cauliflower (4)

2013 WINTER JUNE TO AUGUST

9779136678?profile=originalThe season has started off wet. Gray and wet. Not so cold as it was a couple of weeks back though. Looks like a good season for toms - I have seed planted and volunteers growing everywhere.

Not sure what these are. I expected they were non-acid cherry volunteers but they're too big. Could be one of the Giant Toms growing sideways. It's all jumbled together.

9779136868?profile=originalBelow: One of the Giant Tom plants doing well, flowering.

9779137676?profile=originalBelow: Thasalonika tom seedlings (small on right) from American RayRay's donated seed...

9779138098?profile=originalBelow: Volunteer toms all over the compost pile....

9779138487?profile=originalBelow: The figs are still figging....

9779139275?profile=originalSome of the eggplants are still ripening fruit. Below are the Early Purple.

9779139874?profile=original...and a pretty little hidden "Listada di Gandia" Bunnings long skinny version...also found some good sized regular Listada di Gandia on two plants this morning (03.06.13).

9779140100?profile=originalThe Purple Pod Pea is growing strongly. Grown for the pea rather than an edible pod....very beautiful...

9779140888?profile=original9779141492?profile=originalThe Loofah vine is growing slowly and creating female (below) and the odd male flower....

9779142277?profile=originalLots of spiders at this time of the year. Hidden all over the place in pots and behind bags...found one on the blinds beside where I sleep the other night :( safely transported it OUTSIDE.....

9779142664?profile=original New growth on the Lychee. I get my hopes up yet again lol.

9779143470?profile=originalThe parrots have been enjoying the Callistemon blossoms...this is the last.

9779143883?profile=originalThe crows have been dunking their bread in the birdbath and turning it into bread soup....

9779145099?profile=originalVolunteer lettuce are once again coming up all over, have to watch where I drag the hose....

9779145477?profile=originalI'm consuming and sharing the lovely crop of Waterchestnuts and have replanted in a larger pot. So thrilled I had success this time....using them in stir fries and casseroles so far.....

9779146078?profile=original03.06.13

Beautiful warm windy morning (late work start) and after hanging the wash I've sat down with the dogs in the sun to "feel" the garden. The Carbonarias are out and working hard - a relief as I haven't seen much of them with the warm setting in later in the day as they won't come out until things warm up sufficiently, 18C from memory.

The Cabbage White Butterfly are frolicking together, sucking nectar from the Bush Basil in particular. I'm still finding lots of their smooth green progeny on the brassicas, little sods.

The Grumichama is growing steadily even in it's rather odd spot. There it is to the right of the pawpaw...

9779146659?profile=originalThe Jackfruit is growing quickly in it's pot despite cutting out the growing tip some months back. This plant is just one year old from seed :/ good grief..........

9779147852?profile=originalThe Aerial Potato still looks just the same. It has developed some marble sized aerial "fruit" which don't look much like the big jobs on Jerry C-W's plants. Still wondering what I have here.

9779148075?profile=originalI buckled this morning and cut the tops off the red Papaya from Joseph. The leaves were still showing the same signs of distress/disease despite all the TLC given. I just hope they put on some new growth in spring or I'm in trouble!

09.06.13

Gray drizzling morning but I may have to give the raised beds some water as the rain was light and spasmodic last night, and it's been a week or two since I've personally watered them.

The bees have been behaving oddly again, "swarming" over the front of the hive....perhaps they're just celebrating a big find of pollen and nectar and telling each other about it, like the honey bee dance...

9779149064?profile=original9779149652?profile=originalLousy shot of a Kangkong Ipomoea aquatica flower but the camera didn't want to focus on it's whiteness. Very delicate (this one is a little tatty) and oh-so similar to the sweet potato flower.....

9779149879?profile=originalSweet Potato Ipomoea batatas flower.....

9779108073?profile=originalThe Seduction rose just keeps on producing blooms (have used some petals in jam making) so no cutting back just yet....

9779150296?profile=originalThe White Mandevilla on the front fence is coming back after a heavy cut-back, love this plant despite no culinary purpose.....

9779151669?profile=originalTomatillo flowers (Purple Tomatillo ex Fisher). Lots of little lanterns forming.....

9779151890?profile=originalFound these baby Assassin Bugs (friend of the gardener) on the choko about a week back and forgot to share. This plant is having minor problems with the Fruit Spotting Bug at the moment, sucking on developing fruit and warping their growth, so these should help control them. They tend to sit in the same place for weeks though....

9779153264?profile=original9779153872?profile=original11.06.13

Day off today and I was inspired by the moist weather to finally make a start on the new front bed.

The grass clippings are composting quickly, lovely stuff down the bottom - Ive added some Organic Xtra and minerals with a thin layer of garden soil for planting. Underneath all those grass clippings are the remains of two fountain palms and a huge ponytail plant stump. All of which will gradually rot and break down over time.

Plants - Oregeno, Sage and Thyme (from Masters...hey I was there, and they beckoned), yellow pawpaw grown from my own seed and the low chill Nectarine from Josh.

Seed -  tomato "Tropic", Arugula Apollo, Tree Spinach Chenopodium giganteum, Andy's Bell ChilliesTomatillo Purple Physalis ixocarpa. Probably planted too much (as usual) but it allows for some failures and the seed needed using up.

This area doesn't get sun until early afternoon (western side of the house) so it's all a bit of a gamble, especially the Nectarine but I had nowhere else to put it. Bought originally for the espalier which has now been given over to some climbers including one of the white choko. Very productive plants.

My research indicated leafy greens are the best things to grow in semi-shade...I've extended this to include herbs. I would dearly love more Rosemary - will need to propagate some cuttings first.

The Nectarine was always going to be a gamble and is more of an experiment than something I believe will be truly productive in the long run.

9779154077?profile=originalHerbs....

9779154872?profile=originalLow chill nectarine, bit of a gamble as it doesn't get sun until the afternoon....

9779155085?profile=originalRhubarb! I hate rhubarb but am willing to give it another go as other people rave about it....

9779155466?profile=originalBought this Yam from the Lawnton Fruit Markets. Going to plant it and see what comes up. We've had a lot of discussion about the differences between these and Taro. They had Taro there but it was round and fat....

9779155672?profile=original14.06.13

Westerlies on the way we're told. Have just replaced some gold Tamarillos with three red Tamarillo bought from Masters (in the herb section $5 each) so I hope they aren't affected too badly by the change in weather. The soil is nice and moist at the moment.

The eggplant fruit remaining on the bushes are splitting, even the little ones, so I've harvested them all. The plants drop a lot of leaves this time of year also. Obviously not due to lack of water as thought in previous winters as we've had a wet week and the soil is very moist. Cold caused? Below is the Early Purple.

9779155487?profile=originalBelow: Rainbow chard - every single silverbeet type plant I'm growing this season is getting black spot on the older leaves (removed here, should have left some on); carrots, Australian garlic (yay, it actually grows) and some chinese greens.

9779156096?profile=originalRed Mizuna according to one of my visitors. Probably correct. I bought the original plant at the Herb Show and it self seeds itself readily. Too hot for me but others like it and the bees like the flowers.

9779156284?profile=originalThe Ruttabaga/Swede grown from seed are developing nice tubers.....

9779156684?profile=original...despite the leaves being such a mess.

9779157853?profile=originalSugar snap peas have done well for me. The plants are getting tatty now but still producing....

9779158058?profile=original...and the Purple Pod Peas are just coming into their own. Very healthy plants. The peas are yummy, not eaten for the pods.

9779158293?profile=originalBlurry pic of the rainbow Amaranth from Bellis. Not looking good and I doubt if it will survive to produce seed. Will have to hunt these down and grow from scratch next Spring.

9779159077?profile=originalJoseph posted a discussion about Clitoria ternatea some time back. A vine with exquisite blue flowers that can be used in food prep. Available in single and double petal versions. Moderately shade tolerant.

From Herbalistics.com.au

A fast growing climber with beautiful blue and sometimes white flowers. A drought hardy plant which can be used as a fast growing screen along fences. Attracts butterflies. Considered to be pantropic in distribution with an uncertain country of origin. Fabaceae (Pea) family.

The leaves and seeds are good stock food and the pods are sometimes eaten by humans (Phillipines). The root is an effective purgative. According to Ayurveda, Clitoria ternatea is cooling, acrid, purgative, diuretic, laxative, alexiteric, anthelmintic and tonic to the brain. It is useful in treatment of eye-diseases, ulcers of the cornea, tuberculous glands, elephantiasis, headache, ascites, leucoderma, burning sensation, pains, biliousness and ulcers (Pankaj Oudhia, 2003). In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for centuries as a memory enhancer, nootropic, antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative agent. In Southeast Asia the flowers are used to colour food. In Malay cooking, an aqueous extract is used to colour glutinous rice for kuih ketan (also known as pulut tai tai in Peranakan/Nyonya cooking) and in nonya chang. In Thailand, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan, it is sometimes consumed with a drop of lime juice to increase acidity and turn the juice into pink-purple. In Burmese and Thai cuisine the flowers are also dipped in batter and fried (from wikipedia.)

Care and Cultivation Seeds can be sown in spring/summer/autumn or inside all year round, 3 times their diameter under the surface of a quality potting mix. Germination may be increased by soaking the seeds overnight in water. Plant out on a fence or trellis when large enough. Frost sensitive. Very drought hardy.

9779159683?profile=originalMatt Heng gave me seed about two weeks back for the double petalled variety and they're coming up already :)

9779160085?profile=original16.06.13

GV to Peter Kearneys yesterday was very interesting. See group discussion for full details.

Taste testing Joseph's Black Krim...

9779160693?profile=original...and seed saving....

9779161271?profile=originalFound this growing yesterday. It's called a "U Beaut"....dreadful name, terrific looking fruit..good eating too. Seedling came from Masters.

9779161691?profile=originalOne of the white choko growing well on the front fence.

9779162684?profile=originalMarcus has identified this confidently as GALANGAL Ginger and Matt has seconded.....

9779163454?profile=originalManaged to remove some of the tuber using a trowel and a lot of muscle. It's gingery smelling but rather tough - not like the tender ginger I buy from the fruit shop. Grated some into a casserole.

9779163877?profile=original19.06.13

It's freakin freezing and yet there's STILL caterpillars on the plants. Both hairy black and green (not the sleek green Cabbage White butterfly, perhaps Cabbage Moth). They were a little comatose this morning in the cold and easy to pick off.

Some of the carrots have reached a size worth cropping. The broccoli aren't doing as well this year as last. But then again the toms did dreadfully last year and are going great guns this year. Trying to get used to the rhythms of nature in my own garden.

Dinner veg the other night along with some fried eggplant.

