peas (14)

2016 WINTER - JUNE TO AUGUST

04.06.16

No rain for two months and the entire garden is drooping. Last night we finally had some good rain and I thoroughly enjoyed the sound of it on the roof and plants through the open front door while I slept. 

Very nice indeed :) This should pick up the garden.

The weather has remained too warm through Autumn - all the cabbage white caterpillars are still doing damage to my growing crop of broccoli and cauli and cane toads are still mooching around the yard at night.

I have decided the latter are probably helping me out by eating some of those crop demolishing roaches which now permeate all of my veg beds and the compost pile. The roaches do their thing as well - breaking down plant material, but when they get stuck into my newly planted seedlings and fell them like little trees I am not happy!

6am and still dark out. I will try to get some photos when it gets light.

The sight of rain dancing into the bird bath after months of dry got me very excited.

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I have replanted beans and peas from seed and seedling three or four times but the conditions just didn't suit them. Finally have some purple bean action going on.

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For the first time ever I seem to be having some strawberry success and it's due to the little wicking pot I made them from a cheap rubbish bin from Bunnings. I did have to buy a soldering iron to poke the hole through the plastic. As per Elaine's long running experiments with wicking beds this is filled with nothing but soil and works just fine.

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I am thrilled and fascinated by this self sown red pawpaw. Most likely grew from the composted horse poo I have been using. The fruit are red, sweet and delicious - waiting on this lot to start ripening - they do seem to take longer than the yellow.

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Bit blurry and still dark outside, I was sneaking up on this little honey eater with a large umbrella in one hand and the flashing camera in the other. First time I've seen birds making use of the purple salvia which I had given up as just decorative. I've also seen the Blue Banded Bees visiting the flowers so I have a good reason to keep it growing now.

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27.06.16

I usually take my photos just before the sun rises, but these mornings that's not until I'm about ready to leave for work about 6.30am. So a serious lack of photos at the moment.

Finally some chill in the air the last few days and it's been drizzling off and on as well - the rain water tank is full. Hopefully this will slow the destruction of the caterpillars still out there working on my precious cauli and broccoli plants.

Lots of gorgeous fresh lettuce to eat in a variety of leaf shape and colour. Greens galore - asian, collard, spinach. Some chew marks on these but still plenty for me.

03.07.16

Finally got some photos this weekend. It's cold. Sitting here rugged up in many layers of clothing and uggs. Hands are freezing and have to go for periodic warming up between my now chilled thighs.

Some of the lettuce of many varieties dotted all around the beds wherever there was a gap. They prefer full sun. They just keep on giving. Some seedling grown, some seed grown.

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Cauli action at last! Can't wait.

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When you buy seedlings from others you sometimes get surprises. Not sure what this is yet...but it's edible!

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Rob gave me a tiny seedling for a Mini Pepino Solanum caripense recently. The plant has grown substantially and I notice yesterday was affected by some kind of virus causing the leaves to curl. Was cutting back the affected parts of the plant and found these little fruit, about marble size. Not ripe - I bit into one. NOTE: I eventually cut this plant right back but if it's anything like it's Pepino relative it will bounce back.

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I planted a couple of Lovage seedlings - don't think I've grown this useful herb before. Like an intensely flavoured celery. Grows easily unlike celery. Useful in salads, soups and casseroles.

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This season I tried three different Asian green seedlings. The really short one (Bok Choy?) grew quickly and died off quickly - good for stir fries. The mid sized one is still growing but I'm not finding a lot of use for it. But this tall one continues to grow well after many weeks and has proven to be very useful as a repeat cropper and steamed green. You can see it's very popular with the caterpillars also, but plenty for me. 

Kohlrabi on the left. Garlic growing under all this - hope it survives.

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I do like Sorrel...in a salad or on a sandwich. A good, slightly bitter, herb. The plain green one (French?) does well for me but this red veined variety is a little pickier about how and when it grows well.

50 THINGS TO DO WITH FRESH SORREL

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03.07.16

Bit of a surprise - I checked the Jaboticaba today and lo and behold it is producing it's next lot of flowers already. Not sure if it is confused by the weather or if this is normal. Check the JABOTICABA BLOG HERE for cropping times of this tree so far.

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09.07.16

I'm having some success with store bought chitted potatoes growing for me this season. Those little pale coloured jobs, not sure of the variety but probably Sebago.

I've planted them out some weeks back in the broken down compost pile and this morning mounded them with composted horse poo and topped with lucerne. The latter is apparently to prevent any greening of my spuds. 

According to the blurb I have read I'm thinking these are indeterminate or repeat cropping, due to the height they have reached in growth. Determinates stay low....apparently. New to all this in relation to spuds. Have only known the term in relation to toms before. (Thanks here to Cres for bringing the subject up.)

See this VIDEO which explains the difference between the determinate and indeterminate types in detail.

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31.07.16

Last day of July and despite some really warm days in the late 20's this is a nippy one. One month of "winter" to go. I'm taking two weeks off mid August and hope to get some much needed tidying up done around the yard...along with some relaxing.

What's happening - well, the pawpaws have cropped well all through winter but the fruit of this particular tree out the front (all the good croppers face west btw) is now out of reach. Great pity. But I just have no way of personally reaching them.

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Meanwhile, these two trees are still well within reach with my little three step ladder. All excellent sweet fruit.

9779206069?profile=original9779206872?profile=originalOne of two giant sprouting chokos (gone to good home in Dayboro with Lynn) on the right (the second now planted) compared to one I didn't eat that is also sprouting. Found during a tidy up.

