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2016 AUTUMN - MARCH TO MAY

This is a continuous seasonal diary which I will add to as the season progresses.

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The weather is improving already though still a few hot days. Enough showers now and then to keep my 5000lt tank ticking over for garden use.

It's a jungle out there.

The garden - fruit trees, ground covers, flowering plants have gone berserk with growth. I need to have a major trim back. Easter is coming and the delicious thought of four days in which I can slop around in my gardening clothes and thongs, tossing composted manure around and replenishing beds with the spoiled lucerne bought from Tim (Brisbane Rural Produce) is intoxicating. People keep asking "what are you doing this Easter" and I happily reply "poo tossing". 

Some things, like the A Choy/Canadian Wild Lettuce on the left and middle of the pic are being left to go to seed. The Nopales has reached a size where it will go over in a storm again and I will have to trim it back to the original pad.

Sweet Leaf have grown into sizable woody stemmed bushes and are taking up too much space in the vege beds. Not a lot of usable "veg" from these to justify the space they take up. Cut them right back to a stump the other day. If they grow back well and good - I will attempt to keep them more trimmed than I have to achieve edible tips. They grow well from cuttings stuffed into the ground.

The blasted, so called thornless (hah) Youngberry has re-shot with a vengeance and is growing all over the ground. A trap for unwary feet. I think I will have to use drastic measures to get rid of it permanently ie poison.

The white choko which has been sitting so politely on the wire frame around the water tank for the last two years doing very little in the way of growth, has suddenly taken off. I have tried many times to train it over the tank but it insists on growing outwards.

The plant is covered in tiny potential fruit embryo on the female flowers (pic below) but the triffid like growth threatens to wrap me in it's arms when I walk that way. I will watch it more closely while home over the Easter break to see if anything (my bees would be good) is fertilising the flowers.

It's been ages since I had some choko to eat and quite a few people are asking for some to grow on for themselves. Hard to get hold of, these white ones.

I have to keep cutting back an entrance for the native bee hives on the left.

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Little embryo white chokos on the female flowers.

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The Brown Turkey figs have done especially well for me this season. I've been picking one to three every day. Unheard of before. They get eaten for morning tea at work.

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Picked the last of the corn the other day. Third crop I get in during the warm months. Once again, disappointing result with cobs. The ones I get are good eating but not what they should be in size and quantity. Some plants on the last rotation didn't cob up at all.

The giant Okra are second generation from seed given to me by Rob C. This lot are bigger and thicker than any Okra I've ever seen but still just as good cooked.

Sweet Potato in the basket (white/purple) are from my tidy up of the rampant plant. Yet to harvest the grow bags but hope to get that done today (25.03.16).

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Sweet Potato is supposed to grow sedately in tubs with frames in my yard but it has managed to escape and get a hold here and there (as SP does!).

Gees, if the world came to a crashing halt this is the plant to grow - edible leaves and tubers and it's abundant and hardy. Anyway, the rampant growth was beginning to bug me and threatening to engulf my old blind dog when she went walking by herself, so it had to come out. There were a few hidden gems of tubers in the ground but on the whole they were just too difficult to dig out of the hard packed ground without a pick axe.

Before and after some pulling.

Yes, that's a red pawpaw in the raised bed. Self sown. Manna from heaven.

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I am just loving this pretty chilli plant grown from Mark B's seeds. I don't use them all that often but love the look of them growing. Chilli plants are almost the perfect plant - perennial, respond well to a cut back, hardy, decorative and edible.
9779187290?profile=originalThe Carombola is gearing itself up to a winter crop with lots of growth and flowers. Meanwhile, it never really stops cropping. These fruit drop from the heavens daily and end up in the weed tea bucket to drown the Fruit Fly larvae.

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Have I mentioned how much the bees and I love Salvias? Another perfect plant in my book. 

I cut all the Salvia plants back about a month or so back and they respond with new growth and flowers. 

Lavender salvia with red salvia behind.

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Purple Salvia with Blue Banded Bee.

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Pale blue salvia.

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Pink salvia with blue (edible) Clitorea ternatea vine.

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Pawpaws - for whatever reason they just like this yard. Below are some brag photos of different plants around the yard. I prefer to eat the fruit green as a veg. The ripe ones get taken to work at the Respite Centre for the clients to eat. Cook appreciates the fresh fruit.

Plant donated at a GV from unknown member.

9779192088?profile=originalPretty sure this plant was also donated by the same member. Aren't they plump, velvety and full of promise.

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Plant from Masters (?). Yep, it has reached the roof line. Will need a ladder to harvest these. The male bought at the same time had his top chopped off - should have done the same to the female but she was a bit shorter at the time.

9779193670?profile=originalLess prolific volunteer plant. A bit too shaded these days but still produces some good fruit.

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And there's another two plants out the back grown from seed from the best volunteer plant I ever had but which finally succumbed to old age and storms. But, I reckon you're getting a bit sick of looking at pawpaw plants by now ;)

On to something completely different. Greens. So important to our diet and with so many options to grow and eat.

Remember the quest for a true Tree Collard?

True Tree Collards are best grown from cutting but they were impossible to find in Australia. I finally sourced seed on eBay ($5 + free delivery from Portugal) for Portuguese Walking Stick Collards...and they proved enthusiastic growers and good eating. The plants suffered through our summer - being attacked by everything that loves greens. Some died completely, some survived. If I removed all the affected leaves they died so I eventually accepted that I should just stand back and observe. Occasionally I would spray pests off with a hose. An ongoing experiment, I want to see how hardy and long lived they are.

Eventually Daleys advertised "Tree Collards" Brassica oleracea var.acephala for sale. Plants were very expensive at around $27 each delivered, but I bought one. How could I not.

Interesting fact - our (currently absent) new member Dragonman claims credit for bringing these into Australia on behalf of Daleys.

Below is the leaf of the Daleys plant on the right and my Walking Stick Collard on the left. There is some difference despite almost identical growth habits. The Daleys plant has a pale stem and the WS a darker stem.

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More mature darker stemmed Portuguese Walking Stick Collared in the foreground and the Daleys Tree Collard with a pale stem in the background. Hopefully both should grow from cutting and both eventually produce seed. The PWSC is putting up shoots much to my delight.

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While we're on the subject of good greens I have developed a great fondness for Tahitian Spinach aka Celery Stemmed Taro. Great plant. Negligible Oxalic Acid and can be eaten raw (I watched someone do it at a workshop at Yandina).

It is not Cocoyam despite the common name in the link. It is also not Taro (see descriptions for all three in the link to Cocoyam).

Cocoyam is similar but different and eaten for the tuber not the leaves. Cocoyam leaves are high in Oxalic Acid and should not be eaten raw. I can vouch for that, having done it. Like digesting needles as it goes down the throat and esophagus. Didn't stop until it reached the stomach.

From an old posting by Scarlett

Taro = Colocasia esculenta; 

Cocoyam = Xanthosoma saggitifolium - Apparently the cocoyams with brown or purple stems are not suitable for eating - choose only those with green or pink stems.

Tahitian spinach = Xanthosoma brasiliense.

Wish I had a wet spot to get the Tahitian Spinach growing a bit more abundantly. 

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Stem to leaf join on the Tahitian Spinach.

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Stem to leaf join on the Cocoyam and Taro.

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Can't do a blog without a nod to the incredible, prolific, sweet and wonderfully edible Jaboticaba (in the basket below). Small leafed. Bought from Daleys about six years back. Pretty bush that produces repeated crops during the warm season. Waiting to see if it will flower up once more for me but it seems to be having a rest. 

I give it a bag of composted horse poo and toss fresh grass clippings under it now and then and a water once a week. Don't know if it really needs any of this but, like wearing lucky undies, I can't bring myself to stop "just in case".

Gardening friend Fran in Tassie has been sent some seed and will attempt to grow them down there. She's one determined girl and will hopefully succeed.

Roger turns them into jam. I eat them chilled and make Shrub drink out of them. Added some Vermouth to the mix last night. Yum.

Dragon fruit cropped well once again. DM tells me I have the common self pollinating one. Yay for that. The others sound like a lot of mucking around for a slightly tastier fruit.

Also in the pic is my one and only pumpkin, a Persimmon and some Tamarillo fruit. The latter tree is old and the fruit smaller and not as nice flavoured as from a young tree. Either that or I am losing my taste for them.

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I have been given a Red Dacca. It's grown well but I noticed this morning that the newest leaf is pale. May not mean anything but worth watching. Planted into a bag of composted horse poo which gives the plant a real boost in the beginning. NOTE: The leaf has turned green.

9779197669?profile=originalWe're always on the look out for plants that bees, both native and honey, love. I love Rocket (used to hate it, also used to hate Coriander) and this Wild Rocket has proven a hit with the bees and myself with it's prolific growth and abundant flowers. Here's one of my girls visiting.

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25.03.16 I emptied out the Sweet Potato tower grow bags this morning. Talk about a lousy crop. The whole sad tale in is the SP Tower BLOG at the end under "2016". I've no longer got the purple/purple variety growing either. 

28.03.16

What a delightful Easter break this has been.

A nice bit of drizzly weather has made working outside very comfortable. I'm thrilled with what I have achieved in three days - beds have been replenished with cut back plant material, grass cuttings, lucerne and topped with a layer of composted horse poo; unwanted plants have been removed; the Cassava under the Custard Apple has once again been chopped back and this time I've poisoned the stumps.

I still need to move the giant pile of grass clippings out the front (thanks Brad the Mower Man) into the back yard and rob the hive but these are two things that can wait.

Now to choose some seed and get it planted. The fun part :) and my reward. Change of seasons is really the only time I do actual work in the garden apart from a bit of daily maintenance. 

I strongly recommend you DO NOT PLANT CASSAVA - not unless you plan on keeping a close eye on it and dig up everything each time to start with fresh cuttings. I did not actually plant this patch. I tossed some old cuttings to mulch under the custard apple and the blasted things took root. I cut it all back 3mths ago and to my astonishment found supposedly dead bits of leftover wood still hanging out of the CA tree but putting out green shoots!!

I hate resorting to poison but apart from some big strong person hacking them out of the ground with a pick axe this is the only remedy. The long stems are all being chopped and binned.

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Beds replenished and ready for winter crop. I seem to be acquiring a bit more permanent stuff in each bed each year. Less room for veggie growing. Might have to remedy that.

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I have a small patch of Jerusalem Artichoke - come up again from tubers I left in the ground last year. Good. I like plants that are hardy and resilient like this. All through summer I grew other things over the dormant tubers.

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Seed saving is a full time job...and I just don't have the knack. This is the mess I have to wade through to find some seed for this new season. The dear little four tray holder on the right was what I naively started out with. Then came the big shoe box and it has since branched out into other containers. 

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31.03.16 Trying again with garlic. Small purple from Joseph and the large corms from two bulbs bought from Caboolture Markets and locally grown. Planted out this morning.

Yet to decide where the potato bits are going - probably back into the compost pile like last year. NOTE: The compost pile is exactly where all the spuds ended up.

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30.04.16

Four weeks later and Joseph's garlic is growing well. The big bulbs are still sitting there but not putting out shoots yet.

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31.03.16 My little garden helper Freya - almost completely blind, often incontinent around the house and in bed with me and at the end peeing blood, but still a happy little beast enjoying her food and a game - has had her last day today. Always a hard decision to make. We will miss you little girl. 

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03.04.16

Looking back on previous blogs for this season I always seem to plant a lot of things which either just don't come up or don't perform as expected. But...I feel I'm learning each season.

This time around I've planted some Purple Pod Peas (saved seed from crop grown from Pat Pierce's seed), Yellow Pod Peas (lord knows where they came from - anyone remember giving them to me?), Broccoli (seed saved from last seasons bought seedlings - sweet and long cropping, slow to bolt - only a dozen plants came up from this seed and I had to buy seedlings from the same supplier), lots of Rocket (from my own saved seed), various lettuce (a lot didn't come up, had to buy seedlings and more seed), garlic (see photo above - small purple ex Joseph and giant bulbs from local market), potato (at the moment just eyes from bought spuds and some seed potato from Rob C), Kentucky Wonder Bean (bought seed),  Cherokee Wax Bush Bean (did not come up), Oregon Giant Snow Pea (bought seed). I have a little space left to grow some cauliflower. Will most likely pick up some seedlings at the market this morning.

Still growing snake beans, Jack Beans, rocket, Portuguese walking stick collard greens (had some steamed with butter S&P last night and they were good!). The mini caps are still growing but need a haircut to refresh them - fruit often damaged by FF. Lots of chillis including Phil's black one now fruiting.

04.04.16

Bought yesterday from the Caboolture Mkts as seedlings - Collards (seem to be some short growing form, hairy leaf), sprouting cauli (seems to be the cauli version of broccolini), cauli (regular white variety), carrots (orange and purple - no variety given - continuing my experiment with growing these from bought seedlings - tried splitting them up but too difficult to seperate them - perhaps a good soak in water might have done the trick - too late, planted now).

I have some Listada di Gandia eggplant coming up from saved seed. Definitely my favourite.

10.04.16

Speaking of eggplant - these beautiful little purple jobs are producing an abundance of fruit and they are delicious and sweet. I have no memory of where the plant has come from but guessing a seedling from Caboolture Mkts.

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Cropped this Stars and Moon water melon the other day and it is a beauty. Juicy and sweet. I feel so chuffed having successfully grown it! Had a few fruit from three or four seedlings bought from the market so altogether a good year for melon for me. 

9779205261?profile=original9779205858?profile=originalThe Jack Bean Canavalia ensiformis introduced to me by Vinay (three seed planted, two lived) is a very strong and healthy grower. Now starting to produce pretty lavender flowers and bean pods.

Tried some steamed last night - flavourless. Better chopped up into a flavoursome dish where they keep their colour and meatiness. One person suggested they might be stringy but this is absolutely not the case.

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16.04.16

What a beautiful morning. The last two nights have been so deliciously cool I have worn a jumper to bed...but then I only sleep with one bamboo blanket over the top. No rain for some weeks and I'm suspecting that despite the morning watering of seedlings and seeds planted for Autumn/Winter crops the days may have been too hot and dry as few have come up.

Bloody roaches have decimated the Listada di Gandia eggplant seedlings that came up. I don't have any more saved seed for these. Will have to buy some.

The white choko is finally starting to produce fruit. Around the corner in the shade, not in full sun as I expected.

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And I have purple/purple sweet potato back courtesy of Anne (Gibson). Thank you for going to all the trouble of posting these to me Anne, much appreciated.

This lot planted out purely in Searles potting mix.

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17.04.16

I've had very little success with seed so far. There have been a few hot days which could have caused havoc despite the daily morning watering. Lettuce, Broccoli, Beans and Peas are the main culprits. The broccoli is saved seed from last years delightful crop grown from market bought seedlings, so not a lot of surprise there.