9779164089?profile=originalThe carrots are doing well this year. There's some good sized ones out there. I suspect I overwatered them last season - you should let them drill down looking for water for a good tap root. Would have to look back through the last blog, but I scattered three different seed from memory.

9779163899?profile=originalI think my backyard patch of Pepino has to go. It produces great amounts of leaf and flower, but little fruit and I've allowed it to take over walk area in the hope it will produce. Just doesn't get enough sun. The much smaller patch in the front yard (full sun west facing) has about 6 or 7 good sized fruit on it.

Have planted more cuttings out there to take advantage.

9779164880?profile=original23.06.13 I actually had to mow! the grass was ankle high in places due to all the rain we're still having.

The nasturtium and the toms had met in the middle of the path and we all had to step over.  Something had to go so the nasturtium got the chop.

9779165484?profile=original..and this is why the tom got to stay and the nasturtium didn't.

9779166078?profile=original02.07.13

Every day is rainy. Last night I think it rained solidly and now the ground is soggy and cold. Not much I can do out there but nip out for the odd bit of veg for dinner and nip back inside before I get too wet and cold. The dogs spend all their "spare" time huddled in the quilts on the couch and I huddle with them when I can.

Pepino out the front are doing well with a half dozen good fruit on the newer planting in the corner (near the Citrus Mist Hibiscus). I'm thinking of ripping out all the non-flowering lavender from outside the front fence, adding some compost and planting more. I just need a bit of dry weather to achieve it!

Broccoli this year are a bit of a flop, nothing as good as last year. I used a fair bit of saved seed but even the bought seed hasn't produced much crop.

02.07.13

Came home late arvo from work and there was a warm, dry wind blowing and I just happened to have some bags of mushroom and general compost in my boot! Pulled the non-flowering lavenders and prepared to spread the goody.

My little neighbours Anna, Lucy and Ollie brought over their plastic trowels to help :) and then we had a small lesson in taking Pepino cuttings and planting them. The girls took some cuttings home in the hope of planting their own.

We discussed the fruit currently growing on the plants hanging outside my fence so the girls will keep an eye on them for ripening and eating! The best part.

This is what a ripe Pepino looks like, golden skinned with purple stripes. See the Pepino blog for more info:

Pepino Melon Care thumbnail

05.07.13

Still raining off and on. Yesterday was sunny and warm, but it's back to overcast.

The backyard is turning into a jungle that is becoming harder to find a clear path through. Some nice toms, broccoli not so good (read last years blog and it was much the same), silverbeet doing badly but kale doing great, carrots doing great. It just depends on what likes the weather and what doesn't!

Below the 3 kale plants bought as seedlings from Caboolture Mkt - eating it steamed and it's a good substitute for the silverbeet which just isn't! this season. First is Curly but the other two unknown.

9779166487?profile=original9779167061?profile=original9779167887?profile=originalSome bits of broccoli are worth the wait, but it's not a good year for this.

9779168463?profile=originalCassava came up under the custard apple from thrown cuttings. I should try harder with this.

9779168881?profile=originalDespite being almost completely blind Freya manages to wend her way through the jungle without effort.

9779169864?profile=originalThe two remaining Kohl rabi are doing well. The Manglewurzel all died off/was smothered by the broccoli.

9779170283?profile=originalDreadful silverbeet, great carrots.

9779171075?profile=originalOne of the self sown Cape Gooseberrys. Yet to eat any. Showing signs of Red Spider Mite on the upper leaves and some sort of fungal (?) problem (spots) on the lower. It's in a spot without much air flow.

9779171880?profile=originalBed 1 is under there somewhere :)

9779171686?profile=originalMy one and only Coriander that's ever come up from seed. Doing fine. Rambling a bit and trying to go to seed. If I can get one established hopefully it will continue to self seed itself in places it likes.

9779172855?profile=original18.07.13

Work hours with HISC are increasing, which is great for the bank balance, but not so good for finding time in the garden. Early starts and many late finishes mean I often just get a little peek out in the garden on any given day.

The new front garden is coming along very, very well. Everything has taken and is showing new growth - some of the broadcast seed is coming up...mostly toms by the looks. Have bought some Foodhork Giant silverbeet seedlings from Bunnings and added them to the mix. I'm already using these herbs for cooking.

9779172879?profile=original9779174090?profile=original9779174687?profile=originalPepino are loving the front yard. The plants have really taken off with the winter cool and are producing quite a lot of good sized fruit (not to the size of Elaines though!) in abundance. Have removed all the lavender, added compost and planted more Pepino cuttings which look like they have all taken. Hopefully they will get some growth on before the hot weather returns to inhibit them.

Below: Some of the crop developing. Not ripe until they turn golden with purple stripes.

9779121490?profile=original9779176068?profile=original

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Main Pepino plant on the left with cuttings planted on the front verge (along with exisiting Midyim):

9779177458?profile=originalI have a fecking great healthy fat rat out there doing damage in my veg beds (something ate a heap of peas right out of their pods) and terrifying my birds at night. I think I've finally found the hole it dug into the aviary and have plugged it with a stone. Also bought a storage box for the bulk bird seed that I now buy. It's living in my walls - I can hear it banging around some days.

The Dwf Wurtz Avo is putting out what I can only assume are flowers.

9779177691?profile=original9779178675?profile=originalThe strawberry patch is going berko with white flowers....

9779178498?profile=originalThe Purple Tomatillo are also looking productive, but yet to find any fully ripe.

9779179681?profile=originalI've bought from Bunnings (courtesy of my survey gift cards) some new Lavender plants. French Lavender plants are proving elusive.

9779180882?profile=originalAnd the white choko is taking off with plenty of new growth. Need the Pepino to grow and provide shade for this by the time the heat returns or it will probably die.

9779181273?profile=originalI finally got around to cutting back both the Pomegranates. Next time...wear gloves :(

9779181865?profile=originalIn the backyard, the Broccoli is doing a little better with plenty for me for dinner each night.

Kohl Rabi are getting big and fat as are the Sweet Fennel bulbs. Have been using stems from the latter for cooking but the bulbs are reaching maturity. I would like to leave one to see if it self seeds for me.

Ate the last custard apple from the tree the other night and it was really quite delicious.

9779181880?profile=originalAlso cropped one of the Jicamas and it's a beauty :D Had to fight to get it out of the ground - have left another bulb further down, unfortunately damaged a bit with the trowel but I hope it keeps growing and producing. There's a couple more plants on the other side of the yard, one with a few seed pods on it.

Really nice eating raw (sweet and crunchy) plus have stir fried and roasted some. Still heaps left and it keeps well in the fridge. The Yacon plant (from banana bed) I lifted was a huge disappointment giving only two thin tubers, but they were still good eating in the stir fry.

9779076856?profile=original21.07.13

More Jicama crop - gave a nice normal looking one to Nathan. The first (above) is proving very! good eating. I really like these. Managed to get some pods from this current plant so hoping for some viable seed.

From comments by others, they seem to crop better if the plant is growing in semi-shade - as are these.

9779182685?profile=originalToms everywhere. These are from the Giant Tree Tomato, acid free cherry and regular yellow and red cherry. Any of the more outlandish varieties I'm trying to grow aren't doing well or have died completely.

9779184064?profile=originalFound the time yesterday morning to move the raspberries on to their new frame (thank you again Brennan). They are damned difficult to get out of the ground so I had to resort to a good pair of leather gloves and yanking to supplement the trowel.

The cuttings I put in all have some portion of root, but they have been handled pretty roughly.

The rest of the material has been turned into cuttings in pots for the moment. I might find I face a year without any crop :( If all else fails I may have to buy new canes. It will all be worth it down the track to get them growing on a neat frame.

9779184274?profile=originalHugo finds the new area empty of spikey raspberry canes needs a good thrashing. Choko, Jaboticaba and Joseph's strawberry plants also in the pic.

9779185855?profile=originalFisher's San Marzeno toms starting to bear fruit and his tomatillo behind. Don't think they're purple. The only one I picked was green.

9779186669?profile=originalDifferent view of the new front bed. All doing well. Hoping to create some shade here before the fierce western summer sun returns.

9779187092?profile=original24.07.13

Couldn't resist digging around with the trowel in the sweet potato bed yesterday arvo. I wasn't expecting to come up with anything so imagine my surprise when I found this lovely beast not far from the surface :)

9779188089?profile=originalHere they are all scrubbed up and ready for dinner:

9779057290?profile=originalCutting into the sweet potato for roasting. It turned out to be a little bland in flavour compared to the store bought but would have more nutrient value.

As Elaine points out: "Sweet Potatoes are a sub-to-tropical plant but from my experience with poor soils and good tubers, they do best when grown lean - like forcing an orchid to flower by confining it to a smaller pot. The tubers are the plant's food store for hard times so if you feed up the plant, it has no need to store food."

I really need to see what is going on in the potato tower. I reckon the restricted space is going to make for a better spud.

9779189270?profile=original26.07.13

Forgot to mention! Picked my first strawberry a couple of days back....it was huge, red and delicious. It went down the hatch so quickly there was no photo opportunity.

28.07.13

Crop from the potato tower. See seperate blog.

9779061060?profile=originalSnails in the strawberry patch.

9779190262?profile=originalPepino are starting to crop some good fruit plus Florence Fennel - one of three that grew from many seed sown.

9779191271?profile=originalAndrew doing a little push-mowing for me.

9779192052?profile=original01.08.13

Today felt like spring it was such a warm morning. Cool again this arvo though.

Checked the strawberries after work today and found a few good ones. Unfortunately two of them had been chomped on by something, probably snails. I've put out a couple of beer traps...not sure how appealing they will find the beer as it's a half bottle that's been sitting in the fridge since this time last year.

9779192453?profile=originalDaily checking of the 8 or so Pepino fruit out the front does NOT make them ripen faster. They look goooood.

09.08.13

No rain now for a couple of weeks so I've had to give the raised beds a good soak each.

Very happy with the progress of the new front bed. Everything has taken off. I've added a white eggplant and some more herbs - garlic chives, plus planted some marigold, Johnny Jump Up and Baronet lettuce seed. The aim is to have a mass of plant material to keep the roots cool by the time the hot weather arrives.

The Nectarine is doing well - keep picking off any flowers like I've been told, Josh :)

9779192863?profile=original9779193476?profile=originalI've replanted the very successful Sweet Potato tower with the purple/purple variety. Not so fast growing, but then I've empited both of the regular potato bags out and plan to do the same tower set up with two other varieties of sweet potato.

9779065462?profile=originalGrow spot under the clothesline. Solar panels are for the bubbler in the weed tea container (thank you Elaine - it works, at least while the sun shines directly on the panels).

