December in our Subtropical Patch

What was growing

Front yard mandala

We missed the corn as the rain came right when it flowered so pollination was extremely poor, I planted a backup crop but I am feeling that this year is not my year for corn! I normally get a few runs of corn in, to make sure I have some popping corn (see our blue corn here) for the year but this year I am struggling to get the sweet corn harvest. I was so uninspired by the space I didn’t even take a photo of the entire garden.

I am now winding down this bed and will start my garlic prep. You can see how we grew our garlic last year from start to finish in this YouTube clip. I am contemplating putting some inset compost bins out here and moving the chickens in for a bit.

Font yard – the stage

So whilst I restrain the sweet potatoes, the weeds take over instead. I need to re-mulch these paths to get a control of it. These beetroots are mostly ready to pick and I have some carrots in the jungle there also getting close.

Aquaponics

Same situation as last month. Nothing to report here.

Back raised beds

I’ve mostly let things go to seed out here, we are harvesting lettuce and zucchini and loads and loads of eggplant. It does look more productive than it actually is, but it is winding down with a combination of the super hot days and the too much rain all at once.

The Vegepod

We’ve got capsicums in here and I’ve moved some of our chilli from the front wicking bed in here. I first thought the chilli were struggling in my wicking bed out the front but I am thinking that the variety of chilli’s I have growing, can’t be treated like biennials – instead they have past their peak.

We get intermittent cases of rust on the beans in the vegepod. Which is usually remedied with clearing out any affected leaves.

The food forest

Hasn’t the food forest kicked back into gear since the rain came. What a difference.

The hydroponics

Capsicums are still kicking along in the autopot. We added a new system – a kratky system which is a total experiment, I didn’t want to have to run power to anything so this is a good option to play with. Just with lettuce for now, will see how it goes.

What I planted in December

Much like November I don’t really plant much in the way of new stuff until early February. But I did do a lot of germination tests on lettuce which I hope to plant out soon. I did replant a bunch of corn after the massive fail.

If you want a list of things you can plant in the subtropics during December you can find my full list here.

Harvests for December

A pretty meagre month with only 2.9 kgs of produce harvested – mostly eggplants.

We harvested:

  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini
  • Beans
  • Capsicum
  • Leeks
  • Okra
  • Kohlrabi
  • Tomatoes
  • Fennel

Pest Watch

Finally spotted the first Fruit fly. I knew they were around as my zucchini and Tromboncino had been getting stung (the cherry tomatoes have been safe). We’ve been pretty vigilant with the baits, however while we were away over Christmas a few tromboncinos dropped to the ground so now they’ll pupate and produce more issues for us soon.

We also have spotted the 28 spotted lady beetle, the orange tortoise beetle (looks like a lady bug wearing a clear shield) and a bazillion grasshoppers. We also have issues with the cockatoos stealing our passionfruit and the king parrot is still into the pigeon peas.

Orange Tortoise Beetle eating our Sweet Potato – they are generally OK unless they population explodes.

General Observations

We finally got a fair chunk of rain (we know as our roof in our garage collapsed due to blocked gutters from the gumtree shedding it’s bark in a day). We got almost 120mm, which is double the average for the month. Everything is looking green and lush and the tanks are full!

Plans for January

In 2021 I am no longer going to do these monthly updates – I may do seasonal ones instead. You’ll still be able to follow along on instagram on our progress and I may do some videos occasionally on Youtube instead.

Moving forward I will be doing blogs for each month more in the format of planning (as opposed to retrospective).

So stay tuned for those.

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