Garden journal: dealing singlehandedly with La Nina

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I fractured my hand on Monday so I felt rather frustrated that I'll be stuck to doing mundane tasks for the next 3 weeks when the garden has gotten so out of hand after a very wet summer because La Niña is active. If I had to choose, I vastly prefer La Niña to El Niño, which brings heat and drought to my part of the world.

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Spring was very hot and dry and the horned melons didn't grow much but they exploded with the constant rain and were on the verge of smothering the entire vegetable patch.

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Luckily for me, I got this thing put together a day or two before my accident so I did a bit of trimming of the vines and got as much draped over the stand as possible. This is a native plant so it has a very long growing cycle and is only now getting ready to flower and bear fruit.

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It's a pity the leaves are tough and hairy or I'd have eaten them, pumpkin leaves are delicious. The other advantage this native plant has is being unaffected by the constant rain. Zucchini and the rest of the pumpkin family all develop mildew in this weather and I cut all the affected leaves off, not because it will stop fungus but to try and improve the sunlight and aeration to the healthy parts of the vine. The zucchini plant is pretty much done though, I'll take it out soon. I'm slowly learning what can and can't be grown in my garden and that's why I'm trying out native plants. The long-suffering beans have been a winner too.

Last year we had 3 weeks of nonstop rain from a cyclone that made landfall and the tomatoes smothered the entire garden, I've been pulling out volunteer seedlings all summer because of that debacle but I left one to grow and I'm making sure that it doesn't get out of hand by pinching out the growing tips.

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These little cuties have been making the brinjal leaves into doilies but I don't have the heart to kill them. The cats love hunting the adult garden locusts and there are quite a few praying mantises around that are more than a match for locust nymphs.

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They all hatched out of an egg case and were trapped in a window my house. I caught the tiny little hatchlings and released them into the vegetable patch and I'm glad to see that quite a few survived.

I'm continuing in my quest to fill the garden with native plants that are more disease resistant and the Streptocarpus are doing well although they do get a little sunburned

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I'm also pleasantly surprised by this little grassland orchid: it was given to me by someone who buys plants from the medicinal trade and I really didn't think it would survive, maybe it will bloom again in a year or two, they really dislike being moved. I'll grow more grass in the pot so that it can establish a suitable relationship with the mycorrhizal fungi in the grass, something that is essential to the plant's survival.

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That's all I've got for this month @gertu and @mipiano did you know that the challenge is back? Take a look here: https://hive.blog/hive-140635/@riverflows/welcome-to-the-first-hive-garden-challenge-of-2022



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38 comments
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oh crap, my better half @the bigsweed told me all about your adventure . What a shitshow, so sorry for all your pain. I broke my metacarpals when I first started dating my hubby, hurt like crazy!
wish you a speedy recovery !
Hugs!

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Thank you. I'm lucky that there is still structural integrity so it isn't too painful

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Glad to hear that, we hope you recover well

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Oh yes, having more native plants is a good choice. It is such a pity that our juicy vegetables are so sensitive. The wilder, the better!

I had no idea that you can eat the pumpkin leaves! All our species have hard hairy leaves, maybe it is a species I haven't found yet???

I can smell the summer :)

Wish you a super quick and smooth recovery!

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Thank you!
Pumpkin leaves are hairy too but they can be cleaned effectively. This video shows how

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Ok, super interesting! Thank you so much!

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Pleasure. The younger leaves are harvested for cooking

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I will let you know when summer comes and pumpkins grow:)
I keep asking people here, no one knows that we could eat the leaves, totally out of our culinary culture. Fascinating!

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(Edited)

Pumpkin leaves are considered a delicacy among vegetables here. We tend to grow butternut, blue or flat white boer pumpkins here and those are the leaves we use too

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We have butternut pumpkins, but have never seen the white and blue ones cultivated in Greece. They are beauties :)
I am triggered now to order some seeds and see what's going to happen, our climates seem to be quite similar. Thank you for all the info, love it!

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If you can grow butternuts, you should be able to grow the others. Try it and show us the results!

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Yes exactly, that's what I thought, why not? We'll see on a future summer garden post :)

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Oh, so you have home hatched praying mantises :)

I hope your hand will heal as soon as possible so you could do all the tasks (including these around the garden) two-handed :))

Thanks for the invitation 😇

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Everything should be done at home 😁

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Thank you friend for giving me the tip. Just today I was thinking of stopping by tomorrow to see if it was announced, so your tip just fell into my lap. I hope to be able to make a good compilation.
I like how you have so much green in your orchard. and the purple flowers look great.

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Thank you, there has been a lot of rain and everything is very green

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Garden looks great. Bugs are often less detrimental than you think they’ll be except for spider-mites, they simply destroy everything in sight. When mites cover the plants with their webs you get this slow terrifying attrition that yellows and wilts the plants and there’s very little you can do about it, I had a dreadful time with them last year 🕷

It’s interesting that you say it’s been hot, because I’ve found the season unseasonably cold and extremely wet (rain, rain everyday), I’m also in Joburg so it’s weird that I’ve found it so cold all summer.

Hope your hand improves and you can get stuck in again soon❤️💕❤️💕❤️❤️

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This season has been cooler and wetter but I live on the North side of a koppie and hot and dry is my default here.
Spider mites appear at the first sign of plant stress and the only way to get rid of them is to improve airflow and watering. They attack vines like tomatoes at the end of the season because the vines are too long. Another good reason to keep pinching out the growing tips

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I’ve heard that Dill gets rid of them, so I’m trying that. I live in the South. Thanks for the advice❤️

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Everything looks so lush! But sorry to hear about your hand. Ouch!

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The hand is more annoying than painful so it's a case of 'this too shall pass'.
This is tropical forest mode and we get it for a couple of weeks a year, then it's back to heat and dust

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Bummer about your hand! How long did hey say until you can use it?

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It's a tiny fracture so review is in 3 weeks

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I could never imagine a summer garden (especially zucchini) with rainy weather. It just doesn't happen here and an occasional rain during the summer is always a hassle for the vegetable garden!
Very good tactic to find native resilient plants, it can only bear fruits :)

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I suppose you do all your growing in spring or can you squeeze in an autumn crop too?

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We have very mild autumn, almost like summer, so most of the summer vegetables last till December!

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HOpe you are recovering okay - what a shitty thing to happen! Hugs!

That's also the third post I've read today with grasshoppers in it - must be the season! One landed on my arm last week and I piffed it across the garden as I squealed - gave me a fright.

La Nina is awesome for the garden - the extra rain has kept things going nicely. My tomatoes are a bloody disaster though - as I always go away in January when they grow like buggery with no one around to pinch the tops.

Sorry I took so long to get to this - going through the #gardenjournal all at once which is less time labourious for me! Plus, I've been hella busy in the garden too - our climates seem quite similiar.

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Get well soon!
I didn't know pumpkin leaves are edible, how do you cook them?

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Yup! Pumpkin flowers are also edible!

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Thanks!
I didn't know that either!
As the saying goes: "Live and learn!" :-)

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Hope your hand is healing very fast. Take it easy for a while. The garden looks great in green!🙀😂

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