marigold (6)

2013 WINTER JUNE TO AUGUST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779146078?profile=original03.06.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

09.06.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779153264?profile=original9779153872?profile=original11.06.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779154077?profile=originalHerbs....

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

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

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

9779155672?profile=original14.06.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Herbalistics.com.au

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

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

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

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

9779160085?profile=original16.06.13

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

Taste testing Joseph's Black Krim...

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

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

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

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

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

9779163877?profile=original19.06.13

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

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

Dinner veg the other night along with some fried eggplant.

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

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

Have planted more cuttings out there to take advantage.

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

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

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

9779166078?profile=original02.07.13

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

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

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

02.07.13

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

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

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

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

Pepino Melon Care thumbnail

05.07.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779170283?profile=originalDreadful silverbeet, great carrots.

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

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

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

9779172855?profile=original18.07.13

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

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

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

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

9779121490?profile=original9779176068?profile=original

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779076856?profile=original21.07.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779187092?profile=original24.07.13

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

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

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

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

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

9779189270?profile=original26.07.13

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

28.07.13

Crop from the potato tower. See seperate blog.

9779061060?profile=originalSnails in the strawberry patch.

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

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

9779192052?profile=original01.08.13

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

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

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

09.08.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779195693?profile=original11.08.13

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

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

16.08.13

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

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

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

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

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

9779198673?profile=original18.08.13

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

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

9779199882?profile=original25.08.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just two of the colours of nasturtium out there.

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

9779202077?profile=original31.08.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779204859?profile=originalCallistemons...

9779204697?profile=originaland the Melaleuca.

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

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

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END OF SEASON NOTES:

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

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

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

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

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2013 SPRING SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

9779084087?profile=originalThe season has started out dry. The mornings are still crisp and cool but the days are occasionally hot. The tank is down to 1000lt so I'm back to using town water to keep things alive, with a new longer hose that reaches all parts of the backyard.

"Tidy me" wants to clean up the backyard, but "messy me" is saying leave it alone! as both the honey and native bees are still enjoying the nasturtium trailing all over the place and the mass of yellow flowers on the blooming Red Mizuna, now developing into seed.

9779085053?profile=originalSo many cherry toms I picked half a bucket full the other day and tried (unsuccessfully) to turn them into jam. Now have three jars of Swt Tomato Sauce.. for icecream ?? ...doesn't sound quite right.

9779085663?profile=originalThe new front yard garden is growing well beyond my expectations. All the herbs and seeds planted (toms. tomatillo, rocket, flowers) are ultra green and healthy. Must be the decomposing grass clippings which aren't just nutritious but also act like a sponge, holding the water.

This is the bed back at the end of May...

9779086079?profile=original..and now, three and a bit months later.

9779086487?profile=originalThe three surviving rhubarb are doing well.

9779087661?profile=originalThe pepino are growing and cropping so well on this western side of the house. I've had enough to share some with neighbours and visitors - trying to create converts!

9779087877?profile=originalI've planted Pepino all along the front fence. At some point no doubt, passers-by will realise that the big globular fruit are worth nicking :/ This bed has been mulched with more donated grass clippings.

9779088868?profile=original9779090272?profile=originalThe Dwf Wurtz avocado is blooming profusely. Don't hold out much hope that this will be a year when fruit set as the plant is still only 3yrs old.

9779091070?profile=originalRemembered to check the yellow dragonfruit the other day and was pleased to find two had finally yellowed. They take much longer to ripen than the red ones and are much thornier (multi-pronged thorns fall off when ripe - right onto the ground where I can stick myself with them!).

Severely disappointed in the size of the fruit - each providing two teaspoons of fruit lol, but what fruit! The flavour was much more intense than the mild flavoured red. There are two more fruit left on the plant, both are four teaspoon fruit!

9779091467?profile=originalThe Jaboticaba continues to grow well and doesn't mind the friendly choko giving it a hug. A couple more years to wait for fruit on this one though there looks to be some tiny nobs suspicioulsy like little flower buds.

9779092082?profile=originalThe strawberry patch has been incredible this season - I can forgive it for giving me almost nothing in previous years. No real problems - the odd snail and some fruit rotting on the plant. All normal stuff.

