Posts Tagged ‘Permaculture’

The Fruits Of My Labour – Or Not!

Back at the end of Spring, when I had finished harvesting my broad beans, I still had heaps of seeds that had dried on the plant. When I pulled the plants up they went everywhere and since I was crazy busy & had already harvested all of the seed I needed I decided to leave them in situ. Funny enough, because of the strange weather we had over Summer and into Autumn, those beans sprouted prolifically, flowered & now, when we should be sowing seed for spring crops, I am harvesting them for the plate at a time when I have never had fresh broad beans before!

BP_BroadBeans1

So, while I’d love to tell you that these were the fruits of my labour, actually I just mulched over them and up they came! They did all of the hard work for me. All I had to do was drink my gin and enjoy the summer! Now that’s food for thought!

BP_BroadBeans2

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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!

 

 

 

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?

On Your FM Dial!

Fungi Ecology Workshops!

Its mushroom season again! For all of the people out there who missed my post last year on Alison Pouliot and her awesome Fungal Ecology Workshop I thought that I would do a recap and update her current seasons workshop dates.

Last year Ol’Pauly and I went to one of Allison’s workshops in Daylesford.  It was fun and very inspiring.

Alison Pouliot.

I thought perhaps I knew a thing or two about mushrooms. I mean, I know the different types that you can buy at the shop. However, from the minute I walked in the room and saw Allison’s fabulous fungi display I realised that, in fact, I knew virtually nothing at all. That wasn’t a problem though because that’s precisely what this workshop was all about. By the end of the day we had learnt how to tell the difference between an edible mushroom and an inedible mushroom. We learnt where to find them and that there are mushrooms that glow in the dark! I dare you to google “Bioluminescent fungi”! Woah!

Her impressive collection of fungi was beautifully displayed around the room in their respective family groups, with field guides from around the world and interesting anecdotes about various species. It gave us a wonderful picture of the habitats and the diversity of fungi the world over. Best of all it enabled us to get up close and personal and to get a great sense of what’s what in the world of fungi.

Later in the day we went out to the forest, where we got to see them in their natural habitat, which made the world of difference. Getting out to the different sites to look for mushrooms was more fun and surprising than I could have ever imagined. At one site we had a plan to walk a kilometer or so along a particular track. I think Alison was quietly hoping that people wouldn’t stray too far so as to keep the group together. Well, as it turned out that wasn’t going to be a problem. After an hour and a half nobody had managed to get further than 150mt from the cars. Being such an amazing season there were different species everywhere we turned. The diversity in such a small area was outstanding. How Alison managed to drag us out of there I’ll never know =)

Oh, and we did find the glow in the dark mushrooms. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it!

Pictures courtesy of Alison Pouliot Photography

It was truly the best day out I’d had in a long time. I would recommend Alison’s workshops to anyone young or old, novice or expert. There is something for everyone. If you’d like to join one of Alison’s workshops here are the details for the remaining season for 2012.

SATURDAY 05 May – WOODEND
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5427 1845 or reception@woodendnh.org.au

SUNDAY 06 MAY – WOODEND
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5427 1845 or reception@woodendnh.org.au

TUESDAY 08 MAY – GLENLYON
Workshop: Meeting with Mushrooms, Fungi workshop and feast
Bookings: info@ellenderwines.com.au or 5348 7785

WEDNESDAY 09 MAY – GLENLYON
Workshop: Meeting with Mushrooms, Fungi workshop and feast
Bookings: info@ellenderwines.com.au or 5348 7785

SATURDAY 12 MAY – BEAUFORT
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5349 3110 or bchlc@netconnect.com.au

SATURDAY 19 MAY – APOLLO BAY
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: Open soon

SUNDAY 20 MAY – FORREST
Workshop: The kingdom fungi, A journey into a forgotten kingdom
Bookings: 5236 6591 or gbrew@swarh.vic.gov.au
(*see note below)

SATURDAY 26 MAY – CRESWICK
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5345 2356 or creswick@ourneighbourhood.org.au

SUNDAY 27 MAY – CRESWICK
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5345 2356 or creswick@ourneighbourhood.org.au

SATURDAY 02 JUNE – INGLEWOOD
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: Michael 5494 3542 or emandem@iinet.net.au or Jill on 042 751 7437 or jmcf@bordernet.com.au

SUNDAY 03 JUNE – INGLEWOOD
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: Michael 5494 3542 or emandem@iinet.net.au or Jill on 042 751 7437 or jmcf@bordernet.com.au

Note: The kingdom fungi, A journey into a forgotten kingdom workshops in Summerfield and Forrest are slightly shorter workshops and cost $55. Further info: alison@alisonpouliot.com

2012: FUNGAL ECOLOGY SEMINARS

TUESDAY 03 APRIL – CRESWICK
Seminar: Introduction to the fungi kingdom seminar
This 90 minute illustrated seminar introduces participants to the amazing diversity of the fungi kingdom.
Bookings: 0437 518 159
Cost: $2

TUESDAY 10 APRIL – LOCKWOOD SOUTH
Seminar: Fungi, The Forgotten Kingdom
Bookings: Judy Crocker 0428 506 525
This interactive session introductes participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an exciting and illustrated 75 minute seminar. Following the seminar will be a 75 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants’ fungi specimens. Seminar run from 7pm until 9.30pm.
Cost: Free

THURSDAY 12 APRIL – TRENTHAM
Seminar: Fungi, The Forgotten Kingdom
Bookings: 5424 1354 or trentham@ourneighbourhood.org.au
This interactive session introductes participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an exciting and illustrated 75 minute seminar. Following the seminar will be a 75 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants’ fungi specimens. Seminar runs from 7pm until 9.30pm.
Cost: $20

THURSDAY 03 MAY – WOODEND
Seminar: Fungi, The Forgotten Kingdom
Bookings: 5427 1845 or reception@woodendnh.org.au
This interactive session introductes participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an exciting and illustrated 75 minute seminar. Following the seminar will be a 75 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants’ fungi specimens. Seminar runs from 7pm until 9.30pm.
Cost: $20

WEDNESDAY 23 MAY – WYNDHAM VALE
Seminar: An Introduction to the Fungi Kingdom
Bookings: Susie Inglis 9974 0835 or 0447 133 334 or facilitator@wmcn.org.au
This seminar will introduce participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an illustrated and hands-on 90 minute seminar. Topics such as fungi ecology, diversity, natural and cultural history, edibility and toxicity, fungi peculiarities and curiosities will be covered.
Following the seminar will be a 90 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants specimens. Participants will learn about the major field characteristics used to identify fungi in the field. Seminar runs from 11am – 2pm and a cold lunch is provided.
Cost: $25

Or go to Alison’s website for more details www.alisonpouliot.com

Have fun-gi’s.

Su Dennett and I with our beautiful Saffron Milk Caps.

BTW, Allison isn’t paying me to advertise this! She doesn’t even know it is going up. Quite simply, I enjoyed myself so much that I am giving my wonderful readers the opportunity to enrol in one of her amazing workshops wile there is still space.

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.

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