9779064855?profile=originalThe Coriander is going to flower but there is still heaps of leaf for cooking.

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9779195662?profile=originalI've doubled up the production potential for the Waterchestnut pot by adding Watercress. So far so good. Have had a lot of trouble keeping this alive in the past.

9779195693?profile=original11.08.13

Cropped "all" of the purple/white sweet potato out of Bed 3 yesterday. Probably the same volume from my 4x1.5m bed as cropped out of the one grow bag!

9779066259?profile=originalThe bed has been replenished (soil level is good and soil quality is excellent so just used minerals etc) and replanted with Suyo Long Cucumber and Prof Mary Sheehan cucumber. The latter was such a good performer last year.

16.08.13

Getting very close to the end of winter. It was 26C in Brisbane yesterday and the rotten westerlies were blowing but on the whole it's gorgeous weather. No rain for some weeks now and I'm back to watering, especially the new front bed which dries out quickly in the westerlies.

Cropping the last of the winter crops - broccoli daily, Tomatillo (can take these or leave them - plants are now dying), tomatoes, one of the Kohlrabi which turned out to be sweet and delicious. The bottom end is really woody but I should get plenty of usable tuber (what do we call them when they grow above ground?)

9779196287?profile=originalPlenty of strawberries, which I don't seem to be able to take an un-blurry photo of at the moment. Possiblity in my excitement to eat them. I come home and browse through the patch each afternoon. Swear I ate a punnet full yesterday and they were good!

9779197455?profile=originalCropped another really delicious Jicama (scrubbed up below). My goodness they are good. Yet another blurry pic.

9779198071?profile=originalThe Giant Tree Tomato plants have given me a few nice fruit. Firm and very edible. Must go and seed save! now!! before I forget and eat the lot.

9779198673?profile=original18.08.13

Heath came over today and removed the bamboo and golden cane with his new chainsaw :) Two loads on his trailer to the dump. Canes were huge and extremely high.

9779199266?profile=original9779199299?profile=originalAftermath. Still to chainsaw out the stump.

9779199882?profile=original25.08.13

One week to go before true spring. The days are warm but the nights are still cold. Even had my uggs on again the other night.

Health has come over during the week and chainsawed my natives down to fence height :) Wonderful!! There's so much more sun in the backyard now and I should be able to keep them trimmed myself as they grow back.

It's Sunday and I've spent some time just lying on the grass, absorbing the warm sunshine, getting wet-willied by Freya and watching nature go about it's business in my garden. There are bees everywhere! Never had so many honey bees - maybe someone has installed a hive nearby. Both types are making the most of the nasturtiums, red mizuna, rocket and bush basil flowers.

Very dry and I'm having to water to keep some plants alive. The strawberries were giving big fruit a week back but guess it's getting a bit too dry for them now - the fruit size is deteriorating. Gave them a good drink this morning. Local big berries are selling in the shops cheaply.

Have planted out 5 rosemary cuttings nicked from the Albany Gdns Nursing Home nice bushy plant. They all rooted no trouble. Hopefully they will grow despite the dry if I give them a little tlc. Two outside the front fence for passers-by the take advantage of.

Joseph and Matt came over yesterday morning and we had a lesson in marcotting the Soursop and Wampi.

Just two of the colours of nasturtium out there.

9779200100?profile=original9779201074?profile=originalRed Mizuna flower - both types of bees just love this plant when in flower.

9779202077?profile=original31.08.13

Last day of winter. I do have a cardie on but don't expect it will stay on for long.

The weather has been dead dry for weeks and the plants are starting to suffer. I water what I can to keep them alive, others just have to manage on their own.

Thanks to the tax man I'm getting my own top bar beehive from Paul Wood (Brisbane Backyard Bees). Extremely excited. Paul will come over in a few weeks when the hive is ready and help choose the best spot, then come back with the bees.

The garden needs a right good tidy up but it's been a very productive winter with lots of veg of all sorts available for me to harvest. As the heat kicks in and the winter crops peter away I'll have a bit of work to do in the next few weeks getting beds replenished and replanted for the hot weather.

I've left one Sweet Fennel in the hope of seed and lo and behold, today found it going to flower.

9779202269?profile=originalI have had heaps of bees, both honey and my own native, taking advantage of all the nasurtium flowers along with other blooming plants. They just love these. Watched a honey bee take off at speed north-north-west this morning. Someone must have a hive out that way.

9779203654?profile=originalBed 3 - quite an overgrown mess but the Kale is keeping on, despite the heat and dry. The self sown eggplant in this bed is also doing well (the Early Purple at the front end of Bed 3 died). The Betel Leaf is looking worse for wear - needs a good cutback. Carrots have been great this season, picking the biggest out but there is still many smaller ones. Taro is growing ok in this spot, with a pup come up in the main bed. Yet to eat Taro.

9779204261?profile=originalMy neighbours wonderful Dad, Heath, has chainsawed back my natives to fence height for me. Below the Penda....

9779204859?profile=originalCallistemons...

9779204697?profile=originaland the Melaleuca.

9779206286?profile=originalAnd let's not forget the bamboo and golden cane, now under black plastic (yet to be pinned down) per Scott's suggestion for complete eradication.

9779206885?profile=originalNew growth on Joseph's red pawpaw, thank goodness lol.

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END OF SEASON NOTES:

Perhaps stick to Waltham Broccoli in future though I had good crop from the three or four varieties planted.

Caulis this season were dreadful, maybe two or three small heads, but there are still some plants out there doing their thing (Snowball??) in Bed 3 so may yet get a surprise.

Pepino - don't harvest until they are ripe. They stop ripening once picked.

Grow more Kale in future instead of trying to get silverbeet going.

Read more…

2012 SPRING September to November

9779032491?profile=originalSpring again :)

The weather has warmed within two weeks as usual, which is a delight, but we haven't had rain for many weeks. The tank is almost empty - I've basically stopped using it. On the plus side the bees are very active in the garden, both native and honey galore.

They both love the nasturtium flowers which are blooming in a wonderful variety of colours. I'll miss them when they're gone.

9779033467?profile=original9779034066?profile=original9779034454?profile=original9779035062?profile=originalStill cropping plenty of brocolli - both the regular sort and Rapini. Honey bee and native bee are loving all the little flowers (below) on the rocket, mustard and brocollis.

9779035085?profile=originalThe caulis are finishing up - some of the last below. Not as good value as the brocolli which repeat crops, but still nice to have. The white ones came out quite small, the lime green a little larger and the purple a little larger again.

9779035685?profile=originalThe carrots have been good producers again. Many aren't classically shaped, sometimes cracked, but always usable and tender. Below is some makings for dinner - Cardoon, Kohlrabi, Rapini, Nasturtium and carrot.

9779036457?profile=originalI grew one punnet of Kohlrabi - should find room for more in future as they are really nice. Sweet and crunchy. Some have been slow to bulk up but it has meant they were staggered for use over a period. Not sure if the one in the background will ever bulk up.

9779036269?profile=originalCorn is starting to silk up after growing slowly all winter. Might end up with some crop this time! The last two efforts were a total waste of time (faulty seed that created plants that didn't make pollen was the last lot).

I've used the space between the plants to grow other things like Rapini Brocolli and toms.

9779037479?profile=originalThis salvia has grown around the 2m mark. Very beautiful. Oddly though the bees don't seem to frequent it like they do the smaller salvia.

9779037880?profile=originalOne of the lime green caulis - very pretty.

9779038080?profile=originalSelf sown Rocket between the pavers under the clothesline. The tip is around the 2m mark and the bees just love the flowers. I've been taking leaves for sandwiches almost daily.

I kept treading on this when it first came up, never expected it to live let alone become such a hardy giant. I really admire this plant lol.

9779038683?profile=originalStill cropping the brocollis daily, both the regular below and the Rapini. Such a value plant!

9779040090?profile=originalRapini below.

9779040466?profile=originalBed 2 below still cropping well. Sugar Snap peas, brocolli, silverbeet, yellow squash (Ikeep forgetting they are there!) and toms (yet to produce). Deer Tongue lettuce up the other end out of view along with the Broad Beans.

9779040692?profile=originalThree self sown lettuces (different ones from last year).

No idea what variety but they are really good eating and very hardy. Nothing seems to bother them - not the bugs or heat. They just sit there calmly waiting for me to come steal a couple of leaves each day for sandwiches.

9779042084?profile=original9779042483?profile=original9779043877?profile=originalLush growth from store bought spuds that shot. Such a contrast to the struggling and ratty looking bought jobs.

9779018883?profile=originalKangkong seed in the front pot - some are starting to shoot. Can't wait for these - yum.

Water chestnut in the pot behind actually has some shoots. Might even succeed this time!

9779044471?profile=original19.09.12

Just have to record the tale of the chopped off Tamarillo. Here it is below growing alongside it's normal sized siblings.

Many weeks back, during a bout of rain and wind, one of the Cassavas toppled over taking the Tamarillo beside it down as well.

They both lay there on the ground for days before I had the opportunity to take the saw to them. I struggled to pull the Tamarillo roots out of the ground, thinking it's life was definately over, but had to give it up as too difficult - thought it would be easier once it died all by itself.

Lo and behold! It's come back better than ever.

Maybe all Tamarillos need to be chopped off midway during winter to encourage low growing fruit?!

Yet to see if it tries to reach it's old height, but this could definately be a good thing.

9779044889?profile=original9779045485?profile=originalVery, very dry weather. No real rain for months now and the bureau tells us there is a windy hot spell coming at the end of the week. Plants are all struggling in the garden again... deja vu to the long dry. Tiny bit of rain last night, just enough to dampen leaves but not the ground.

My tank is virtually empty and I'm back to using town water with a hose that is too short to reach all the garden! Frustrations.

My contract with Wesley has ended also so having a holiday while job hunting. More frustrations as my net drops out for weeks at a time which impacts on all parts of my life. Telstra tech coming this Friday to hopefully solve the puzzle and fix the problem once and for all. Would be a great end to my holiday to have it fixed! Training work starting with MAT at Northlakes in a few weeks but fingers are crossed for a job with Prescare here at Strathpine.

Andrew has been living with me for the last five weeks since his op on 13th August on his left ankle. He couldn't weight bear for many weeks and is only now just getting mobile. I'm having his unit professionally cleaned this weekend while he's out of it. (04.10.12 weeks later the cleaning job still hasn't been completed).

Meanwhile back in the garden, have redone half of bed one using trimmings from the garden, two bags of manure, sprinkles of minerals and topped off with garden soil from those prissy little 24lt bags they have now at Bunnings (all free though thanks to my rewards vouchers from surveys) - other half is still taken up with carrots and Cardoon. Both still thriving and producing useful crop.