9779093064?profile=originalMade some Cassava Cake following Joseph's recipe HERE.  Quite good. Certainly substantial.

9779093659?profile=originalSo pleased with the sweet potato tower experiment that I've set up three new bags (waiting for Bunnings to get the promised frames in).

Note the different leaf types - this is the white skinned/ purple centred. This one doesn't shoot as well from the tuber as the others. Begged some cuttings from Joseph....

9779094280?profile=originalPurple skinned/white centred....

9779094673?profile=original...and purple skinned/purple centred (original cuttings from Ann Gibson).

9779095073?profile=originalSlightly blurry pic of the Seduction rose bursting into bloom again. One hardy rose that one!

9779096658?profile=originalThe Loofah has two nicely shaped fruit on it. Enough sponges for me for a year or more.

9779097256?profile=originalCarolyn's chilli plant is showing strong regrowth after a cutback and feed. Trying, once again, to grow Ginger in the blue pot from store bought rhizome. Matthew has since given me some better root stock but still waiting for these to show their head above ground.

9779097673?profile=originalThe Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry is showing new growth and fruit developing despite it being so dry. Fruit is ripening and delicious! Scott and Alison were visiting and we all managed a little taste.

9779098458?profile=originalThe Ruttabaga (swede) was a dismal failure. Plants were sickly from the start. Tubers were bitter. Threw the lot on the compost pile.

9779098083?profile=originalCouldn't resist buying these cheap hand made junk-owls from Albany Gdns Nursing Home stall. Bit of fun :)

9779099453?profile=originalCrumbled and bought a couple of peanut seedlings from Bunnings as I was having no success growing my own from seed. Then found one growing near the fig this morning.

9779099275?profile=originalEvan's Babaco is putting out new growth. Keeping it in a pot seems to be part of the trick of keeping this alive. Will eventually plant it out in a mounded/raised area....somewhere, lord knows.

9779099688?profile=original14.09.13

Very excited to find dozens of APANTELE GLOMERATUS hatching out this morning from cocoons on my brassica leaves. These little predators of caterpillars were in turn being hunted by tiny spiders.

Their tiny bodies are only 0.5cm long and they were flying in clouds around their hatching spots, or just drying out their little wings after hatching.

19.09.13

Paul Wood delivered my new top bar beehive on Sunday :) Very beautiful and my early Christmas prezzie to me (thanks to the tax dept xx).

We placed it so the girls would hopefully create a flight path out over the raised beds but they had their own ideas, and fly out to the left of the one entrance left open (to help keep marauders at bay until they have created a strong hive).

9779101088?profile=original05.10.13

One good storm and a bit of drizzle here and there hasn't been enough to break the dry and I'm long back to watering to keep important plants alive. Annette Mcfarlane was telling us September is generally the dryest month of the year. Didn't know that :/ but good info to have. My cucumber seedlings are still struggling along but won't be planting out any more seed until some decent rain comes and deeply waters the beds.

My hive has produced at least one Queen cell that I can see from the viewing panel. Paul wants me to report when it hatches. He was telling me last night that the hive will probably have a few of these cells throughout and the Queens will either fight it out for supremacy or the workers will decide who lives and who dies. It would be wonderful for me to catch the mating flight, but unlikely.

New FT job starting on Tuesday with Burnie Brae as the Activities Officer :) Can hopefully link some of the stuff I do through BLF and the upcoming Burpengary Community Gardens workshops with this.

I've put a smallish water feature behind the hive to provide them with water. Added two of my food plants - Kangkong and Lebanese Cress, to help them access the water without falling in. Yet to see a bee anywhere near it or the bird bath, so have no idea where they're getting their water from at present.

9779101474?profile=originalPepino fruit have been attacked by Fruit Fly....which finally got me motivated to refresh the Wild May fruit fly trap. Supposed to be done every couple of weeks apparently :/ Good grief.

13.10.13

Weather is still hot and crispy dry. No chance of planting any seeds or seedlings and have to find the time to water important plants now that I am back at work full time at BB.

