seed (11)

Seed Saving

I have heard we are going to get rain in February :-)  so I decided to throw in a few bean seeds I saved from the last crop in the garden.

I can't find the discussion I was in when I mentioned I had a broccoli plant I had seeded from a previous crop and it was ready to be collected again ...it has an appearance in the clip.

I have over the past couple of years been saving the seed from my crops. I have bought most of my seed from Eden seeds as an open pollinated variety so I know they will produce a viable seed to collect.

Apart from a mishap where I had the plants hanging up to finish drying all in order, and a big wind came through and blew them into a big pile and was not sure what was what. 

I had to rescue each plant then clean them and label them so I could identify them, then plant a few from each collection to see what they actually were. 

This turned out to be a good thing in a way, as now whenever I collect a new batch of seed I pot up a six pack so as to see if the seed will germinate and all is good with the collection. 

I have since pulled the plant and gleaned the seed I did not get that many seeds from it but if the person who asked about it reads this I am sure I can send you some if you still wanted to try it out and see if you have any success with it at your place.

 

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2012/2013 SUMMER FEBRUARY

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01.02.13

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

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

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

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

Brisbane Insects

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

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

Silvereye - photo from Bird Life Australia

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

Here's some video from the Aussie Bee site.

Photo courtesy of Brisbane Insects.

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

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

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

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

02.02.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pic courtesy of Brisbane Insects:

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

07.02.13

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

Photo courtesy of Birds in Backyards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18.02.13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9779105266?profile=originalLESSONS LEARNED THIS SUMMER:

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

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Donna's Garden - November 2010

Well it has been a long journey but at long last MY BANANA'S ARE FRUITING!!! Ali beat me to the punch as her flower appeared about a week before mine.. but I have two (in your face Ali lol) and one with a short leaf so soon to be three! I am also almost expecting up to another four as there are plants very similar in size - seven in total at (approx) 35kg ea flower - 245kg of bananas!

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Here is a blog about my banana plantations if you're interested/ missed it. I first planted these four in June 2008, nearly 2 1/2 years to produce fruit - not sure if that's a record or not but it felt like it with well meaning onlookers advising that it takes 9 months for banana's to fruit.

https://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/profiles/blogs/my-banana-plantations

Check out some of the angles, they will need supported for sure as the bananas grow bigger! The two at the back are fruiting already despite having full size suckers, the one at the front on the left has a flag leaf on one despite having full size sucker, and the one at the front on the right doesn't have a full size sucker but the 'correct' teenager yet it doesn't have even a short leaf yet!

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When the flower first appeared I thought it looked a bit rude - now it is a lot nicer! Not all the petals have opened yet but already I counted 70 bananas on just one of the flowers, bring on January! The plants are looking very dodgy, we will have to rig up some sort of support as the bunch grows or we might end up with the whole plant falling over.

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The Infrastructure Manager has been very busy creating two more gardens down the other side of the back yard - didn't give him much choice when six more banana pups turned up. They are two of each Lady Finger, dwarf Lady Finger and dwarf Blue Java - hopefully we get one of each to survive... although at the moment looks like we'll get 100%!

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To create the beds, Ash concreted the edge then I used the yellow pages to create a barrier on the grass, covered with a generous sprinkling of blood & bone, some cut up banana fronds and comfrey leaves then covered with lucerne - here's hoping the grass dies!

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The tamarillos are struggling on gamely (think they get too much sun) and there is a lot of fruit and flowers, hopefully I will be able to get either seeds or cuttings going this year and I will plant some more in the new banana bed. I have both a red and an orange variety, if anyone has a different one I'd love a cutting or seeds. [Edit, my blog 'My Fruit Tree Obsession' says I have a yellow and a red... but the fruit looked orange last year?]

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One of my guava is fruiting not sure which one - china pear or thai white (think it is the thai white based on my blog 14/06/10 but time will tell). These have both done really well, and that part of the garden is looking decidedly forest like with 2 x citrus, avocado and these two competing for space! I will have to give them a good haircut this year to keep them in their place.