Cardoon is something I never want to be without again. Incredible plant - so hardy and the stems are just wonderful in casseroles and stews. Waiting on some flowers now so I have seed for next year though I still have some left from the original purchase from Bakers Seeds in America. Could even be one of those plants that will grow well in our hot summer. Nothing seems to set it back. NOTE: Email response from BS tells me Cardoon is perennial and has the potential to become a weed if let loose on the environment. It should flower in it's second year.

In the redone end of the bed one (below) I've planted James' climbing beans alongside one of the cheap Bunnings frames and silverbeet seed.

The eggplant is self sown and I'm letting it grow for the moment.

9779046657?profile=originalI've pulled out the Sugar Snap peas, which did eventually give some delicious crop, though nothing like the success of last year. These were from saved seed. Start again??

The silverbeet (from bought seedlings) is just starting to provide some leaves - excellent though, had some steamed with a Lamb Shank roast last night and it was good :)

The yellow squash are providing a few small fruit though nothing to rave about.

The brocolli is still going and providing! Love this plant that keeps on giving. Bees are enjoying the flowers also.

The caulis provided one small head per plant and then had to be pulled. Some still remain.

Corn is starting to silk up - quite short plants this lot, from bought seedlings. Toms are starting to grow some green fruit after waiting on them all winter. I hope I get some to eat before the caterpillars do their thing!

My Lychee is too tall (Joseph has been finding videos for me to look at) and it's a bit late to be cutting it back. The top needs to be cut right out - full of rust anyway. Time to move out of this house and leave my mistakes behind lol.

The Persimmon is making a brave effort to send out new growth and maybe create some fruit for me. It's stuck between two tall plants and doesn't get as much sun as it needs.

9779046880?profile=originalThe waste-of-space Dwarf Pink Shartoot mulberry is making an effort also to prove it deserves to be in the garden. Only reason it's still there is due to my laziness in removing it.

The fruit also looks promising but never comes to nowt.

Elaine has given me some cuttings for what she calls a dwarf black variety of some sort. They're doing well in their pot and just waiting on some rain to soften the ground so I can plant them out.9779047674?profile=original9779048653?profile=original

Some of the Dragon fruit plants are doing well, this one in particular. No idea which one it is but hopeful of some fruit this season. A lot of the stems are growing over the neighbours side of the fence, of course :/ I cut back some I could reach and planted them on my side but it likes the morning sun side of the fence.

9779049069?profile=originalFinally cropped most of the Cassava at Joseph's Mums encouragment. Now all I have to do is use it! Just need to sit down, peel it and grate it. Then bake it with sugar to make a slice of sorts. Or steam it.

Looks so unappealing, but I have eaten it prepared this way before and it was truly delicious.

NOTE: This and the rest of the crop ended up in the compost as by the time I cut into them they were going mouldy and veined.  Ate a little bit roasted and it was ok.

9779049299?profile=originalCallistemon is blooming much to the delight of the honey bees and nectar feeding birds. Don't see many of the native bees on these flowers though which is always a surprise.

9779050299?profile=original9779051053?profile=originalThe Nopales (edible cactus ex Addy) are doing well with lots of new paddle growth.

The way it creates new paddles is very pretty to observe, with the little tufts forming first. Love the glossy look of it. Very hardy also, the pot became quite waterlogged during the last heavy rains but it didn't blink an eye, so to speak. Also coping with the current dry. Another good hardy plant to have around for food value.

Should be able to pick and eat one before too long. Another new experience!

See the Nopales blog for videos and information.

9779051680?profile=original9779022874?profile=originalTried some of the Nopales fried up with bacon and egg for breakfast this morning. Not bad, but not what I expected as was told it was "sweet and refreshing". Tasted a little vinegary but not unpleasantly so.

Below - preparation and cooking. Ended up with one tiny spine in my thumb for a few hours despite the paddle being almost spine free and scraped.

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9779053061?profile=originalThe Dwarf Ducasse is doing well. Hopeful for a bunch of narnies before too long.

9779053654?profile=originalBroad Bean pod - one of. First time I've grown these and really unimpressed. The pods are watery and tasteless. Will leave some for the big seed but not a lot of point growing them if I don't like them.

NOTE: Ate some chopped up in dinners - both large and small pods. Plants were chopped up when I redid the bed.

9779054087?profile=original01.10.12

The only rain we've had is some piffly drizzle during the night. Just enough to put a little water in the bottom of the tank. I'm starting to put in more seeds and seedlings around the place so must go out daily to water using town supply.

The lovely spring weather is tempered for me by the fact that things are pretty grim (once again) on the employment front.

Andrew is still with me post op, maybe for another week. Erin and Clare had a girls day out with Amanda yesterday (Sunday) and we had bub for most of the day. He's actually quite interested in what's going on in the garden. More interested in plants than dinosaurs!

Below - I'm trying to outwit the rats with a new propogating tray bought from Masters. Using regular potting mix with weed tea in the water holding tray.

NOTE: Daily checks of the seeds shows good results though the Winter Melon seeds are very slow to make a show.

9779054273?profile=originalPropogation tray is $15 so not exactly cheap, but beats losing all my seeds to the b. rats. Have managed to exclude the rats from the aviary with a brick blocking the one persistant last hole they keep making (foam and sticks didn't work) and have thrown poison around the ceiling, again.

Below - I'm actually doing well with some Super Sioux tomato plants grown from seed (can't remember where I got the seed!). Bit of a shock to have tom success.

They're supposed to be good in hot dry situations. These get almost daily watering now the weather is heating up.

9779055263?profile=originalBelow - the Cardoon is still going strong! Wilts a little in the heat, but a small drink soon fixes that. Very hardy stuff. I've emailed Baker Creek Seeds asking about it's lifespan and heat coping capabilities as I can't find anything much on the net. One guy said he cut his back and it came again.

NOTE: Response from BCS tells me the Cardoon are perennial and have weed potential. Flowers come the second year.

Carrots in this bed were from Baker Creek seed also and have given me lots of return. They are all good to eat. Time I redid the bed though.....

9779029259?profile=originalBelow - after seeing Elaine's giant and delicious Pepino grown in the tub I've been motivated to try a little harder with this wonderful little fruit.

I've created a nice rich area (thanks to Masters $5 25lt bags of manures and mushroom compost) in the front yard and planted three Pepino plants along with another Listada di Gandia bought from Bunnings.

I've put some seed for Butternut Pumpkin in as well. I hope I don't regret doing that - don't want it taking over the front yard. Hugo runs all over this bit of garden near the fence, hence the little bit of protection for the left plant which is where he does his speed turns.

9779056469?profile=originalBelow - up close of the Pepino flower. You can see it's the same family as potatoes etc.

9779056869?profile=originalOne of the new member actually posted me some mulberries as a thank you for seed sent, plus Andrew and I collected a bit more from the mulberry tree near Bribie. The end result was a really quite yummy Kefir and Mulberry cake to share with visitors. The sweet mulberries were a perfect foil for the tart, almost lemony, flavour of the Kefir.

9779058280?profile=original I have piles of Cassava and realise I'm just not going to do anything with it. Roasted a few small pieces and it was ok, but I have oodles of the stuff and can't see myself sitting down to scrub and grate it all. Will try to give it away.

NOTE: Noone wanted it, surprise surprise. The lot ended up in the compost as it started to go mouldy and veined.

04.10.12

Still very little rain, but enough some nights to achieve about 1/4 tank of water . Enough to use on the seedlings each morning.

Bed 1 James' Bean seedlings are coming along well. Nearly all came up (two seeded planted per hole). I've also transplanted some of the Deer Tongue Lettuce from Bed 2 before I replenished it and smothered anything still growing - didn't want to lose the opportunity for seed from this prolific and useful little lettuce grown from last years seed.

Elaine has given me some tiny Purslane seedlings - these have also been planted in Bed 1 in the hope that they will grow and flourish (yellow label at the front end of the bed below).

Also planted are Silverbeet seeds - quite a few have come up already. Tiny and fragile until they get a hold and very easily killed off with neglect in their early stage. Daily watering is a must.

One self sown eggplant has been left more out of curiosity than anything. The Cardoon is in the background - now told this is a perennial, so it may be here for some time. Will see how it copes with our summer.

9779059068?profile=originalBelow - Kuroda carrots are still producing good crop from Bed 1. Some are a funny shape, but they all taste good. The Amarillo (yellow) and Muscade (orange) are also still producing.

HINT: once carrots seeds are established water them sparingly - this makes the roots (carrot) grow down looking for water.

9779059674?profile=originalThe lush growth around the tank of Salvia, Nastutiums and Cape Gooseberry was becoming tatty. All cut back and piled ready to go into replenishing Bed 3 (see next pic).

9779060099?profile=originalGarden trimmings ready to be cut up and go into Bed 3 (behind) once the corn and Kohlrabi have been cropped.

9779061063?profile=originalBelow - Bed 2 replenished with everything from the compost pile (garden trimmings, rotted grass clippings, fallen leaves etc), some manure (sheep?)and lucerne mix from the Caboolture Mkts ($5 big bag), good sprinkling of Granite (Deco) for potassium and Basalt for calcium and iron, some Organic Xtra, a bag each of chook and cow manure from Masters ($5 a 25lt bag) and topped off with Masters Veg and Tom growing mix (basically compost $5 for 25lt bag) to provide somethig to plant the seeds in.

Reseeded mostly with carrots (Red Kuroda, All Year Round and Harlequin), some Sex Without Strings bush beans and a patch of Hollow Crown Parsnip.

The acid free tom plant has been left from the previous planting (quite nice small round fruit - indeterminate type).

HINT: Allow the indeterminate tomatoes space to ramble along the ground so they can root and provide extra nutrient to the plant for a better crop of fruit. Preferable to encouraging upright growth which limits nutrient uptake.

String Beans (extra long variety from last years saved seed) and a few seed for Spacemaster cucumbers have been planted against the trellis.

Daily watering is necessary to keep the medium moist for the seeds to germinate and take hold.

9779061283?profile=originalBelow - the corn is once again a disappointment, partly due to lack of rain. No pollen fell as far as I could tell - although these were grown from seedlings this time instead of seed like the last batch, which also didn't create pollen.

9779062267?profile=original

The crop from this corn wasn't good (below).  I've looked back over the last two winters for quality - last winter wasn't good, 2010 I did not report on the outcome so suspect it was also bad.

NOTE: winter corn planting experiment most likely shows that it's not really worthwhile for the time and space taken.

9779063055?profile=original06.10.12

Still no rain. One fifth a tank of rainwater left which I use on the seedlings daily.

I've put up one of theVege Nets from Green Harvest and am very pleased with it's ease of erection.

