes sown just after Christmas.  I have terminated them at 5 sets high, so the plants energy is focused on growing larger fruit than would naturally occur if left to set more trusses.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will hold up long enough for them all to ripen.
I'm sure there are larger organic onions being grown somewhere on the planet, but the onions in my current crop are much bigger than I have ever grown before, and they have lost nothing in taste and texture.
I've done something right at last growing butternut and golden globe pumkins.  I don't know what it was, but I hope I can replicate it next year.  The butternuts are from 2 plants which still have a few left to mature.  The golden globe are from 4 plants, but there are still about a dozen of them still ripening on the vines.

15 January 2015

January 2015

These pumpkins are growing strongly and have just begun to set fruit.  There is no sign of powdery mildew yet and despite the humid and wet conditions in Melbourne recently, I am hoping my aerated compost foliar spray will keep it at bay.
On each side of the pumpkin is a Lebanese cucumber.  They are growing well despite the sprawling habit of the pumpkin, which tends to grab all the available light.  Careful pruning has helped keep them growing, and they are now setting fruit.

30 June 2014

June 2014

Buzz pollinating my tomatoes.
 
Tomatoes are self pollinating, however the pollen grains are securely held on the plants anthers.  Moderate vibration is required to release this pollen but a strong breeze will often be enough.  

Bumble bees buzz pollinate tomatoes by grabbing the tomato flower and vibrating their flight muscles vigorously to dislodge the pollen.  Honey bees don't use this technique and consequently they are not very efficient tomato pollinators.

In mainland Australia where there are no bumble bees, we must rely on native bees (like the blue banded bee) or the wind.  Both are unreliable in suburban gardens, so to ensure a good fruit set we need to buzz pollinate by hand.

I do this using a clean electric toothbrush.  I hold the toothbrush so that the back of the head is in contact with the stem just above the tomato flower.  I turn the toothbrush on and hold it in place for 2 or 3 seconds:  Too easy.