I soaked the bean and pea seed for a day before planting on this occasion - something I don't normally bother with. Replanted without soaking.

The Snowpea Oregon Giant I think did not come up last year either (The Lost Seed). I've replanted but this will be their last hoorah.

The Purple Pod peas saved from plants grown from Pat Pierce's seed last cool season have also not come up and there is no sign of the pea when I dig around. Lots of worm activity. I have also replanted these with the last of my saved seed.

A few seedlings from the saved broccoli seed have come up. Replanted today. I really want these to grow.

Kentucky Wonder beans (Willowbrook Cottage) have not come up and no sign of the bean when I dig around. Replanted today. Last hoorah.

If they don't come up in the next couple of weeks I will overplant with sugar snap peas and bought broccoli seedlings.

Have also planted some Cardoon seed saved from a couple of years back. Wouldn't mind trying these again and would like some fresh seed to save.

30.04.16

Labour Day Long Weekend. Delicious temperature and drizzling. Apart from talking to the neighbour over the fence and phoning the vet I am having a human being free day. 

I'm defrosting the freezer (still in PJ's) in between nipping outside to broadcast and plant various seed. Some of it a bit old so while I run the risk of drowning in vegetation I suspect a lot won't come up. Things like Fennel, Dill, Lunga Della Riviera Leek, Yellow Eckendorf Mangel Beetroot, Meadowsweet, Chinese Celery, Giant of Italy Parsley, Purple Climbing Beans, Berlicum 2 Carrot, Land Cress, Lettuce (Auzzie Yellow, Royal Oak Leaf, Lollo Rosso, Salad Bowl Red), Sugar Snap Sugar Ann, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, Champion Purple Swede, Phacelia, Viroflay Spinach, Catnip, Chive, Mangel Wurzel, Fengyuan Purple Eggplant (from Joseph).

I've still got a container full of packets that I have no room to plant out.

Nearly everything is looking healthy and responsive to the cooler weather and bit of rain.

Rob gave me a seedling a few weeks back for a mini Pepino type Solanaceae and it's doing really well. Developing some flowers so it will be interesting to see and eat the fruit. Must ask him for the correct name.

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Caulis from bought seedlings growing well.

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Some of the broccoli seedlings. Saved seed only produced a dozen plants so resorted to bought again. Naked patches are were the roach babies, tiny teeny little destruction machines, have munched some to death. Roach baits are a little helpful.

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A few happy sunflower faces from broadcast bird seed.

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Mini caps grow well from seed in store bought fruit.

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Some of the remaining gnarly year old Walking Stick Collard greens are putting up beautiful little shoots.

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I've had maybe 5 fruit from the White Choko vine. A bit disappointing so far but it may yet come into it's stride. I've allowed a couple to get to a size where they may shoot for me and be planted in other locations around the yard. Very sweet eating roasted.

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Seeds are coming up everywhere. When I top dress the pots with composted horse poo it's makes a great place to grow more toms - these are Romas - and lettuce.

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Eggplant are loving this weather - producing at the moment is the small sweet purple, these Black Beauties and a Listada Di Gandia.

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01.05.16

It's a beautiful drizzly Sunday morning. Sitting here eating Eggs Benedict with local avo and smoked salmon, listening to the gentle pat of the drops falling. Lovely. I ventured out this morning and spread around a packet of All Seasons carrot seed. No room for anything more!

One of the interesting plants I picked up from the Caboolture Mkts a few weeks back is this "Collard Green". Obviously not the same as my Walking Stick Collards or the Tree Collard from Daleys. Good eating steamed though. Slightly hairy leaves.

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15.05.16

What a beautiful relaxed weekend. Just went out to pick some greens to go with my roast pork dinner (with home grown roast eggplant and white choko) - spoiled for choice with two varieties of Collards, Beets, Asian greens - and the Kookaburras were calling enmass from a power pole nearby. Bliss. Hugo and I love it.

I have a mystery plant thriving in the veg garden and it looks like an Angled Loofah. Absolutely no idea how it got there. Must have been a seed substitute but it's growing hale and healthy on the bean/pea frame so hope it provides some veg to eat. NOTE: Ate some - yuck. Removed the plant as it would have taken up space I could use for growing edibles.

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28.05.16

Autumn is almost over, not that it's been much of an autumn. Mornings are a bit cool but days are still warm. No rain for many weeks and un-watered parts of the garden are wilting badly. Reduced to using town water on the veg beds due to the low level in the rain water tank.

Cabbage White caterpillars are still rampantly doing damage but I have so many different greens growing that there's still plenty for me. I pick the caterpillars off by hand or squash them.

Lettuce and other greens are loving the weather. Broccoli and cauli are growing strongly and should produce well. Peas and beans are not. I have replanted both up to four times with very poor results so far. Will wait for some cooler weather to try again.

Below: One lush little corner is pretty indicative of how the general veg are growing - garlic, collards, Asian greens, carrots loving the current weather.

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Attempting to grow the Walking Stick Collards from cutting and so far they are looking really good. Time to remove the two year old parent plants I think - very decimated by caterpillars.

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The Jeruselum Artichoke and Water Chestnut are both dying back. Time to harvest and replant.

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I visited the home of friends Ian and Christa a few weeks back. Their garden is stupendous - chocka full of interesting plants. But the highlight was meeting their two new babies, a little brother and sister pair of foxies. Cutest little beasts you ever did meet tumbling and playing all over the house and yard.

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Read more…

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....

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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

9779176863?profile=original

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.

9779194867?profile=original

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.

9779207488?profile=original

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…

2015/16 SUMMER - DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY

This is a continuous summer diary which I will add to as the season progresses.

9779160087?profile=original22.12.15

Hot and basically dry with some overcast days but enough showers to keep the rain water tank ticking over for watering.

Some plants are enjoying this weather, some aren't. The cucumbers (Lebanese) and snake beans do not like it oddly enough. After cropping a few good cucumber fruit, perhaps 10, the plants have succumbed and have been cut back. Perhaps they will regrow. More likely I will replenish the bed and start again with some new seedlings from the markets.

Land Cress growing in the middle of the bed. Surprisingly heat tolerant.

9779161059?profile=original04.01.16 Replanted 29.12.15 with these Mini White cuc found in the giant box of seed and due to expire this year.

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13.02.16 Five weeks later I have some good growth with flowers. Also some pest activity with aphid and fungus. Not a good year for me with cuc.

9779162052?profile=original22.12.15 Some of the snake bean crop. The red come from Pat Pierce's seed. The speckled comes from lord knows where. A throwback perhaps.

9779162662?profile=originalAnd the green, planted from saved seed. I've seen a mouse getting around in my beds. It's tucking into the beans during the night and eating the seed out of the pod.

9779163072?profile=originalThis is the other side of the snake bean frame. Not so happy in the current conditions.

NOTE 29.12.15: This side of the frame cut back and replanted with Joseph's snake bean seed.

9779163686?profile=originalLet's get the painful stuff out of the way first :/

The bumper crop of Lychee fruit I thought I was going to be eating are dying off. Probably not enough water.

9779164274?profile=originalOn the other hand the reliable old custard apple is producing lots of little fruit.

9779164300?profile=originalDense plantings are doing best in this weather, providing shade for their own roots. Self sown Florence Fennel is going to seed among some Kale and Canadian Wild Lettuce (A Choy). The Fennel flowers are attracting lots of different insects.

The Nopales and ginger are growing in separate pots. Poor old Nopales has become root bound in it's pot and needs to be started again which is tricky as the base pad (the oldest one) has produced some impressive spines.

9779165068?profile=originalThe Burgundy Okra are growing quite slowly but producing a few useful fruit.

9779165488?profile=original22.12.15 Rob's green Okra are hitting their stride though. They are getting more sun than the red.

04.01.16 They are getting woody and unusable more quickly than usual. Hit hard by leaf eating insects.

9779166294?profile=original22.12.15 The Brown Turkey figs are thriving with potential here for some good eating. The fig beetle is trying to mate and lay it's eggs. With a flick of my fingers I practice coitus interruptis daily with these wee nuisances in the hope of slowing them down.

9779167074?profile=original29.12.15 To my surprise one of the figs was ripe. Delicious.

9779167852?profile=original22.12.15 The Bitter Melon plant, though now many months old, is still producing these useful fruit for me. I've replanted seed and will remove the old plant when it shows signs of slowing down.

9779167701?profile=original04.01.16 One of the BM fruit ripened and about to burst.

9779168880?profile=originalThe yellow fleshed pawpaws have all ripened bar a few small ones and been eaten at work by our respite members.

The oblong fruit from this self sown plant is still reaching it's potential. Hoping for some red fleshed fruit.

NOTE: Turned out to be a sweet red pawpaw!

9779169670?profile=original9779170289?profile=original22.12.15 Corn and zucchini are loving the conditions....

04.01.16 The corn (second crop) is starting to flower even though some are still very short - 25cm. These seedlings were a bit tall and possibly root bound in their little pots when I bought them. Should have chosen the smaller ones.

NOTE: While I did get quite a few reasonable edible cobs from this stunted planting I've taken extra care with the third planting done yesterday 31.01.16 - minerals sprinkled around (granite and basalt) and MycoApply sprinkled under each seedling on planting. These seedlings have come from a different supplier also.

9779171463?profile=original20.02.16 Third and last corn crop of the season - planted out as described above. Doing much better than the previous crop. Seedlings growing in a bit of shade from the Bitter Melon on the right not showing as much height.

9779171290?profile=originalAnts are loving the zucc flowers. Zucchini get both male and female flower like pumpkin (thank you Elaine) so assistance with pollination is unlikely unless the ants like long walks.

NOTE: The yellow zucchini seem more keen to produce fruit. All the green - planted in the raised beds - were duds and either died or were removed by me.

9779172468?profile=original04.01.16 Little zucc fruit. One of my favourite snacks.

9779172864?profile=original22.12.15 Carrots are doing well enough. Seed growing this season wasn't very successful. Carrot seems to like to be grown from fresh seed and some of mine was a couple of years old. Then again, may have just been the bout of hot days straight after I planted them. Some seed came up then I resorted to bought carrot seedlings for the first time ever and they are growing really well. Should have thinned them out a bit more.

NOTE: Have been cropping some carrots but they haven't done well this year. Stunted. But tasty.

9779173288?profile=originalThis self sown pumpkin vine is going places. After climbing the Elderflower it's taking control of the clothes line...which is ok for the time being as I usually use the porch line. I ate some of the excess male flowers last night in a "Thai" dish. I love Thai food but cook it abysmally.

31.01.16 Finally have a fruit forming! I was out one morning and saw a female flower closing up so I pollinated it.

9779173901?profile=original9779174280?profile=original20.02.16 - 11days later it's starting to colour up. Hopefully will mature before the plant has to be cut back.

27.02.16 The job has had to be postponed so the pumpkin, nicknamed Fred, is safe to finish growing.

9779174682?profile=original22.02.15 This Sweet Capsicum also went into the dish. I've been growing mini caps using the seed from store bought fruit and they are proving quite productive and hardy.

NOTE: Fruit Fly just love these little fruit. Blasted things.

9779175298?profile=original 04.01.16 Mini caps grown from seed of previously eaten fruit. Every time I open one I bring the seed out and plant them.

9779175084?profile=original22.12.15 The Walking Stick Collards are hanging in there. Not heat lovers but they are surviving, apart from a couple of plants I removed. You can see from the holes in the remaining leaves (I removed a lot of leaves affected by some very dedicated and hard to shift aphid) that they are popular food among the local insects. Still some for me in there.

9779176455?profile=original29.12.15

Woke this morning to the glorious sight of dozens of dragon fruit flowers at dawn. What a beautiful thing they are.

Keeping a record of the growth of the fruit from day to day. Deadly dull stuff at the moment but hopefully will be more interesting when you can scroll through the pics at speed and see the growth.

Front porch near the flowering Lillypilly....

9779176861?profile=original...and more out the back - many hanging over the neighbours side of the fence.

9779177652?profile=original31.01.16

End result of this lot of DF flowers. I've been taking the fruit to work for morning tea as it ripens. Very interesting to see the reactions of our elderly clients who have mostly never seen or heard of this fruit before. They have nearly all been willing to try a spoonful, likening the flavour to Kiwifruit, and two have asked for cuttings.

NOTE: For maximum sweetness Pat Pierce (Rockhampton) recommends cropping five days after colouring up. Tarter if you pick immediately as I have been doing.

9779178261?profile=original28.12.16

The Pomegranates on the seedling grown tree have been ripening fast. Picked some yesterday, careful with the thorns. Nice and sweet and juicy but not as much pulp laden seeds (or sarcotesta) as the store bought fruit. Fun fact: Native to Iran and India technically they are a berry.

The Wonderful fruit is still very green and much larger than the seed sown plant fruit.

27.02.16 The Wonderful fruit never did turn red but the insides are top notch pomegranate.

9779178466?profile=original24.12.15 The original patch of Williamette raspberries have made a comeback thank goodness, after my failed attempt to move plants onto a nearby frame. Hardly game to touch them again. Grasshoppers are making a meal of the leaves but not affecting some decent fruit growth.

NOTE: Most of the fruit has withered in the current conditions and no doubt due to the grasshopper damage done to the leaves. Never mind, the patch survives for another day.

9779179252?profile=original28.12.15 I have one yellow zucchini plant out the front. This incredible plant gives me a sweet fruit a day which is usually munched on raw. This one doubled it's size in one day and ended up in dinner. Black Jack Zucchini planted out the back a few weeks back are developing flowers and fruit.

NOTE: The latter black zucc came to very little - producing few fruit and dying or being removed. Could be the location didn't allow enough air flow. Could just be that the yellow is a better plant to grow.

9779179697?profile=original24.12.15 The self sown brillantaisia guianensis out the front has bloomed and it's really quite eye catching. A relative of the salvias per Christa. It can stay so long as it doesn't try to take over the world and can prove it's worth as bee attracting.

9779180471?profile=original04.01.16 Michael H's little Thai Ginger plant has filled the pot in no time at all. Must start using it.

NOTE: Almost impossible to get anything out of this pot! Michael tells me he hasn't harvested any of his yet. Phil calls it a Lesser Galangal - as opposed to a Greater Galangal which is tall.

9779180682?profile=original04.01.16 My first ever Turmeric plant. Finally managed to get one growing. Pot is possibly too small but it seems happy enough at the moment, no doubt tooted through the bottom of the pot into the soil.

9779181699?profile=original04.01.16 Lagerstroemia or Crepe Myrtle. One of my favourite flowering plants. I had many different colours in a previous house but only this one here. The native bees will be all over it once they realise it is blooming.

If you have one, dead head the spent flowers as they start to form seed heads and it will re-bloom.

9779182854?profile=originalAlso blooming purple Cats Whiskers Orthosiphon aristatus. Member of the mint family and easy to propagate from cutting.