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Broccoli is a bit disappointing this season though still plenty for me alone. NOTE: Since come good!! Lots of brocolli.

9779207867?profile=originalSmall but quality caulis growing well enough now the caterpillars have stopped.

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The Jaboticaba is both fruiting and flowering at the same time! Such a prolific plant. My favourite.

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A few hardy honey bees venture out on this cold morning but the others hang around the entrance waiting for more sunlight to warm things up.

Lifted the lid for an inspection of the hive yesterday and there was a young rat sitting there looking back at me with soft little eyes. Ohhhh. Got the old dog and showed him the rat, but the rat being young and agile and the dog being old and stiff, the rat got away.

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The SNB's have also been very active once the days warm up. They seem to enjoy being snuggled into the white choko and purple salvia plants.

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There's plenty of flowers going on - Salvia, this Seduction Rose, nasturtium etc.

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Volunteer lettuce are everywhere along with the nasturtium and a pumpkin.

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Earlier photo of some of the carrots from seedlings bought from the Caboolture Mkt. Bought as "purple or orange" they're obviously of a stumpy variety.

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Rocket is another plant I adore eating. Seed sprinkled around the tops of pots proves rewarding.

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The sweet potato are growing well this time around using just Searles potting mix and moving the grow bags to new location to thwart the potato weevil. This is the purple/purple from cuttings provided again by Anne Gibson, thank you Anne, after my first lot went west by accident.

Note the leaf shape - sharply tri-pointed, and purple colour of the stems.

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And a purple/white nicked out of one of the other bags. Perfect. Leaves for this plant are heart shaped.

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07.08.16

Yay, I have two weeks holiday. Love my work but it's so nice to have a break from the long days and all the driving. Not feeling the best. I have an incipient sore throat and back pain in my upper and lower back from a couple of different episodes. Massage today. Move the pile of mulch tomorrow....if I can. 

Went to the market yesterday and despite the fact that my beds are still chocka with winter plants cropping I went ahead and bought dozens of new seedlings. 

Bought: mixed lettuces (the original ones are still viable but going to seed - the volunteers are coming up all over the backyard), broccoli and cauli (trying for some last minute crop before the heat sets in), leeks (the young lady thought I said I wanted leeks and I didn't dissuade her), that tall asian green (forgot to remember the name again), silverbeet (what can I say, ever the optimist when it comes to silverbeet and it's rellies). 

I pulled out some spent cauli and old greens that weren't looking so hot and found room for all the new seedlings somehow. Probably too much shade from the existing brassica leaves but, I can hope.

While sorting out space for the new seedlings I found some crop hidden around the place. Another Kohlrabi was roasted with dinner along with some broccoli and cauli with some home grown carrots.

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Very excited to have some success with spuds this season. Was watering this morning and found one of the spud plants dying so decided to see what was at the end of the vine (on the left in the pic). Very nice surprise.

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29.08.16

Well, here we are the end of another cool weather growing season in Brisbane and it's been a very productive one in my garden. Lots of quality veg for the kitchen and some success with potato growing. Fruiting trees are kicking into action with the promise of good things to eat in the not too distant future.

It may also be my last cool weather season here with my garden as the house will no doubt go on the market before too long as my old dog is on his last legs (has cost me a small fortune at the vets but he still enjoys life despite his breathing difficulties at night) so I'm glad it has been a bumper one.

I didn't think the broccoli would amount to anything this season, which has been unseasonably warm, but it all came good in the end.

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My front verge is coming into it's own. Very hard to establish plants in this west facing garden in summer. I've planted some dwarf callistemons, daisies, lavender, pineapple sage, rosemary, parsley, nasturtiums and marigolds. Looking pretty.

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I finally have some new (white and green) choko vines establised after the Madagascar Bean vine smothered the last one about a year back. Choko is another plant difficult to establish in the heat.

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I've tried growing edible chrysanthemums (or Shungiku) from seed many times without success, but found these seedlings at the Caboolture Markets last weekend. Everyone tells me how nice they are to eat in salads and Japanese cooking. An annual that self seeds apparently.

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Many of us around Brisbane struggle to grow large types of Capsicum. I have been buying the mini Caps from the shops and planting out the fresh seed immediately into the beds with some success. As I cut them up I replant the seed again. Fresh is best. Leaving them to sit on a plate for a day or two doesn't provide the same results of new seedlings.

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Volunteer lettuce has come up everywhere this year, including in the Ginger pot.

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The Dwarf Pink Shatoot Mulberry took some time to come into it's own but promises a bumper crop this season.

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Lettuce of many type going to seed for next winter.

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And the usual  winter profusion of flowers including Nasturtium, Salvia and Amaranths.

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Have to include this pic of my daughter Clare in her Library at Alice Springs with the delightful Costa who was visiting. 

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Read more…

2016 AUTUMN - MARCH TO MAY

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

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

It's a jungle out there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Little embryo white chokos on the female flowers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before and after some pulling.

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

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

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

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

Lavender salvia with red salvia behind.

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Purple Salvia with Blue Banded Bee.

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Pale blue salvia.

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Pink salvia with blue (edible) Clitorea ternatea vine.

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

Plant donated at a GV from unknown member.

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

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

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

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

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

Remember the quest for a true Tree Collard?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From an old posting by Scarlett

Taro = Colocasia esculenta; 

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

Tahitian spinach = Xanthosoma brasiliense.

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

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Stem to leaf join on the Tahitian Spinach.

