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Growing local

I had my wisdom teeth taken out so had the whole of last week off on sick leave, of course people don’t usually stay home during their sick leave judging from my previous experience in retail ^^” So I was able to go to the show on Friday, mind you though it was the first place I went after I recovered :P

I got there about 10:25am, so just made it to Jerry Coleby-Williams 10:30am program on Survival Food Growing. You can find a factsheet on what he talked about here . On a sidenote, he mentioned Seed Savers Network a few times during the presentation, so Donna may receive a few emails asking for the plants he mentioned .....

I then spent the rest of the day there exploring exhibitors. It took much longer then I normally would as I’ve brought my mother along this time, and she was also interested in the ornamental stuff as well as edibles. There weren’t many displays this year, no Pete’s patch display.. ... Being at the RNA showground this year, I thought they may have more outdoor displays I can get inspirations from for our garden.

There’s one display garden put together with editable plants, herbs & companion plants though, here’s a few photos I snapped from my mobile.

Those golden yellow, red, and blackish purple/maroon vines are actually sweet potatoes, I believe they called them Margarita, Ace of Spade & Blackie on American websites, but they are sold as “Sun Kisses summer lovin’ sweethearts light green, red and purple” at nurseries here . It says ‘Ipomea batatas’ in small print on the back of the labels, so they are sweet potatoes despite their fancy nursery names. I’ve got the yellow one and purple one growing and I can get a small amount of cuttings if anyone wants them at this week’s Garden Visit/Seed savers meeting. This is the first time I grow them, and they seem to have a much more compact growth habit then the standard sweet potatoes hence there’s only small lengths of vines I can cut... don’t ask me what they taste like though... I don’t know yet..

The site map and the exhibitors’ list were slightly different from the one I saw online. Personally I like the site maps online better than the one they hand out at the entrance of the show.

At the end of the day we ended up with a dwarf black Mulberry tree, a dwarf Wurtz Avocado tree, a neem tree, an Indian guava, a rosemary, and a mushroom growing kit plus some flower bulbs and a number of pots of flowers, succulents and indoor fern ... The neem tree (small) and the Indian guava were only $10 each! The mushroom kit was only $15 ~ wonder how much mushroom I’ll get out of it ~ With trees waiting to be planted, I better get my material list done and order quickly so I can start putting the beds in ~

I tried to find inoculants for my pigeon peas, but no one I asked sells them. Someone suggested produce stores though, so I will check next time when I get my chicken feed.

Also bought the current issue of Gardening Australia which came with a show bag like previous year. Nothing fleshing in there, other then sample chips, sauces etc, I think there’s a bigger then normal sample bag of lawn fertilizer and a bottle of seaweed emulsion kind of thing... can’t be bother checking now. They had a bottle of Charlie Carp in the bag last year, but this year you’ll have to subscribe to the magazine to get it. I remember they had spray on band-aid a few years back when the show bags were free ^^ that was really handy.

That’s it on the expo ~

Before I finish off, there’s a plant I need ID-ing and also I want to say my peach is acting weird, I think I might have prune it too early? It’s growing new leaves and flower buds... isn’t it the wrong season?

Here are photos of this plant my mother brought back from her friend’s garden. Her friend told her it’s a good medicinal plant, but couldn’t tell her what it was. I thought it was tumeric, but now it’s growing taller then what I thought Turmeric grows to, and the root’s bulbing up like red onion... can anyone tell me what this is please?

Bulbing like red onions

It's as tall as the fence

Here are photos of the peach tree ..