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The passion fruit have all gone crazy, Ashley has fruit already (grafted purple ones from the green shed) but mine (red and yellow panama) are finally starting to flower - lets hope this year I get some fruit! I carefully didn't fertilise them but gave a good shot of potassium and boron for good measure after last years disaster.


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Most of my veggie beds are empty, slack with the succession *again*. I got out last weekend and planted a huge amount of seeds, but looks like a lot didn't come up... will have to replant corn and beans at least. The red okra came up and a few others likely cucumber, pumpkin, melons (didn't label very well either *again* - you'd think I learn my lesson but nooo lol.)

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My sweet potato is out of control, it loves the rain and produces heaps of vines, but needs encouragement to put forth roots and therefore create tubers. Every so often I go and bury them by chucking a shovel load of dirt onto the vines.


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Didn't realise that I planted the new stuff amongst the stuff I missed last year woops. This might get a bit crowded with tumeric, ginger, comfrey and a plant that tastes like asparagus - Scarlett can you please remind me the name?

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Yesterday I got out and dug all the marigolds into the big bed (a bit early but I got sick of waiting) and finally put the irrigation system into that bed - just have to connect it to the rest - and covered all with a layer of lucerne. In general I am trying not to dig but I seem to get nematodes all the time and this is the best way to combat them, if it doesn't work I will have to do a molasses drench but that does kill all the good bugs too. I'll chuck a couple of shovels of fresh compost in there next weekend.

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There are two beds out the back to clean up, they have some tomatoes that severely outgrew the tubes that I was trialling, the green zebra has grown up and then over the side and now the fruit are all hanging down the side! I am waiting for the broccoli and radish seeds to ripen and the tomatoes to finish (or another tomato elsewhere to start) before cleaning them up and putting the irrigation in.


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Well during writing this blog I have searched through and found information in four of my previous blogs, it is a great relief to know that I don't have to reply on my sketchy memory!

If you want to see full size photos, they are in my November 2010 album.

https://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/photo/albums/november-2010









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CARDOON

9779027497?profile=original9779027677?profile=originalI bought the seed earlier this year from an American outlet, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and have been pleasantly surprised. A bit like a cross between celery and silverbeet stems with some added innocuous little spines that wipe off easily.

Both the stems and flowers are edible, though it will be some time before I get to eat a flower and I'll probably leave the first one in the hope of more seed for the future.

I've looked at a few You Tube preparation videos and people seem intent on removing all fibre from the stems with a peeler. This may be necessary if my plants become old and tough, but I like fibre in my food and I don't find it necessary to prepare them this way at the moment.

I've mainly been using the stems in stews and casseroles but here are some more recipes I've just found online that sound really good complete with some good advice about preparation:

Cardoons are cousins of artichokes and thistles. They are cultivated for their edible stalks, much like celery, but they aren't eaten raw. Traditionally grown and served in European Mediterranean areas, cardoons have been revered as delicacies there for over 300 years.

Cardoon is a vegetable like artichoke in that it oxidises and discolors. Chefs will usually toss it into acidulated water (water with lemon juice) to keep it from discoloring.

When thinking of cardoon, keep the flavor of artichokes in your mind when planning the dish.

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Cardoon Gratin

Let's address our elephant in the room immediately: the Cardoon! I will be the first to admit that I have not shown much love to this vegetable. The last time I tried it, which was years ago, I quite unsuccessfully put it into a tabbouleh, hoping its artichoke-like flavor might fit nicely into the salad. I'm sure I didn't cook the cardoon properly, so my attempt yielded a stringy, tough cardoon that was completely unappetizing. This year, it was my mission to give it the respect its elder status has earned, so I found two dishes for you that are worth making. Up front, a classic French preparation that is rich and delicious, a creamy gratin. This recipe was mined from an old issue of Saveur, and is apparently a famous dish from Tours, prime cardoon country. Make sure you do not short the cardoon its cooking time. That's the key to making it palatable. Also keep in mind that it acts like a sponge, so be sure the liquid you use to cook it in tastes really good.