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Stem to leaf join on the Cocoyam and Taro.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28.03.16

What a delightful Easter break this has been.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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30.04.16

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

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

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03.04.16

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

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

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

04.04.16

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

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

10.04.16

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

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

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

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

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16.04.16

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

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

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

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

This lot planted out purely in Searles potting mix.

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17.04.16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30.04.16

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

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

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

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

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

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Caulis from bought seedlings growing well.

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

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A few happy sunflower faces from broadcast bird seed.

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Mini caps grow well from seed in store bought fruit.

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

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

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

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

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01.05.16

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

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

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15.05.16

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

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

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28.05.16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mid winter harvests

9779187661?profile=originalToday's weekly harvest from the garden.  After being away for a week, I was champing at the bit to get back into my garden.  Watering needed to be done and I needed to do some general maintenance tasks and pick stuff.  This is by no means everything we eat from the garden in a week, usually I'll run out and grab a zucchini, spinach or celery stick as needed but I find that once a week, I really need to do the stuff that takes a bit of time - ie harvesting beans can be quite time consuming.  The wicking beds work really well for that as I am a firm believer in multi-tasking - I can be watering and harvesting at the same time :)  We are not buying anything from the brassica family at all! I have cauliflowers (about 1 every 2-3 weeks), broccoli (weekly) and cabbage (monthly). 

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More eggplant than you can imagine - this is all from 1 listada de gandia plant (the four in the harvest photo were cut off BEFORE this photo was taken).  Can't recommend this variety enough! It is so pretty and vigorous.  After listening to Sabrina Hann on Perth talkback who said that if you have a good eggplant, you can leave it in the ground for up to 3 years, mine is staying put.  It has taken me YEARS to find an eggplant that I like.  Not only that, but I have started experimenting with some eggplant recipes and have found that eggplant baked with lemon juice is DIVINE!

Speaking of lemons, while I was on holidays in the country, my brother has all these wild bush lemons coming up all over his cattle property - he usually slashes over them with his tractor and just keeps one or two closer to the house.  I used to eat them all the time as a kid - they are slightly sweeter than a lemon and are just beautiful.  I conned him into digging me up one.  Don't know how it will go though - it had a MASSIVE tap root that we had to cut off but it was the smallest one I could find amongst the waist high grass he had growing.  I have planted it in my *extended* backyard :)

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I've now harvested four beautiful strawberries from my Daley's strawberries and they are delicious.  I have 2 varieties - Redlands joy and Sugarbaby.  Some plants are doing better than others but hopefully the slow ones will catch up.  In total, I have 17 plants (I lost 3).

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I have raspberries????  What the?  About 2 years ago, I planted williamette and heritage raspberries and a young berry down the side garden.  After the first year, never got fruit off them again so pulled just about everything out and left what I thought was only the young berry because it occasionally got fruit.  Low and behold, I saw these today.  Obviously I missed one and it has decided to fruit.  I'm going to assume it is a williamette as they are definitely growing from  the side shoots of an old and crusty cane - floricanes - but from what I've read, it is NOT the season for them.  They seem to like their position so I'm going to keep them there - get rid of the young berry and hope for the best :)  There are about 4 clusters this size off one cane.

All I am buying from the shops at the moment for a family of 5 are mandarins, apples, oranges, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and the occasional onion.  Everything else is from the garden.  Fruit wise, we have pawpaws and soon oranges.  My bunches of bananas should be due to harvest within the month.  I'm getting the Diggers Melon variety pack so come September, I'm going nuts with the melons.  Carrots, I've had a real problem getting to germinate.  I've just bought a new bunch of seeds (Mr F topweight improved) so hope for some more success soon.  Planning a sweet potato bed in my *extended* backyard (next to the escaped pumpkin vine and bush lemon).   And the onion/garlic bed with potato onions from Yelweck farms and elephant garlic is looking great, so hopefully won't need to buy the few onions that I can't substitute spring onions for anymore.

 

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We are still eating pumpkin from my pumpkin vine in Feb -  I have 1 left in the cupboard and 1/2 one in the fridge.  Tomatoes are coming along despite a spider mite problem - I've sprayed with sulfer and hope it will solve the problem.  Beans, peas, Brassica's, spinach, spring onion, celery, herbs, lettuces, eggplant, beetroot and zucchini are all fresh.   9779191664?profile=original

Lastly, my roses that I planted 6 (?) weeks ago have been confused by all this warm weather.  I have my first beautiful rose from my bare rooted roses. 

That's it from me guys.  I'm having a garden visit in August so am working to have the garden in peak condition (fingers crossed) for everyone to look at.  Happy gardening people.

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2014 WINTER June to August

Nights are cool but the days beautiful. The garden is very productive despite my lack of time to look after it, and I get to eat my own fruit and veg daily. No time to do any watering as I leave for work around 6.30am soon after it's gotten light.

The Carambola has been exceptionally productive, giving me good fruit every day. Most fall and smash but some portion of them is edible. Throwing away many kgs of ruined fruit but also giving away a lot of good fruit.

9779131052?profile=originalRed Tamarillo are ripening. Yellow ripened some weeks ago. 

9779131275?profile=originalLots of smallish Pepino fruit developing and I've had a few to eat - really quite delicious and a definite favourite of mine. I cut back most of the patches of plant (still to get to some) which did them good. Fruit could be a lot bigger though - lack of water? nutrition? Still sweet and juicy despite their size.

9779131460?profile=originalThe fig out the back is trying to fruit out of season. NOTE: A short time later this plant dropped all it's leaves and developing fruit, just as it should.