9779183287?profile=original04.01.16 Maranta, thanks to Janet's original gift, has now established itself well. Edible tubers - usually harvested when the plant starts to die back winter/spring. I might try harvesting throughout the year now that I am more familiar with it's growth habits.

9779183500?profile=original04.01.16 Dwf banana growing very well :) Thank you thank you.

9779185080?profile=original02.01.16 Callistemon flower - my little camera doesn't do it justice. Pale pink and beautiful.

9779185884?profile=original07.01.16

Having an enforced week off due to shingles on my face. Pain free initially due to an early start on the anti virals but required to stay away from work so....thinking of it more as an unpaid holiday that I didn't realise I was going to have. (31.01.16 - apart from the scar on my chin from a bacterial infection in one rash I have no visible sign left of the shingles rash but the whole right side of my face is always itchy, especially at night, and sometimes quite numb. 26.02.16 The itchy was ruining my nights sleep - now using a Homoeopathic remedy to give some relief).

Went into the hive this morning and harvested four combs. The last one was so heavy it fell off into the hive - always a tricky situation. Honey on everything - the knife, my clothes, my gloves. Five bees managed to get inside the suit with me somehow - removed the suit three times without being stung. I really must get a full suit when I can afford one.

Anyway, here's the harvest so far minus one jar given to a friend who dropped around some Davidson Plums and beautiful big cucumber for me. Thanks Rob :) There's still more in the buckets but it takes time to dribble down to the bottom.

9779186671?profile=original09.01.16

Soursop fruit. Relation of the custard apple but the fruit is zingy sweet/tart and a bit fibrous. Either a bat or a rat has decided this one is ripe enough to eat.

9779187458?profile=original31.01.16

Garlic (on the left) bought from the Caboolture Mkts this morning as "locally grown". Looks suspiciously like the Chinese one on the right but still has some roots attached - something not permitted with the imported stuff. So I/we have decided it may be locally or at least Australian grown after all.

9779188281?profile=original30.01.16

Went along to one of Tim Auld's top bar beekeeping workshops at Stockleigh today and it was really very good, thank you Tim. Lots of background information about beekeeping in general over the years and bees themselves with lots of practical hints on bee keeping.

The afternoon was spent robbing one of Tim's top bar hive, learning to make candles and fix our comb guides with wax and string. Very good value for $85pp.

9779189255?profile=original11.02.16 Bartered with Rob some of my honey for one of his home grown Aquaponics Jade Perch. 30cm long when harvested at about 1.5yrs old. Plump, meaty and with a good layer of fat. It was delicious stuffed with a lime and Davidson's Plus fruit from Rob and cooked in a steamer pan with a mix of home grown and store bought veg.

9779190054?profile=original01.02.16 Interesting new veg thanks to Vinay from work. Canavalia ensiformis or Jack Bean.

Not a lot of flavour on their own per se, they keep their colour and firmness chopped into a dish. They grow in summer, hardly any pest problems. Pretty useful in my book.

9779190667?profile=originalSix seed provided, three planted in my bed and the others given away to Elaine, Christa and Dianne.

9779190693?profile=original11.02.16 One week after planting I have three seedlings, this being the best looking. One is slightly chewed but hanging in there.

9779191083?profile=original13.02.16 I grow five or six different chillis - mainly because they're pretty, perennial and easy to grow.

I use perhaps two a month in cooking and give a lot of them away. Some of the Indian ladies at work ask for them regularly. One eats them outright with her meal of curry and rice.

Note the insect home on the leaf curled up in the middle of the pic. A Leaf Cutter bee has already had at it and now someone else has curled it up for a cozy spot to live.

9779192466?profile=original13.02.16 The trial crop of my treasured Walking Stick Collards have proven appealing to all sorts of pests and I am trying to let them sort it out for themselves as much as possible. When I remove all the leaves the stalk dies. I need natural predators to develop for what ails them (caterpillars, grasshoppers and aphid - no fungi problems).

I have high hopes that they will come into their own again in the cooler weather, providing me with a supply of tasty greens. The trial crop planted last cool season (maybe 9 or 10mths old now) is to see how long the plants will live and what sort of pest problems they will have. I have more seed to plant out if this lot prove to be spent.

9779192700?profile=original20.02.16 Collard Greens - Now this is very interesting (at least to me with my CG experiment). Out checking the garden this morning after some fabulous rain last night and found this little Collard Green growing away to the side of the bigger ones. (It's in the bottom of the pic against the garden edging).

Tried gently digging down to see it's source and it seems to come as a shoot from the bigger live plant on the left - the very left one is dead and now removed.

If they shoot by themselves this is very good news! These can be also be propagated by cutting apparently. I tried one but the weather was too hot - more of a cool weather project.

27.02.16 Found another shoot! Excellent.

9779193086?profile=originalThe pests are making a meal of all the CG plants BUT while standing there (I admit it, I was picking off Cabbage White caterpillars) I found a tiny fast moving leech-like predator on the moist leaf obviously enjoying a meal of aphid and a little parasitic wasp hunting for caterpillars. I just need to leave nature to it and she will create predators for my pests - like the ones below eating aphid.

9779194097?profile=original13.02.16 Patience needed! The Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry is working itself up to another bumper crop of sweet, sweet fruit. So glad I didn't succeed in pulling this plant out by the roots during our earlier touchy relationship. The plant just needed some time to come into it's own. With the help of a few threats.

27.02.16 Still waiting for the green fruit to ripen. Much slower than the Black.

9779194862?profile=original07.02.16 Loving the Jaboticaba. Blog HERE. This is the best fruit tree in my book. These fruit are so sweet - delicious eaten chilled. The only "pest" I see on the fruit is a bit of Woolly Aphid which is easily wiped off.

The tree now repeat crops immediately after the last flush of fruit.

Okra has been hopeless this season. The fruit in the pic below were all woody and inedible. Composted. Rob isn't having this problem - he brought me some good fruit from his garden.

Still waiting, waiting for the pineapple to ripen. Gotta be patient with pineapple from start to finish.Two years to grow a fruit.

NOTE: The pineapple ripened to a super sweet little fruit. Well worth the wait.

9779181062?profile=original13.02.16 Both SNB hives are going great guns. Happy little darlings they are.

9779195487?profile=original13.02.16 A drama is unfolding in the garden. Gecko's have ruined two of my air con units. You can see one behind all the foliage. The electrician is coming in two weeks to replace the units so by then I will have to have all this planting cut back. The fig (White Adriatic) will mostly likely have to go, great pity. The Elderfower won't mind being cut back. But the pumpkin vine needs a bit of time to ripen this fast growing fruit. My only one!

All the Dragon fruit and the dead stump it is growing on will also have to come out. Can't expect the guys to work around a cactus.

9779196257?profile=original13.02.16 One last bowl of Elderflower cordial from flowers on the bush I have had to cut back. Leftovers of the last batch in the bottle.

9779196086?profile=original20.02.16 Nice surprise this morning to find these two gorgeous little eggplant fruit.

9779196875?profile=originalAlong with this Black Beauty (seed grown) forming.

9779197454?profile=original20.02.16 Weird shaped little watermelon on the Moon and Stars plant/s. I've had four fruit this season - best I've ever done. Nice eating too. Note the Tramp Snails out after the rain last night. I don't find they do much damage - they seem to focus mainly on decomposing plant material so in fact help.

9779198491?profile=original20.02.16 Next lot of DF ripening. Hanging off picking until Monday or Tuesday (5 days from colouring up) to increase sweetness per Pat Pierce suggestion, thanks Pat.

NOTE: Yeah, I would say the fruit were a little sweeter and a little less tart. I like them both ways.

9779199292?profile=original20.02.16 I get a lot of Blue Banded Bees in my garden. Love them. After the rain last night there seem to be a lot conducting their buzz pollination work around the garden including this female (four bands - the boys have five) repeatedly working her magic on an eggplant flower. Note the ants on the back of the flower. Would love to know their purpose in the grand scheme of things.

9779199099?profile=originalWell here we are once more at the end of another hot season. I wouldn't say it's been a dreadful hot summer, just normal with some hot periods. I've had some good rain off and on - enough to keep the tank replenished for watering.

Not a good season for cucumber or beans but that usually means I'll have a bumper crop next season.

Below some of the DF, eggplant and chilli along with a Salvia flower.

9779200483?profile=originalAnd a Bottle Gourd from Vinay. Very like Hairy or Winter Melon, but much smaller, in that it's a mild flavoured marrow type veg that takes on the flavour of a dish it's added to. Cook at work has taken the other half to use in the kitchen.

9779201069?profile=originalI did buy some red fleshed DF from the market the other weekend. I can't tell much difference between the flavour of this and the white but some of my more discerning gardening mates reckon it's superior in that it's sweeter and juicier. I honestly find them much the same apart from the colour. Cook at work used one to make a very pretty topping for some cheesecake.

9779202464?profile=originalIt has been a summer full of colour. Around the western suburbs of Brisbane where I work there has been trees constantly in bloom from the time the Jacarandas start - so beautiful.

Below a native Blue Ginger, Dichorisandra thyrsiflora. The Blue Banded's love this flower when it comes out. Growing in the shade of the Carombola...which is dropping fruit from the heavens at the moment. Barely any of it edible due to going splat and Fruit Fly.

9779202278?profile=originalWell another summer season has come to an end. We're all looking forward to Autumn and Winter, especially in the garden for what we can grow (broccoli, cauli, beans, peas, potatoes - goody goody).

Read more…

2015 SPRING - SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

This is a continuous spring diary and I added to it as the season progressed.

Check photos for dates as I have done progressive photos for many plants.

We're a month in to Spring and it's been beautiful so far. Plenty of rain now and then to fill the tank - not much sign of the El Nino. We did get one hot day just after I planted heaps of seed and I am waiting anxiously to see if they survived and will make a show. Beginning to suspect I will have to replant all the carrots and some other things. (NOTE: I ended up buying bought carrot seedlings for the first time ever. They're growing well though I probably should have thinned them more.)

Plenty going on in the garden. I've already had to mow twice and will probably do so again today. Bummer. The down side to the warm season. But it does give me clippings for the beds.

The Elderflower are growing well (Elaine warns to keep them contained as they sucker - mine grow freely) and producing lots of heads for making Elderflower Champagne.

9779139070?profile=originalTwo heads in the bowl with juice of a lemon, splash of vinegar and about a cup of sugar. Covered and left for a day or two before sieving into some plastic bottles and put away in a dark cupboard.

9779140281?profile=originalThe batch turned out quite thick. I'm diluting it with filtered rain water to drink. Nice and fizzy.

9779141070?profile=originalThe bed in the front yard was becoming overgrown with these beautiful but basically useless (even the bees don't visit) salvia. A big mess of them have been removed to allow for something more productive - the roots went to Rozie for growing and the tops were cut back as green manure. The bed is covered in composted horse poo and planted.....

9779141268?profile=original...with Bolivian Cuc (c/- Dave via Elaine) and some silverbeet "Ruby". I don't have much luck growing silverbeet from seed. One of Elaine's walking onions shoved in there as well with the hope that it will thrive and proliferate.

9779142252?profile=originalBelow - same bed one month later.

9779142860?profile=originalAlso in the front yard the Red Tamarillo fruit is starting to colour up.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Many have gone pale red and been eaten. Nice.

9779143276?profile=originalBoth Pomegranates (seedling and Wonderful) have copious beautiful tangerine blooms. Fingers crossed for some fruit.

9779143887?profile=originalFive or so weeks later fruit is forming on the seedling Pom.....

9779144089?profile=original....and on the Wonderful.

9779145469?profile=original27.09.15 The Jaboticaba is covered in buds! Lots of fruit coming from this reliable plant.

9779146085?profile=originalSix weeks later I have sweet fruit for the eating.

9779147254?profile=originalFinal crop along with a Bitter Melon for the GV. This lot were especially sweet.

9779147668?profile=originalRipening fruit from the two pawpaw has been going to work for the clients to have with morning tea. There is only so much ripe pawpaw one person can eat but the elderly members can't seem to get enough of it.

9779148283?profile=originalThe Tropical Nectarine has flowered and is covered in little fruit. I trimmed it a little shorter this year so the fruit fly excluding net would reach the ground.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Not as much fruit as last season - others have said the same -  but it's coming along nicely.

16.11.15 Lot's of the fruit is dropping and rotting for no known reason. Weather? The few I've eaten lack sweetness. Still no FF under the net though.

9779148681?profile=original9779149269?profile=originalFinal crop of the Tropical Nectarines. Many fell and rotted and the remaining crop was disappointing this year in quantity and flavour.

9779150087?profile=originalSome of the Jaboticaba and Nectarines have gone to make "Shrub" - an easy to make cordial from fresh fruits. RECIPE

9779150861?profile=originalMy beloved little Moringa is still doing it's imitation of a dead stick but I am confident it will come good.

9779151272?profile=originalI tried many times to establish Pigeon Pea without success. This one came up by itself and has flowered and produced pods without me noticing.

9779151666?profile=originalPepino are flowering in abundance. Hopefully this will mean more fruit before the fruit fly come.

NOTE: 31.10.15 FF have ruined every fruit - all has to be binned.

9779152472?profile=originalThe Dwf Wurtz avo has bloomed once again but does not seem to attract the pollinators. I've seen one bee on it and a couple of flies.

NOTE: 31.10.15 No sign of any fruit forming. We have had discussion about multi graft plants. That's what I need!

9779153466?profile=originalIn the back yard the Dwf Macadamia is blooming really well and attracting bees. Very pretty.

9779154457?profile=originalOne of my honey bees fertising the flowers.

9779154686?profile=original19.10.15 Little nuts are forming. All silvery with potential.

9779155081?profile=original08.11.15 Fruit development three weeks later. Astounding growth.

9779155893?profile=original22.11.15 two weeks later again.

9779157084?profile=originalQuite a few nuts are falling to the ground. Hope I end up with some left.

NOTE: Now 29/11 and I noticed about a week back that every nut has fallen off. We had some very hot days but I was giving the plant water a couple of times a week.

9779157283?profile=original20.09.11 The three raised beds have all been chopped back leaving just a few perennial plants and replanted. This is before...

9779158256?profile=original...and after. Broccoli has been left to go to seed as it was such a goody. The other two brassicas didn't produce anything. I suspect they may turn out to be a couple of Portuguese Walking Stick Collards (they are - must have planted some seed there).

9779158875?profile=originalAll beds have been dosed with MycoAppply mychorrizae. The corn seedlings are very strong whether due to this or loving the composted horse poo they are planted in. Probably both.

9779159853?profile=original31.10.15 Corn is silking up. Was able to shake down some pollen this morning despite some rain the last few days.

9779159870?profile=originalOne month later, the final crop. Lots of mid sized cobs but they seem well filled.

