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.
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...
I 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!
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...
Lousy 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.....
Found 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....
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 Chillies, Tomatillo 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.
Bought 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....
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.
Below: 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.
Red 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.
Joseph 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.
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.
GV to Peter Kearneys yesterday was very interesting. See group discussion for full details.
Taste testing Joseph's Black Krim...
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.
The 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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
One 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.
My 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.
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.
Pepino 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.
Main Pepino plant on the left with cuttings planted on the front verge (along with exisiting Midyim):
I 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.
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.
Also 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.
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.
Toms 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.
Found 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.
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 :)
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.
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.
Crop from the potato tower. See seperate blog.
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.
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 :)
I'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.
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!
The 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.
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?)
Plenty 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!
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
Bed 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.
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.