9779131856?profile=originalIt's actually going to be a good year for Soursop after no fruit at all for about three years. Tree is covered in a dozen or more good fruit, some too high to reach. NOTE: The fruit started dropping from the tree in large numbers. I have given the tree a good soak in the hope that extra water during this dry period will help it hold it's large developing crop.

9779131878?profile=originalPlenty of good pawpaw both red and yellow. 9779132069?profile=originalThis is Deer Tongue lettuce. Almost lost these as only one plant survived last time to give me seed. I just tuck seed down beside the beds and cover a little with mulch. The seeds come up when they're ready.

9779132477?profile=originalRuttabaga, or Swede, one of my favourite root veg for winter soups and stews or baked. Apparently good made into chips or mashed also. These are from the second half of the packet of seed I bought last year which performed so dismally for me then.

9779133053?profile=originalNOTE: 31.07.14 Crop from the Ruttabaga. Sweet, crunchy and delicious.

9779133258?profile=originalSnow Peas are still going strong. Nice, but I would much rather have had Sugar Snap pods but that's what I get for using commercial seedlings instead of growing what I really want from seed. NOTE: End of July, and these plants are still producing pods though in much smaller quantities.

9779132892?profile=originalHeaps of lovely crunchy little yellow Zuchinni.

NOTE: Beginning of August and these plants are producing plenty of good fruit still.

9779133856?profile=originalDaikon Radish-like veg still hasn't gone to seed. Will try to be patient. It has now been attacked by aphid. NOTE: Beginning of August and it is finally going to seed. Pretty convinced that it is a Daikon Radish.

9779133887?profile=originalEggplant are still growing new fruit. I've had enough to share around of these Listada di Gandia and the round mauve. Black have stopped.

NOTE: By the end of July I have removed all developing fruit as the plants are struggling.

9779134874?profile=originalReplanted Sweet potato towers x 3 are all going well. Goodness I like this idea, it has worked such a treat.

9779135661?profile=originalNew self watering herb garden bought from Productive Gardens. So far so good. Has to be better than those hanging baskets I insisted on using for the last 13yrs which dried out so quickly.

NOTE: A couple of plants have died for some reason - the Vietnamese Mint being one of them and it should love having it's feet wet all the time, so I guess it's just a seasonal problem. Everything else is thriving. The regular mints in particular seem to like it.

9779135698?profile=originalDaily broccoli crop - some caterpillar damage but not much. I run the head under the hot tap when I bring heads in to kill the caterpillars.

9779135883?profile=originalNOTE: It's the beginning of August and I still have daily Broccoli crop to eat. Staggering the seedling planting this year was the best thing I've done. The odd caterpillar still but most is free of any pest. The days have actually warmed up to 25C though the mornings are still nippy.

9779136456?profile=originalThe Nopales cactus have been flowering. Pretty, simple little flower which will hopefully lead to something edible in the fruit line.

NOTE: Fruit don't seem to get any bigger over time. They're still sitting there, looking just like this minus the little flower.

9779026879?profile=originalIn the front yard, I've been using the nice rounded fruit of the red pawpaw as a veg in chicken soups. Mmmmmm. Good warming winter tucker cooked along with some home grown ginger and chilli.

9779137258?profile=originalHave cropped dozens of small and large (folk at work prefer them big) choko. The plant is in hiatus, waiting for the next thunder storm to start cropping heavily again.

NOTE: Beginning of August and I have cut the plant right back again.

9779138465?profile=originalSelf sown Plantain, an edible weed, which I've grown very fond of. I use it a lot in soupy type meals but would no doubt be good in stir fry as well. Tends to keep it's shape in soups unlike other greens which disintegrate.

9779138670?profile=originalI've had a few strawberries to eat so far. Keep meaning to give the patch some manure.

NOTE: The patch is suffering from the current dry. I give it a drink each weekend but that doesn't seem to be enough.

9779138899?profile=originalAnd the best bit - some new raspberry canes, Chillwack from Garden Express, to go with the Williamette I bought from them some years back which have proven such a success.

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New addition - Saba Nut or Malabar Chestnut, Pachira glabra bought from Heart Garden Nursery.

Relative of the Baobab tree which shows in the tiny bloated trunk. Drought, flood and disease resistant and cropping within three years even the leaves are edible (it is deciduous). I have Peggy to thank for putting me on to this little beauty. Here's a really good VIDEO from Daley's Nursery.

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Cropped my one and only cauliflower a couple of days back. Not sure what happened to the other seedlings I planted but this one produced the goods. Good eating to the last bit!

9779140862?profile=originalAlso finally got around to cropping the Water Chestnuts and it was worth the year long wait.

Some good sized corms this year as opposed to last when I probably over planted the pot, being greedy. The picture below shows the entire crop (little corms are for replanting) and the pot replanted with good quality potting mix (Searles) and some Organic Xtra and replaced in it's bucket of water.

9779087885?profile=original02.08.14 A few good toms to be had. I'm not much of a tomato grower! I just leave them to their own devices and reap the rewards, if there are any.

9779141873?profile=originalCropped the Purple Yam growing in the pot (lack of anywhere else to put it). The vine died back so I took that as a sign that I should see what was below the ground - ugly son of a gun and slimy when cut. Ate these bits roasted. Not bad. Definitely an acquired taste. I grew up on regular potatoes and they are my preference but of course, they don't like to grow for us here in Brisbane.

9779141677?profile=originalStill plenty of yellow Zucchini on the two plants. I find them a bit flavourless but they are firm and beautiful to look at, good in a stew etc.