Due to the climbers planted along the trellis I can't clip the net down on that side. From other pics I've seen this probably isn't much of a problem though I'm wondering if full and complete exclusion is needed to keep the bugs out.

I can water directly through the net which was something of a concern. Thought I might have to lift each time.

9779062888?profile=originalThe clips I bought to go with the net are great. Very practical. Should have bought more while I was about it though.

9779063883?profile=originalThe banana bunch on the leaning tree are starting to fatten up. Thanks toJoseph and Allan for making the cross frame to keep the plant erect until fruit ripens :)

9779065489?profile=originalThe covered seed raising tray is a great success. The seedlings stay constantly moist and many have popped up. No sign of the Winter Melon seedlings though. They could just be slow to germinate. Fingers crossed as I really want these!

9779066483?profile=originalBelow - all dry. Waiting on some rain to be able to plant something around the tank. The Cape Gooseberry has left lots of seed so they should come up on their own next year.

9779066896?profile=original19.10.12

The Nasturtium all reacted to the heat the same way last week and have been pulled and used as green compost in the elevated beds, or mulch in the ground beds.

The Kangkong seed in the wet pot were being coaxed along - a few had sprouted but kept floating to the surface and had to be poked back down, but were looking hopeful. Especially one little plant which was growing well.

Went back to work this week so have had less time in the garden and this morning when I checked the pot (still wet but without visable surface water) and there is nothing left to show for any of the seedlings. Very disappointing. Will have to look out for seedlings to buy as all my seed went into this wet pot.

The Winter Melon seed have finally produced TWO seedling. My goodness these are reluctant, which is surprising as melon seed usually sprout easily.

9779022260?profile=originalHave redone the top end of Bed 1 (Cardoon still controlling the middle of the bed) and around 14.10.12 planted Golden Bantam seed from Lost Seed.

9779068266?profile=originalBed 2 - the cucumber and Snake Beans are coming up. Carrots are sparse coming up - could be due to the dreadful hot days that immediatly followed my sowing the seed. I tried to keep them moist, but one day they got a bit dry.

9779068872?profile=originalA great patch of cherry toms and Red Amaranth have come up - lord knows how the seeds ended up in a patch of soil straight out of a bag layed down over layers of manure over compost!

Will transfer the Amaranth, which is very nice eating and came from bought seed originally, but the acid cherry toms take over the world and will have to go.

Weed from the hay/lucerne/manure bought from Cab. Mkts is also coming through. Wondering if I should  stick to the well composted 5 in 1 from Bunnings (bought with my gift vouchers so nil cost to me).

9779069272?profile=originalHave a few different types of eggplant planted this year - orange, white, some more stripey bi-colours and hopefully some self sown black ones coming up in Bed 1.

Below is a white - could have blossom end rot. My first fruit, so not familiar with the way they normally look.

9779069698?profile=originalBed 3 below waiting to be refreshed. Cucumber and the Winter Melon seedlings to go in here. Roma toms and Black Krim (one out of two remaining alive) from Joseph are still growing in the bed.

Will probably leave them where they are and just build up around them. Does them no harm - they just send out more roots from the buried bits of stem.

9779070272?profile=originalSeedlings for this garden.

9779071456?profile=originalBed 1 below - James Beans are doing well, climbing their frame just the way they're supposed to! (yay, something went to plan).

The little lettuce seedlings have fallen victim to caterpillars since I went back to work Monday. While I have been watering twice daily to keep everything moist in the current heat, it just goes to show how a daily close-up visual check is important to keep track of what is happening with your plants.

Some of the transplanted Deer Tongue are now doing very well - would hate to lose all seed for these lovely little lettuces. Nothing much bothers them either.

The self sown eggplant is loving the new manure / minerals and daily water - really hoping this is a black.

The Cardoon turns out to be a good chop and drop plant. Edible and useful as green manure.

9779071501?profile=originalHave found quite a few clumps of these tiny golden cocoons with attendant caterpillars (usually these green Cabbage White Butterfly ones).

Some research turned up information on the Apanteles glomeratus (thank you Joseph) which is a natural predator of caterpillars. Now that we know exactly what they are I finally found some video (watch to the end) and photos online.

They hatched really quickly and just took off. No wing drying time like butterflies! The size of a small black ant with clear wings and long active antennae.

9778939461?profile=originalhttp://www.insectes-net.fr/pieride/images/pier116gf.jpg

26.10.12

Days are either hot, up to 32C, or chilly but still no rain. Luckily :I I'm still not working apart from some part time stuff so I can water seedlings once or twice a day to keep them alive.

Trying to grow silverbeet from seed is proving very frustrating - seed I have don't seem to be very viable (Mr Fotherfills Fordhook Giant with a sow by date of Aug 2014) as not many come up and if they do, the bugs eat the tiny plants off almost before my eyes. I have planted seed many time and have virtually nothing to show for it. Tried half toilet roll holders as protection but something still gets to them. Could even just be the heat on some occassions.

Have put some seed into the seed growing tray with the lid in the hope of growing something to height away from the bed.

Have bought some more clips to hold the Vege Nets down due to some strong winds we had the other day. Didn't blow right off by any means but did come loose here and there. The nets don't seem to do much to reduce the impact of the heat on the beds. The bed on the right is completely sealed off so curious to see how well seedlings go in here.

Those squarish brown beetles have been hatching in dozens out of the beds and become stuck in there. They just sit and don't do any harm.

9779072671?profile=originalBelow - Jame's Beans are going great guns and have reached the top of the frame and beyond. Have started flowering already. You can see one of the toilet roll holders "protecting" a silverbeet seedling at the very bottom.

9779072874?profile=originalBelow - Golden Bantam seeds from The Lost Seed - very good rate of germination. Have had to pick some of those hairy brown caterpillars off one or two plants.

How the heck they get into the bed in full blown adult size I would love to know. No sign of any tiny ones.

9779074862?profile=originalBelow - the Super Sioux seed have grown into a nice semi-determinate plant with quite a few good fruit on it. It's heat tolerant so definately one to grow in the future. Elaine has been given seed.

9779075471?profile=original29.10.12

Cool and relatively moist out this morning.

After a potter and cutting back some of the lanky Salvias past their prime (they make good chop and drop) I've brought in a Nopales pad, a tom and a couple of small white eggplants so have decided to have a bit of a bacon and egg fry up for breakfast.

No doubt about it, the Nopales have a bit of a tang on the tongue. Not unpleasant mixed with the other more subtle flavours.

9779076100?profile=original03.11.12

Below - Golden  Bantam coming along well. Finally had a couple of storms, the last gave about 2.5cm of rain and increased the tank by about 1.5 thousand litres.

9779076900?profile=originalBelow - Jame's Beans are such a wonderful bean - doing very well. Lettuce were transplanted here so they could seed. Eggplant is self sown.

9779077277?profile=originalGrowing a few different types of eggplant this year. This is Rosea - bought seedlings.

9779078256?profile=originalBelow - Brazilian Orange grown from seed, yet to fruit but growing strongly.

9779077897?profile=originalBelow - Flea Beetle damage to leaves of Listada di Gandia. Always reliable cropper - still coming back from winter with a few small fruit on it.

9779079287?profile=originalBelow - one of the little Flea Beetles. Cucumber Beetle are also starting to chew on them, plus one baby grasshopper. Everyone seems to like eating Eggplant.

9779079668?profile=originalBelow - Unknown variety bought as seedling from Caboolture Mkt (looks a lot like the Rosea). First time I've seen possible Flea Beetle damage on the fruit as well. NOTE: cooked this and it was bitter!

9779079689?profile=originalHave found a pic online of the Brazilian Orange that I have growing but not fruiting:

Here's a really good Australian site Know Your Eggplant.

Some of the varieties available worldwide.

Below - Salvia and Cleome cut back after a bit of rain. Makes good mulch along with the dying nasturtium plants.

Evan's Vetiver is growing well. Was reading the other day about the delightfully perfumed roots - hopefully will have enough growing one day that I can experience this myself.

9779080677?profile=originalBelow - Around the tank tidied and now regrowing strongly after the application of some cow manure (Masters) and a bit of rain.

Mekong Red Amaranth transplanted from one of the beds where they self sowed. They transplant so easily. Bunnings Zinnea - couldn't resist :)

9779081459?profile=originalBelow - Lots of lovely cucumber seedlings doing well under the Vege Nets.

9779081501?profile=originalBelow - The Ceylon Hill Gooseberry bush is growing well. Ocassionally flowers a bit but no sign of fruit setting as yet. Asparagus are making a brave effort to send up shoots but I suspect some plants have died in this dry spot.

9779083263?profile=originalBelow - Carbonaria bee hive doing very well. Happily bringing back little white, red or yellow pollen sacs on their legs. Would love to know where they are going! Interesting to sit and watch all the coming and goings with bees removing pupae cases on a regular basis.

9779083485?profile=original9779084676?profile=original09.11.12

Days are at least a little overcast with a bit of rain here and there.

Compare the pic taken only 6days ago of the Golden Bantam corn! Such a strong grower.

9779085069?profile=originalBelow - The Cardoon has started flowering. Big surprise to find these this morning. Tempted to eat one like an Artichoke but I really want some seed.

9779085676?profile=original9779085898?profile=originalBelow - Bananas getting close to ripening.

9779086885?profile=original....and another bunch on it's way.

9779087860?profile=originalBelow - Current backyard view. Things under the Vege Net are growing very well. Silverbeet in the netted beds are growing much quicker and without pest problems than the ones on the unnetted bed.

9779088273?profile=original9779088675?profile=original18.11.12

Getting close to the end of Spring and finally some good rain. Wonderful thunder storms yesterday (mid day) and last night, rain all night (more storms for all I know but I slept through it all) and more storms this morning with good rain. The tank is overflowing and I wish I had room for more of them.

The birds are singing everywhere with pleasure. So nice to sit outside and listen to the dripping sounds while sipping tea.

I couldn't help grabbing an umbrella and wandering around checking on and snipping plants. I was conscious all the time of the thunder overhead and the possible stupidity of what I was doing (lightening strike) but couldn't help myself. I just love being in the garden in the rain.

Everything is thriving at the moment. I've bought some Nutri-Tech Total Cover and must try to get some of this around the garden today now that it's rained. Off to one of their field trips next Friday (persimmon farm near Yandina).

Pity I can't capture the raindrops and sounds of thunder!

9779088698?profile=originalManaged to mow and whipper snip last Monday so all looking tidy.

9779089869?profile=originalDancing Lady time again :) Edible Hibiscus (red) in the middle - has lovely tangy flavoured leaves.

9779089901?profile=original9779091083?profile=originalBelow - Jame's Beans are the wonderful croppers - astounding when you think the seed were only planted at the beginning of October, about 6 weeks ago. I get a handful for dinner each night and they are GOOD!

