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First root crop harvest from wicking beds, blue eggs and impulse buys.

Hi everyone.  I am trying to be a little more  regular with the blogging; aiming for every 2 weeks or so.   It's fun, I love sharing my garden with everyone and it is great at allowing me to keep up with what I am  doing and how my garden is progressing (I would never put this much effort into a garden journal).

 

Well, I'm just a little excited.  Today, once the sun had peeked through, I was just wandering around the  garden and decided to pull up one of my little carrots to see how things were progressing.  I looked for  the largest stem and pulled it out.  While not huge, (They were planted end of May and are due to be  harvested end of september) they are a very decent size.  I decided to pull enough for dinner tonight, as  well as add some little beetroots, to have roasted with roast chicken.  These were the Halequin f1 from  Master gardeners so I had hoped to get a multitude of colour.  Out of the 5 I pulled, all were yellow.  It  may just be that the yellow variety develops faster but I will be very disappointed if none turn out to be  purple or white.

Here was this mornings haul from the garden.  You can see a scabby little broccoli head in amongst all  that.  Very disappointed with it but probably not the seeds fault, mostly mine.  I was so paranoid with  the slater problem I had in the other bed and losing so many brocc/cauli seedlings, that I left two to  develop in every spot.  Too much over crowding methinks!

 

All this wonderful rain has come to fill my tank up nicely.  It also couldn't have come at a better time.   My citrus are all starting to bloom again, the multigrafted apple has new flowers and the multigrafted  peach/nectarine has tiny fruit developing all over it.  My netting is coming soon and once the last graft  finishes flowering, that thing will be covered head to toe and hopefully I'll get to eat all of my beautiful  harvest this year :)

 

A first time for me is growing my own potatoes.  Now don't laugh at my little harvest - I never really  expected much.  They were store bought potatoes that had started to chit on my bench and rather than  throw them out, I thought "what the heck -lets give this a go".  They had started to die off on me last  week, way earlier than what they were supposed to, so I didn't hold much hope.  There seemed to be no  apparent reason, the bushes looked healthy and then just died.  I started to dig through all the layers  and found this delightful supply ( I only planted 3 to start with).  And… I also worked out the reason for  their sudden death.  I found bones, yes that's right, BONES buried in the mulch.  Bloody DOG!! She  obviously got in there and knocked things around a bit.  Anyway, I have a question about the little baby  potatoes - Is it worth throwing them in the ground or should I just leave it?  I started another little  potato patch with storebought potatoes about a month ago and they are doing really well so far.  I just  need to keep the dog and the chooks out of the bed.

 

I posted a photo about a week ago about our new layer Penny joining the ranks.  Gosh she is worth it.   Laid her first pretty blue egg at about 22 weeks (far better than some of those older free loaders) and  she is laying about 6 eggs per week (also much greater than vicky (1 every 2nd day) and Minty (3 out of  4 days).   She is an Australorp crossed with Aracauna that I got from Marie from BLF.  I would  recommend getting these if you can.  While here eggs are more of a mint green than true blue, they are  very pretty and frequent.  We are now getting about 14 eggs a week (those in the egg carton are all  mine) so I have stopped buying eggs . YaY!! I am having trouble keeping track of new vs old eggs.  At the  moment, I have a two carton system, where all the eggs from one week goes in one and the eggs from  the next in another but I have "subtly" requested an egg skelter for my birthday.  This is what I hope my  gorgeous display of eggs will look like once I obtain it. 

I also made an impulse buy on the weekend.  I have now become the owner of a beautiful little one year old Malay golden dwarf coconut palm.  Never really wanted one of these (coming from north queensland beaches, coconuts were never anything special) until I saw Steve's add on BLF forum.  Did I have room? -> I'll make some.  As I live out at and there is absolutely no danger of frosts, that little palm will get transplanted into a nice warm, sunny spot.  I'm thinking that it will do really well out the front near the Banana's and mango tree.

 

That's it from me.  I'm still waiting for those beautiful spring days but have welcomed the lovely rain over the past week (just wish it would rain weekdays instead of weekends but can't have everything :)

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 25, 2014 at 17:30

Meant to say, my Sugar Snap Peas were virtually pod-less this year and I pulled them down and at least they helped the compost along. I'm still hanging out for Peas!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 25, 2014 at 17:29

Those bins sound just the ticket, Susan. I did grow 2 varieties of Raspberries in 200L bins and did not get much of a crop over 3 years. Mainly I suspect the soil mix did not hold enough water and I did not feed them enough. The native small-leaved plant did produce plenty of fruit, about half as juicy as the exotic, OK but not worth fiddling with for me.