9779160654?profile=original19.09.15 Still cropping the Roma toms. Not much good for a sandwich but I've been turning them into soup with some onion, garlic and nopales. Bit of chicken stock and seasoning and it's very nice put through the blender.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Romas finished some weeks ago. While not thrilled with the sandwich potential from these fruit they were useful and tasty enough for me to squeeze some seed back into the beds. If they do ok, great. If not, no huge loss.

9779161268?profile=original19.09.15 Some of the roma toms and broccoli - the most delicious I have every grown it just kept on coming.

31.10.15 This wonderful Broccoli is still in the process of setting seed. Very slow to bolt.

9779161875?profile=originalThe white choko is making a strong comeback. I have another growing on the back fence. Lacking a green one at the moment - bought a giant fruit from the fruit shop yesterday and planted it on a side fence.

9779162069?profile=original06.09.15 I've managed to grow a few spuds this year. More growing around the edge of the compost pile yet to be cropped.

9779162297?profile=originalThis plethora of yummy came from gardening mate Rob's yard. Mulberries, native raspberries and Davidson Plums which I have become very fond of as a refreshing fruit drink in water. No sugar added.

9779163288?profile=original12.09.15 Pepino have been providing plenty of fruit.

31.10.15 Now all ruined by FF. Not an untouched fruit to be had. All binned.

9779163495?profile=originalOne of two Mashua Tropaeolum tuberosum plants courtesy of Jan's research and buying abilities. A relative of the nasturtium it's a climber with edible tubers. All the way from sunny Tasmania so we're all hoping they like it here in Qld.

16.11.15 Neither of these plants are liking the heat. They don't look well. Hopefully they will survive summer.

29.11.15 Both plants have died back completely as has Elaine's.

9779164091?profile=original31.10.15 This plant has actually put on a substantial amount of growth. Didn't realise until I compared these two photos. It's also putting out shoots from the base. Apparently these plants can go quite rampant in their growing habits :/

29.11.15 Plants have both died back completely.

9779164657?profile=original12.09.15 Thought I would show you what my kitchen scrap bin looks like after a couple of weeks of saving bits and pieces. I do use a sprinkle or two of Bokashi in it but to be honest I did this for years with just a bucket and had no smell or problems.

I take this outside and scrape a shallow depression near some fruit tree and cover it with grass clippings. The worms take care of recycling the lot in a matter of weeks.

9779165655?profile=originalWarrigal Greens are making a comeback in the spot I thought they had died out in. I am very fond of these useful native greens (high in Oxalic Acid).

9779165273?profile=originalAnother wild edible, Samphire, has proven to be a bit of a disappointment. I would like to try these growing in the wild. I bet the flavour would be better. Pictures I have found on the net show a PLANT with more segmented leaves than these. I'm wondering if I have two different plants in there?

9779165286?profile=original23.09.15 Lebanese Cuc seed coming up. Always a thrill when seedlings show through the soil from seed planted.

9779166654?profile=original22.11.15 Getting some good crop of cucs.

9779167086?profile=originalPlanted or still growing early this season:

Potatoes; Bitter Melon, Okra x Robs big jobs and Burgundy; Hairy Melon; Corn x swt and bicolour; Peanuts; Watermelon "Stars & Moon"; Capsicum x "Sweet", "Mini" and "Cubanale" along with seed from store bought minis; Kale; Canadian Wild Lettuce/A Choi; toms x various minis; Portuguese Walking Stick Collard Greens; Chillis - various; Mashua; Bolivian Cuc; Lebanese Cuc; herbs of all sorts; Swt Potato x 3 sorts; Silverbeet x "Rhubarb" and "Ruby"; Carrot x "Amarillo", "Rainbow Mix" and "Berlicum"; Eggplant x "Black Beauty", "Bringal White" and "Listadia di Gandia"; Snake Bean unknown; Huazontle Spinach. 

05.10.15

Labour Day holiday - no pay but it's a glorious day to be having off. Temp is superb, birds are singing everywhere, seeds are coming up in my new season garden. The only carrot seed that have sprouted are the Rainbow Mix. None of the others have shown so I will need to replant....or not.

The corn is growing fabulously. Okra of all types is peeking above ground as are the cucs. Eggplant haven't shown.

Every time I buy some mini capsicum I take the seed out and plant it and there are dozens of these plants coming up all over the place. Love them. Watermelon have sprouted but the Hairy/Winter Melon hasn't shown.

I have squeezed in some of Pat Pierce's Red Noodle Snake Bean seeds alongside the other snake beans. Probably not the best for seed saving but I want to see how they grow.

Rob, Elaine and I have been doing some crop swapping. My pawpaw, Robs mulberries in exchange for Elaine's gorgeous rainbow chard.

9779167660?profile=originalAnd thanks to J - I now have my favourite dwarf narnie back again :)

31.10.15 Growing well and putting out new leaves.

9779168101?profile=original06.10.15 Since going back to work full time I've had trouble finding the appropriate time to go into the bee hive, check it all out and do some harvesting. Has to be a weekend day when it's not raining, not too hot, the bees are mostly away foraging, I don't have something else on. Easy to procrastinate.

Checked the hive yesterday and it looked like they might be preparing to swarm which gave me a jolt.

They were making a bee trellis outside the front of the hive. So I bit the bullet, put on the gear and went in. I removed three combs mostly full of honey. My extractor is very slow going (bucket system) and the tap just drizzles so it takes forever to fill a jar. Very few bee deaths though which is always a bonus. I use the smoker and brush as needed these days to avoid deaths.

Due to the slow nature of the buckets I only have a few jars at the moment and one has been swapped for some mulberries and manure.

9779168480?profile=originalTo my surprise the Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry had ripened a good handful of fruit in literally one day (I had checked it yesterday and found two). Very sweet.

31.10.15 Still cropping some of these each day. Youngest daughter has developed a taste for them also and goes for the bush when visiting.

9779169459?profile=original31.10.15

We've had a few storms in areas around Strathpine but nothing more than some gentle rain here which has benefited the seedlings no end. Everything is doing well with the usual losses to Fruit Fly and a few cut worm problems with seedlings. Nothing serious, though I now have only one Burgundy Okra plant left but it should have grown to a size which is beyond the attentions of the CW.

I've been visiting the Caboolture Mkt a lot more recently for the lovely locally grown fruit and veg and can't help picking up some seedlings at the same time.

The (self sown from buried fruit) Bitter Melon plant is producing it's first fruit. Hardy and useful.

9779169694?profile=originalMy honey bees are all over a huge amount of flowers on the old yellow Tamarillo. This plant is now getting on for five years old where normally they live for perhaps two. It just keeps getting bigger. Go figure.

9779170653?profile=original28.10.15 Dwf Ducasse banana bunch ripening. Left the bunch on the porch the first night and some rodent came took a bite or two. Apart from those given away to friends, all going through the dehydrator.

16.11.15 The second bunch was all given away at the GV a couple of days back.

9779171867?profile=originalPineapple forming - beautiful little purple flowers blooming.

9779172076?profile=original01.11.15

I let my snails go free last night and this morning.

Left the lid up last night for them to leave but many were still hanging around in the box this morning. I have spread them around the yard and will provide basins of water as they are really very delicate and must have water to survive.

They don't like being shut up as the weather warms up, even when the box is under full shade. There were just getting too many of them in one smallish space and it felt cruel keeping them there. Over the time I have been observing and feeding them in their box home I have come to love these gentle little creatures.

Hopefully some will thrive free ranging. The ones I currently find in the "wild" are eating fallen leaves and stuff on the compost pile. Very rarely do I find one in my vege bed. My hope is that they provide another layer to the animal life in my garden, eating and digesting fallen vegetation and providing poop in return.

09.11.15

The snails have set up home around the garden in various protected spots with lots of rotting plant material on the ground. Seems to be their favourite nibble though I do leave out offerings of Collard Greens etc and a container of water on the dry side of the yard.

16.11.15

I spent a back breaking hour yesterday removing the Pepino (due to Fruit Fly ruining all the fruit) from the nature strip outside the front fence and replanting with parsley and hardy flowering plants (the garden faces the western sun). That's a bit of Aibika in the middle right that took from cutting shoved in and neglected and there's a bit of Cassava and some Rosemary as well. Pepino fruit hanging off the fence and orange flowers are Pomegranates.

29.11.15 We've had some horrendously hot days and some of these flowering seedlings have died off, but many have survived with water a couple of times a week.

9779172472?profile=original16.11.15 Michael H gave me some fruit some time back to grow these sweet little tom treats. I just keep replanting and they just keep coming up. Thank you Michael :)

9779172685?profile=original21.11.15

Close to the end of spring and we've started having a few of those toasty hot days that the plants dislike so much and send people scurrying for the beach or air conditioned shopping centres.

My eldest daughter has just announced that she has accepted a Librarian job in Alice Springs. I checked the weather for AS and I think she will be grateful she will be working in an air conditioned building. At least I suppose it's AC'd. Hot, dry place. Little greenery around apart from the gum trees.

Came home yesterday and the (unwanted, I just threw some branches on the ground and they rooted) Cassava had fallen from the sky into the vege bed and everything around it.

It's been growing under the Custard Apple tree for some years and I've paid it no attention. While I was busy ignoring it it was busy reaching for the sky and eventually became too top heavy. Good survival plant to have around but not a lot of use to me at present.

All cut back and going to be binned this time.

9779172887?profile=originalI had really given up on the Lychee tree after many years of tiny crops and I mean tiny, like one or two fruit, but looked up at it yesterday and was stunned to see it covered in developing fruit. It's been a funny old spring for flowering plants. They have gone berserk around Brisbane making it look like a giant colourful garden. Must have suited the flowers on the Lychee too.

Yummm can't wait :D

9779174079?profile=original22.11.15 The Elderflower has grown to a good size (that's the clothesline on the left) and is producing lots of flower heads for making drink. As warned by Elaine it is trying to sucker. I keep cutting these back.

9779174480?profile=original22.11.15 Snake bean plants are growing well from saved seed. No idea of type. Some of Pat's Red Snake Beans in there as well.

9779174497?profile=originalFirst of the Okra crop.

9779175867?profile=originalOrange flowering Leonotis leonurus. So far the insects are ignoring it but it is pretty.

9779176464?profile=originalOne colour of the salvia growing around the place.

9779177074?profile=originalPineapple Sage surrounding the native bee hives. Much loved by the bees.

9779177485?profile=originalA beautiful visitor munching away on the sweet potato leaves. It's hide out given away by the giant poo.

9779178253?profile=originalFigs are liking the weather at the moment. Only a bit of insect activity on the leaves.

9779178689?profile=original29.11.15

Spent a few productive hours this morning removing the Pepino from the front garden, chopping the male pawpaw in two (hopefully it will bunch up again and provide some western shade to the front of the house) and mulching everything with barrow loads of grass clippings which have been sitting for weeks.

Room for another plant!!

9779179469?profile=originalGraveyard where all the big stuff goes like the pawpaw and the banana plants. Let's call it Hugelkulture, it's a catchy name for a pile-o logs.

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Wicking pots

9779155268?profile=original9779155474?profile=original

As we're going away in a few weeks, leaving the garden for my son to look after, I thought I'd have a go at making some of my fruit tree pots into wicking pots. First I got some cake carriers from the Reject Shop, cut and poked various holes in them, and inserted a filling tube and some wicks. Added a jar of gravel to help support the top of the container.

9779156452?profile=original

Filled the reservoir, put it in the pot (needed a bigger pot of course, maybe it would've been easier to simply buy a large wicking pot, but they get a bit expensive, and I've got lots of pots around) and filled around it with gravel, then added the plant and mulched it. I'm happy with the result - hope it works, just have to do eight more! Could probably have used a shallower container for the reservoir, and I will look in a few op shops etc for some. Note the pretty mulch - some worn-out bamboo stakes put thru the mulcher.

Not sure why the last photo is bigger than the rest - didn't look that way when I was doing it.

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2013 AUTUMN MARCH TO MAY

9779037088?profile=originalAutumn is here and apart from a few steamy days last week the weather has been cool and very wet. Constant rain. Some plants like it, some don't. As usual the raised beds couldn't care less.

Below: The Dwf Ducasse banana from Blue Sky Nursery is loving the wet. I have hopes that it will start producing some fruit for me before long.

9779037676?profile=originalBelow: Here's the same plant one year ago 10.02.12.

9779037867?profile=original

Below: Very exciting - found a Leaf Cutter bee nest this morning in one of the insect hotels. This one is more exposed than the others which are hidden under trees, I didn't think anything would like it well enough to move in.

I've seen two LC bees collecting pollen in their odd fasion on their abdomen on the Winter Melon flowers mainly, near the clothes line. Haven't seen them elsewhere, but I do see evidence of their leaf collection on the rose and custard apple.

9779038084?profile=originalBelow: 18.02.13 The baby Winter Melon hanging off the washing basket.

18.02.13 Winter Melon claiming the wash basket.

Below: 03.03.13 11 days later. This is the Winter Melon plant the Leaf Cutter bees seem to favour. I don't have to fertilise, they're doing the job for me. My washing trolley is under this lot.

Below: Progress of that little fruit 11 days later.

9779040857?profile=originalBelow: Babaco from Evan is surviving and putting out new leaves. As we all know...this doesn't necessarily mean success with this touchy plant, bit it's good news.

9779041467?profile=originalBelow: My dear old (2 or 3yrs?) self sown pawpaw is rewarding me with lots of fruit yet again. All the leaves cut from this plant go back underneath to mulch. I also give it Organic Xtra and Epsom Salts - the last tip was given to me by my Grandma decades ago.

The chilli growing under it is a decorative one and has little flavour.

9779041879?profile=originalBelow: Bed 3 - bottom left up are purple peas, purple beans (donated seed both and names long lost), James bean (another donated seed that has been renamed after the donator), and Sugar Snap Peas. Swt Potato in the middle. An experiment to use up wasted space productively.

9779042660?profile=originalBelow: The Betel Leaf has gone berserk in the rain. I would never die of scurvy - I have too many greens!

9779043670?profile=original...it's sending out shoots in all directions.

9779043698?profile=originalBelow: Pepino in flower. I just don't get as much fruit as I'd like.

9779044501?profile=originalBelow: The Nopales is going great guns. I've eaten a couple of paddles in the last few days and it's really growing on me. I've yet to find a prickle, but still treat it gingerly as I know there must be a few there. NOTE: The older paddles eventually develop some prickles.

9779023096?profile=originalBelow: Bed 2 - Purple King bean on left. Broccoli seedlings - Rapini (have had to resow these twice as not coming up), Waltham, Purple Sprouting and Green Sprouting. At the very end are 60day Cauliflower which has also been resown twice due to seed not coming up. Touchy.

Also in this bed are Kolrabi (seed from Florence), various silverbeets, and Sweet Leaf (from James) and a Listada di Gandia seedling from Bunnings.

9779045671?profile=originalBelow: Bed 1 with the Cardoon making a comeback.