Paul (Wood) came over yesterday for my catch-up visit - we opened the hive and seperated the bars carefully using a large knife run up between the comb and the wall of the hive and then lifting the bar straight up. It looked from the outside as if the combs were crossed between the bars, but inspection showed the combs were simply very wide or built from one side of the bar.

One sticking-out bit on one comb, near the bar, had to be removed carefully - cut right out. The other end was also bulging, but cutting this out would mean little holding the comb in place at the top, so it was just parred back. Had my first taste of my own honey :) Biased, but it was extremely delicious. Very intense flavour.

9779101879?profile=originalOne good thing - my Jaboticaba (black), which can't be more than three or four years old, is producing a few fruit. I've been told repeatedly that it won't fruit until about the 7th year. Perhaps this is when it gets into full swing with fruiting. Pity the Yellow J. died.

9779103055?profile=original23.10.13

Finding it difficult to fit in gardening/watering time with the new job at BB. Out there watering at 5.15am or after work late in the arvo which isn't good.

Checked on the Jaboticaba the other day and was stunned to see they had grown into this in a mere two weeks. Still too firm to pick but can't be too far off being edible. 10 little fruit. My very first :)

9779103472?profile=originalA few zuchinni developing on the plants bought as seedlings from Bunnings one day. Front yard.

9779103880?profile=originalThe Nectarine is doing very well out the front, but the heat is playing havoc with the other plants. This is the end that gets the most sun - the toms are getting sunburned.

9779104096?profile=originalThe slightly cooler end (left) with the Rhubarb is faring a little better.

9779104691?profile=originalThe few Cardoon plants that struggled through the wet winter have decided to go to seed without every having been any use. Never mind, will give me fresh seed and the bees love the purple flowers.

9779105856?profile=originalOut the back. I refilled the middle bed with the compost pile at the weekend - have planted Edamame (ex Joseph) top end and Snake Beans down the bottom end. Have some corn seed planted in seedling trays (Bub helped) for the middle.

Had to replant most of the cucumber seed on Bed 3 (left) as only two of the Suyo Long took. The Prof. Mary Sheehan all died in the heat and I don't think I have more seed.

Still very dry weather despite a bit of rain about a week back. Daily watering required to keep things alive. The custard apple at the back corner of the pic has dropped all it's leaves again despite a deep watering. It always seems to come back.

9779105495?profile=originalThe Lychee doesn't seem to have set any fruit at all. Pepino are all being ruined by FF.

09.11.13

Only a few more weeks of "spring" left. Hot and dry on the whole though this morning is exceptionally beautiful weather and temp. Very peaceful with just the sound of birds and the odd car going past and woof from my dogs. Nice. I have a pretty little pigeon turns up each morning just after dawn looking for a free feed outside the aviary. Unfortunately the doves have also twigged and there will now be an explosion of dove babies on the scene.

I walked outside the front door with a cuppa this morning to be greeted with an intense sound of buzzing and nectar birds feeding. The Lillypilly in the front yard was in full bloom again, something it does regularly throughout the year, but this time my very own bees were making the most of the blossom. Very nice to see :)

9779106860?profile=originalOne of the girls at work.....

9779107873?profile=originalI have finally! gotten around to re-doing the pots on the front porch. Little heartbreaking to dump the non-productive plants I've been carefully nurturing for over a decade onto the compost pile but they are only plants. The strawberry pot (useless thing) is going to a neighbour...eventually. It's d'd heavy to move.

9779108687?profile=originalHanging baskets have been replanted with herbs and flowers.....

9779109899?profile=originalNew pots have been planted with Tahitian Spinach and the one remaining Babaco (from Evan)....

9779110861?profile=original...and the very pretty Purple Yam bought from my fruit market some time back and now growing well. Needs a bigger pot eventually.

9779111075?profile=originalCocoyam bought from Yandina Community Gdns for $2. Planted up with some herbs and flowers.

9779111689?profile=original14.11.13

We have rain! Through the night and it seems to be a reasonable amount. Things should start growing again soon.

A few carrot plants are going to seed, first time ever to me.

9779111299?profile=originalOne of the three surviving Cardoon is blooming. The prettiest thing.

9779112272?profile=originalPurple potatoes from Joseph are growing strongly.