3 cups cream
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1.25kg cardoon
1 cup gruyere, grated

Put the cream, stock, and bay leaf in a large saucepan and season with salt and pepper.

Trim your cardoons, then slice them into pieces around 2 inches long, immediately dropping them into the cream bath to prevent discoloring.
Heat the cardoons until the cream comes to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat for about an hour. Remove the cardoon pieces with a slotted spoon, putting them into a gratin/casserole dish and continue to boil the cream until reduced to 3/4 c.
Pour the cream over the cardoons, top with the gruyere, and bake at 350 until the top has colored a little bit, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.


Sauteed Cardoon with Thyme and Pine Nuts

Almost all the cardoon recipes I found used a lot of cream and cheese or deep fried the stalk. I wanted to find a method that anyone could eat, not just those of us who never watch what we eat. I discovered a recipe on the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blog. This is indeed worth making. Remember that cardoon discolors like artichoke hearts do, so make sure it goes immediately into its cooking water after trimming.

Sauteed Cardoon1 lemon
1/2 lb cardoon, trimmed
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 T olive oil
2 T sherry
2 T honey
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
1 T thyme (fresh)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Cut the cardoon into large pieces and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the onion. Saute until softened and beginning to color, then toss in the cardoon for about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and reduce it until it is nearly evaporated, then add the honey, stirring to heat through. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute or so until the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, finishing with the thyme. Delicious!

Cardoon Potato Gratin:

8-10 stalks Cardoon
2-3 medium potatoes
8 oz grated parmesan cheese
1 pint half and half or cream
S & P to taste

Blanch the cardoon stalks in water that has a splash of vinegar or lemon juice until medium tender. You can peel them if you like. We don't. Cut the cardoon stalks in 1/4 inch crescents, across the grain, like you would celery. Peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into batons, about like a french fry. Toss the cut, blanched cardoon stalks with the potatoes directly in a gratin dish. Reserve a handful of the cheese for the top and toss the rest of the cheese with the cardoon/potato mixture. Add the pint of half and half (or cream if using.) Season with salt and pepper.
Bake in a 425 oven 40 minutes or so: until golden brown and the potatoes are all the way through.

Soup of Pureed Cardoons
adapted from Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables by Elizabeth Schneider
Elizabeth said about this recipe: This puree looks and tastes like artichoke hearts: but less work and money.
4 servings

2 pounds cardoons

4 cups broth: beef or other broth
4 cups water
4 small shallots, sliced (or onion, leek, etc. if you don't have shallots on hand)
few sprigs parsley
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughtly crushed (I'd use my mortar and pestle for this, you can also try a ziploc bag with a rolling pin)
6 tablespoons write rice, medium or short grain
Salt, White pepper, and lemon juice to taste
2 Tablespoons cold butter
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced toasted almonds

1. Cut off the base and leaves from the cardoon stalks; rinse well, and cut crosswise into 1-2 inch slices. Cover with cold water; bring to a boil, then drain.
2. Add the stock, water, shallots, parsley, coriander, and rice to the cardoon. Simmer, partly covered, until tender - about 45 minutes.
3. Puree mixture very thoroughly in a food processor or hefty blender in batches. Strain through a sieve.
4. Return to pot. Season with salt, white pepper, and lemon juice to tast. Reheat gently. Off heat, stir in the butter. Ladle into heated bowls and sprinkle with almonds.

Below - roasted Cardoon stalks. Fibrous threads have been removed prior to brushing with olive oil and roasting for about 30mins. Described as "a bit chewy but with a lovely artichoke flavour".

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30.09.12

9779029259?profile=originalThe Cardoon have been a very useful veg throughout winter and have been a big hit with anyone I have given stems to. As you can see above the plants are still going strong....I'm now wondering for how much longer. I read someones elses post on the net that they cut them back and they came again.

Wondering how long before I get flowers also. I've emailed Baker Creek Heirloom Seed to thank them for all the items I bought that did well (Rapini Broccolli, carrots of various types, Strawberry Spinach - almost lost under the front of the Cardoon in the pic above and so far not ulilised) and asking for more info about it's growing habits.

