Tuesday, 20 April 2010

brassicas and the final melons

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden10/brocapril1.JPGFirst, and update on my brassicas.  The broccoletti and kale and the big tub have gone absolutely bonkers!  I think a few pellets of concentrated fertilizer probably helped on that front.  I have, however, been battling and absolute plague of cabbage white butterflies.  Just when we thought winter had begun, we got another seemingly endless streak of warmish weather.  As long as the weather is warm, the butterflies will be breeding like crazy.  I started by carefully scraping butterfly eggs off every day, but after a while each day there were dozens and dozens of eggs and the plants got bigger and bigger.  Eventually I lost ground and a few caterpillars managed to hatch so I resorted to Dipel.

I love brassicas, after the long slow growth of fruiting plants like tomatoes, pumpkins and melons, it's so rewarding to grow a green veggie like broccoli and see them go absolutely nuts.  I should be able to start picking kale leaves for soup in a few weeks, I don't know how long the broccoli will take.  But the butterflies are horrible, next year I'll prop up some kind of gauze or mesh to keep them off the plants.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden10/brocapril2.JPGThe Chinese broccoli is also getting nibbled as you can see.  I'm seeing if I can squeeze 2 into a pot but only 1 in the other pot to hedge my bets. 

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden10/melondead1.JPGI left the melons going as long as I could because the green nutmeg melon set three fruit late in the season.  But unlike pumpkins, melons only ripen when there's some good heat on them.  On top of that, as you can see the vine's not doing too well.  It's been hit hard by powdery mildew and an absolute plague of aphids.  This weekend is probably our last warm weekend (25 to 27 for the last four days!  It's meant to be winter!) so I bit the bullet and picked the melons this weekend.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden10/melondead2.JPGThey were a decent size for mini melons, the one on the right in particular.  As you can see, though, they're still quite dark green between the webbing and they're not meant to ripen after picking.  I left then on the bench for a few days but we're away for a week starting tomorrow so I cut the two small ones open today.

As you can see the flesh is much thinner around the outside compared to the Minnesota midget melons.  They're meant to be green like honeydew melon but not so dark green around the outside rind.  The flesh of the first one was hard and unripe.  Surprisingly, the second one was almost ripe and dripping wet - once again too much water!  So I put the largest one into the fridge to see if I can eat it when we return.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden10/melondead3.JPGIt may just be the premature harvest but the flavour wasn't that great. I think next year I'll stick with the Minnesota Midget.