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2016

Out the front:  the building patch is still doing bugger all, in fact, it's mostly ornamental now.  The Mulberry seems to be thriving (although not right now due to winter).  The blood orange is dead.  The sugar cane is a real standout which I didn't expect.  The cumquats are being wasted because I have no room to freeze them since I shut down the second fridge.  The roses are doing well.  Native bees are flourishing. 

North side of the yard:

We did well with passionfruit again but it's finished now.  The Paw Paw has been removed (I have two beside the garage that are doing well).  I am now the proud owner of three banana trees.

Silverbeet and spinach are going really well and I have been in cherry tomatoes for months now.  The bell chilies have finished up but the Hallapinios have started replacing them.  I have a another year's supply of dried tumeric, chilie and undried ginger which is great.  Rosemary is doing fine.

New crop this year has been the Madagasca bean.  I am coming into crop 2 this year and am really enjoying them. Note to self: cut the damn thing back after this crop!

South side of the yard:

There is no sun on this side of the yard in winter!

Garlic does nothing.  The tuber bed (Yackon and Sweet Potato) are about to be harvested. I see evidence of tubers so I'm hoping for a good crop.  The Gooseberry is back with a vengence and producing well - about to make ginger and gooseberry jam again.  

Cabbages don't get enough sun to form.  The caulis are leggy too.  Snow peas are starting to flower so I hope they'll work.  Green beans are starting to produce.  

Chickens, quails, worms and fish are doing well.  I am egg self sufficient.   The quails are providing heaps of fertilizer.  We did okay from the fruit trees - 8 manderins, a few lemons and about 8 lemonades.  I think the fig needs to be moved to a sunnier part of the yard.  

Little Beny has an amazing ability to harvest lawn grubs.  The chooks love it!

2015

I'll update from the last few years. 

Out the front:  the building patch is slowly coming to life.  The blood orange remains (but is doing nothing - it needs to be moved) and the little mulberry seems to have sprung back to life.  I might even get some fruit from it.   The cumquats are still used for cumquatcello but the cumquat lemonade experiment should come to fruition in another month.  I have lots of cumquats frozen.  The new roses are great - I didn't expect the two flowers (on about 6 bushes) that I got, given the brief age of the bushes.

North side of the yard:

Snow peas did not perform at all this year.  LOTS of passionfruit on the vines.  Lots of Paw Paws on the trees. The sweet leaf was cut back this year. I know it will recover soon. (Thank goodness for my old blogs!)  I also found another use for the Cranberry Hibiscus. 

The Lots'a'lemons has produced about 6 lemons this year"  large and juicy and on such a tiny tree.  Bloody Percy the bush turkey dug up my Celon spinach - the bugger.  The larger banana tree is going well.  The Rosemary has died back - will wait and see.  I have lots of chilies. 

South side of the yard:

This side of the yard has really expanded. I am proud to be growing Glen Large, Elephant and some random shop bought garlic. Time will tell if they produce. The Yackon harvest would have been great next year, but stupid Percy has slaughtered bulbs.   Percy demolished my tuber bed.  I've wired over it now.  Percy also demolished my aquaponics beds. I've built a green house to keep him out.  

Tomatoes are finally growing well all over this side of the yard.  I've had no fruit yet, but should get heaps soon.  The dirt lettuce are doing well, as is the Kale and spinach.  I have lots of new Gooseberry bushes as well.  

Worms are doing quite well as are the fish.  Both provide a lot of fertilizer for the yard.  I've also expanded my compost with a 250 L bin on this side of the yard for the chicken poo.  

2014

Wow.  I can't believe the changes in my garden, especially in the big girls' yard.  This year's notes: 

I've learned that I have three real zones (I left the old picture of the whole site below to give you context, if you are interested).

Out the Front: The building patch is slowly getting more fertile with composting. It will take time.  It currently has the same lime as last year (the only "in place" survivor), a mulberry and a blood orange, with some ornamentals. 

Cumquats are mostly used for cumquatchello these days. 

North side of the yard

Snow peas are doing well now on this side.  Great passionfuit crop for the last few months.  Paw paws booming.  Cherry toms are producing nicely still.  The sweet leaf died off but I'm hoping it will come back soon. The little lotsa lemons from out of the building site is finally taking off in a pot up this side!

Oddly, the Celon spinach is suffering greatly. I may lose it.  

South side of the yard

Aquaponics are in and doing well, as are the chickens which have started to lay an egg or two a day.  

Lettuce does well in warm, not cold. I suspect the basil is the same. Perpetual spinach is an all year crop. Strawberries are starting to produce well at this time of year.  

The snow peas are doing very badly on this side!  Turnips are doing badly as well - the harvest was meagre. It's also my second year of failure with cauliflowers.  (Neither side appears to work.)  However, it is possible that I am confused because the wicking bed has too much soil from Bu... that big name hardware... that isn't really fertile. I'll need to build it up to ensure that isn't the problem. 

2013

It looks like I updated this entry several times, as the yard progressed. 

Rozie's Seat Goes Solar!:

First, Rozie's seat went vertical now, it's gone solar! Actually, there are a few things going solar these days. 

Winter Crop:

I appear to be coming to the end of my winter crop with the advent of Spring.  I got a great crop of snow peas:

The beans did much better than expected and tasted great!:

I ended up with 3 pumpkins which tasted really good:

The cumquats have produced more fruit than I can cope with.  I've already done one run of marmalaide. The picture shows them with the passionfruit that I mix in the marmalaide.  If anyone wants to come pick some cumquats to take home, just let me know!  Free of charge!

Oh, it was Abbey time - so a medieval style beard came and went.  Here's a little shot to tickle your fancy.