New leaves and flower buds are forming

Close up of flower bud

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Comment by Florence on April 27, 2009 at 21:30
Hi Betty, I did some image search on Arrowroot after you point it out ~ and they do indeed looks like Arrowroot! I will dig some up this weekend to take a better look if I find the time ~
Comment by Scarlett on April 25, 2009 at 20:26
hey yeah! it could be that
Comment by Scarlett on April 24, 2009 at 20:49
i'm not sure - peaches grow three sorts of wood - basically fruit bearing twigs, leaf twigs and branch twigs. unless the ratio changes because of the early prune (I don't imagine it would, but perhaps - don't know) it should fruit as usual. peaches bear on the previous year's wood. you always should leave about a third of what you are cutting so it can produce fruit the next year. if the plant was still growing you might end up with shorter amounts of fruiting wood if you know what i mean - so possibly less fruit than usual next year, but otherwise all should be well
Comment by Scarlett on April 24, 2009 at 20:43
i've got margarita sweet potato - i actually took cuttings from jerry's nature strip when i visited on sustainable house open day - you can take some of mine as well
Comment by Florence on April 22, 2009 at 22:34
yeah, sounds like I have definately pruned too early.. oh well.. I will know next time.. and some of those prunning were neccessary I guess as the tips are all damaged by borers...
Comment by Donna on April 22, 2009 at 21:00
My potted dwarf peach tree didn't grow or change at all this year and still has all its leaves, albeit a bit yellow and spotted in places so not sure if that is any help.
Comment by Florence on April 22, 2009 at 16:05
Thanks Scarlett ~ Um.. I think I might have pruned the Peach too early then.. .. it was dropping leaves, and the remaining leaves were splashed with yellow dots and not looking real good, so I thought it’s time to prune.. I’ve sprayed the tree a few times with homemade white oil since then, and I hope the borers gone. I guess these new flower buds will not form fruits since it’s the wrong season, Neighbourhood’s not much help for reference, people mostly grow ornamental plants here, at least that’s what I can see… I’ve seen about one passionfruit vine, two guava trees, one mango, and one what I think is a curry leaves ~ these were all sticking out of the back fence of houses ~ there are probably more that are out of sight though ~ I love looking at fruit trees, but I guess not everyone shares the same view

You probably didn’t miss them Addy, although it was hot & sunny ^^ The sweet potatoes at the display garden weren’t labelled, in fact don’t think I saw any labels on any plants, but the ones I recognised were all edibles or companion plants. I was searching for ornamental sweet potato cultivars after one of the Jerry Coleby-Williams segment where he mentioned planting Margarita at his nature strip last year, and found pictures of many ornamental sweet potatoes in the U.S. from our friend Google, but none available in Australia. Then one day about a month or two ago while browsing at the big B store I spotted some new released ornamental potted leaves looking exactly like those I found online, so I checked the label for the scientific name, and bingo! They probably avoided mentioning these are sweet potatoes coz people will think they are too expensive for a sweet potato plant..
Will bring some cuttings Donna ~ they usually take quite well from cuttings, some books even says you get more tubers with cuttings then planting a tuber ~
Comment by Scarlett on April 22, 2009 at 14:48
I didn't go - too much on last weekend. I don't know what that is, but I guess it's a flowering (ornamental) ginger of some sort. Curcuma species perhaps? Sorry, not much help. Doesn't look like Hedychium, doesn't look like Zingiber. I haven't searched for you, sorry, too rushed.
Not sure about your peach. When did it drop all its leaves? Has it recently dropped them and then started to bud again straight away? Some plants are photo-sensitive (ie to day length changes) and some are only temperature sensitive. Even if peaches are day length sensitive (haven't checked, can't remember) this doesn't seem to explain it. Plants can drop all their leaves if exposed to the gases from ripe fruit or car exhausts - if this helps. Perhaps it didn't like the borer and if you treated it it's happy again and has recommenced growth and will stop again with the cold weather? Have other peach or nectarine trees in your neighbourhood dropped their leaves yet? Sorry, again not much help, but might provide some detective leads. Pruning the tips off a plant sends the growth impetus to all of the lower buds - so unless something (like cold) is inhibiting this growth you would expect to see all of the lower buds fill and burst - so perhaps it's just getting on with it. Might only be weird if it had previously dropped all of its leaves....? It probably just means that they will fall off later in the winter and you won't need to prune again this year - unless for a little tidy up. A good time to prune is probably June - August, but borer is borer. I used to prune fruit trees heaps and pruning slightly too early or late never seemed to matter.
Comment by Addy on April 22, 2009 at 13:28
I had a look at that display - how come I missed checking out those sweet potatoes??? I blame the heat, sun and hunger (midday, Saturday). Thanks for the link to Jerry's talk, will look at it.
Comment by Donna on April 22, 2009 at 13:17
Hi Florence
Thanks for the heads up, I will check to see what they said so at least won't be totally ignorant if people ask!
It sounds like you got a fantastic quantity of goodies, now I am even more disappointed that I didn't make it - mind you Ashley would be breathing a sigh of relief that I am not planing *more* fruit trees lol.
I would be interested in the different sweet potato variety, have just had success with one from the compost! Mind you I am not good with cuttings...
Not sure about peach trees, will look it up when I get home.

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