9779091465?profile=originalBelow - crop on the self sown Tamarillo.

9779092494?profile=original9779092692?profile=originalBelow - Golden Bantam growing really well. Seed planted around 14.10.12 - four weeks ago!

9779093653?profile=originalBelow - Custard Apple responding to recent rain with new growth after throwing all it's leaves during the dry. I'm using underneath this tree to put any big garden rubbish. My messy version of the Insect Hotel.

9779094275?profile=originalBelow - Loving the Vege Net. Protects plants from bugs, heavy rain, sun. Haven't had any hail yet to test it on. May need more clips to hold the mesh down for heavier weather.

9779095052?profile=originalBelow - Both Abicas are making a healthy comeback after being cut back. Pepino and fig in the background.

9779095475?profile=originalBelow - Dwarf Black Mulberry courtesy of Elaine's cuttings. I couldn't seperate the different cuttings roots, so planted the whole thing. It had one little sweet fruit on in in the pot :)

9779095488?profile=originalBelow - Bed 3 growing well - Cardoon still very happy despite the increasing heat, surrounded by the Golden Bantam corn and Jame's Beans.

9779096462?profile=original20.11.12 Below - the giant garlic has been a bit of a let down. At least a couple of the plants died off over their slow growing period. I ended up roasting one of these bulbs with some chicken drummies and they were almost perfumy in their flavour. Didn't taste garlicky which was what I was really looking for.

9779096654?profile=originalBelow - Lychee has been properly cut back with Andrew's help. Lots of rust in the top leaves has been removed.

9779097068?profile=originalAll the cuttings have ended up under the custard apple.

9779097494?profile=originalBelow - green visitor on the roof guttering :)

9779097291?profile=original25.11.12

Spring is almost over.  We've had lots of overcast weather since last weekends storms but no rain. Not too hot most days.

I really like the Vege Nets - they seem to have allowed plants to get a hold without getting burnt or attacked by too many insects, but the plants under them are now bulging at the seams and it's time to remove it. I have kept it sheltering Silverbeet at the end of both beds for the moment.

9779098287?profile=originalBelow - Direct sown Silverbeet plants in Bed 2 are doing much better than.....

9779099474?profile=original...seedling (my own) sown plants in Bed 3. Despite this, direct sown in Bed 1 did not work over and over again. But that bed was not protected by the Vege Net.

9779099691?profile=originalBelow - One of the brocolli stumps has reshot. I don't expect much from it but am curious.

9779100475?profile=originalBelow - James' beans are cropping wonderfully. Handfuls daily and hopefully some seed to share at the Christmas get together.

9779101284?profile=originalBelow - The Golden Bantam is growing healthy and strong and has reached the top of the frame.

9779101485?profile=originalBelow - The Red Okra have grown well under the Vege Net. Removed netting this morning, so will see how they fare in full sun from now on.

9779102495?profile=originalBelow - Mystery plant is growing great guns. I will wait to see what it is before considering removing it.

9779104475?profile=originalBelow - The Cardoon flowers are colouring up. Next pic is one of them cooked beside two rather large store bought Artichokes (3 for $2 at Lawnton Country Mkts yesterday). None of them gave me much to eat - bit at the base of each leaf to peel off with my teeth was nice. Can't figure out why I like them so much lol.

9779105070?profile=original9779105300?profile=originalBelow - Cucumbers and carrots Bed 2.

9779106268?profile=originalBelow - Some of the carrots - patchy germination, most likely due to the very hot days that followed sowing is all I can guess.

9779106487?profile=original

Below - Meanwhile, in the general beds some Jicama has shot again by itself (must have missed a bulb when cropping)...

9779107468?profile=original...the Monstera Deliciosa (from seed) is growing ok in a really crappy spot...

9779108262?profile=original...I think these wierd tubers are the Aerial Potatos. They are climbing the Melaleuca and fence...

9779108487?profile=original...a passionfruit has self sown and is also climbing the Melaleuca - the tough looking vine to the left of the trunk is what I think is the Aerial Potato....

9779109087?profile=original...the fig has three little fruit on it after a year of beetle damage and other catastrophes. Disappointing but hopefully more will develop...

9779110276?profile=original9779110699?profile=original...the Dwarf Ducasse has three pups which I will not be removing. In the past when I've done this my bananas just send out more pups anyway! so what is the point (apart from giving them away)....

9779112054?profile=original...Pepino are flowering profusely - the Blue Banded Bees just love these.....

9779112271?profile=original...the Grumichama is growing slowly but steadily in the Brom bed.....

9779112689?profile=original...my one remaining rose, Seduction, is reliably flowering.....

9779113495?profile=original...new Rosemary plant and the resurrected Caperberry bush (below the nasturtium) are doing ok in the rather dry spot beside the tank...

9779114474?profile=original26.11.12

Andrew Cumberland has given us information for making our own Liqueur.

This is the Spiced Plum on the 24.11.12, the day it was made and then today 26.11.12. This batch is pretty expensive due to buying the vodka ($30 for 700ml). If I can learn to make my own spirit using a kit it will bring the price right down.

9779114694?profile=original9779115487?profile=originalHave seen this pretty medium sized ant around the place lately, called a Strobe Ant, thanks to Brisbane Insects for identification.

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Also returned after winter are the Blue Banded Bees (again thanks to Brisbane Insects for pic as I cannot catch one in flight with my little camera). They just love Salvia, Eggplant and Pepino flowers. The buzzing sound is quite loud so you know when they are around.

Something of interest from the BI site: Blue-banded Bee Males have five blue bands while females have only four. The males have the abdomen tip segment in blue while the female has this segment reduced.

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28.11.12

Very hot and humid day. The air is so still - reeks of thunder storm for this arvo.

I've just put down a heap of Yellow Tamarillo seed - will be interesting to see if they grow Yellow fruit in the long run. Bit hard to follow though as I tend to give most of them away lol.

Have French Lavender cuttings on the go along with some salvias and trying the Non Acid Toms from cuttings. So far 4 out of 6 cuttings are surviving well.

I've put the one and only surviving Kangkong seedling into the moist pot and moved the pot to a place of afternoon shade. I do think I need to pot the way of the Water Chestnut, with one pot inside another containing the water. Too hot to do this today.

9779115859?profile=originalOne of the Cardoon flowers has opened and the colour is glorious. Will watch it's progress with interest and hope for seed.

9779116278?profile=original9779117262?profile=original

Read more…

2012/2013 SUMMER FEBRUARY

9779053098?profile=original

01.02.13

Time to cut up non-producing plants to  replenish the beds and do some propagation after all the rain. The temperature is much more comfortable though steamy, perfect for plant propagation.

I've planted up a heap of my first lot of Cardoon seed, some strawberry runners (for Joseph), red salvia removed from places I didn't want them growing (I cut back the Pineapple Sage the other day and chopped it up for mulch, but this is also a good one to grow from cutting), Cranberry Hibiscus and Cleome from cutting, Pepino and Betel leaf from cutting - the latter produce little rootlets almost begging to be reproduced.

I have lots of wildlife visitors to the garden - lizards, insects, birds. I try to find the name of each one so I can learn their role in the garden but some of the insects are very hard to identify.

Have identified this one as a Red-spotted Mirid Bug (Trilaccus nigroruber). One of those great, almost invisible, little predators we like to encourage to the garden. This insect is a predator of larvae of other small insects. I've watched it sticking it's proboscus into crevices and holes on the eggplant it seems to favour.

Brisbane Insects

9779075852?profile=originalThis morning while taking cuttings, with the dog standing right under the bush, a little Silvereye flew straight between us and sat on the bush completely unafraid and sang it's little song. It's mate and it were working the garden for caterpillars. The mud wasps have been gathering these lately also.

I'm appreciating that nature sets up it's own balance between predators and prey if you let it.

Silvereye - photo from Bird Life Australia

Have finally this morning seen the solitary native Leafcutter bee. I see evidence of it's work on my rose bush with neat little circles cut out of the leaves but not the bee itself. It is very fast moving but obliged by stopping right in front of me to groom itself for a whole 10secs so I could get a good look at it.

Here's some video from the Aussie Bee site.

Photo courtesy of Brisbane Insects.

They carry their pollen under their abdomen rather than in pollen sacs on the legs. Neat little white V on the face.

9779076466?profile=originalFrom the Qld Museum site here's the nest! Will have to keep my eyes open for this around the yard:

The cigar-like nest of a leaf-cutter bee removed from in fold in a curtain. This nest is composed of several individual cells staked end on end.

The cigar-like nest of a leaf-cutter bee removed from a fold in a curtain.
This nest is composed of several individual cells staked end on end.

02.02.13

Spent the morning working on tidying up the front yard. One of the mower guys and Heath have given me piles-o-grass so it was a good opportunity to start the no dig gardens in the front with all the Bribie newspapers courtesy of my Mum. 

Heath will also take out the palms and pony tail plants for me next time he brings his chainsaw. I think he enjoys having something to cut down myself!

I've also cut back all the dead growth on the white Mandevilla - something that has been bugging me for ages.

9779077667?profile=original9779078270?profile=original03.02.13

I've had to throw out kgs upon kgs of fruit from the Carombola due to fruit fly sting plus bruising when they hit the ground.

The bruising can be avoided but the fruit fly is a big problem, so I've hung a Wild May trap this morning. First time I've tried this product. It could take a very long time to eradicate or reduce the problem.

The tree is flowering again so it will be interesting to see if I have better results with the next lot of fruit.

9779078681?profile=originalThis is exactly what I saw in my garden yesterday - a mating couple of dragonflies. The female with a very red abdomen. There was a second insect with red abdomen, so assume it was another female, keeping them company nearby. Libellulidae - they were very long, about 7cm.

Pic courtesy of Brisbane Insects:

9779079277?profile=original04.02.13

I've just spread around in the bare patches under the few corn plants that survived the recent heat, the rest of Joseph's chinese veg seed - Pak Choy (Chinese White Cabbage) and Gai Choy (Chinese Mustard, Bamboo Leaf).

07.02.13

Enjoyed the antics of my resident Willy Wagtail this morning. Looks like it might be a juvenile. It sits on my clothes line preening itself after a bath then heads for the roof line where it picks off flying bugs mid air.

Photo courtesy of Birds in Backyards.

9779079479?profile=originalI've planted a bit of seed into grow pots. The Cardoon planted a few days ago from my own saved seed is coming up already! And I was worried it might not be viable.