The stems can flop over onto neighbouring plants but are easy cut back (watch out for the small thorns along the edges - these are easily wiped off with the secateurs).

I try not to waste too many but quite a few have ended up back in the bed as worm food. They're just so darned prolific! Nothing seems to set them back. They do wilt a tiny bit in the current dry heat, but a bit of a drink fixes that quickly. I've found a few caterpillars sitting on the leaves but no real sign of damage, I think they ended up there in error or found the leaf not to their liking (rather bitter).

No diseases seem to bother it either.

Definately a keeper for future years. Fingers crossed that I get viable seed from this lot. I still have some left from the original batch and have also given seed to Elaine and Nathan, just in case.

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Last revised 27.06.15.

I'm a list maker.

I like to gather information together in one spot so I don't have to keep hunting it down or scratch my head wondering where I read something and not being able to find it again. And I like to share, so please feel free to use this list of links or recommend more sites to be added as it's a continuous work in progress.

It is up to you to decide if you wish to deal with any of the companies, this is not a recommendation, just a list.

Share any comments on your experiences with various companies, such as postage (good, bad), packaging (good, bad), viability of product......you get the picture :)

AUSTRALIAN SEED SITES by state, as many of us like to buy local seed to suit our climate and support local companies:

BEAUTANICALS QLD

BIOME ECO STORES Qld

BOONDIE SEEDS QLD

EDEN SEEDS / SELECT ORGANICS QLD

GREEN HARVEST QLD Maleny

ISABELL SHIPARDS HERB FARM QLD

SUCCEED HEIRLOOM QLD

VAN VEEN ORGANICS QLD Elimbah (just north of Caboolture)

GREENPATCH SEEDS NSW

ROYSTON PETRIE SEEDS NSW

THE HIPPY SEED COMPANY NSW

THE LOST SEED NSW

DIGGERS CLUB VIC

GARLIC WORLD VIC

GOODMAN SEEDS VIC

HUMPHRIS NURSERY Vic

NEW GIPPSLAND SEED & BULBS VIC

THE SEED COLLECTION Vic or FB page

WHITEHOUSE NURSERY Vic

AUSTRALIAN SEED WA

SEEDS2FREEDOM WA

HEIRLOOM HARVEST SA

SEEDS 4 YOU SA

THE ITALIAN GARDENER SA

CORNUCOPIA SEED TAS

PHOENIX SEED TAS

RANGEVIEW SEEDS TAS

SOUTHERN HARVEST TAS

YELWEK FARM TAS Oca, Potato Onions, Garlic, Onion Shallots

OVERSEAS SEED SITES:

Want to know which seeds customs will allow you to bring in? Check out ICON- AQIS’s import conditions database.

Further information can be found at DAFF.

BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEED America

WHATCOM SEED COMPANY Oregon

FRUIT TREE/PLANT SITES by state:

QLD

AIRPORT NURSERY Hervey Bay Qld

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE HIBISCUS QLD

BLUE SKY BACKYARD BANANAS QLD

CREEC Qld Caboolture - native tubestock $2 Ph 38889285

GEMVALE ESTATE DRAGON FRUIT FARM QLD -974 Eatons Crossing Road, Draper Qld 0422301733

We allow farm visits. Email: louceccato@gmail.com

HEART GARDEN Bundaberg Qld

INDIGISCAPES CENTRE QLD

ISABELL SHIPARDS HERB FARM QLD

KUMBARTCHO QLD

LIVING BAMBOO QLD Samford

RED FOX DRAGON FRUIT FARM QLD Nanango

TAMBORINE DRAGON FRUIT FARM QLD Mt Tamborine

VAN VEEN ORGANICS QLD Elimbah (just north of Caboolture)- 70 Bigmor Drive, Elimbah Qld 07 5408 6470 / 07 5495 7946 / 0422 107 914 - most of the fruiting plants are grafted and most of the native are seedlings, however there is some seedlings fruit plants.