The self sown goodies around the cold compost pile are just loving the rain - rocket, amaranth, mustard greens. Asparagus on the right has given me a few very tender spears this year...all eaten on the spot while I garden :)

The Golden Bantam corn plants on the compost pile were a wash out, same as the other two plantings. The dogs and I polished off the small cobs.

9779046083?profile=original05.03.13

Peggy came down the mountain on Sunday, despite all the rain and roadworks, and spent about 5 hours with me in the garden and working online to find products. 

Here's two interesting plants recommended by Peggy - would like to get hold of the Rau Om but the Kwai Muk is a bit big for my already full garden:

Rau Om or Rice Paddy Herb

Kwai Muk

Peggy writes a very interesting blog on Folia and has done this lovely write up about our day together. I feel quite priveleged :)

The rain has stopped falling constantly but it's still showering off and on. I've whipped out this morning and planted out some seedlings of Mangle Wurzle, Artichoke, silverbeet, Rutibaga and Giant Tree Tomato (seed from Norma) - the last frightens me lol. Have put a couple of seedlings in one end of Bed 1 in the hope that I can "control" them. I'm out of grow frames - will have to do something about that before they get too big.

Bar a few seedlings the Rapini seed are still not coming up, nor the 60 day cauli - both three times planted now.

08.03.13

The Variegated Penda (native) is in full bloom for a short period and the local honey eaters and insects are making the most of it. Not many of my Carbonaria bees on it though.

9779047084?profile=originalBelow: Rainbow Lorikeet and other honey eaters visiting.

9779047495?profile=originalBelow: Nectar heavy flowers.

9779048675?profile=originalBelow: Preston Prolific fig on special at Masters for $7 - for the front garden eventually.

9779049481?profile=originalBelow: Super Sioux toms coming up from saved seed.

9779049687?profile=originalBelow: Self sown lettuce unknown variety.

NOTE: Caterpillars etc ate these. I replanted a couple of times with seed I had.

9779050698?profile=originalBelow: Sown seed - Brown Mignonette lettuce. NOTE: Eaten by pests.

9779051865?profile=originalBelow: Early Purple eggplant grown from donated seed.

9779052483?profile=originalBelow: Cleome flowers. Attractive flowers and easy to grow from cutting but pretty much ignored by the bees.

9779053054?profile=originalBelow: Freya checking out the honeydew. NOTE: Not bad, not good. Most ended up in the juicer.

9779053478?profile=originalBelow: Orb Weaver visitor. These have a short time in the garden before the birds eat them and the cycle starts all over.

9779053701?profile=originalBelow: Winter Melon on the laundry trolley just keeps getting bigger. No other female flowers have pollinated successfully. Pretty much what happened with the first three vines. Perhaps it has a way of keeping crop to a sustainable level for the vine.

NOTE: Various plants have cropped up around the yard and are still growing into late Autumn, though no fruit as at the present 07.05.13.

9779054654?profile=originalBelow: Same fruit 15days later. I've had to prop it up on a garden pot as it's getting so heavy.

9779054282?profile=originalBelow: Four days later and almost ready to harvest as indicated by the spreading white protective barrier.

9779055267?profile=originalBelow: 20.03.13 and harvested. Ready to share at the GV. Weighs about 5 or 6kg I would guess.

9779055483?profile=original13.03.13

Classic autumn weather. Slightly overcast with some showers but the temp is a delight. I am having some problems with hairy black caterpillars, very fast moving, eating seedlings and anything else they can get at including fallen leaves. No sign of rats at all! Neighbours may have taken measures after last years problems.

Below: Youngberry fruit. I get the occasional one but there's a little wren that likes them better than me :)

9779056095?profile=originalBelow 13.03.13: Bed 3 Beans, peas coming along well. Red Okra in the foreground still fruiting prolifically.

NOTE: By 07.05.13 the Okra have almost been killed off by green caterpillars despite my best efforts to remove them daily, but are still producing a handful of fruit each week.

9779057086?profile=originalBelow: Chilli growing from Carolyns seed.

9779057891?profile=originalBelow: Sweet Potato tower is providing me with lots of nice shoots of young greens for cooking.

9779058693?profile=originalBelow: A different Dragonfruit developing flowers. The stem is more angular and the flower buds quite different from the red with white centre fruit.

I'd love to know the function of the little ants attracted to these flowers. It's not like they're open and offering pollen. Jude (Lai) thinks they are after aphid sugar but there's no obvious sign of aphid.

I think the flowers are rewarding the ants with some kind of secrection for protecting them myself. Some of the bean plants do the same.

9779059660?profile=originalBelow: Custard apple fruit starting to plump up. Ready to pick when the skin is smooth.

9779059883?profile=originalBelow 13.03.13: The tree is getting quite droopy with all the developing fruit.

NOTE: 07.05.13 Tree is not looking happy despite a big drink of water after a week of no rain. Hope it doesn't drop it's crop.

9779060492?profile=originalI've redone part of Bed 1 this morning for carrot and parsnip seed. Planted are Parsnip "Guernsey" from Green Harvest, Carrot "Muscade" (orange), "Atomic Red" and "Amarillo" (yellow) all from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in America.

19.03.13

Still waiting on any of the carrots seedlings to poke their little heads up. Getting a bit worried that the two or three days of hot we've had might have done some damage despite watering once or twice a day.

The hairy black caterpillars are still doing damage. I go out at least twice a day and pick them off. They like to hide under the seed raising trays on the ground during the day. Nearly all lettuce seedlings have been demolished.

Below: The lates dragonfruit fruit. Nice big ones :) and very good eating.

9779061481?profile=originalBelow: Breakfast yesterday, all home grown - Carombola, pawpaw (very sweet but not all edible) and dragonfruit. Jude Lai has given Joseph and myself some cuttings for the all red DF plus more yellow. Lou from the Gemvale DF farm has given me some Pink DF cuttings in exchange for yellow.

9779062668?profile=original30.03.13

The carrots have poked their little heads up over the last week. Ones in the shade ot other plants came up first - curious.

Everything is growing well in the raised beds, should have plenty of beans, broccoli with hopes of excess to freeze for later, plus cauli and peas. Also Mangle Wurzel, Kohlrabi, Ruttabaga, silverbeet.

9779062867?profile=originalBelow: Eggplant are all cropping well. The Bunnings version of Listada di Gandia is a different shape but just as good eating

9779063299?profile=originalBelow: All the fruit developing on the oldest pawpaw plant. This plant has been incredibly prolific over it's approximately four years of life. I've eaten quite a few of the small fruit and they are sweet and delicious.

9779064254?profile=original9779064863?profile=original9779064680?profile=original9779065681?profile=originalBelow: The tank before espalier. Brennan is coming next week to set up a frame around the tank. Still trying to decide what to plant! Would love to do a multi planting with two different tropical stone fruit but there is the question of radiated heat from the tank for one thing, plus the cost.

9779066500?profile=originalBelow: Having a go at growing Soursop from cuttings after cutting the plant back to give the bananas more light. NOTE: 21.04.13 These have all died. Joseph will come over in spring and we'll try marcotting.

9779067277?profile=originalBelow: Chopped the top off the Jackfruit/Jakfruit so having a go at growing that also.

NOTE: 21.04.13 Dead, dead, dead. Will try again.

9779068280?profile=originalBelow: I've been putting seed in all over the place - finally got one! Coriander to grow. Not sure yet what the plant beside it is. NOTE: Weed!

9779068678?profile=originalBelow: Joe's Beans growing well - supposed to be more bean fly resistant. Had one early bean so far.

NOTE: These proved to be a real winner. Lots of fruit from relatively little plant and was also more bean fly resistent. Have saved seed for next year.

9779069466?profile=originalBelow: Purple King bean flowers - gorgeous and a very strong grower. No beans yet.

NOTE: Another winner. Heavy cropper despite some bean fly problem. Lots for the freezer. They cook green which is a pity.

9779069887?profile=originalBelow: The latest bunch of bananas ended up in the dehydrator along with some home grown pawpaw and dragonfruit. Despite keeping the machine going over two days during daylight hours they all came out still quite moist, but very edible!

9779070489?profile=original9779071293?profile=originalBelow: Goody, self sown Cape Gooseberry....I think!

9779071900?profile=originalBelow: The Cardoon is making a brave effort at a comeback. Caterpillars and ladybeetles are making a brave effort at eating it all!

NOTE: as of 07.05.13 these plants are not doing well. Nor are the fresh ones planted from seed. The reason is hard to guess at.

9779072487?profile=originalBelow: One of three Winter Melon fruit. I have the giant one in the pantry still. The first one has gone into Brennans produce box for making the raspberry trellis.

9779072861?profile=originalBelow FRONT YARD -

New raspberry trellis thanks to Brennan :) It's a thing of beauty with the idea taken from the Raspberry Pruning video

There's also a How to Grow Raspberries video.

9779072896?profile=originalBelow: Can't move the canes until they finish fruiting. It will be so good to tidy them up and get them upright so I don't keep mowing over the fruit. Ate the first one yesterday :)

NOTE: By 07.05.13 cropping a small handful daily.

9779074272?profile=originalBelow: Strawberry runners (orignals from the couple at Redland) are spreading all by themselves without any interference from me. I guess I will have to pay them a bit more attention once they fill up the spot.

Looks like the Tamarillos that suffered in the heat are dead, dead, dead. Canistel is still putting on a little growth.

9779074863?profile=originalBelow: Hugo and the Dwf Wurtz avocado. I've trimmed it a little but tempted to do more.

9779075853?profile=originalBelow: The front yard self sown pawpaw - hope it's as prolific as the backyard one!

9779076455?profile=originalBelow: Both Pomegranates are doing well, but I really should trim them a bit but they're very prickly. The foreground one is grown from seed, the background one is a Wonderful.

9779076674?profile=originalBelow: Reclaiming the front beds using grass clippings thanks to Steve the mower guy :)

9779077288?profile=originalAPRIL

Still regular showers and the weather is perfect. I've taken to walking in Warner Lakes in the morning. Beautiful spot full of native plantings and wildlife.

Below 05.04.13 Dehydrating some of Elaines Dwf Ducasse banana crop along with some Carombola.

NOTE: These were absolutely delicious dehydrated - really wonderful flavour. The Carombola was tasteless. Makes wonderful jam I discovered some weeks later - very flavoursome.

9779078067?profile=originalBelow: I managed to miss the flowering of the Yellow Dragonfruit but found them in the morning. Large and white just the same as the red variety. There a four of these. Something to look forward to as I've never eaten the Yellow before. Lou from Gemvale has given me a couple of Pink cuttings in return for Yellow ones from me.

NOTE: Joseph tells me these fruit take 6mths to ripen. Good grief! Hope I remember to keep checking them.

9779079052?profile=originalBelow: The fig is fruiting up again. It has some kind of leaf curl problem but this doesn't seem to be affecting it in any way I can see.

9779079862?profile=originalBelow: Hopefully I'll get some tomatoes this winter! This is Super Sioux from saved seed and Deer Tongue lettuce to it's right, also from saved seed.

9779080685?profile=originalBelow: Giant Tree Tomato from Norma's seed :)

9779081290?profile=originalBelow: Soursop cropping directly out of it's trunk. Fascinating stuff. There's heaps of flowers and small fruit this season so I have growing hopes of actually getting something to eat after a couple of lean years with this tree.

9779082065?profile=originalBelow: Purple King beans - flowers, fruit and purple tinged leaves. This is a very attractive bean to grow - yet to eat any fruit.

NOTE: The leaves were tinged purple where the bean fly had stung them! Plants still cropped well.

9779082667?profile=originalBelow: The Purple King plant growing up everything it can reach. Also broccoli, cauli, kohlrabi and manglewurzle in Bed 2.

9779082478?profile=originalBelow: Bed 1 Joe's Beans starting to crop. I've eaten a few. Good flavour and size pods and supposed to be more bean fly resistant than other varieties. Thank you to Jane for the seed :)

NOTE: Did prove to be more resistent.

9779083866?profile=originalBelow: The Joe's plant Bed 1. Medium grower - not as rampant as the Purple King or the Jame's beans.

NOTE: Jame's beans were badly affected by bean fly and did not crop as well as the other two varities.

9779084083?profile=originalBelow: Bed 3 beans gone crazy with some poor peas trying to compete. In this bed - Purple Pod Pea, Sugar Snap Pea, Flageolet beans (bush), Purple Pod bean (no purple flower or leaves so it's not Purple King), James beans, Rutabaga, potatoes - swt & regular, silverbeet, beetroot, okra.

9779084862?profile=originalBelow: Flageolet bush bean - seed from Craig :) Surprise! Didn't realise these were hidden away. Dinner tonight.

NOTE: Like all bush bean these pretty much finished cropping over a couple of weeks, unlike the climbers which kept going much longer.

9779086077?profile=originalBelow: Rutabaga - root crop veg. Will have to check if the leaves are also edible. These are very fast growing. Also known as Swede - pretty sure these are the delicious yellowish tubers I'm buying from the fruit shop.

9779086474?profile=originalBelow: Bed 2 Manglewurzle - edible leaves and tubers. A little slower growing from seed.

NOTE: These two plants pretty much died off after this. Too shaded? Too dry? Too wet? I did give some leaves away (never got to eat any myself!) perhaps I should have left them be.

9779087093?profile=originalBelow: Yet another Winter Melon coming up in a random spot. Beats me how they got there as I usually turf my unsuccessful seed mix in the one spot and this isn't it. Never mind, I love a mystery.

9779087482?profile=originalBelow: Another giant Winter Melon fruit near the bee hive. Will have lots to share :)

NOTE: This one ended up being swapped for a dozen eggs at the fruit shop.

9779088287?profile=originalBelow: Sweet Potato tower is providing lots of easily accessable leaves and will eventually provide tubers.

NOTE: This is growing much better than the "along the ground" plants. Bigger, healthier and more usable leaves.

9779054900?profile=originalBelow: I've taken to tucking in store bought sprouting spuds where ever I have an empty spot.

9779089301?profile=originalBelow: Chilli plant from Carolyns seed :) developing little fruit.

9779089695?profile=originalBelow: 29.04.13 Fruit on the same plant. Long and very mild. Almost no heat.

9779090457?profile=originalBelow: Custard apple taking their time plumping up. Something to look forward to. Might try to freeze some meat this year so I have a longer supply.

9779090866?profile=original07.04.13

Thinking of taking the latest humungously heavy Winter Melon fruit down to my local fruiterers. Those guys stock a lot of interesting stuff and they might be interested in doing a swap for a bag of spuds or something.

NOTE: Swapped for a dozen free range :) Have not been back to see if it sold well or not. When I did go back they had small WM in stock. Didn't have the guts to ask how mine sold.

9779091295?profile=originalBelow: First fruit picked from the Purple King vines. Very energetic grower, healthy plant with beautiful flowers, leaves and fruit. A "must" for future plantings.