9779113277?profile=originalBoth figs, this white one in a pot and the black one in the garden, are both developing little fruit. Look HERE to see how the tiny Fig Wasp (there seems to be a few different varieties) pollinate the flowers.

9779114090?profile=originalElderflower cuttings are growing well. Being warned about suckering with these plants but I am looking forward to making cordial from the flowers. One of the cuttings is already flowering and normally I would cut this off, but it is such a hardy plant I don't think it's necessary.

9779115656?profile=originalThe Youngberry is cropping also, enough for two or three of the large berries per day. Must take a pic.

19.11.13

Here's the Youngberry fruit. Nothing mindblowing but quite nice - tart/sweet flavour and a juicy mouthful.

9779115866?profile=original

The Dwf Ducasse bunch is plumping up nicely.

9779116483?profile=original

Here's more of the Cardoon blooming - the pollinators, bees, beetles and ants, just love these gorgeous flowers.

9779116895?profile=originalThe native beehive is still going great guns. I've moved them a tich closer to the Pineapple Sage and added a potplant that helps hold down the lid and will provide shade during summer as it grows.

9779117688?profile=originalWe had quite an intense hail/rain/wind storm here last night around 5pm. Just before I had to go out for dinner! Small hail, not a lot of damage.

9779117899?profile=original9779118500?profile=original9779119669?profile=original23.11.13

Almost at the end of Spring. After this weeks storms and bits of rain, the grass is greening (means mowing) and the fruit trees are blooming.

The Custard Apple dropped all it's leaves, promptly put out shoots and is now flowering.

9779120101?profile=originalThe Carombola is following suit....

9779119295?profile=original

9779120679?profile=original...and the Soursop.

9779121686?profile=original9779122257?profile=originalLittle eggplant seedlings are self sowing happily in Bed 3...

9779122875?profile=original...and the Asparagus is making a comeback.

9779123064?profile=originalI harvested my first honey yesterday. Clumsily done at 5am due to time contraints. Paul suggests more like 10am when the workers are out, which means weekends only.

9779123294?profile=original24.11.13

Good rain last night! Couldn't have planned it better for a Sunday morning at home. Have now planted out all the plants and seedlings I've been nurturing along in pots waiting for some wet weather:

Jicama, Jeruselum Artichoke, Purple Yam, Cardoon, Ginger, Elderflower, Pigeon Pea, Salvias of various types, Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides or New Zealand Spinach), Five Spice (Coleus amboinicus var variegatus - described as a cooking herb with an Oregeno type flavour).

Below: Warrigal Greens

Below: Five Spice

large-prod-9583962-Coleus_amboinicus_var.jpg?osCsid=f718e2d91c09805715e8aa8b4aa052cd

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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.

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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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May Garden after the pumpkin vines ~

Having cleared the pumpkin vines, it exposed some available ground.. I’ve asked Albert to remove a line of bricks in between the veggies beds and the row of fruit trees, and dug a trench that’s one spade deep and one spade wide in its place. I then put in a layer of horse manure, scattered some blood & bone, and wood ash, mix it up with a bit of soil and put the dug up soil back in the trench to make a long narrow raised bed ~

I’ve transplanted some sugarloaf cabbages, and broccoli seedlings, a couple of lavender seedlings, planted some tulip and anemone bulbs, and garlic gloves into this raised bed ~ The sugarloaf cabbages are growing well, except for those which were not harden off before planting, these leaves turned red and were stunt .. they're now turning green slowly though. I think the bigger elephant garlic gloves have sprouted, but not the small ones and the flower bulbs...

The luffa and pumpkin in the avocado bed’s been cleaned up yielding two big luffas, some young luffas, and three immature pumpkins. A wheelbarrel load of mulch, grass clippings and soil were swept up from the chook run and dug into this part of the bed, then I’ve transplanted some carnation, and rainbow silverbeet seedlings to there ~ They didn't grow much in the past two weeks though.....


Emptied pots and trays are filled with home made seed raising mix (Just soil + coir + a little bit of blood & bone) again, and new seeds were sown. I’ve sown some more broccoli, and rainbow silverbeet, plus shepard’s purse (horrible tiny seeds), spinach, and leeks. I had the seed raising mix at just the right fluffy moisture level, and then I accidentally tipped over half a bucket of water into it… so it was a soggy mess when I scoop them into pots and planted seeds into them.. hope it’ll be alright… Leeks, and broccoli are the only ones germinated so far...