WITJUTI GRUB BUSH FOODS NURSERY Obi Obi  Qld

NSW

BAMBOO WHOLESALE NSW

DALEYS FRUIT NURSERY NSW

FORBIDDEN FRUITS NURSERY NSW

FRUIT SALAD TREE COMPANY NSW

VIC

DIGGERS CLUB VIC

FLEMINGS NURSERY VIC

GARDEN EXPRESS VIC

YALCA FRUIT TREES VIC

HERITAGE FRUIT TREES VIC

SA

PERRY'S FRUIT & NUT NURSERY SA

TAS

WOODBRIDGE FRUIT TREES TAS

SOCIETIES, ORGANISATIONS AND NETWORKS:

ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSOC

AUSTRALIAN FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ALLIANCE

AUSTRALIAN CITY FARMS AND COMMUNITY GARDENS NETWORK networking community gardens around Australia

AUSTRALIAN GREEN DEVELOPMENT FORUM

AUSTRALIAN TROPICAL FOODS

BOGI (Brisbane Organic Growers Inc)

CAPE TRIBULATION EXOTIC FRUIT FARM

ECO RADIO BRISBANE FB page

IOPS - International Organisation for a Participatory Society

MORETON BAY ECO ALLIANCE FB site

OPEN FOOD NETWORK

PERMACULTURE RESEARCH INST. OF AUSTRALIA

RARE FRUIT AUSTRALIA INC

RARE FRUIT SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

ROGI (Redlands Organic Growers Inc)

SEEDSAVERS Seed Savers Handbook - for full list of groups

SUB TROPICAL FRUIT CLUB OF QLD INC

TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD

URBAN AGRICULTURE NETWORK

WILDLIFE PRESERVATION SOCIETY MORETON SHIRE

COMMUNITY GARDENS, GROUPS, BLOGS:

BEELARONG COMM. FARM Morningside

BUDDINA COMMUNITY GARDEN - Sunshine Coast

CABOOLTURE SEED SAVERS

EARTHWISE GARDENING 

EUDLO SEED SAVERS

FOLIA

GRACEVILLE COMMUNITY GARDEN

GREEN P - Sandgate Community Garden

GYMPIE COMMUNITY GARDEN

JANE ST COMMUNITY GARDEN

JERRY COLEBY-WILLIAMS and FACEBOOK JC-W

LOGAN FOOD GARDENERS

MANGO HILL COMMUNITY FARM INC

MANLY WYNNUM COMMUNITY GARDEN

MILLEN FARM Samford

NOOSA SEED SAVERS

NORTHEY STREET CITY FARM

QUEENSLAND HERB SOCIETY

ROCHEDALE COMMUNITY GARDEN

SAMFORD LOCAL GROWERS

SEED SAVERS

SELF SUFFICIENT ME

SOUTHSIDE SUSTAINABILITY CENTRE & COMMUNITY GARDEN Bulimba Creek

SUCCESSFUL GARDENING Annette McFarlane

SWAP, SHUFFLE SHARE

VERA STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN Toowong

WESTFALEN COMMUNITY GARDEN, Dunlop St, Collingwood Park Contact: Mr & Mrs Graham & Gillian LYNN on 3814 5080

YANDINA COMMUNITY GARDEN

TRAINING, WORKSHOPS, BOOKS, VIDEOS, EVENTS, INFORMATION and PRODUCTS:

AUSTRALIAN ORGANIC SCHOOLS offers training material

BACKYARD ORCHARD CULTURE Dave Wilson Nursery - sensible info re multi planting and keeping fruit trees at the right height in a backyard

BIRDS IN BACKYARDS

CENTRE FOR GROWING SUSTAINABILITY

CHOOK TRADER chickens etc for sale

CITYFOOD GROWERS Peter Kearney, Maleny

DINNER GARDEN

EARTHBOX AUSTRALIA

EARTHWISE GARDENING

ELIZABETH FEKONIA

FOODMATTERS 

GEOFF LAWTON - free permaculture videos including urban

HIDRO GREEN ENERGY

INDIGISCAPES

KEFIR Doms site

KITCHEN GARDENERS INTERNATIONAL

KUMBARTCHO

MAD MILLIE CHEESE MAKING KITS

MORETON SHIRE COUNCIL

NUTRITECH SOLUTIONS

THE MICRO GARDENER - Anne Gibson

PERMABLITZ BRISBANE

PERMACULTURE RESEARCH INSTITUTE

RegenAG community based family enterprise committed to helping regenerate Australia’s farms, soils, communities and on-farm livelihoods.