Planted: Red Nasturtium "Imp. Empress", Artichoke "Imprerial Star" (long shot for sub-tropical), Orach "Ruby Red" (4 seed only, not really it's time), Black Eggplant (from store bought fruit), Wampi (what the hey - someone will grow seedlings) and cuttings from various things, mainly to give away. Also need to plant the Edible Chrysanthemum seed today.

Bed 3 is ready to go with pea and bean seed. Trying to hold out to March as I expect a bit more heat between then and now. Very little worm activity in any of the beds which is puzzling. Something to do with all the rain?

The Dragon fruit bloomed last night - it did rain a little so I hope they pollinated ok. Gave them a dust myself with a slightly wet finger as well.

9779079677?profile=original9779080084?profile=original17.02.13

The weather has remained showery and relatively cool, perfect weather for seed sowing, so I've crumbled and sown seed before my original March aim.

Bed 3 - Beans: Flageolet flagrano (bush bean ex Craig); Purple Pod climber (my saved seed); James' climber (my saved seed).

Peas: Sugar Snap (my saved seed) and Purple Pod (donated seed source unknown) - both climbers. There's also a Cardoon (my saved seed) in there along with some silverbeet which has struggled along through the heat, plus various sweet potato growing under the A frame and putting the unused interior to purpose.

Bed 2 - Cauliflower "Sixty Days" (Green Harvest) apparently well suited to warmer areas and can be frozen; Broccoli - Early Purple Sprouting (Baker Creek Heirloom), Green Sprouting Calabrese (The Lost Seed), Waltham (my own saved), Rapini (Baker Creek Heirloom);  Kohlrabi (Florence);  Purple King beans on frame(donated seed dated 2011 source unknown) and one Cardoon (my saved seed).

There's also some silverbeet struggling along after the heat, a Listada di Gandia eggplant (Bunnings seedling), Sweet Leaf (James' cutting) and some shallots (rooted stubs from store bought).

I've tossed some coriander, dill and fennell amongst everything with the aim of detering pests.

Bed 1 - Joe's beans (climber from Elaine or Jane); existing corn Golden Bantam - half of these didn't come up in the heat and are only 80cm or so tall and going to silk, under these are chinese veg (seed from Joseph); the Cardoon plants have mostly died off but two are making an effort at comeback after being cut back; some Mekong Red Amaranth (self sown) and an eggplant self sown.

Around the general yard I've planted Sunflower (saved seed); Edible Chrysanthemum (Suceed Heirlooms), Fennel (source unknown); Dill (ex Anne Gibson); Phacelia "Syn. Californian Bluebell" (Green Harvest) which has fragrant lavender-blue flowers and fern like foliage, attracts hoverflies that control aphids and is good bee forage amongst other things; winter lettuce (saved seed - slow to bolt variety unknown); coriander (Eudlo seed savers).

Many of the herbs have been planted down the length of the bottom of the bed at ground level or just thrown around the general beds. I'm interested to see how many come up.

I'm thrilled that so many plants are now naturalising themselves in the garden. These include Amaranth both red and green, rocket, mustard greens, Egyptian Spinach, nasturtium, lettuce. Many of these are coming up yet again after all the recent rain. Even Jicama have come up again by themselves.

Asparagus have improved with the rain but are still only producing the odd stem that I can take. Extremely good though! They nearly all get eaten while I'm pottering and don't make it to the kitchen.

Nasturtium have sat quietly as little plants all summer long. I expect they will take off shortly as the weather becomes cooler - there's also still plenty of seed lying around all over. Can't wait to plant out the new red seedlings.

The Ceylon Hill Gooseberry has some kind of bright yellow mould on every fruit. This morning I checked again and it has changed from bright yellow to a dark colour. The fruit doesn't seem to be affected. The asparagus is growing thickly around this plant and I expect the combination of lots of rain and less airflow has contributed.

18.02.13

Beautiful cool moist day. The garden is loving it! Bean seeds planted three days ago are coming up already. These are purple pod beans.

9779081676?profile=originalBelow: Self sown patches of goody are coming up everywhere.

9779081876?profile=original9779083091?profile=originalBelow: Dragonfruit on the fence has 7 fruit on it. Two unfortunately are over the neighbours side.

9779083860?profile=originalBelow: I've put some cuttings on the hose post and up the dead Grevillea.

9779083479?profile=original9779084855?profile=originalBelow: The Red Okra is still going great guns. Such a pretty plant, flower and fruit.

9779085272?profile=originalBelow: The Lebanses Cress from Ana is doing very well. There's enough that I can start taking some for my sandwiches.

9779086254?profile=originalBelow: The Kangkong that I struggled to get growing is now doing very well.

9779086685?profile=originalBelow: The Custard Apple dropped a few fruit but the bulk are doing well. You can see where the Leaf Cutter bee has been busy at work taking bit of leaf for her nest.

9779087673?profile=original9779087484?profile=originalBelow: The Dwf Macadamia has put on lots of new growth. Something has been eating some of it.

9779088491?profile=originalBelow: Rattle ants have moved into the insect hotel in the Soursop along with some tiny ants and a mud dauber wasp. Rattle Ants seal off the entrances with silk from their larvae.

9779089459?profile=originalBelow: The Betel Leaf is just loving the moist weather. Even the one under the Lychee has finally taken off.

9779090282?profile=originalBelow: Self sown eggplant - I have to assume it's Listada di Gandia. The fruit is more elongated that the original, same as the fruit from the Bunnings seedling.

9779090689?profile=originalBelow: Fruit on the Rosea bought at the Caboolture Mkts. More rounded.

9779091663?profile=originalBelow: Looking up the side - Soursop on right, Carambola in the middle, bamboo at the top end.

9779092262?profile=originalBelow: The swt potato tower is growing well. I have maybe three or four different types around the garden now. They grow so much more easily than regular potatoes.

9779054693?profile=originalBelow: Mystery melon self sown and growing so much better than anything I have planted myself.

9779093493?profile=originalBelow: Water Chestnuts doing great at last. Have only just finished eating the remaining ones I was given from last season. They keep so well in the fridge.

9779094457?profile=originalBelow: Last of the Golden Bantam corn that survived the hot spell. Won't EVER bother growing these again - they silk up at different times and the cobs are tough and tasteless.

9779094678?profile=originalBelow: Threw all of the remaining chinese veg seed from Joseph under the corn and most of it has come up in this moist weather. Nice :)

9779095266?profile=originalBelow: Give it a couple of days with me not paying much attention and the Winter Melon is taking over the washing trolley. Can't touch it now as it's developing a fruit. This plant grew from potting mix I threw out when seed didn't germinate.

9779038684?profile=originalBelow: Bed 3 newly planted with pea and bean and one cardoon from saved seed. Still growing Okra, swt potato, silverbeet. Climbers are down the length of the frame, bush bean is under the Okra.

9779095883?profile=originalBelow: Bed 2 newly planted with cauli, four different kinds of broccoli, one cardoon and beans along the climbing frame. I've thrown some herb seed in there for the hell of it, dill or fennel and coriander.  Still growing silverbeet bottom end, Sweet Leaf, eggplant and chives at the top end.

9779096092?profile=originalBelow: Bed 1 mostly to be redone - Joe's beans coming up at the top end. Still growing corn, chinese veg, eggplant, amaranth, basil.

9779097089?profile=original25.02.13

Only a few days of summer left, thank goodness. The last two days have been hot and steamy (the artichoke seedlings did not! appreciate it and some have died) but this morning is dripping rain again.

Went along to Bob Luttrell's open garden yesterday and was able to attend most of his talk about his experiences with native bees over the years and demonstrations of various hive designs. He's working on lightweight cement structures at the moment. And metal covers with tile roof that fits over the main body of the hive - he feels this keeps out the predators who won't fly up from underneath.

Bob showed us various vertical splitting techniques with different hive designs. Hopefully I will end up with one of these to try when we eventually split my hive.

Below: Last look around the garden before autumn. Time to read last autumns blog! which of course, is the whole point of having them.

9779097277?profile=originalBelow: The Cardoon is sending up new shoots. Lucky I don't pull things out anymore - I just cut and leave the stumps in the ground.

9779097894?profile=originalBelow: To provide support for the peas and beans, I've put up some netting that I bought some time back. Not an easy task to fight with this stuff on my own, but I eventually won!

9779098064?profile=originalBelow: The self sown Winter Melon which has now claimed my washing trolley as it's own, is producing more fruit which is quite wonderful. I have only one left in the pantry and would really like more to eat.

9779099462?profile=originalBelow: More Dragonfruit is ripening. Currently selling for about $5 each around here, though Joseph has found them on the southside for about $1.50 each.

9779099677?profile=originalBelow: The cutting I put on the hose post seems to be putting out a flower bud....even though the piece isn't rooted. Will be interesting to see if this develops further.

9779100090?profile=originalBelow: Looks like I might have Myrtle rust on the Ceylon Hill Gooseberry. Not a good shot, but note the marks on the fruit and leaves. These were initially yellow circles.

9779101065?profile=originalBelow: The Cranberry Hibiscus is such a pretty edible to have in the garden. Seedlings are coming up around the cold compost pile though I don't remember seeing any seed pods.

This one responds well to pruning to keep it neat and promote the fresh young leaves which are the best eating.

9779101097?profile=originalBelow: The self sown mystery melon must be getting near the time for harvesting. Looks like a Honeydew to me. Don't remember eating any HD this summer, rockmelon yes, so lord knows where the seed came from to end up in the kitchen veg scraps dumped in this spot. Perhaps it's regressed to one of the parent plants?? Whatever. It's a little gift.

9779101285?profile=originalBelow: Didn't want to waste any of my one beautiful pumpkin so pricked it full of holes and roasted it......

9779102256?profile=originalBelow: The end result to put in the freezer for later use. The flesh was still quite chunky but could be squashed down once it was in the bags. Nice and flat for storage. One lot used for Pumpkin Cake which I've been enjoying nightly with some icecream, really quite yum.

9779102478?profile=originalBelow: FRONT YARD - Finally started real work on the front yard thanks to Health using his chainsaw to cut off the Ponytail plant and two fountain palms for me. That big mound down near the air-con unit is where one of the palms is still quite big and viable. Aiming to kill it off with the substantial heat from the grass cuttings. It will eventually rot down.

Steve the mower guy is bringing me lots of lovely grass cuttings. I just love looking at this pile and thinking about what I can plant when it's all rotted down. Doesn't take long. There's newspaper and ground cover under this lot.

9779102901?profile=originalBelow: The Jaboticaba is doing very well. Really looking forward to getting a first crop. The raspberries struggled this year but there's still plenty of healthy stock. I will be propogating them all along this bed. Will try to keep them some better form, but for all that, they crop just fine left to their own devices.

The choko (green) has made a comeback as always, when it rains. The white one couldn't take the heat. Many people are asking me for fruit to grow so it seems everyone has lost their plants.

