Posts Tagged ‘Garten’

Working Bee

The Roxburgh Park Community Garden is cracking on. We just had a working bee and workshops down there. Thanks to all who joined in. Special thanks to Maria for the lovely lunch!

We espaliered an apple along the fence. Planted some passion fruit & choko along the fence too! Don’t forget to train your vines sideways at first so that your plants bush up at the bottom as well as the top!

We planted up a herb garden with both edible plants & insect attracting plants and put in a super crop of asparagus. That’ll be ready to harvest from next spring. We’ll refrain from picking them this year so that the plants get a good chance to grow strong & establish themselves. We’ll keep topping them up with mounds of well rotted sheep manure so that they are well fed.

My asparagus at home have established themselves quite well now. They’re planted along side my rhubarb underneath the mulberry trees in the front yard. It’s the perfect spot – the mulberries protect them from the harsh summer sun and it’s a bed that doesn’t see too much action so they aren’t disturbed very often. I’m expecting big things from that bed this year!

 

 

 

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Now That’s Something You Don’t See Every Day!

Well I never…!

Today I just don’t know what to say.

I probably don’t need to. I think that this picture says it all!

Here’s the long shot – just in case you were curious!

A Melon By Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet

They may have been tiny this year but they weren’t short on flavour!

Eden’s Gem Rockmelon

Today I sent my rockmelon plants off to the compost but not before I harvested the last fruit of the season. This was a very strange crop indeed. The fruit were much much smaller than I imagined they would be. These were meant to be ‘Edens Gem’ rockmelon. Well, they were… but they weren’t softball sized as they should have been. They were like little rockmelon berries. Well, technically they are – botanically, rockmelons are modified berries or pepoes. Theres an interesting fact for you!

I think that this was a seed issue as the plant was quite healthy and the fruit were amazing (albeit so very very small).

Now, I want to put this out there because this was a total revelation to me: unripe rockmelon make an amazing substitute for cucumber! Yes indeedy!

When I pulled up the vine there were a few immature fruit still hanging there. Curiosity got the better of me so, I cut into them to see what I would find. Naturally I had to have a little taste. It was just like cucumber, only sweeter. So, into the salad they went.

I think I know what I’ll be doing with my melons next year! (oh behave!)

Have you ever grown Eden’s Gem?

How did you fare?

Knowing What To Sow And When

Knowing what should go into the garden at different times of the year can be tricky. It certainly takes a lot of practice to remember it all by heart but there are some resources out there that will help you get it all right.

You can buy “Sow What When” charts which are great for a quick and handy reference. I keep one on the back of the laundry door because that door leads out to my vegie patch. I don’t refer to it very often these days but, it seems to come in handy for my house guests. I often find people scanning through it on their way outside.

There are also a couple of sites that I would recommend:

www.sowwhatwhen.com – Australia Specific

www.gardenate.com – Worldwide

There are probably others but these are the main ones that I know of.

On the topic of what should be sown now – I have been sowing peas and broad beans this week. I have a number of beds where I grow each of them. This allows me to sow blocks of them every fortnight or so. This helps to stretch the harvest over the fruiting season. I’ll do this from now until July and they should be ready to harvest about 10 weeks after each sowing.

This is my latest posi for my peas and beans. If you look carefully you can see that I have just extended this bed into the lawn area. It was previously a narrow bed that housed my cucumbers and zucchinis. I decided to make it wider to accommodate both my peas and some extra broad beans. I just have to add a bag of sheep manure to that soil and it will be ready for sowing... better go soak some more seeds!

I soak my peas and beans in water with about 1/4 tsp of epsom salts (no more!). Soak them for about 12 hrs. The peas will take up the magnesium in the epsom salts and this will kick start their growth.

Soaking the seeds overnight will speed up the germination process so you’ll see things popping up through the soil very quickly, within about 5 days of sowing. I like to do this with the larger seeds like peas, beans and corn.

Before you sow peas and beans do a quick soil soil test. If your pH reading is below 7.0 you can add a bit of dolomite lime and, if you have some handy, a bit of mushroom compost. This will raise the pH so that it is slightly alkaline which is a more favourable growing environment for your peas and beans.

You Gnome Me?

So I came home and found this guy under the cherry tree. Nice!

