Sowing seeds...

27 August, 2016

It's been a long time since I blogged. I've been gardening but just haven't felt the inspiration to write about it.

But now the seasons are changing. The sap is rising in the plants, and this gardener. I just had to sow some summer harvest seeds, and for a change, felt the need to take a picture and write about it.

It's nothing special. Just sowing the seed of 27 or so varieties of tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, 2 rockmelons/cantaloupes and 1 watermelon.




These were sown in the relative warmth of the polytunnel, which will hopefully mean germination. In my usual method I've plonked the tubs in trays of water which I keep topped up, meaning the seeds stay nice and moist but not sopping.

Fingers crossed that these seeds germinate well and grow strongly.

What seeds are you sowing?

Garden Share Collective: June...

29 June, 2016

It seems I at the moment I only ever get around to posting for the Garden Share Collective, and I can't be more grateful to the hosts Krystie and Kate that I have this prompt to blog.

At the moment in the early stages of winter I am in the garden less than ever, with not much to plant so it seems I only spend time to harvest. And when its cold outside I want to get out and pick, then back inside asap.

This months theme is Taste, and if that doesn't sum up a vegetable and fruit garden then nothing will.

For me, I grow my own for the taste. There are is no store bought equivalent to the homegrown tomato picked at the height of summer, or the perfect strawberry popped straight into the mouth while garden meandering, or freshly harvested carrots. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

In the food garden, taste is where it's at.

The main wicking veg patch.

Cabbages forming.

Aphid laden broccoli going to seed. How do you keep aphids from making your broccoli inedible?

The self sown tomato is just holding in there, along with leeks, celery and silverbeet.

Peas climbing to the light.

That tasty tasty veg garlic, coming along nicely.

Go self sown lettuce.

Carrots and beetroot.

The only two Pink Lady apples to set on the step-overs this year, well protected from bird attack.

What goes rather nicely with apples? Rhubarb of course!

And what goes well with apples and rhubarb? Lemons!

The front yard interplanted with edibles and ornamentals. Red amaranth to right, flowering rosemary on left, cauliflowers and purple sprouting broccoli to rear.

In the polytunnel the peppers are still ripening.

Capsicums ditto.

More apples in the orchard. These are Sundowners.

Planting:

I sowed seeds of onion, kohl rabi, kale, turnip, parsnip and hamburg parsley. I don't know if I'll get anything, but I needed to plant some seeds. So I did.

Harvesting:

This is pretty typical about now.


Veg: The last pumpkin, odd tomato, silverbeet, leeks, small celery stalks, beetroot, carrot thinnings, lettuce, spring onions, polytunnel eggplant, capsicum and one solitary lemon cucumber.

Fruit: Apples, lemons, rhubarb.

To do:
  • Hiburnate
  • Prune fruit trees to reshape as needed
  • Hope for enough chilling hours for the apples and stone fruit
  • Chop back grapevine and tidy asparagus beds when the plants totally die back
  • Keep feeding the garlic for big bulbs
  • Plant out the tulip bulbs in the fridge

That's my June garden wrap up. How is your garden doing?

Mushrooming...

11 June, 2016

At this time of year there is not much happening in the home garden. Excitingly however, there is plenty happening in the not too distant bushlands.

After doing a mushroom foraging workshop last year I was hanging out for autumn and all its 'shroomy harvests, so we could put these skillz into practice again.

Given there has been a good deal of rainfall of late, and seeing many an instagram post of 'shroomy harvests, it appeared the time was right to head out bush and see what we could find.


We were not disappointed. This was what we picked in the first 10 minutes.


While I like Slippery Jacks, they aren't my favourite mushroom. I much prefer Saffron Milkcaps, so I went off in search of more of those.


Luckily a bit further along there were plenty to be had (as well as the odd young Slippery Jack that I just couldn't pass up).

There were plenty of not-to-be-picked mushrooms, which we admired from afar.


After maybe an hour and a half gentle wander up the road and back we came home with three baskets that looked rather like this.


The Saffron Milkcaps will be cooked down and then bagged and frozen, while the Slippery Jacks will be dehydrated into a delicious porcini-like dried mushroom.

That should keep me in 'shroomy delights for a little while yet.

Garden Share Collective: May...

30 May, 2016

Once again its time for the GSC - a great time each month to think back on what's been accomplished in the garden, and what is still left to do.

Again this month time in the garden has been sadly lacking, but happily that is about to change with me getting a bit more of my garden time back.

This month's theme is 'leaves' and I think that is just about all that is in the garden at the moment. The majority of the veg is leaves (think lettuces, silverbeet, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spring onions and leeks, and the stem/leaves of rhubarb and celery) with only a few fruiting plants holding on or coming to produce.

So where is the garden at now?


The old summer planted 'Pink Girl' tomato is still (amazingly) flourishing.


I spy a few forming tomatoes. They may not make it through to full tomato ripeness, but I'm glad to have them.  I may actually get around to trying fried green tomatoes.


The self sown tomato is still producing cherry toms too.


The purple podded peas are up and starting to climb.


The lush leaves of beetroot and carrots, plus weeds, bely their too small to harvest produce. But soon their day will come.


The broad beans are growing taller and even starting to flower.


And in the polytunnel, I'm very happy to say I've got a couple of actual cucumbers from the late sown experimental seed. The plants are very diseased with almost constant powdery mildew despite regular milk/soap sprays, but at least there have been a few cukes.

Planting

Onions and garlic, just this weekend gone. Not much else is on the agenda now.

Harvesting

Veg: Tomatoes, eggplant, capsicums, cucumbers, spring onions, pumpkin, silverbeet, broccoli, leeks, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, radishes.

Fruit: Apples (Woodbridge Winter Pippin and Sundowner), raspberries, lemons, rhubarb (technically a veg, but in the culinary sense a fruit).