NOTE: Has been attacked a bit by the bean fly but not excessively a problem.

9779092466?profile=originalBelow: Poor little Butternut plant out the front that should be dead has given up one fruit.

NOTE: Good eating when I did cut it.

9779093085?profile=originalBelow: Have just found these Jame's beans hidden away.

NOTE: These plants are badly attacked by Bean Fly.9779093873?profile=original12.04.13

Below: Bean crop from this morning. Left to right James' beans, Purple King and Joe's beans.

The James' beans are rampant taking up a lot of space (twice that of the Joe's beans), have quite a bit of bean fly damage and it's difficult to find the relatively small crop of smaller more rounded beans.

Purple King are just wonderful - not much trouble with bean fly damage, nice sized plants and very easy to find the copious crop.

Joe's beans are a real winner. The plant is a nice compact size and it crops heavily with large well shaped flattish beans. Also not much bean fly damage. I've given away the last of the Joe's seed I had (to Brennan) so MUST save more from this wonderful bean for next season.

Not much between the flavour of all three, Joe's perhaps a little sweeter - another plus.

Some info re Bean Fly:

Bean Fly

These pests are tiny, glossy, black flies that appear in warm, humid weather to attack French bean plants that don't have enough potassium. The best way to avoid these pests is to practice crop rotation, have plenty of compost in the bed where you grow French and climbing beans, and to hill-up soil around the stems of bean plants. 

Look out for yellow spots and fine lines on bean leaves. They are a sign that the flies have laid eggs in the leaves. Remove and destroy damaged leaves to stop larvae tunnelling to the base of the stem, and give your bean plants a drink or two of organic-allowed seaweed tea.

9779094477?profile=originalBelow: The raspberries are starting to crop - have to drive around them on the front driveway :/ Can't wait until I have them growing tidy up the new frame next season.

9779095656?profile=originalBelow: Some of todays and yesterdays crop. All the eggplant are doing well apart from the Rosea. The Okra is still cropping but there has been a new long green caterpillar move onto these plants and it's doing quite a bit of damage to the young fruit and leaves. Plants are well past their use by date anyway.

Choko is fruiting - nice solid green fruit. It's covered in tiny sweet fruit at the moment.

9779097462?profile=originalCarrots are growing well. Potatoes are coming up. Cardoon is struggling in it's second year with a lot of pest destruction. Rutabaga (swede) are growing very quickly and well - a definate for each year. Some Kohlrabi have come up from Florence's seed (had to sow twice), some beetroot seedlings are trying to find a place in an already busy bed. The Mangelwurzel is doing quite well - it and the silverbeet have a small problem with a circular dark fungal (?) problem on some of their leaves.

I have removed any diseased leaves and stems this morning from all plants and binned them in a plastic bag. Don't want a giant problem with bean fly next year.

Carombola are cropping well - some fruit fly damage but still plenty of edible bits. I'm picking the ones I can reach when they turn pale before they fall and bruise. Any infected bits of fruit are being binned, not composted. The plant is flowering again! It's become quite bushy and will need a good trim once all this fruiting is over.

Below: I now have a beautiful espalier frame around my tank, thanks to Brennan. So well made - I couldn't have done this on my own. I've planted some Sugar Snap Peas for the moment and will put the plant in a little later. There's also a Loofah come up from dropped seed.

9779097290?profile=original27.04.13

I've pulled out most of the climbing and bush bean plants (all bar the wonderful Joe's beans which will go soon too) as they are past their best and have a lot of Bean Fly infestation. The resultant mass of greenery has been black-bagged and left in the sun to kill these off so I can reuse the material.

Below: Bean plant in the tub and the climbing frame bare. I've removed this eyesore frame and plan to make a better one with taller star posts and wire, following Brennan's design on the espalier frame. Still early in the growing season so I hope to plant some peas after the bed has been replenished.

NOTE: Planted Rapini broccoli donated seed instead.

9779098071?profile=originalI've blanched and frozen about a kg+ of beans for later use.

NOTE: May have overblanched as they're coming out soggy if I steam. Fine in stews or casseroles though.

9779099276?profile=original9779100269?profile=originalMade Carombola jam yesterday and it tastes damn good.

I really am a shocker at making jam, so not sure if I can call it jam or candied fruit but it's really yummy and rich flavoured and I will use it on toast like jam. Might cut the pieces smaller next time and it would benefit from some spice.

Nearly all the fruit is Fruit Fly infested despite my best efforts, so this is made from all the good offcuts. I made sure there was NO fruit fly bits in there :/

9779101077?profile=originalBelow: Found three of these wonderful caterpillars in the bean/sweet potato bed. Hopefully they were eating swt potato as the beans were going. Turns out they were Hawk Moth progeny - thought at first they could only be butterflys.

9779100690?profile=originalThe green choko are giving lots of good fruit at the moment for sharing, juicing, roasting and frying. The little ones are so sweet. I need to move the vine away from the post box! Poor posto :/ I hope he's a gardener and understands my addiction to growing stuff everywhere.

Still trying to get my hands on a replacement white choko. (NOTE: 10.05.13 three are being posted to me by Warren from Daleys fruit forum - yay).

The raspberries are giving a few fruit each day. Eggplant are still cropping well though I expect that will stop with the cold weather. The self sown plants are giving lots of fruit :)

The broccolis and caulis are all growing well - lots of caterpillars trying to eat the plants as quickly as I find and destroy them.

Carrots are coming along well but slowly as usual.

The Cardoon is not doing well the second time around and is dying off. I've planted some seed elsewhere to start afresh but they are not growing well either. Still have plenty of seed to try next year if this year fails.

The Mangelwurzle did well initially but may now be too shaded - one plant has died (since recovering). I've replanted some more seed.

Ruttabaga (swede) is growing well. The first lot of seed grew quickly, the second lot more slowly - possibly due to the shade from the bean plants which are now gone, so hoping they start to put on some growth as I really like these, very sweet and yummy.

Kohlrabi are doing ok. They are slow growers.

28.04.13

I've collected a plant from the SGAP sale of the native hibiscus "Citrus Mist" recommended by Colleen (Keena from Hibiscus Org).  From the Uni stall at the sale. Nice big healthy plant for $15. Bargain.

Problem is it's covered in spines which I wasn't aware of before :( so I can't plant it where I wanted to around the rain water tank. I was expecting something soft and inoffensive but this would take off skin each time I go to get water.

Never mind, I'll have a good think about where I can put it. Maybe the front yard... but I will have to clear some of the piles of mulch out there first and I wanted them to sit until spring at least.

NOTE: Planted in the right hand corner of the front yard. Out of the way of walkers.

Winter is it's flowering time so I would really like to get it in soon. The whole point of the plant is the edible flowers which make cordial and jam.

9779101686?profile=original07.05.13
Still lots of caterpillars (NOTE: smooth green ones are Cabbage Butterfly) on the leafy plants, but the good news is the little predator wasp Apanteles glomeratus that I had here in spring (see Spring 2013 blog for more info) are back and hopefully killing off a few for me.
Below are there yellow silken larval cases on broccoli. Having some problems with aphid on the broccoli this season also (see notes further on).
9779101881?profile=originalBelow: The Sweet Leaf plant has developed the most unusual flowers, almost primitive.
9779102671?profile=originalBelow: Lots of colour around the garden from marigold, various salvia, amaranth, cleome, nasturtium. The BBBees are out doing their thing again - they just love the Pineapple Sage (salvia) flowers. Would love to know where the males roost at night.
9779102701?profile=original9779103899?profile=originalBelow: So many eggplant fruit that I didn't want going to waste - these have been soaked in brine and then grilled both sides with extra salt and olive oil, then stored in olive oil. They've come out delicately sweet. Good for frying or just eating :)
9779104461?profile=originalBelow: Preparing same. Ran out of olive oil for the second batch and had to use rice bran oil.
9779104853?profile=originalBelow: Attempting to learn more about the edible weeds locally. No idea what this one is picked up on my walk this morning (Warner Lakes). NOTE: Elaine has identified it as FIREWEED and it's definately non-edible. My weed book is coming in the mail soon that should help with identification.
9779105689?profile=original10.05.13
Winter is definately on the door step, the mornings are getting quite nippy but the days are still lovely and warm. The garden is happy on the whole - still picking caterpillars off the leafy greens.
Joseph has given me insight into the aphid on the leafy greens (from unknown organic author):
Another common pest, one that is almost ubiquitous, is the aphid. These little suckers probably cause more damage than any other insect. The first thing to consider is their nutritional needs. Aphids cannot digest complete protein; they require free amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Excessive amounts of water-soluble nitrogenous fertiliser creates the condition of high levels of free amino acids in plant sap, effectively a dinner invitation to aphids. Conversely, feeding protein to plants reduces the level of free amino acids and minimises the attractiveness of plants to aphids.
Was doing my usual morning potter around yesterday morning (not working or so I thought) and realised the custard apples had finally reached the point of picking. Some had been chewed by Fruit Bats so I've picked nearly all of them. Have left a couple up high for the bats not so much out of altruism but because I had trouble reaching them! Gave myself a heckofa bruise on the back of my leg when I walked backwards into a stick. It's a jungle under this tree! and was no picnic doing the cropping.
Now I have to eat them, share them with family this Mothers Day weekend, and freeze some meat - the time consuming side of growing your own. The plant is probably 11yrs old and I've long since lost the label. Nice meat but lots of seeds to work your mouth around.
NOTE: Once picked these ripen quickly. Many of the smaller ones went hard and black and were inedible.
9779105492?profile=original11.05.13
Off to have a look at Jerry Coleby-Williams Open Garden today. I'll take along a couple of the Joes beans with the funny twisty shape and ridges to see if he can advise what might be causing it.
NOTE: One of his offsiders thought it might be a virus but could not be sure. He was happy to take the seed I brought along though!
Below: The Amaranth bought on the day. Very pretty and edible to boot.
9779107268?profile=originalBelow: Found some old Money Maker seeds in my big box of seed and threw them in without much hope of success, but here they are coming up :)
9779107486?profile=originalBelow: Sweet potato flowers, really quite pretty. These are on the tower plant.
9779108073?profile=originalBelow: The tower 25.05.13...
9779108867?profile=originalBelow: Bed 1 - all the Joe's beans have been removed and Imperator carrot and Snowball cauli planted courtesy of seed from RayRay. The self sown eggplant (Listada di Gandia) and Basil have both proven prolific.
9779110054?profile=originalBelow: Backyard going into winter. Beans are finished, peas are just taking off, broccoli and cauli growing well despite the caterpillars but still waiting on any crop. Self sown tom (middle bed at end) Acid Free Cherry (?).
9779110463?profile=originalBelow: Bees doing their thing surrounded by Cleome, bush basil, nasturtium and salvia.

9779111085?profile=originalBelow: Joseph's red papaya showing signs of deficiency...Boron perhaps? or perhaps Broad Mite infestation though there is no sign of life or eggs. Rob mentions that his own plants had something similar in the past and eventually recovered under their own steam, so will leave them be and hope whatever it is doesn't infect my other pawpaw plants.

These plants have been given every goody under the sun - Organix Xtra, Dr Grow it All, minerals, compost. Have bought some Boron (Borax) from Coles and dosed them with that as well (1 teas diluted in litre of water).

NOTE: Could be Broad Mite. Tossing up whether to remove the affected tops of the plants and hope they survive with the remaining small, apparently unaffected, leaves.

9779111286?profile=original13.05.13

Visited the Caboolture Mkts on the way to Mums for Mothers Day yesterday and picked up amongst other plants (at the cheapo tube stand) an Astragalus membranaceusa perennial member of the flowering legume family, and my favourite immune booster herb which I take in tablet form.

It has no known side effects and can be taken long term safely. Also has a mild anti-coagulant effect so caution if on blood thinners.

Also known as milk vetch, huang qi, huang ch', ogi, hwanggi, bei qi, radix astragali, goat's horn, green dragon, locoweed.

Reading up on this plant this morning it takes 4 to 7yrs to mature for the root to be used :( bummer. You can chew on the root like chewing gum, buy it in dried form, add to stews and smoothies as a powder.

Found claims for it's cancer fighting, flu fighting and anti-aging properties. I've been using the tablets for some years and I know it boosts my immune system as I have a lot less trouble with my health (I use Immune Boost from Golden Glow but see it cropping up in other brands at the chemist now).

Video link - what you need to know before you buy Astragalus.astragalus-bsp.jpg

14.05.13

Due to my largish crop, I spent a few hours last evening seperating custard apple flesh from seed so as not to waste any :/ Not something I will willingly put my hand up to do on a regular basis, but I might come at it once a year when the tree crops. Fruit was also shared with family at the weekend.

The pic below is when I was about half way through. Luckily they put one of my favourite movies on TV which distracted me...thank goodness!

The meat has been frozen in containers. Some mixed through Goats Yoghurt I had in the fridge. It doesn't go brown (oxidation) unlike other cut fruit - I thought I might have to sprinkle with lemon juice but it stayed nice and white all by itself.

9779112656?profile=originalBelow: Tried my hand at making jerky today. Thinly sliced beef marinated in oyster, swt chilli and tamari sauces as per Andy's instructions. The end result is very tasty but a bit expensive. $8 worth of thin sliced beef from Coles made just one layer in the dehydrator.

NOTE: This was extemely delicous and very more-ish. I will have to find some less expensive meat to make it a viable to make this regularly.

9779113080?profile=originalAlso made some jam today (becoming a habit this jam making!) using bits of Carambola, some dehydrated pawpaw and a beautiful persimmon from the Caboolture Mkt. Still don't know what I'm doing - I just put it all in a saucepan with some sugar and let it boil down til it's thick - but it tastes good.

Below: Joseph gave me purple pod peas for growing and after waiting for this slow growing plant to do it's thing, I finally have some beautiful purple flowers and pods.

Capucijner Peas

(Pisum sativum var.)

Capucijner (cap-ou-SIGH-nah), an heirloom pea originally grown by the Dutch Capuchin monks during the 17th century. Bicoloured flowers are lilac-pink & wine-red, fading to blue as they age; pods are inky purple, fading to leathery brown as they mature. It's great visual appeal & hardiness has ensured its survival over the centuries.

Ate one of these young pea pods yesterday (17.05.13) and it was a bit on the chewy side unlike sugar snap peas. Perhaps meant for pea production only. 26.05.13 Ate some peas - delicious!

9779113483?profile=original9779114087?profile=original18.05.13

It's become freakin chilly in the morning and warrants long pants to work during the day. The cold is still not deterring the caterpillars! The smooth green variety (Cabbage White Butterfly) are still proliferating on my broccoli and cauli and there's even some of the hairy black jobs still around doing their thing.

My feet are cold :( I really should put on my Ugg boots. Done...along with an extra layer of vest. My hands are still freezing.