I’ve also sown some ornamental lupin into the legume bed too ~ and I think most of these have germinated.. The chooks have dug up the radishes I planted a few weeks .. I've planted some more plus carrots and parsnips into the small roots bed and covered it with some branches from the giant ginger flowers.. hope that will deter them and the birds...


The large root bed is growing green manure for nematodes at the moment.. sown marigold first, waited a couple of weeks but still didn't any germination.. then I sown some rocket, and they germinated quickly. This photo shows the marigolds started germinating when the rocket are on their first set of true leaves ... I've sown some black mustard in the bare patches where nothing germinated...

This one below was taken on 29th of May, the marigolds have disappeared under the fast growing rocket ^^ I think rocket makes good green manure as far as being fast growing goes ^^

One of the leghorns’ (Ingham) laying again after 6 months of broodiness + moulting (very shiny white feathers atm, but that’ll change soon after a few dust baths in mud… ) One of the new chicks just commenced laying too ~ although the Araucana who’s been the sole layer for the last few months have stopped laying and started moulting.. but I am hopeful we may be able to stop buying eggs again soon :)


Still heps of work to do though, very much behind with all my autumn plantings.... plannning to plant those sweet potato cuttings that were sitting in a bucket for a while.. probably a bit too late, but will give that a try anyways.. Gotta plant some more peas too ~ Angela's blue this time ~ can't wait to see them :)

I still haven't got around to prune the fruit trees ... my peach is flowering again in May/June!! This tree is so confused..

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Ridiculous tubers

Must be time for a progress report. I've actually been out of action (but all over the computer you may have noticed) as I had my tonsils out, which was very unpleasant (much better now). So the garden has suffered several weeks of neglect. Today I finally had a go at it.

This is the perennial basil bush, the rosemary and a blue plumbago (which attracts those little clouds of powder blue/ grey butterflies) - all sporting their Autumn haircuts.

This is a Blue Lake climbing bean, which is coming good since I gave it some support. The pile of green is another giant bean that was growing on the fence - also Blue Lake I think - the neighbours took exception to it, so I chopped it down. Pity :) It had just flowered. I don't put things in that spot (it's too near their kitchen window, I think it might block their morning light) - it's just that this one self seeded.

I had left the garbage bin lid I usually harvest into lying on the ground under the pumpkin leaves - and found a blue tongue lizard living under it :)

The banana passionfruit over the chook pen is producing well - and the chooks seem to be actually eating the seeds! Hooray, they're not completely stupid :) Note we had to protect the base of the passionfruit vine with some chook wire so they didn't scratch the roots out too much. The passionfruit has scrambled up over the mulberry tree canopy which also covers the chook pen - they seem to coexist quite happily. I'll probably cut the passionfruit back soon and then the mulberry can fruit unimpeded. A nice sort of chook house guild (the chooks eat the mulberry fruits and especially the small insects they attract as well).

They're producing eggs again, although they are still moulting a few little feathers. Their big wing feathers are back in - I will have to clip them again. Note our girls share a nest, even though there is room for them to have one each. They are odd. They also spurn the roost and sleep sitting on the bedding hay...They have mites again. I cleaned out the straw, dusted with Pestene (rotenone) and chopped some lemon grass in. I will probably catch them and give them a spray with Frontline each (very nasty MSDS on that - but I get a bit desperate). I think if they used their roost they would get less mites. I cannot convince them though. I've tried all different sizes of dowel - they're just not interested. They like sleeping in the pawpaw tree, the mulberry tree, or in their bedding straw.

Here is the inside of the banana pawpaw circle. It is absolutely groaning with garden waste at the moment. It's amazing how quickly it will all boil away though. Now that Council is charging for green waste wheelie bins it's sort of like a big pile of money to have this - and it produces bananas and pawpaws! I do think that there are cane toads living in it though.