To do: 
  • Start up some of the strawberry runners in wicking buckets.
  • Have a look at the wicking bucket trees and maybe repot some into larger containers.
  • Hibernate inside unless absolutely necessary to be out in the cold and wet.
That's all for me this month.

Don't forget to check out other people's GSC at Krystie's or Kate's.

Onions and garlic...

28 May, 2016

I'm back! Finally I have a bit of time to get into the garden.

And as soon as I did I got out the seeds to plant something. At this time of year, that mean onions and garlic.

So I went out to the previously bean bed and cleaned out the still-going-but-definitely-on-the-way-out climbing beans, and under those I found some onion seeds that had germinate from what I had sown in the bed earlier (I can't recall exactly when) in the year.

So those got replanted out a nicely spaced intervals.


Onions are one of the easiest plants to transplant. Just place on parted soil, then flick over a bit of dirt and water in. Never fails.


That left plenty of space to plant out some more onion seed. Three rows and a generous scatter of onion seeds are here.


I sowed a white variety called Contessa and a red variety called Long Red Florence.Why grow boring brown onions when they are cheap and easy to buy.

Both I've grown both of these before and they do pretty well.


Next up I needed to plant out the remainder of my garlic cloves in my garlic experiment.

I had previously sown about half my cloves of two varieties (Flinders Island and Italian Red) around mid March. The remaining half got stashed into the fridge to see if a bit of extra cold would make any difference to the finished product.


Here are the remaining halves, carefully matched with the previously planted out stash of cloves for size so that won't be a confounding factor.


The remaining cloves got planted out adjacent to the well growing plants so that feeding and sunlight will be equal.


I'll be keeping an eye on these as I've heard they don't like to be too wet, but they also don't like to dry out. They are well fed with manure and will get additional feeds of worm wee I get from a friend with a worm farm. (Thanks Mike!)

Damn it feels good to get my hands dirty again!


What have you been up to in the garden lately?

Harvest Monday...

02 May, 2016

Yay for Harvest Monday, that international celebration of home veg harvests.

Cheers to Dave for hosting Harvest Monday.

I had hoped to post monthly, but this was as close as I got to an April typical harvest pic. Better late than never.


Current veg harvests include: the last of the summer eggplant, tomatoes, beans and capsicums. The only tomatoes still going are the self sown ones, which is a bonus. This will be the last of the beans, as there are no more flowers coming along, but I think the eggplant and tomato harvest will go another few weeks.

Autumn crops are slowly taking over, with carrots and leeks being the main pic over this weekend. There are a few big beetroots left, with plenty more small ones coming along.

Not pictured is lettuce, rocket, silverbeet, bok choy and amaranth.

On the fruit front the apples are peaking. This one is a Red Cleopatra but I've also got Woodbridge Winter Pippin ready to crop, and the Sundowner and Pink Lady apples are not far away. The autumn raspberries are a joy, and the lemons are prolific.

Don't forget to go and check out other harvests.

Garden Share Collective: April...

28 April, 2016

Once again its time for the GSC - a great time each month to think back on what's been accomplished in the garden, and what is still left to do.

This month I was determined to post, even if its to say I haven't been doing much. Sometimes, like now, the garden takes a back seat on the priorities list, but its nice to see that earlier work in the year, or work years back, is still producing dividends.

This month's theme is 'save' and the main thing a the moment that relates to this is seed saving (a bit), saving time (when I just pop out to pick a few things, usually unphotographed) and sanity, as the occasional garden time allows me to relax and get away from the stresses in my life.

So where is the garden at now?

Main wicking bed veg patch

The autumn veg are coming along nicely, with small pickings of baby beetroots to thin out the crops and make room for the others to grow nice and big.


The onion bed has been planted out with garlic, as well as a short row of never ending spring onions.


The self sown tomatoes continue to flower and crop.


Meanwhile one of the sown tomatoes (variety Pink Girl) has sent out a heap of new shoots and is flowering like crazy.


I've no idea if I'll get anything but I'll let them go for now.

New silverbeet has been planted out, while the self sown bok choy (I think) has been growing madly. I've been cropping leaves for ages but it just keeps going.


Like the tomatoes the eggplants have put out a new flush of fruits.


 The brassicas are well protected under their nets and are coming along nicely.


And the new fence is finally up, so I've been able to put up some new wire supports for the passionfruit.


 In other areas of the garden, the Woodbridge Winter Pippin apples are coming along.



As they are green they don't seem to be so much attacked by the birds, so no netting has been needed (as yet).

In the polytunnel the capsicums and more eggplants are still going well and putting out new flowers and fruits.


The experimental cucumbers are doing well, and I even have a cucumber flower. Fingers crossed.


In the front yard the red leaf amaranth has gone to seed, so I might try collecting that for eating.
 

The autumn raspberries are coming along well.


And the lemon tree is getting more lemon-y every day.


I see lemon curd in my future!

I finally cleaned up the mass of climbing purple bean pods which I've been storing in the polytunnel to keep them dry, and now have a nice bowl of seeds for sorting into the best for resowing next year, and some to trial as an eating bean.


Planting

Probably not more than some onion seeds and the garlic in the fridge, which I'm doing a trial on. Details to be blogged at some point.

Harvesting

Veg: Tomatoes, eggplant, capsicums, beans, spring onions, pumpkin, silverbeet, bok choy, leeks, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, radishes.

Fruit: apples, raspberries, lemons, rhubarb (technically a veg, but in the culinary sense a fruit). I also forraged some feijoas - does that count???

To do: 
That'll do me. Likely also some pottering, odd bit of pruning or training as time allows. Just sit and enjoy might also be nice.

Don't forget to check out other people's GSC at Krystie's or Kate's.