WEEDS AUSTRALIA

WEED SPOTTERS QLD

BEE SITES:

ANBees online group

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BEE RESEARCH CENTRE

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BEES - WHERE TO BUY

BOB THE BEE MAN Bob Luttrell

BRISBANE BACKYARD BEES

BURNETT BEE KEEPING SUPPLIES Kingaroy - Australia wide service

KIN KIN NATIVE BEES

NATIVE BEES OF AUSTRALIA Museum site

THE NOVICE BEEKEEPER blog spot

SOCIAL INSECTS LAB Sydney Uni

SUGARBAG Tim Heard

ZABEL Russell and Janine

FOOD SITES:

BONNIE BEEF Qld

EDIBLE YARDS

FARM MATCH and FB FARM MATCH

FRESH LOCAL PROVISIONS Samford

GOORALIE FREE RANGE PORK Qld

KOOKABURRA ORGANICS

ORGANIC & QUALITY FOODS Qld

OLIVFRESH ORGANIC OLIVES Qld

QUAIL KINGDOM Qld

TILLARI TROTTERS Tamworth 100% free range see discussion

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Saving Seeds February 2010

A very busy and productive morning (not sure hubby would agree - the house is a mess lol!) saving seed. I find it so rewarding and it really makes me wonder why it isn't done any longer... none of the ones I saved today were hard and yet I paid $3.00 for the original seeds of most of these - in some cases for only 10 seeds!Before

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After

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After a number of incidents with hubby knocking my seeds over or throwing them in the bin, I developed a system where they are in a long plastic container that can hold about five different paper towel 'cups' at a time. They live behind the gas hob and no longer get knocked over or 'cleaned up'.EggplantThis is the first time I have tried to save eggplant seeds. The Seed Savers' Handbook suggests blending on a slow speed but the only blender I have is a little pulse one so that was out! The easiest way I found was to hold a little colander and run water through while I squeezed the eggplant - worked pretty well I thought. Then pick out most of the pulp in the colander, give them a rub to wash the seeds and tip onto baking paper for the initial drying phase. If you put really wet seeds onto paper towel they tend to stick together - so I found out the hard way. I will stir the seeds on the baking paper for a day (or maybe two) then pour into a little paper towel cup in my seed saving box for another week or two before bagging up.

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Angled LuffaI learned the hard way with this last time - the ridges are *very* sharp and as you try to find something sharp enough to cut the skin, you get scratches all over your hand digging for the seed! I gave this one to David and told him to bang it around for awhile, so that it rattled. Then I cut the top off with kitchen scissors (yeah right they are MY gardening scissors lol) and tapped it and most of them came out the end... I cut along one ridge just to check and yep easy as with no scratches or cuts. These go straight into a paper towel cup in my seed saving box for a week or two.

9778974862?profile=original

Tomato - Drying, Cherry Tomato, Ground Cherry, GooseberryThese all need to ferment for a day or two. As I have a couple of different ones whose seeds look the same I wrote on the containers (pill/ medicine plastic jobs kept from my hospital visit - very useful). Just make a nick in the top with your fingernail, then smoosh the seeds out into the cup along with the middle bit, then fill the cup up with water. In a day or two (when there is mould on the top) the fermenting has done its job. Then pour them into a metal tea strainer and wash them well. Again tip onto baking paper to dry a bit, then into the seed saving box on paper towel for another week or two.

