Six on Saturday – W13/2021 – Vegetables in March

It is that time of year when we start preparing the vegetable garden for winter crops. The pumpkin vines have been cut right back or removed as they are no longer setting fruit. With the heavy rains we experienced over the last couple of weeks, most of the summer vegetables are looking as if they are past their prime. Kale and climbing beans have been removed, and the eggplant (aubergine/brinjal) has been cut back. The summer button squash is struggling as a result of the heavy rains, but is still producing some fruit.

Not all of the summer crops are dying off! The turmeric and ginger have never grown as well as they have this year. Both are flourishing in pots, and the ginger plants are even starting to produce flowers!

Large Tumeric growing in a pot
Ginger plants in pots for a lovely background to this raised bed

2. We are starting the new season with purchased seedlings: Kale Blue Curled , Broccoli Green, Silverbeet Fordhook Giant and a new one for us, Mizuna ‘Green’. We will be sowing the seeds of other vegetables soon.

Seedlings

3. The first raised garden bed for the new season was planted with mainly lettuce and beetroot seedlings. The upturned pots are used to protect the young seedlings from the sun. Late in the afternoon the pots are removed, and replaced mid to late morning of the following day. This is done for a few days until the seedlings establishes themselves.

Newly planted seedlings

4. The five or so asparagus plants are starting to die back for winter. Three of the plants are two years old and we should be able to harvest some spears in the spring.

Asparagus plant dying back for winter

5. Now here is something unusual – well, to me anyway! The tropical peach and nectarine developed a gummy mass, mostly at the tips of the branches. We did a bit of research and it appears that it could be either a canker, or the tree’s response to a borer insect. There are borers in the area which attack the local native trees, and which destroyed my Metrosideros shrub. We decided to assume it was borer and removed all the infected branches. We are hoping that this will solve the problem, and will keep a close eye on both trees to see how they are doing. If it turns out to be a canker, then we have to destroy both trees. I’m hoping that it won’t come to that.

6. Finally, one afternoon this week I noticed a lot of little white specks floating up against the blue sky in the distance (a couple of hundred meters away). At first I thought it might be pollen or seeds. However, when I zoomed in on one of the photos I took, I noticed that you could see the shape of a couple of the specks, and it appears that they could be tiny moths. There were none flying over my garden at the time, and I have not seen any since.

Tiny white specks in the sky
The white specks could be moths

That is all for this week’s Six on Saturday from me, but go to The Propagator’s blog where we share our gardening highlights of the day with others around the world. Why not join us?

27 comments

  1. I enjoyed the peek at your veggie garden ahead of the winter. I hope your peach trees recover.
    I have tried growing ginger from tubers I got from the green grocer. I left the tubers to shoot before planting them quite shallow in compost in a pot. I had no luck though – they dried out and shriveled. Evidently I did not water them enough, or perhaps I should have planted them deeper …
    However, we do have invasive non-edible ginger growing in the plantation margins. They are quite hard to get rid off as they are incredibly hardy – they carry on growing even after they have been pulled out of the ground!

    • Our neighbour has a huge clump of Galangal ginger in her front garden, and after seeing that we decided pots were the answer to keeping it under control. During summer we place. Drip tray under the pot to retain some of the moisture for the plant to use during the hottest part of the day. They like an open shade, and yes, they like lots of water. They will die back totally in winter. I think the shop ginger is treated, and it is hard to get a tuber to grow. A piece from an organic shop or farmers market might work.

      • Thanks so much for this information. I will see what I can find. (Unfortunately our favourite stall holder with organic produce at the local farmer’s market has given up after the market was shut down for months because of Covid-related restrictions on gatherings.)

  2. Wow! Your tumeric and ginger are amazing. I like the idea of upturned pots. I’ven not got enough plastic crates so this is a good alternative. I am surprised I never thought of something so obvious LoL

  3. Those little white specks remind me of a kind of aphid that we have around here. They have gauzy, white wings and fluffy white threads of stuff trailing off of them, so I think they make delightful real life fairies. I’ve had the worst time photographing them because they’re always in motion and are so small.

