Our market garden is breathing a sigh of relief after a couple of days of good solid rain the other week. We're really hoping for some more over the weekend.
Everything is greening up, and our transplants and direct seeded crops are starting to really take off.
We have started planting some of the staple Summer crops, with zucchinis, pumpkins, squash, spaghetti squash and cucumbers looking great and the first tomatoes and eggplants transplanted last week.
For the first time we are using a silage tarp to cover one of our plots to prepare it for the next successions of cucurbits at the end of November. This creates a kind of 'forest floor' effect where the plants (mostly weeds) on the surface start to decompose in the dark, moist environment and it's the perfect habitat to encourage more worms. This should keep the weed pressure down, making some of the maintenance tasks on the farm a bit more manageable.
We are also making the most of biodegradable weed mat to help with our weed management. We cut slits in the weed mat and plant into it, giving the plants a weed-free space in which to grow. This is particularly useful for some of the vining crops where it isn't easy to weed around all the tendrils.
A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law also brought up a new colony of bees for our Flow Hive. They are settling in so well and I was pleased to see larvae, capped brood and hatching worker bees during my inspection, along with the queen herself! Petrina, head chef and owner of Palette Dining in Katoomba, was also able to catch a swarm from one of her hives, and she has kindly offered it to us. We transferred them successfully into our Langstroth hive and have moved them to the farm. All looking good so far!
The bees are an integral part of our veggie production as without them we would be hand pollinating all our zucchinis, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and many other crops.
We also have plans for a bee-friendly garden with a mix of citrus, natives and herbs for year-round bee forage.