The pawpaws and bananas are all doing well - we're getting about one large ripe pawpaw per week (perfect!), there are 4 large bunches of bananas growing, and one of the bananas is lowering a very promising big fat bell right at the moment.

This is our lemon tree, also sporting a hair cut to keep it low and wide. Our lemons are ripening up. The tree loves the dirty chook straw as mulch. I also have a compost bin sitting next to it (which is fairly slow and neglected) and I gave it a big shot of dynamic lifter before Summer. It's displaying a good healthy colour I think (deep dark green is what you want).

This is the pot bound lime tree. Something has eaten all of the foliage off the oregano at its base! Could be the chooks, they have been out everyday, but I don't think so. I think it might be a caterpillar or something - I need to have a closer look. Something has also eaten all of the mint leaves. Not happy! See the lime tree has a bad yellowish colour? It really isn't happy, despite lots of dynamic lifter as well. At least it's putting on new growth and even producing some limes this year since I put a spade through its roots a few time (aka root pruning), but it needs more help before it can be considered rescued.

Here is the vegie garden - the marigolds are all broken in now. I'm about to remove the stems and spread Rachael's horse manure, then lever everything open with a crowbar (not digging, not turning - just stab, lean and make earthquakes everywhere to get air in and break any compaction, and to create clods without upsetting the microbial layering).

The pecan tree is doing well. This spot is probably slightly too shady for it - it will need to get its canopy up into the sun before it's really happy I think. Still you can see it has nice happy foliage. I never water or feed it all (literally never).

My main job today was to clear away the pumpkin vines (enough is enough! although they were still making new ones!!). I also dug up the jerusalem artichoke which has died back. We have rather a lot of starchy vegetables as a result!! The sweet potato driveway has gone absolutely beserk. We could feed our entire street for a week on baked sweet potato (seriously). I can smell baking vegetables as I write this :) You know, I'm still not sick of it - it's absolutely delicious :) It really is a living larder - they just keep getting bigger and making more, and they're always there when we need one (or ten...). They're $3 a kilo at the local shop, so I figure our driveway is worth a small fortune :)

Now this is just silly. These are just from today's efforts. We've already been eating and giving away pumpkin for weeks as it is!!

Here are the giant piles of pumpkin vines that I cleared (sorry, I had the camera on the wrong focal setting). Note the lovely clear space where the vines were - ready for anything!

More view of the good cultivating job the pumpkins did (the ground was mulched and weed free when we started, and we pulled out some maturing grass clumps once, but the dense leaf canopy kept the ground clear the rest of the time).

Another fuzzy one (oops!) showing the ground preparation job done by the pumpkins (note the grass down the bottom is our one piece of lawn near the back door - very shaggy cos we couldn't mow it with pumpkin vines all over it! The pumpkins won't clear lawn for you, but they will keep ground clear if it was to start with).

So once I removed all the pumpkins and mad rampant sweet potato vines from all over the place I found potato plants growing! Obviously I left some in last year (oops! drat!! some of them were really big too!).

Like these big potato mamas, that I found in the hole I made when excavating for jerusalem artichokes. Note that there are potatoes, sweet potatoes and jersulem artichoke all slugging it out for space in the same place! It's like a demented tuber war (and it was covered by a producing pumpkin vine!). Every time I put my hand in I came out with mad amounts of edible things. It's sort of surreal...

These dead stalks are another jerusalem artichoke plant that I haven't excavated yet. I will have to deal with the first lot first. I think probably soup, and I will freeze it.

My turmeric plants have gone tragic in preparation for retreating underground for the winter.

To my surprise the water chestnut hasn't died back yet! I have bandicooted some out and there are obviously hundreds in there, but they were only medium sized and some didn't have strong black skin yet, so I'm leaving them go still. I've only given them 3 buckets of water since they've been out of the pond, but they don't seem to mind at all! Hopefully they're all getting fat in there. They were lovely and sweet. I did take photos of the ones we got out but I've misplaced them...

One of the best things about gardening days is that the kids come out and play happily in the garden - much more so than if we're not out there too. My little 5 year old makes mad cooking and fairy installations, which I find in many odd places. I love this world of nature and imagination that they find in our yard. They sing and play dress ups and imagination games and are completely aborbed for hours - it's wonderful.

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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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