    • That’s interesting, and I like the fairy bit! I am only an amateur photographer and I know exactly what you mean about trying to photograph them. It is worse than capturing butterflies!

  4. What a turmeric monster! When do you harvest it, or can you remove parts and let the main plant keep on keeping on? Nice to see the seasons move and your preparations for winter. Love the high tech red arrow to point out the mystery moths. Have a great week x

    • We will harvest the tumeric, and ginger, as soon as the leaves die back for winter, and the plant goes dormant. We tip the plant out of the pot and break up the rhizomes, wash them, peel and dry them and powder the root. We use the powdered turmeric during the year. We do the same with the ginger. We also save some of the healthy rhizomes and repot them for the next season’s crop. The arrows were a little wobbly as I just used my finger to draw them. 🙃Hope you have a great week too!

  5. I’ve always been tempted to give ginger a try – we obviously don’t have the right climate here in the UK, but I believe it is possible. I’m sure it wouldn’t look as healthy as yours though!

    I’m sure it’s not good for the tree, but it’s amazing how the sap crystallises like that on the peach.

    • The ginger does need a warm spot to grow, and from the looks of it, lots of rain! And I agree, looking past the damage, the way the sap has formed is amazing!

  6. Your pots of tumeric and ginger are very exciting. I am motivated to try to grow some from the roots myself. Good tip about placing the pots over young seedlings to protect them from the sunlight while they’re getting established – though I fear I would forget to remove them at the right time. Very upsetting about your fruit trees! I am hoping that you have the lesser of two evils on your hands and are able to keep the trees.

    • The turmeric and ginger are really easy to grow, but do need a warm spot. I had a look at the trees today and can’t see any signs of new damage, so fingers crossed we have got it under control!

  7. The Tumeric foliage is so lush, a real tropical jungle plant that clearly liked all that rain you had! As for the ginger, looks very similar to bamboo. Have you been able to harvest ginger roots yet?

    • We harvest the ginger each year, but wait until the foliage dies back. We will use some of it fresh, but most of the rhizomes will be sliced and dried, then powered. There should hopefully be enough to last us until next harvest. The turmeric is processed the same way.

  8. Oh, fresh asparagus – how lovely! And I cannot believe that turmeric plant! It is huge! So when do you harvest it and how? Hope the trees survive, that jelly mess looks awful.

    • I can’t wait to harvest the asparagus, which will be sometime in September/October I hope. The Turmeric plant really excelled this year. As we move into autumn/winter the leaves will start dying back. Once that happens, we will empty out the pot and harvest the Turmeric. We will use some fresh root, but most of the harvest will be dried and then powered, and the amount we get should easily last us until the next harvest. The leaves of the ginger also die back, and we will do the same with the ginger rhizomes. Re the trees, so far so good! There is no more gummy masses on the trees.

    • They are looking great at the moment! They certainly thrived and obviously loved the excessive amount of rain we had this year. They do better for us in pots, as I don’t think they like the clay soil we have here.

    • I enjoyed reading your post. I did not realise that buchu grew that big! I will take a look at the Kirstenbosch post too. It’s been 6 years since I was last there….. I tried to subscribe to your blog, but had no luck. This has happened previously when I tried to subscribe to other Sixes using blogspot. Have a great week!

  9. Fingers are crossed for your tropical peach and nectarine. It was interesting seeing turmeric as a plant rather than just a root and I’m curious to know what the mysterious the UFOs/moths were.

    • I looked at the two trees today, and was pleased to see no further damage on them! Their recovery looks promising! I could not believe how big a Tumeric plant can grow! Last year they were only half the size they are this year. Re the UFO moths …. I haven’t seen them again. It remains a mystery to me!

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