So - I guess it's time for Spring planting.... and possibly more crazy antics.    

Rozie's Seat Goes Vertical and The Turn of the Seasons... read from the top now...

Elaine and Lissa gave me some bean seeds which I planted at the back of Rozie's planter seat.  I needed something for the beans to attach to on the rock wall.  I think it is a great improvement!

We have a lemon one end and an orange the other. 

The seasons continue to turn here as well.  The new bed in the little dog's yard is going well.  Plenty of rainbox silver beet and snow peas coming along.  I plan to make a silverbeet, leek and fetta pie!

Lots of chillis happening now, both bell and thai. I already have four bottles of chilli jam so I don't know how much more of it I want to make. 

Still getting tomatoes and the shallots are going well.  Strawberries are hiding under the passionfruit vine. The Ceylone Spinach has died right back but I have a second sweet potato vine coming along.

And that's the regular garden update for the moment.  

Rozie's New Planter Seat.. 

I'll update from the top of the blog from now on so you don't need to read the whole darn thing. 

We have one rule at my house - it is:  Rozie Rules.  So when My Rozie asked for two planters with a bench seat between, that is what she had to get.  I'm actually quite proud and can't wait to post a pic of this baby planted with the fruit trees. Next project will be the aquaponics setup.

Yard context

Here is an aerial shot of my house and land.  It's pretty small but I have discrete 5 garden areas. 

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This is my front garden.  We lovingly call it the "Building site."  It is a shocker.  

There was a huge tree (about 4 foot wide) that the previous owner removed - called the "stump" on the pic - leaving the soil pretty infertile.  The neighbour's yard also drains all its rainwater through here.  Even better, the builders threw all their rubbish out here and then buried it.  

We are adding fertilser and compost at a rate of knots.  

The next garden is my Alfresco Dining Area - the Cumquat patch. 

This one was pretty much in place when I moved in.  These are the fruit trees that I will cut back in a few months (when they have finished fruiting).

The next area is the Big girls' yard.

This is the biggest area with the most potential. I don't intend to touch it for a while because I have my two big girls (Huskies) out there.  The girls are getting quite old - the brown and white is Tahlia, she is 15. Dumbest dog I have ever owned.  There is a black and white called Kian, she is 16.  While I love them to death, they are garden killers and any small animals become Husky food. 

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2013 AUTUMN MARCH TO MAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

18.02.13 Winter Melon claiming the wash basket.

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

Below: Progress of that little fruit 11 days later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779046083?profile=original05.03.13

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

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

Rau Om or Rice Paddy Herb

Kwai Muk

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

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

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

08.03.13

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

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

9779047495?profile=originalBelow: Nectar heavy flowers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779055483?profile=original13.03.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19.03.13

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

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

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

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

9779062668?profile=original30.03.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779072861?profile=originalBelow FRONT YARD -

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

There's also a How to Grow Raspberries video.

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

NOTE: By 07.05.13 cropping a small handful daily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779077288?profile=originalAPRIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: Did prove to be more resistent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779090866?profile=original07.04.13

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: Good eating when I did cut it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some info re Bean Fly:

Bean Fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779097290?profile=original27.04.13

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

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

NOTE: Planted Rapini broccoli donated seed instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrots are coming along well but slowly as usual.

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

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

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

Kohlrabi are doing ok. They are slow growers.

28.04.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779111286?profile=original13.05.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.05.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capucijner Peas

(Pisum sativum var.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779115864?profile=originalWHAT I HAVE LEARNED THIS AUTUMN:

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

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Happy Garden in October/November

With the increased rain and warmer temperatures in October and November, the summer plants like the ones in the Cucurbitaceae family were jumping out of the ground like they are on steroids! (Except for hairy melon, winter melon, and angled luffa… these are so tricky!) They are suffering in the last week as the heat intensify though...The peas and snowpeas were suffering from powdery mildew except for a few which were grown from seeds saved from a supermarket volunteered plant a couple of years ago… Although they don’t produce the best pods and seem to be doing not so well in the past week, but I am saving seeds of these ones because they coped the best and didn't get mildew in late spring compare to the others ~Many radishes, lettuces and other greens bolt to seeds quickly under this heat, but they make good green supplements for the chooks. However, there’s not enough for us and the chooks, so I think I have to learn to sow more and at higher frequency for greens. My main salad bed is pretty much empty at the moment with only the sunflowers planted for shade taking up all the room…Here’s photos from October & November ~~~

Paw Paw snowpeas BroadbeansSweet potato flowerspeasLettuces

LettucesRotten PeachCucumber Flowers Yellow Zuchinni Green Button Squash Beetroot

ChokoPak Choi Radish Golden Nugget Pumpkin StrawberryGolden Nugget PumpkinSpaghetti Squash

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Getting into the rhythm of things

It looks like I might finally be getting the hang of this gardening thing. I've been consciously trying to plant something every week and keeping a planting diary and it's paying off. Soon I will have a continuous carrot supply to go with the beans which are still producing slowly which is great! They taste soooo much better than the ones from the shops. I've just harvested another two pumpkins off the vine and it looks as if there are more on the way, provided they don't get trimmed any more by the lawn mower. The expanding variety of vegies is wonderful. I think the full water tank is certainly helping things as I get out there to water almost every day now.The sunflower and nasturtium seeds from Seed Savers have come up and are growing nicely - they will add some lovely edible colour to the garden! I finally got round to planting the flat leaf parsley a few weeks ago and it's taken nicely - thanks Florence! A random honeydew melon vine has popped up in the garden too - very happy about that! It has its first fruit which is growing nicely.My first sowing of peas is going well. I just put a second planting in and put up the chicken wire for them to grow on this morning. This means that I have been growing for just over a year now - I remember peas being my first successful winter crop. I couldn't believe how much flavour they had compared to the shop peas. I also can't believe how much I've learnt and how much more I'm growing now.The tomatoes are still growing well up the back, they've stopped fruiting for the moment but have shot out lots of new "branches" and are flowering, so I'm sure they'll start back up again soon.Well, that's all from me for now. Hopefully I'll have more success stories when this new planting comes up. Fingers crossed!
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Growing among friends with guilds