Below The choko are going crazy all over the Jaboticaba, fence and gate. I'm eating the sweet little jobs daily but still manage to miss some fruit and they subsequently grow huge and are only good for chutney making or growing. I have six or seven in pots out the back to give away and really must find a home for the excess fruit.

Some damage this year from sucker type bugs but it doesn't affect the flavour.

9779115259?profile=original

27.05.13 Autumn is almost over and the cold is well and truly here already. Not much to do in the garden each day except a bit of tidy up here and there.

I did plant out the many coloured Amaranth and some of the late Cardoon that have come up, into Bed 3. I would like some Cardoon to take me through winter. The fig is still producing fruit but ever so slowly. The Carombola is flowering again for one last flush of fruit I hope.

The Lychee is putting on new growth. Fingers crossed that I end up with some fruit next season.

Cropped the Water chestnut yesterday. Took about 15mins sloshing around in a tub of water to remove the corms and ended up with an icecream bucket full.

9779115497?profile=originalBelow: This is how the plant looked when it is ready for cropping...

9779115864?profile=originalWHAT I HAVE LEARNED THIS AUTUMN:

If I plant my broccoli etc early, yes I do get plants growing quick early growth but the pests are also still around and attack the growing plants unmercifully. USE MY NETS!! to cover the growing plants and protect them.

Read more…

2012 AUTUMN March to May

9779018870?profile=originalLots of rain around still, though it stopped long enough for me to mow yesterday. Trimmed the untidy leaves from the Listada di Gandia and noticed an interloper hiding amongst them - a Tamarillo! Lord knows how the seed got there. Stuff turns up in the funniest places. Bed 3 on the left is all self sown toms and amaranth, so rampant and healthy I have to leave them be.

Good weather to be planting seed, which I've done with Bed 1 below.

9779019097?profile=originalPlanted from front to rear - carrots: "Red Kuroda", "Amarillo" and "Muscade"; Strawberry Spinach (Garden Berry - Chenopodium capitatum); Cardoon "Rouge D'Alger"; Florence Fennel; Silverbeet "Ruby"; Corn "Jubilee Bicolour".

Horrible job cutting back the lemon grass - I've ended up with lots of papercuts! Should have worn gloves. After having trouble establishing lemon grass initially I now have two good clumps thanks to the rain. Have started using it a little more in cooking now I know I have plenty.

I have a mystery creeper growing up the frame in this bed. No real idea what it is, but the caterpillars love eating it. Pepper?? NOTE : we've all decided that this is Madiera Vine and a real pest - a year later I'm still pulling out suckers.

9779019868?profile=original9779020455?profile=originalNot aerial spud as there is no lobe at the top end.  Could be that climbing "spinach" that I had a couple of years back but have since lost - Ceylon Spinach. NOTE: This is a Madiera Vine and a real nuisance.

Plenty of flowers in the garden - mostly red salvia but plenty of other things also like the Rudbeckia, Ginger, Loofah and beautiful vibrant blue salvia flowers below. I have quite a few blue banded bees which love visiting many of these. Even saw two have a short "battle" this morning - they must be a bit territorial.

9779021254?profile=original9779021267?profile=original9779022659?profile=original9779023490?profile=original15.03.12

I haven't mentioned the raspberries (Williamette) which have been doing very well again this year. For some reason they crop at the end of summer and beginning of autumn....but I'm not complaining! They just love the front yard with the south western aspect and there are many canes fruiting compared to just a few last year.

Due to the heavy vegetation after the rains, I have to really hunt for some of the fruit.

Below is some of the fruit for today - the rest was eaten :) Fruit ripens daily - if you miss cropping for two days you can miss some good fruit.

9779024085?profile=originalAlso eaten this afternoon a very delicious Pepino, only the second in a long while. The plants have thoroughly enjoyed all the rain and have spread, to my great delight. The one in the front yard is ill and dying but the backyard ones are doing fine and are covered in flowers and some small fruit. Yum.

21.03.12

The rain is continuing off and on and the garden is very appreciative. Things are growing that I thought were long dead and gone and have lost the name for! Things are growing where I didn't think any seed had ever come any where near that spot! Amazing. Wish I could witness the private life of my garden.

Seed potatoes and garlic blubs have arrived from Green Harvest in amazing time yesterday (Tuesday) from an order placed at the weekend. Today I've called in to Bunnings and bought 4 bags of Garden Soil (Brunnings) instead of potting mix and a bag of 5 in 1. All this plus Organic Xtra, Potash, molasses fertiliser, Dolomite and Epsom Salts have been split between the four grow bags that I have.

Below is the garlic - Monaro Purple and Elephant Garlic. The EG has gone into one of the grow bags but I'm yet to find a spot for the MP.

NOTE: These were pretty much dud growers. The EG struggled along for a bit and eventually gave me a bit of crop from the plants that didn't die. Can't remember getting anything back from the Monaro Purple. Don't bother again.

9779025255?profile=originalBelow seed potatoes - playing it safe this time after lacklustre results from more exotic spuds - Sebago, Desiree and Nicola. All planted into grow bags.

NOTE: Not worth the outlay, none of them did well. I'm just planting sprouted spuds from the fruit shop now.

9779018079?profile=originalBelow - still getting great crops from the Listada di Gandia! Wonderful plants.  The fruit grows so quickly and is really nice to eat - usually roasted for me but sometimes fried.

NOTE: 04.03.13 I think these plants have finally reached the end. After being decimated by Flea Beetle all summer long there is only one live plant left and it's no longer producing good fruit. I have two self seeded replacements and a seedling bought from Bunnings as this is such a good eggplant to have in the garden.

9779025698?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Desiree, Nicola and Sebago seed potato bags.

NOTE: 06.04.12 A couple of shoots are appearing above the surface. 04.03.13 These were never a success and I won't go out of my way to buy seed potato again.

9779026682?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Beds 1 and 2, compost pile and Elephant Garlic grow bag.

NOTE: 06.04.12 Still no sign of shoots. 04.03.13 The garlic never did well. The EG did end up giving me some return but not worth the bother. The bulbs were very frangrant and nice to use.

9779027654?profile=original9779028080?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Pawpaw beside house now multi-headed and doing just fine!

9779029472?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 rampant growth behind the beds due to all the rain.

9779030090?profile=original9779030493?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Grevillea has bloomed heaps lately, Dwarf Banana, Variegated Penda.

9779031468?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Asparagus bed with Ceylon Hill Cherry buried beneath. Keep forgetting to watch for edible spears! After two years of just watching and waiting it's hard to remember that I can now eat them.

NOTE: 04.03.13 it's only recently that I have had some good spears to eat and still not many of them.

9779031886?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Bed 1 seed making a show.

NOTE: This corn seed proved to be a dud (Jubilee Bicolour), not forming pollen. It was bought on sale in a discount store! Just goes to show, only buy quality seed from quality outlets.

04.03.13 I have not had luck with any corn for a while. I've tried Golden Bantam seed three times from different sources and it's not worthwhile - plants silk at different times, pollination is uneven, cobs are tough and tasteless. Back to F1 seedlings for me! so I end up with some useful crop.

9779032653?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 corn and silverbeet coming up.

9779033270?profile=originalBelow 22.03.12 Rampant growth in Bed 3 - all self sown.

9779033855?profile=original30.03.12

The choko vines have gone wild with all the wet. The come-again green one has been heavy with fruit and I keep finding more! Lucikly the folk at work think they are quite a delicacy and they disappear from the lunch table within minutes :)

The beautiful pearly white version is now bearing fruit also. I couldn't help myself the other day and picked a small fruit for roasting.....not a lot of flavour difference between this and the green but very pleasant all the same. The vine tips remain my favourite part of the choko plant!

NOTE: One year later this while choko vine is dead and gone. Other people are telling me the same story (we're all looking for new fruit to plant). There was a hot dry period around Dec/Jan and despite twice weekly watering and mulching, the plant died. It did try to reshoot but eventually succumbed.

9779034268?profile=originalThe snake beans continue to bear almost daily for me - I have lots of seed saved for next year of these wonderful plants. Slow to produce, but then they just keep on giving delicious fruit - my little snack straight from the vine when I come home from work.

Ate some home grown asparagus the other night. I keep forgetting to check the asparagus patch as I had to leave them alone for the first two years. Now I'm finding the spears when they are a little long...found two the other day which was heaps for me - some was fibrous but the rest was wonderful.

Really need to re-do another bed so I can get some brocolli and cauli seeds planted but the two other beds just keep on keeping-on! I've planted some of the bought garlic (Green Harvest) in Bed 2 which will make re-doing it difficult, but there was nowhere else to put them...the snake beans are still producing in there anyway. Will have to make a decision soon which bed gets "sacrificed".

The weather is cooling nicely. The nights are quite lovely and fresh already. The native bees are still very active - especially compared to the first hive that died off - really must have been something wrong with that one!

Off to Yandina Community Gardens tomorrow for a workshop :) Just love going there, well worth the drive. Will visit the markets next door first of course! Will think about visiting that wonderful cafe around the corner for some great home made GF lunch... if I have any money left from the markets. Bought all those beautiful salvias last time I was there and they have really brightened up the yard and are so easy to grow from cutting.

Dad is in the middle of his cancer treatment - looks like I'll be bringing him home to Bribie this weekend also.

02.04.12

PITPIT - Just about had enough of the Pitpit experiment. The plants are preparing to bloom again - my cue to crop the edible bit.

I cut off quite a few of the blooming stems and have found the only tender edible bit is the node to node section just below the flowering bit. This edible bit is about 1" long. Nice, but hardly worth the huge clump of plant to produce a tiny amount of edible plant once a year.

I have pulled up plant from the front yard and will no doubt do the same with much growing in the backyard. Despite this I am propogating some for others to grow. In the back of my mind is the thought that I am doing something wrong! so I want others to be trying and suceeding where I have failed.

Really need to get stuck into the front beds with the mattock. There are so many useless plants there including lavender planted years ago which has not once bloomed. It is doomed! The fountain palms need to go also - sick of their uselessness. Not particularly decorative and certainly not productive.

9779034291?profile=original9779034900?profile=original06.04.12

Easter - four days to putter in the garden :) bliss. The girls are camping out at Warwick and I'll probably have Andrew over for a couple of days.

Michael is coming tomorrow to trim back all the trees in the backyard (as many as he can do in a day anyway).

Composting - have just watched a couple of really good, straight forward videos suggested by Evan and made by Paul Taylor from trustnature.com.au (see videos on BLF for full info).

In essence piles should consist of layers starting with:

4 parts carbon (eg straw, leaves),

3 parts green material (eg hay, grass),

2 parts nitrogen rich (eg lucerne, manure).

The layers can be interspersed with sprinkles of rock dust for minerals (eg granite/deco = potassium, basalt = calcium and iron).

Use an activator to get the microbe going such as molasses, fish emulsion, manure in water and sprinkle over the pile.

Sprinkle the layers with water as they are added - stop when the water starts to run off.

Top the pile off with some manure and other soft material and cover with tarp etc.

These piles are supposed to be turned after a few weeks but this is quite beyond me these days. I prefer to do it all in the elevated beds and let the worms do the turning for me!

Below 06.04.12 Beautiful autumn morning, cool after a light shower.

9779035871?profile=originalBelow Plant stand no. 2 (first rusted out and fell over after about 1.5 years - will use the shelving next time with some bricks to create my own). Autumn is the best time to start taking cuttings - have all sorts of stuff going on here. Not enough space to do all the propogating I would like to....but then I have to find a home for it all anyway.

9779036099?profile=originalBelow - "Seduction" my last rose bush :( but still doing well in it's strange pozie. Cuttings have been taken for Julie and Faye at work.

9779036882?profile=originalBelow - Must have spilled some marigold seed on the ground between the beds and they've all germinated in the wet.

NOTE: 04.03.13 All of the seed saved from these grew into non-flowering plants. Most odd. Had to pull them out in the end.

9779036289?profile=originalBelow - Geranium "Big Red" originally bought from Bunnings. Great plant to have around for almost continuous colour.

NOTE: 04.03.13 almost drowned in the near constant rain recently. Had to remove all the plant material, fix the soil and start again with cuttings.

9779037856?profile=original08.04.12

Have been meaning to mention that I'm using some element from the garden virtually for every meal, including my breakfast juice drink. At the moment I'm adding choko to the morning juice which isn't as gross as it sounds as it has very little flavour. When I'm home I have Rocket on my lunchtime sandwich...love the stuff.

Tonight I'm having a veal casserole with added chilli, Okra, Arrowroot, Egyptian Spinach, Brazilian Spinach, Ceylon Spinach and Amaranth leaves. I'm using a lot of eggplant in various dishes - roast, casserole, stews. and stirfrys. The Sweet Potato leaves are always delicious in any dish, they are the nicest green.

Beans galore steamed, stewed etc (and raw daily). I should be using the Arrowroot more - I tend to forget about it.

Carrots were a disappointment through summer but I did get enough to add to the chicken stew last night.

Green Pawpaw is great in stews and casseroles - can hardly tell it apart from potato or other root veg such as Sweet Turnip which it reminds me of greatly. Don't pick them too early though or they seem to  lack that great flavour - try picking them just before they start to turn yellow.

Choko keeps it's shape while cooking and absorbs the flavours of the food it is cooked with - getting more fond of it. The vine tips are just wonderful in anything or eaten raw (as are the flowers).

Below is Bed 1 coming along nicely -back to front - corn "Jubilee Bicolour" (DUD! flowers did not form pollen); Florence Fennel (left), Silverbeet "Ruby" (right), Cardoon, Strawberry Spinach, Carrots - Red Kuroda, Amarillo, Muscade, Rocket and a few cauli seedlings bought from the Yandina markets last weekend.

9779038069?profile=originalBelow - Cardoon. The flower heads are edible along with the stalks. Ate a stalk the other day and it was very bitter.

NOTE: 04.03.13 Used these a lot in stews and casseroles as a celery substitute and they were excellent. The plants flowered and then died off. Luckily I did not remove the roots as they are reshooting. Saved seed is about 50% viable.

9779039091?profile=originalBelow - Strawberry Spinach - edible leaves and "fruit". NOTE: This plant never amounted to anything, possibly because it was overwhelmed by the Cardoon. I never did get to eat any of it.

9779039664?profile=originalBelow - The corn, Florence Fennel and Silverbeet.

9779039896?profile=originalBelow - Getting ready to re do Bed 2. Leaving the Rocket, garlic (just peeking through from bought corms) and the longest Snake Bean. Everything else has been cut up and left to break down.

9779040669?profile=original21.04.12

Below Bed 2 newly planted with broccoli (my own saved seed so they might be crossed with other stuff like purple cauli) and cauli seed. Also planted sugar snap peas but the next night the b. rat dug them up and ate them.

In the pic is my latest bought rat trap ($20 from Cab. Mkts) which of course hasn't caught one rat as yet. Gretel caught, killed and ate three mid sized rats in the aviary the other night. I found a large dead male in the garden this morning....not sure if the neighbours are poisoning again, but I'm glad I found it before my dogs did.