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Bean PurpleThese were very easy, I decided to use a 'pop' test to see if they were ready to save seed from (the rest will be eaten or composted) - squeeze the bean and if the side comes open easily then they were opened up and put on paper towel to dry for a week or two.

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June winter garden

After seeing how neat and tidy Mark's setup is.. I decided to buy some proper seedling trays and seed raising mix.

Partly also because I found my own seed mix have a lot of weed seeds in them and I have no idea what comes up were what I planted especially for those I am growing for the first time.


I got the seed raising mix, 8-cell punnets, and name tags from Pick'n Pay. Bought the trays from a man at Chandler's market who also have an ebay store.


Now doesn't it looks much more tidier than recycle punnets and pots of all different sizes? Of course, I will continue to recycle, but would be more selective..like same size pots for the same plants..

Here's a photo of what I bought from Pohlman nursery at Gatton when we visited Toowoomba this past weekend.


The punnet in the bottom right is of a coloured Cauliflower variety they're testing, and I only got it for $1~ I've planted some of them around my newly dug 'hole' where I've transplanted my watercress..

The green manure bed is growing well, but the rocket still dominates over the marigold and mustard... we cut some each day as treat for the chooks and they loved them ^^



The tomatoes have started flowering, but I haven't got a photo of that yet... can't wait to see what fruits I am getting as I planted seeds from a mixed bag..


The top soil has been really dried, so I've watered more frequently, especially where I have just sown seeds.. and am concern about the tank water supply over winter.. I really need to get some mulch..

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My Seed Collection

Recently I purchased a very flash fisherman's tackle kit, with a carry strap and seven different trays for my seed collection.

I spent the better part of a day, transferring all the seeds from various locations around the house into small labelled bags and putting them in some order. At the moment I have the two small ones as herbs and flowers, one large one is my sharing stock and the other four are split between summer and winter vegetable seeds.

That believe it or not was the easy bit! I then decided to make a spreadsheet of all the different varieties with the information stored on each packet so that I could throw them away. A lot of them didn't have the latin name so I also spent a fair bit of time looking up latin names on the internet.

All up, at the moment I have over 110 varieties of seeds, and any that do well in our climate and produce seeds will be kept and localised. At this stage I am still trialling what I can grow successfully - basically if it produces anything the seeds get kept! This will be an ongoing thing, probably for the rest of my life but I am going to try very hard not to buy any other varieties (of things I already have of course) until I have used up what I have before they get too far out of date and the viability becomes too low.

Attached is the list of what I have currently to try in our climate. Please let me know if you are interested in giving any of them a go. Usually I have enough of any variety to at least give you a couple of seeds, and that way if you are successful you can save seeds and pass them back to me, or give them away to others.

Be aware in this list, when finishing it (although it is very much a work in progress and will be updated with more information as time permits) I took a bit of poetic licence with regards when to plant things. All year means all year EXCEPT our hottest summer months and even then I have trouble with a lot of things despite them being 'all year' according to most people including BOGI - but that could be just me ;)

Seed Collection.xls

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Brisbane Seed Savers Newsletter - 002

Bne Seed Saver Newsletter 02.pdfI hope this email finds everyone well. Welcome to the second edition of the Brisbane Seed Savers Newsletter.Please feel free to reply with any requests for content or contributions for this newsletter. Always remember, this is a specialised local group who are all interested in not only saving seed but growing our own food, so anything that you find interesting or helpful will likely assist other members too.Brisbane Local Food - https://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/Home Growers Exchange - http://homegrowers.ning.com/Happy gardening…Donna McCallumCo-OrdinatorBrisbane Seed Savers
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Brisbane Seed Savers

MEMBERSHIP FORM.docThe basic aim for Brisbane Seed Savers is to save Heirloom and Heritage (or in fact any other non hybrid variety) seeds for varieties of vegetables and fruit that are suitable for this area. While doing this, members can share their experiences and pass on their knowledge in order to help others realise the many benefits of saving seed and growing your own food.Anyone wishing to become involved with this Local Seed Network can complete the attached form and email it to:bneseedsaver@iinet.net.au
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