I don't know about you but i just LOVE bookshops. We didn't seem to have bookshops growing up in the country as a kid. I did venture into the newsagents after school on many occasions though. They seemed to have most things you could ever want in there, including books. I also love the variety on Amazon. I've just had delivered Robert Kourik's wonderful reference book 'Designing and Maintaining your edible landscape naturally.' It was out of print for many years and is never available in the libraries. I think people nick them because it's so good. Anyway, now I have my own. Ah joy!

Anyway, when I was last in the West End bookstore, I ventured out of the plants and gardening section into ‘relationships’, just for a change of scene. I dallied around books in the humorous, fictional and factual areas, books advising on growing and keeping a circle of girl fiends, boyfriends, lovers or others.

I got to thinking about the circle of others who may send us to insanity or bring us back from the brink. Friends protect, strengthen and help to create resilience in us. And so it is with plants. Building biological and physical associations into our garden planting is known as a guild. Garden guilds create strong and resilient plants. A favourite guild of mine is the combination of snow peas and Pigeon peas with chooks nearby. The pigeon peas give snow peas nitrogen and a living stake. The chooks give extra fertilisers and stop the caterpillars. They also thrive on the pigeon pea sprouted seedlings that pop up everywhere. I used to grind or sprout the pigeon pea seeds for the chooks too. A great protein feed for good eggs and happy hens. What's your good guild idea? I'd love to hear from you. See below the pic of the Chia Guild too....Such a happy combination.

I'll be running a mini 1 1/2 hour workshop on successful guild design at my place in Wishart this Thursday 14 October if you'd like to come along. Just $49 for a good time, great learning opportunity and a catch up with like-minded folks. Call me if you're interested 3349 2962 or email linda@ecobotanica.com.au

Cheers, Linda

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We're starting to get rain and warm days here and there in August. I have recorded 64 mm from the downpour on the 10th and my water tank have gone from 1/5 full to overflowing!!

Most of the petals from the peach trees were beat down by the rain, but the leaves have already started growing anyways.

Some of the peaches are already bigger than ping pong balls from the early flowers. About 95% of them are still green about the size of fingernails though..

My dad have picked a few to try, but they're too hard and sour for my taste.. they should be left on the trees a bit longer. Last year's fruits ripe in summer and they smell divine when I walked past the tree, it was just pity they were rotted on the tree.. probably from fruitflies..

We're just about finishing passionfruit harvesting, which lasted about 2 months. I prefer the yellow fruits, they're bigger and sweeter ~


Just found my first broccoli head, which is about the size of a cherry ^^" I am not sure whether it was a green one or purple sprouting ... weird while some of plants are much bigger than this one, yet do not have any signs of heads... I harvested my first broccoli by August last time I grew them (the year before), maybe I planted them a bit later this time.

We've been harvesting snowpeas, and garden peas though ~ I love home grown snowpeas and garden peas ~ This picture shows the garden peas ~

We are still harvesting eggplants too.... though they don't look as good as they were when it was a bit warmer..


The tomatoes are not ready, although they're of good size now.. I've been getting brown spots on the leaves, I hope it's not something serious.. I would like to get some tomatoes..

Although I am not getting broccoli yet, some veggies are bolting to flowers prematurely though.. like the radish, and choi sum ..

On the topic of flowers, I've successfully grown bulb flowers for the first time amongst the veggies ~

Other flowers I am growing amongst the veggies for the first time is Lupin.. I think this one is pixie light or something.....

One more thing... caught my chook poking their heads out from their chook run... that's how they kept chomping at the choko I am trying to grow up their fence!!!!