NOTE: 04.03.13 Same time the next year, not a rat to be seen. Very strange, but I like it. Nothing is eating my sown pea and bean seed this autumn.

9779040898?profile=original9779041654?profile=originalBelow self sown bits-and-bobs like sunflower and beans.

9779041680?profile=original9779042296?profile=originalBelow Egyptian Spinach going to seed. Note the caterpillar pretending to be a seed pod :)

9779043074?profile=originalBelow Silverbeet "Ruby" very pretty, grew quickly and eating almost nightly. Not a lot of flavour.

9779043871?profile=originalBelow Bed 1 corn "Jubilee Bicolour" coming along well.

9779044654?profile=originalBelow Bed 3 is smothered with self sown toms. The red Okra from Elaine is also doing very well in this bed.

9779044699?profile=originalBelow finally have Chinese Gooseberry thriving! Can tick this off my bucket list now.

9779045673?profile=originalBelow the carrots are growing very quickly at this time of the year. The material under the initial thin layer of soil is breaking down quickly and is full of worms.

9779046466?profile=originalBelow: Jackfruit seedlings coming up (Cleome on the right). Have fantasies about guerilla planting these but I know I don't have the guts to do it lol. Will have to find loving homes for all of these.

9779047257?profile=originalBelow: 04.03.13 Here's the one Jackfruit seedling I didn't give away, one year later. Tremendous growth.

9779047301?profile=originalBelow: Planter made up for Clare - mild chilli, rosemary and parsley.

9779048276?profile=original25.04.12 Anzac Day - sending love to all our diggers.

FRONT YARD

For some reason I don't get around to taking pics of the front yard often, but it's starting to become productive so time to give it some acknowledgement!

Below front verge. Lavender (one died) and Midyim. White Choko growing on the fence. No smack on the wrist from council as yet. Maybe if I take over the area under the Tibouchina and some of the driveway ;)

9779048501?profile=originalBelow 17.03.12 Tibouchinas in full bloom - someone came along and tore branches from them over the pathway. I took it as a broad hint from a disgruntled bike rider and trimmed them back even though they were blooming.

9779049088?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 some of the last of the raspberries "Williamette". They take over a bit when they're growing and fruiting but get cut back when finished. Most enjoyable to come home each day and eat a small handful of their fruit.

NOTE: 04.03.13 No fruit this season. We had some very dry hot weather and while they survived they didn't like it. With the rain this last couple of weeks they have come back heatlhy and happy. I'm reclaiming the length of this bed from a useless ground cover and hope to expland the raspberries.

9779049900?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 White Choko are cropping well. Smaller fruit than the green and took a bit to get the plant established -it flourished when it rained for a week. Folk at work can't get enough of the green ones but leave these sitting on the table untouched - people are so suspicious of anything different. I'm using them in my morning juice and adding to stir frys etc.

NOTE: This plant eventually succumbed to the bout of dry and heat that we had in January 2013 and is now dead a gone. Looking for a replacement.

9779050686?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 Tromboncino or Climbing Zucchini- could not find the packet that the original seed came in. Nice to eat - crunchy. Have been picking them this size (not a lot of crop) but will try to leave this one to see what it does. Would like some seed if possible. Rather pumpkin-like in it's growth habit - now climbing the fence and the bamboo. Male and female flowers.

9779051456?profile=original9779052852?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 Tamarillo grown from seed - could have sworn I used seed from red fruit! but these seem to be ripening up yellow. Yum.

9779053282?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 Tamarillo in the middle, cassava to left and right, Dwf Wurtz avo in the foreground. Also pineapple, Jaboticaba, white choko. Lavender has never bloomed and is doomed. I see Pepino growing in it's place ;)

9779053101?profile=originalBelow 24.04.12 Dinner makings for Thai chicken dish - I'm getting braver and adapting to using the sub-tropical goodies which will grow here. L-R Swt potato leaves, snake beans, white choko, Betel leaves, Amaranth leaves, angled Loofah (from Addy's garden), eggplant Listada di Gandia, Red Okra + onion and chicken in a store bought Thai soup base.

9779054472?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 Black Jaboticaba is growing well. Hoping to have some fruit from this before too long.

The Yellow one on the other side of the yard has hardly put on any growth at all, but still looks very healthy.

NOTE: 04.03.13 The Yellow Jaboticaba died some months back. Just keeled over and died. It never did start to put on new growth to any degree. Expensive lesson. Others tell me theirs are also reluctant to grow.

9779055252?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 Pomegrante on left grown from seed has grown quickly and is the same size as the store bought "Wonderful" on the right - less pointy bits too. White choko on the fence. Pineapple struggled during the dry but are looking much happier since all the rain.

9779056056?profile=originalBelow 23.04.12 Self sown pawpaw - one of many that come up around the yard to my continued delight.

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Below - the b. rat is even eating the marigold seeds. The new trap is a total failure as it doesn't "trigger" when anything touches the bait tray. Will have to set up the water trap again, but the rats seem to be avoiding that one now. They have been stealing my Sugar Snap Peas every time I replant them.

NOTE: 04.03.13 no sign of any rats at all this autumn. Very strange.

9779057253?profile=original07.05.12 Below Nopales, edible cactus from Addy.

9779022464?profile=original9779057868?profile=originalBelow: 03.03.13 The Nopales 10mths later!

9779023096?profile=original07.05.12 Below the Cardoon is growing quickly.

9779058095?profile=originalBelow: 03.03.13 The Cardoon plants died off after flowering. I thought that was the end of them and cut them out. Lucky I didn't pull them up by the roots as they sent up new shoots again - below:

9779059298?profile=original07.05.12 Below Strawberry Spinach in the middle (American seed). Never did amount to much.

9779060482?profile=original07.05.12 Below fruit developing on the Pepino - one of about 5 on this oldest clump. I've been putting cuttings in any open spots around the garden in the hope of getting more fruit.

9779060697?profile=original07.05.12 Have removed a clump of Sambung and Lemon grass to put in the various eggplant seed I had been given, but which was sitting unused. Just dumped the lot in in the hope that some will still be viable. Varieties - red, orange, mini, and early purple.

NOTE: 04.03.13 Only one plant survived and is now providing small purplish fruit. Either the Mini or the Early Purple I guess.

9779061689?profile=original07.05.12 Below Bed - bottom end left due to the garlic planted; top end broccoli, cauli and cabbage + sugar snap peas if the b. rats will leave some of them alone to germinate.

9779062470?profile=original07.05.12 Below - Michael has cut back the grevillia - 5.5hrs work on his own and a nice pile of mulch for me.

NOTE: 04.03.13 This plant died about a month back during the hot dry period. Now using it to grow Dragonfruit on.

9779062491?profile=original07.05.12 Moringa - little stick of a thing still struggling on after I had to cut off it's too-leggy top. Saw one on a gardening show the other night and it was b. HUGE with a trunk about 6' diameter. Think this one will have to go!

NOTE: 04.03.13 This plant died and disappeared all by itself. Must have caught my negative vibes. Pity, because I like the leaves in cooking.

9779063496?profile=original07.05.12 Below Bed 1 American carrot seed going great guns.

9779065053?profile=original07.05.12 Below - fig has made a comeback after being decimated by the beetles and is trying to create more fruit.

NOTE: 04.03.13 It eventually recovered fully and produced about a dozen good fruit at the end of summer.

9779065463?profile=original07.05.12 Below - dwarf bananas developing.

9779066454?profile=original9779067055?profile=original9779067696?profile=original19.05.12

Beautiful days but no rain for some weeks to speak of. The tank seems to have about quarter volume left.

Finally having success growing Chinese Gooseberries! The plants around the tank have spread out in all directions and have plenty of little lantern fruit on them; ripening up one by one which is no good for jam for great for nibbling.

Cardoon is growing well - some little prickles but nothing really spikey. Have used some of the stems in cooking. Nothing too exciting - a bit like a bitter silverbeet/celery cross.

I have a rotten sore throat and aches today so making a large pot of chicken soup. Most of the veg from my own garden :)

Below: L-R Cardoon stems, arrowroot, swt. potato leaves, choko, carrots, swt fennel, amaranth, chilli, rosemary, eggplant.

9779067880?profile=originalBelow - some of the white choko crop. Kookaburra Organics want about 30 for the Nambour Show! Fairly unlikely to happen lol.

9779021656?profile=originalTrimmed back the green choko vine this afternoon, in spite of feeling like s..t, and this is what I found underneath:

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Below - useless corn - did not produce any pollen. Seed bought on sale at a discount store. There's a lesson there!

9779070057?profile=originalBelow - useless corn removed and bush bean seed planted.

9779070301?profile=original26.05.12

Cold, cold morning and I have a chest cold to go with it, so gardening in my Uggs and jumper this morning. Nathan has just given me a bottle of the most delicious home made Rosella Jam I have ever eaten :) All his own work from his own rosellas!

Re-doing Bed 3 this morning as it's completely overgrown with useless small tom bushes and other junk. Have chopped them all up into the bed and topped with some great horse poo bought along the Narangba Rd the other week - good stuff with no filler. All topped with a layer of lucerne. Will add some other goody this afternoon ie Organic Xtra etc.

Made a lot of phone calls trying to find where I can buy the big bags of Brunnings Organic Garden Soil as Bunnings no longer stock these. Brunnings outlet is just up the road at Brendale too which is frustrating as they don't sell direct to the public.

Best I can come up with is Richgro 25lt bags from Bunnings for about $6.50 each (up to $10.50 at other outlets). Brackenridge Landscape Supplies sell the bigger version for about $14 each. Masters Hardware is supposed to stock the Brunnings - the one at North Lakes isn't open yet and the one at Morayfield doesn't stock the big bags.

Below: The bucket of tiny toms which may or may not ripen. Don't particularly care.

NOTE: Turned these toms into jam and it was good!

9779071101?profile=originalBelow: Bed 3 in the process of being replenished.

9779071477?profile=original9779071853?profile=originalBelow: Some of the Tamarillo crop have ripened up nicely. Bit of a treat in the afternoon.

9779072280?profile=originalBelow: Finally! The Cape Gooseberry plant and one of it's fruit. Very nice and sweet too.

9779072693?profile=originalBelow: Yakon flowers. I planted quite a few tubers but they haven't all grown.

9779073486?profile=originalBelow: The bags of spuds are open to full sun again now the tom plants have been cut back.

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Donna's Garden - 14/06/10

The mustard and marigolds in the nematode bed have grown heaps in the past month and look to be ready to use as green manure - is it best to chop and drop, or should it be dug in?

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After a lull in planting anything, finally am starting to see some results from my direct in bed plantings out the back. I made holes in the mulch, but the naughty chooks keep getting in and scratching around and covering the poor little seedlings so every few days I am forced to go and gently uncover them again :) I didn't label anything - at the time it was plant or write labels so I figured I could figure it out as they grew. There should be a huge selection though as I know there parsnip, turnip, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, kohl rabi, carrot etc - next months blog should hopefully help me identify what came up.

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The specialist seedling tray didn't work very well for some reason - I will be buying some better quality seedling raising mix, this was just a coir block - ironically I prepared two long pots at the same time and thickly sowed lettuce and mizuna which are going great guns.

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The frangipani bed also has some seedlings coming up, again I can't remember what but think there was some mustard and lupins as well as a few others.

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The fruit trees are doing pretty well despite a few minor problems, with the exception of the poor fig tree whose leaves have about ten different problems - hopefully as they are decidous they will fall soon and next year will be a lot better if I pump it with seaweed and bugs. The best growers so far are probably the paw paw, pepino (although suffered dreadfully last summer from being stung by moth/ fruit fly - will cover this year with mosquito netting I think), avocado, almond, guavas and bananas. I took the labels off the guavas (china pear & thai white) so I will label the photos with the type so I don't forget. The poor thai white guava had a twist tie label which cut into the wood a fair bit, hopefully it doesn't let any fungal infection in and heals properly.

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The herb bed is going really well, and a lot of new seedlings are starting to grow bigger although hubby is still not allowed to harvest them yet - coriander, dill, fennel, italian parsley. Will have to try again to get some of the mexican coriander started as I don't think they came up or the normal chives.

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I have planted a whole heap of chicken seedlings in the clothesline bed and they are starting to grow, think there is millet, sorghum, wheat and a few others. The idea is that I will successive plant and always have some green and some seeding to give them as a treat.


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The cubby house bed had some late planted snake beans which I cut off and left to decompose, and as it was looking very empty and dry I tried to transplant a few of the mustard/ marigolds from the bed next to it for a bit of green manure. I really need to pick up a whole heap of lucerne bales and add more to all the beds, top off the piles of compost laying around to help decomposition and put at least one bale in the chicken run for them to sit on - hopefully next weekend!


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The front new garden is doing well, and finally the banana pup has produced a new leaf (IM had given up and wanted to rip it out and try again). I pruned/ decimated the two passionfruit next to this bed and dumped them on the top as a mulch and will cover it will lucerne when I get more. Amazing that they are still green as that would be at least three weeks ago now... think that is what finally helped the banana pup as it now gets a bit more sunlight.


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The big bed has self seeded cherry tomato growing almost to the top rail, almost ripe millet for the chooks/ seed, garlic, eggplant (didn't get around to potting one up) some sort of peas (had problems getting them to come up - this is the third time, and now have no idea what kind ended up growing). There was another tomato that I think is likely to be self seeded principe borguese which is for drying, it was sprawling everywhere and we picked it up and put a trellis around it so hopefully that works to contain it a bit better - I am slack at staking and tying so hopefully this option will be a winner, in summer I could also throw over mosquito netting for fruit fly if it works.

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In hindsite all my beds should have been green manured the first growing season and would be a lot more productive by now - but at the time wasn't willing to 'waste' the beds by growing non productive stuff - duh! Think this is the most important thing to do when you have poor soil and not much money. In addition to building up the soil, I was amazed by how much more moisture the plants create and act as their own living groundcover - the nematode bed is lush and green, moist black soil while the one next to it is dry and degraded as it was almost fallow with little mulch for a couple of months - yet they both got the same amount of water (rainfall only).

Anyone in a fire ant area interested in growing pepino let me know as ours is doing well - they are related to the tomato and very easy to strike cuttings from as they have those little root nodule things on the branches and you just have to dump a handful of soil on them where they touch the ground - in fact the initial plant had about five branches that had done it by themselves which I have relocated to the old blueberry bed along the driveway - planted heaps thinking that I would lose a few but of course all took and are now growing really well despite the neglect they get there with no water and poor soil.

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I have now been a member of Brisbane Local Food for two years, and ithas been an amazing journey, thanks everyone for your support, help and friendship during this time and I look forward to many more years as a part of the BLF family!

Note there is a separate blog for my chickens as they have just started to lay and I figure deserved their own this time :)
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