You know I have always loved gnomes but, somehow I have never gotten around to buying one. Someone certainly knows me well 😉

I’m going to call him Al.

I love garten schmuck!

Thanks xx

Pixie Versus The Old Boiler

I was away for a few days during the week while I was at the National Sustainable Food Summit in Sydney. I left my mum home to look after things around the place while I was gone – namely make sure that Chickie and the chooks were watered, fed and locked up safe at night.

Well, things didn’t quite go to plan! You see we have a new addition: Meet Pixie Pantaloons.

Pixie Pantaloons

Pixie used to live at a neighbours house and just wasn’t well received by the other resident chooks. Sadly, they had bullied her so much that they had literally pecked a hole in the back of her head. So, we decided to take her in. Her wound has now healed and she is very happy to call this place home. She’s a delight! Compared to my other girls, she is wildly social. More on that later.

So, I was just about to sit down to a rather fancy dinner… I won’t mention ‘how’ or ‘why’ but, I received a nervous call from home that went a little like this:

“luuuuuv. We’ve lost one of your chooks!”.

“What?!”

“Weeeeeeeeell… we went  out to close them in and well luv, Pixie… she wasn’t there”.

As you can imagine, the conversation went on  =)

Well the long and the short of the story is that she was found at about 12:30 in the morning after she had been chased out of her hiding spot by the neighbours cat.

So, you would think that it was a happy ending and that it probably ended there.  Nope!   Why?   Oh I guess it was a little thing called Karma!

Yes indeed. The next day, in an attempt to make it up to us, mum decided to clean out the chook house (which was just cleaned but, we won’t tell her that!). This was the result:

That’s mum – stuck inside the girls house for 45min while she waited for my brother to come rescue her. He is wonderful my brother! Of course, before he let her out he had to call my cousin so that they could have a little giggle at the situation and take a photo so that everyone else could enjoy the moment too! (You’re smiling aren’t you?)

All I can say is that she is very lucky that she had her phone on her at the time because we weren’t due home until late that night.

How To Propagate Strawberries

Ok folks here is a very quick and cheap way to get new strawberry plants for free!

During late summer – early autumn you will notice your strawberry plants sending out long stems that have a knobbly clusters like you see in the picture below.

Strawberry stolons or "runners".

These are often referred to as “runners” or in botany we call them “stolons“. Quite simply they are a specialised above ground shoots that emit roots, allowing stoloniferous plants, like strawberries, to colonise themselves.

Strawberry stolon

Strawberry stolon. Roots forming.

It is best not to propagate too many stolons from each plant as this can exhaust the parent plant and weaken the growth of your developing runners. I think four is plenty.

To propagate your own strawberries you will need:

  • a pot or tray
  • some potting mix or compost
  • a pin
  • Or if you don’t have a pin you can use a piece of thick wire and some wire cutters.

You can easily make your own pins from an old coat hanger just as I have done below.

Old coat hanger wire cut into short pieces.

Bend the wire over the wire cutters.

Now you have pegs.

DIY pins.

First fill your pot or tray with potting mix or compost. Pat it down with the palm of your hand so that it is level and firm. This will give the roots something to grab on to.

Fill your tray/pot with potting mix or compost.

Now take your stolons and place them on your filled tray or pot.

Stolons in place.

Pin it into place on top of the potting mix. You want the stolons to be fixed firmly in place so that the base of the stolon is in contact with the potting mix.

Insert your pin to anchor stolon.

When your new plants have developed a good root system you will see the roots through the holes at the bottom of your pot or tray (this can take around 3 weeks).

Cut your new plant free from the parent plant, making sure that you cut nice and close to the base. This will prevent the spent stem from rotting and potentially harming your new plant.

Cut close to the base.

And there you have it! New strawberries from old plants!

Naturally, if your strawberries are in the ground and you want to propagate them direct into your soil you can do so. I would advise you to pull back your straw and pin the runners into place where it suits you, not where it suits the plant. It is your garden after all!

Of course you can grow from seed or division but this truly is the easiest way to propagate. Also, propagating in this way means that you will produce clones of the parent plant and this is great because then you know exactly what kind of fruit will get when the plant matures.

If you don’t have your own plants to propagate from have no shame asking a friend or neighbour that does. Remember, love is sharing!

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