9779103291?profile=originalBelow: The Dwarf Wurtz is doing well. After dire warnings from many NOT to prune it I found a video on YouTube from a professional who just gets stuck in, so I've trimmed off some of the growth and branches that were annoying me. There's still more...I'm working myself up to it!

Pomegranates in the background are growing well - seed sown on the left, Wonderful in the middle.

9779104058?profile=originalBelow: The "four sisters" - Tamarillos grown from seed at the same time, have had very different journeys. The one in the foreground, in what I considered to be the worst spot not getting much natural rain, has done the best - managing to keep both it's fruit and leaves. The one on the right was bowled over in a storm, cut off and has kept it leaves (there were not fruit). The two in the right background kept their fruit and dropped all their leaves during the recent bout of heat that went on for a few weeks.

I've cut them right back in the hope that they recover.

Canistel in between plants (right) is still plugging along. New growth, but it's a very slow grower. Tempted to get rid of it but it's healthy, so can stay for a bit longer.

The rocket is now self sowing in this bed. Pepino struggles out here - probably too hot and dry for it. The strawberries are settling in nicely - original plants from a couple at Redlands a few years back.

9779104296?profile=originalBelow: Heath has been giving me grass over the fence. Finally convinced him not to dump it! but he still looks puzzled that I would want it lol. He's tossing the backyard stuff over into my banana patch.

9779105266?profile=originalLESSONS LEARNED THIS SUMMER:

  • Do NOT grow Golden Bantam corn again. Plants don't grow at the same rate, therefore don't pollinate at the same time. The end cob is tough and bland. I tried seed from three different sites and they were all as dismal.
  • Take precautions for fruit fly BEFORE the tree fruits! (Carombola). NOTE - my fruit fly trap has caught nothing in a week and yet all the fruit is stung. Perhaps it's not fruit fly sting? The Americans have problems with stink beetles (?) but no sign of any excess of beetle either. NOTE 17.02.13 fruit fly maggots are hatching in bagged fruit.

Read more…

2012 WINTER June to August

9779037257?profile=originalHere we go again! with the main growing period for veg in Brisbane. I used to dislike winter but now I really look forward to it and the opportunity to try some new seed and plants each time.

I'm trying to get some Kangkong growing in the wet pot in the pic above, not really the right season but what the hey giving it a go anyway. I've bought some seed for the warmer months if the cuttings don't take. Trying again with the water chestnut after three failures. I have them growing in a clay pot sitting on a brick in a large tub of water this time. Not submerged.

Still using a mix of seed grown and seedlings from the market. Whatever gives me results. It's all about having something good to eat out of it all, organically grown, so I don't really care where the plant initially comes from. Seed is best but I find a lot of the heirloom items difficult to grow. I'm focusing on finding out what works well in MY area and that I actually find useful as a food.

Below 17.06.12 - establising as many Pepino plants around the place as I can as I really like the yummy little fruit. Absolutely no waste (you eat the whole thing) and nothing much seems to affect them. Not many fruit for the size of the plants at the moment, but this (my oldest established) is now growing well and producing lots of flowers so I have hope for more than the odd fruit.

9779037290?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - finally have some Cape Gooseberry established. They are such spreaders but as I'm not mowing at the moment it's not a problem. Lovely to have a few fruit to eat each day - a real blast from my past. People who make jam must have a heap of plants!

9779038498?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - so many different carrot varities to try! These are L-R Kuroda x2, Amarillo and Muscade.

9779039258?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - ever dependable bush beans grow so well at this time of the year.

9779039666?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - the Listada di Gandia have slowed right down with developing fruit. I noticed the Blue Banded bees are my main helper fertilising these flowers and they are now dormant. My little native bees are still active, but they don't seem to go near these flowers.

9779039289?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - brocolli grown from seed saved from last years wonderful crop. Small heading variety. Waiting to find out if this grows something useful or has cross pollinated with something else.

9779041076?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - my native bees still come out once the day warms up, which unfortunately means I only see them at the weekend and not during the work week.

9779042063?profile=originalBelow 17.06.12 - compost pile, giant garlic in grow tub and Cardoon in bed (tall). Cardoon is something I will continue to grow (so long as it seeds for me!) as it's incredibly hardy with firm stems useful for stews and casseroles. Quite bitter to bite on but you don't notice it in the dish. Reminiscent of a cross between the stems of silverbeet and celery but certainly quicker growing than the latter.

9779042693?profile=original30.06.12 We've had a few days of cold winter rain and gray days. The corn seems to have slowed right down but all the brassicas, carrots etc are just loving it!

9779043295?profile=original30.06.12 Below Bed 3: Some of the cauli (white, green and purple from bought seedlings), red lettuce and Kolrabi. Some caterpillar damage but I'm only finding a few actual caterpillars...by torchlight in the evening mainly.

9779043867?profile=original30.06.12 Supposed to be bush beans! but these are wanting to climb. Seed grown from saved seed so maybe they are regressing. So long as I get beans I don't really care.

9779044464?profile=original30.06.12 Below Bed 2: Brocolli from saved seed seem to be coming along ok. Waiting for the proof!

9779045253?profile=original30.06.12 Below: General bed near the aviary - parsley, two types of sorrel, pepino and salvia.

9779046453?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Self sown Tamarillo at the end of Bed 2 is growing very strongly. Direct sown is the best! Others transplanted from seedling trays aren't nearly so big during the same period. It does have the benefit of accessing the goodness of the raised bed though.

9779046858?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Not the best shot, but this is one of the Jackfruit seedlings that I'm having a go at growing in a large pot. Cleome growing around it.

9779046886?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Banana bunch growing well. The bell was broken off (birds?) early on but it doesn't seem to have affected their growth.

9779047683?profile=original30.06.12 Front porch - nice and tropical.

9779048467?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Aviary - from the left Odette (bred by Andrew about 14yrs ago but still going strong), Bob (unable to fly and gay - he was in love with Rupert before he died), and Primrose (about 10yrs old). William is out of view, he's about 10yrs also.

9779049071?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Cape Gooseberries - finally, success! I get a few to eat each day with careful hunting through the rambling stems. Deeeelicious!!

9779050256?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Nopales (edible cactus paddles) has what I thought were flower seedlings growing around it but now they look like eggplant to me. How the.....?? I know I didn't intentionally plant these here.

9779050301?profile=original30.06.12 Below: The grevillea is sending out new shoots after it's severe cut back. Will have to make sure I never let it get that big again.

9779051274?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Despite the cold weather the Loofah is still flowering and producing small fruit (right of pic).

9779051894?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Bed 2 Broad beans from Nathans seeds. First time I've ever grown these so looking forward to eating some.

9779052496?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Same bed, snow peas climbing the trellis. Replanted these seeds three times, but the rat kept eating them. Hopefully will get enough to eat from about 4 that took.

9779052861?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Bed 1 carrots. Some of them are getting quite big and certainly give me enough for my own use. Sweet and delicious.

9779053263?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Bed 1 Cardoon (relative of artichoke/thistle). Very useful for stem veg in stews and casseroles - like a cross between celery and silverbeet. Too bitter to eat raw. Very strong grower but one plant would have been heaps for my own use.....and I have about five! Very easy to grow from seed.

The "prickles" are worth being careful about but are really no problem.

Now waiting for the flowers which are edible similar to artichoke heads.

9779053088?profile=original30.06.12 Below: Very disappointing Yakon crop this year. First one pulled. I put a lot of planting material back into the general beds last year, quite a lot of it the pink stuff, but not a lot came up.

9779053491?profile=originalWashed and scrubbed tubers - all are cracked. Tasty though.

9779047478?profile=original12.07.12

Home with gastro for the last two days and it's gray, wet and miserable winter weather to be stuck inside with a sore tummy. No real desire to go outside. Soggy, soggy, soggy.

9779054487?profile=originalBut on the upside.....

9779055096?profile=original...a teensy bit of home grown veg for dinner (including a few Nicola spuds - got less back from the bag than I put in in the first place!).

The broccolli is a bit of a worry as these plants were grown from seed from last years delightful plants. Such a tiny head. NOTE: Buy some seedlings or use heirloom seed next year - do not use my saved seed! Same with the beans.

Pics below taken from under the cover of the wet blanket on the clothes line during the almost constant gentle rain.

9779055700?profile=original9779056267?profile=originalI have to keep removing nasturtium leaves so the bees don't get buried in flowering plants.

9779056658?profile=original22.07.12

Rain has stopped and it's a beautiful breezy day outside, almost spring like. The ground is very wet - there's lots of weeds and still heaps of caterpillars about - slim green, hairy and stripped. The air is nippy inside the house.

The native bees are busy as! but not on any flowers in my own garden that I can see. Saw a honey bee this morning with well packed pollen sacs on it's legs and very excited about the salvia flowers. Noone is touching the Cleome which was sold to me as a bee attracting flower.

The beans are a total loss - grown from saved seed. The sugar snap peas are finally showing signs of flowering but I admit I have been eating the tips in my deperation for some pea flavour. Even the silverbeet is growing slowly. The brocolli grown from last years seed are big healthy plants with the tiniest, but delicious, heads. Waste of time.

Big lesson for next year - buy fresh seedlings or buy genuine heirloom seed.

18.08.12

Almost the end of winter and the weather is warming up nicely. Days as warm as 27C but still coolish inside the house. Andrew is living with me for a couple of weeks at least after orthopaedic surgery on his damaged left foot. He can't wait bear on his left leg and spends all day on the couch.

Not a terribly successful season in the vege bed. Beans very disappointing including the pile-o-useless grown from saved bush bean seed. I've since pulled all this out and left it to break down in the bed.

9779057281?profile=originalAnother disappointment this season is the Yakon. Hardly any crop and it's cracked. Still tastes the same - most has been used in juicing.

9779057863?profile=originalI have had some nice little bits of brocolli - enough for me daily at least. Seem to remember more from a smaller amount of plant last year.

9779058059?profile=originalSome nice little purple cauli. The "Lime cauli" turned out to be brocolli and the white ones are still growing small heads.

9779058859?profile=originalPretty flowers on the Abika. Yet to see one actually open!

9779059459?profile=original9779060101?profile=originalColours of the nasturtiums :) Lovely.

9779061099?profile=original9779061686?profile=original9779062667?profile=original9779062872?profile=original9779063660?profile=original9779063694?profile=originalTrying to stop the banana falling over before the fruit ripen!

9779065276?profile=originalBed 2 - garlic, deer tongue lettuce, broad bean, silverbeet, brocolli, sugar snap peas, yellow squash - Tamarillo growing tall at the far end alongside the Listada di Gandia.

9779065291?profile=original

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