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Lots of activity

I'll have to add photos later - for now I am only wordsI pulled out our pumpkins because I want the space they had consumed. The vines have filled our compost bin. The banana pawpaw circle is groaning with banana stems plus the dead wattle tree from out the front, so it's no use for the moment.I would like to have left the pumpkins in (soon this infernal cold will pass and they would have 'gone off', they have so many babies attempting to set all the time).I have planted LOTS of seedlings (finally there were some new types at the store). I've planted broccoli (Green King this time), cauliflower (my one flowering cauli has lost its central flower head to a rot - now there are four axillary heads where the main one should be - it will be interesting to see how this turns out), savoy cabbage, chinese cabbage, bok choy, silverbeet, beetroot, spring onions, chillis, squash, and zucchini. Yay. I've also planted dwarf beans and scattered more succession seeds about - carrot, bok choy, lettuce etc.I've watered everything with dipel, as I am SICK of the caterpillars knocking off my seedlings and riddling my bok choy with holes - and I just don't get time to pick them off often enough to be winning the competition. I also gave things a water with a little bit of neem and a dose of seaweed. Things should pick up now - the garden has not being going VOOM enough for my liking. I have managed to exclude the chooks most of the time - but they are punishing some of my lettuces regularly enough that I've not had a single leaf from these plants- lol. It only takes two minutes of naughty chook and pow, lettuce stub.I've bought a pond - just a small one, about as big as a bath but made of plastic; wildly expensive next to salvaging an old bath I know, but it will look good and grow LOTS of water chestnuts, kangkong and taro for me (I hope). I will add those little native fish that eat mozzie larvae - they start with G, i forget - and am hoping to get some frogs too. I'll need to make some habitat for them first though. I've planted lemongrass around it and will plant asparagus and rhubarb as well.I planted lemon grass and sweet potato amongst the trees in the 'orchard'.The potatoes, after a slow start, are sprouting well. I don't think I gave them enough cover - the ones with the most dirt on top (as opposed to straw) have sprouted the fastest. Or it could be the amount of sun, because the straw ones were in volcanoes. They didn't seem to like my volcanoes so much.The big news is that I've extended the vegie garden - we now have a line of potatoes halfway under one side of the clothesline, and I am about to add a climbing bean trellis in between the clotheseline and the pond- I'll post some pictures. It will be lovely to have some dirt garden for the legumes. This year's peas are OK because I dug a trench in the no dig compost and filled it with potting mix (as you are meant to do for the legumes), but I only added a bit for the dwarf beans and they are floppy and slow (when will I learn?).I've removed all of the lovely pavers that next door gave me from the vegie garden path. They were nice for a while but now that the straw under them has sunk the sides of the beds are too exposed. I'm going to go back to using straw unless someone knows where I can get sawdust. The pavers will make a nice edge for my pond. I don't really like their colour so I am thinking of attempting to paint them - maybe undercoat and then house paint? Am I dreaming?I potted up my comfrey, jade plants, orchid, aloe vera and some shade plant things I had sitting around being neglected.Oh yes and most exciting of all - I have a WORKING water tank pump. It's AMAZING, I love it!!!! (although for some stupid reason it doesn't have an off switch - you have to unplug it each time you stop using it! dumb.)
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September happy harvests ~

There’s lots of flowers in the garden.. I’ve never felt so much spring before! We’ve got lupin, poppies, sweet peas, snapdragons, chrysanthemum, sunflowers, daisies, roses, and most of all marigolds are blooming right now~

I thought we would be harvesting sugarloaf cabbages this month.. but they seem to be still too small? They’ve also been attacked by caterpillars, I hope that’s not the reason why they don’t seem to be tight when I squeeze them..^^

There’s many other crops to harvest though ~ The ever productive eggplant, the last of garden peas, snowpeas on its last legs, tomatoes, purple podded peas, beans, purple cauliflowers, broccoli, choy sum, silverbeets, coriander, paw paws, a bit of lettuces, and a bit of baby carrots, garlic chives, parsley, watercress, mulberries, and eggs ~

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I found the purple podded peas don’t taste as nice as the ordinary green ones, they’ve got a slight bitter taste to them, but they look good.

The purple cauliflowers looked nice, and taste great ~ Better than the white ones .. too bad I don’t know the variety as I bought them as unlabelled seedlings. I just ordered some Purple Sicily Califlowers, I hope they’re the same or taste as good if not better :) . I am still waiting for the purple sprouting broccoli.. I wonder would the unknown green broccoli and the purple cauliflower produce side shoots... normally how long does it take for the side shoots to appear after the head's harvested if there's going to be side shoots at all?

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For some reason the mulberries are not as sweet as last year… since they were sweet last year it’s not a cultivar issues, then the problem must be me ^^ How can I fix that?

I just picked up more than half a bucket of immature peaches from the ground today...

I know it's normal for them to shed fruits but I can't help to wonder whether this is the fruitflies doing ^^ Fortunately, there's still some on the tree ...

Now I need to find space to grow all the summer crops like corns, beans, cucumbers, melons, luffas, and more tomatoes!!!

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August 'Spring' Preparation

Other then the potato bed, another veggie bed was ready to plant and has been filled with soil + horse manure + coffee ground since my last blog. This is the legume bed, although It’s only 80% filled, but can’t wait to start planting into it. So I’ve sown snowpeas, garden peas, sugarsnaps & pigeon peas in it, except for pigeon peas and garden peas (I think) all have germinated, and the tallest seedling is about 20 cm high!

snowpeas - taken a fews days ago, they are bigger now

The chooks were moved from the South Eastern corner to the South Western corner where there’s more shade, just in time before the couple of very hot days just past.One out of four water chestnuts planted on people’s day germinated, and two types of tomatoes sown on the same day have also germinated (Digger’s Grosse Lisse, Growers pride sweet 100 F1)

These were sown into egg cartons on a cat litter tray, it’s my first time using egg cartons. Sown some other seeds into toilet rolls in a tin box last night, I think these ones would take longer to germinate except for the watermelon ~I normally would direct sow watermelon with pumpkins, & Zucs etc (thanks for the seeds Anthony), but my Cucurbitaceae/root crop bed's not ready and Bob said if we want watermelon by Christmas, we have to plant in August. Fingers crossed that I'll be the watermelon supplier to Christmas parties :)I’ve tried raising seedlings in Styrofoam cups, newspapers rolled into cups, and toilet paper rolls before. I found the newspaper cups too flimsy and more work as you need to cut the paper, roll them and press the end bit to make the cup. The toilet paper rolls are more sturdy, and there's always an abundant supply! I also half bury them where I want to put in direct sown seeds so I know where the seeds are and where to water ~~

The patios’ are scheduled to finish by Friday, and mushroom composts are also scheduled for delivery on the same day ~~~ Still a lot of work to do before spring, but it feels like summer is already here!!!

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