Suggest you keep the Potatoes aside and when they shoot, plant them. Some crops like Garlic will shoot once planted, others like Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes too, are more sure of producing if they are shooting before planting. I reckoned that Ginger and Turmeric should be showing well-developed eyes yet Leonie Norrington harvests from the bed and leaves the mother-plant to re-shoot when it's ready. Sometimes it's a 'take your pick' kind of solution.

Comment by Susan on August 25, 2014 at 16:25

Too lazy Elaine... egg skelter will solve all my problems :)  Thanks Florence.  I don't like radishes so have never tried to grow them.  With the potato issue, does that mean if I chuck the really small ones in the ground, they should reshoot?

Andrew, I've never tried to grow turnips - never eaten them so not on my radar.  My peas were horrible this year too.  I thought it was the wicking bed but then tried them in an ordinary soil bed and still crappy so maybe just not the year for them??  I'm setting up a grow bag system like Lissa blogged about for the sweet potatoes but because of my poor watering skills, I've just bought six 1/2 blue barrels that I will turn into wicking "buckets".  They are quite deep so I will have a decent soil layer (30 -40 cm worth) so should have plenty of room to develop.  Two will be for potatoes, 1 for native raspberry, 1 for primocane raspberries, 1 for floricane rasperries/youngberries and 1 will be for a movable bin for lettuces/spinach come summer. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 25, 2014 at 12:24

Susan, mark the date laid on the egg, just use an ordinary lead pencil.

Comment by Florence on August 25, 2014 at 9:04

Great blog ~  I think my most successful root crops were various different types of radishes ^^  With potatos, even if I thought I dug them all up, there will always be a bit leftover in the ground which will grow again.  I've tried growing carrots in good soil, and not so good soil, the top grew really well with good soil, but the roots were very small compare to store bought.  The latter was disppointing with both roots and top ^^  I'd love to have a dwarf coconut tree when I get my own place ~

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 25, 2014 at 0:32

Probably none of us are going to do real scientific trials with controls and all that … I reckon we take note and photos or just observe what happens in our yards.

A lot of the veges we are growing are at the extreme of their range and it's more a bonus if we get decent crops imho ;-). Yards vary, soil varies, weather varies … there are so many imponderables that it's difficult-to-impossible to be definite about whether this or that plant will do well.

Perhaps since we've gone off the topic of Susan's report on her garden, you might like to start a specific topic in the Wicking Bed Group, Andy?

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 24, 2014 at 23:31

I've put both normal potatoes and sweet potatoes in.  I did get a turnip crop but they were small.  I'm having trouble sorting the issues - are they wicking related? or southern garden related?  For example, my snow peas on this side of the yard are so poor that I will pull them out. The choko is doing well.  Caulis are doing poorly but that could be chicken damage from early on. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 24, 2014 at 23:19

An observation so far on wicking beds and root vegetables: in the deep beds Radishes grow to a good length. In the converted wicking beds (were above-ground 25-30cm high sides), the Carrots were quite a bit shorter than they could have been.

Conclusion: when the roots meet the water reservoir, they don't grow into it since it's probably an-aerobic and roots need oxygen. So far - and I've not tried much with root vegetables - the best growth has been in the bins I made from office waste-paper bins, much deeper than the converted beds. Not yet tried root veges in the commercial wicking beds which are quite a bit deeper than the converted beds.

Very interested to know what others find as the year wears on and different crops are grown.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 24, 2014 at 21:59

My wicking bed isn't going so great.  I am in the process of converting it to root veges. 

Comment by Susan on August 24, 2014 at 21:11

I tell you what - It's those wicking beds.  Zucch's I could always get to grow but with my patchy watering skills, they often would not set fruit or would rot but I could not get carrots to grow for love nor money.  Tried the f1 Harlequins in the ground last year and had some success for the first time but definitely not the extent that I do now.  This is the bed they are in and it is just so LUSH.  Never have I had this level of growth before.

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