Thursday, 6 December 2012

Not quite according to plan

There have been a fair few hiccups in the crop rotation system.  Perhaps I should really be calling it the crop wonky or the crop wobble.  Either way we've had some ups and downs.  The Borlotti beans have shot up and are now flowering.  The dreaded bean fly has been spotted infesting the leaves with its destructive brood but with a much a healthier crop than previously (cow poo is amazing!) the plants have withstood the attack of this minute pest and are on their way to producing their delightful spotty and stripy seeds.  However, to counter this success, none of the chickpeas emerged and I'm trying to decide whether to bother trying to grow them again.  

The other major issue with the vegie patch and flower bed has been in the form of the wretched roving raker (aka Wheelie).  Chooks really aren't given enough credit for the cunning workings of their tiny brains.  They say they have the intelligence of a 3 year old.  Well, in my experience I've decided not only do they possess this intelligence but  also possessed of the mischievousness of a 3 year old and worse still is that they never grow out of it.  If I leave the cage door open for one night she's out of the pen in the morning raking up all my lovely seeds and seedlings.  When I wake in the morning and realise my error, hurriedly look out the window there she is with her head cocked to the side looking up at me with her comb wobbling.  There's been more than one occasion where we've very nearly been going to have roast chook for Christmas.

As a result there are only two broccolini seedlings, no flowers have been able to come up from seed and all but one corn plant have been scratched from the crop rotation board in bed 5.  Luckily I'm a determined creature and can match the pigheadedness of any 3 year old, ahem, I mean chicken.  So the planting has been redone with a vengeance for the third or possibly fourth time: the corn has been replanted along with its cucumber companion plus a choko to climb the fence and a zucchini; the flower seeds have been resown and the chooks are given extra food and shut in their cage at night.  Now so long as chooks can't figure out how to turn a handle the garden will be safe, at least until the cluck monster emerges anyhow (I'll tell you about that another time).

The other hiccup with the crop wobble has been the carrots.  The nice neat row has produced a few tiny carrot seedlings albeit not as many as I'd hoped.  Instead, Mother Nature has laughed at me again with this bed.  In previous years a watering or some rain would send up millions of cherry tomato seedlings despite me never having planted one.  This year it seems amaranth is the immaculate crop which has taken over the garden, although I do admit to having let one or two go to seed there in the past.  As experience gardeners are all too aware, once you've grown amaranth you've always got amaranth.  It's always safer to work with nature so I've thinned the amaranth around the carrots that came up and let the rest grow to shade them from the baking heat that we've been having.  They've cross pollinated with some wild varieties so now they have a beautiful candy-cane stripe to their stem when mature.  They also made a nice spinach substitute in dinner last night along with some of the last pumpkin that was also a gift from Mother Nature and a few cherry tomatoes that can be found loitering around the edges of the beds.  Maybe I should give up gardening all together - it seems that the vegie patch grows itself far better than I can.

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