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!
They may have been tiny this year but they weren’t short on flavour!
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 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.
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.
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 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!”.
“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.
This post is for Alexa who wrote to me asking for more information regarding summer herbs. I thought that many of you might find this topic interesting so I have posted my response here for everyone’s benefit.
Alexa – hi Im in high school and I need to do this hospitality project, part of it is that I have to name 5 summer herbs but Im struggling to find any! I was wondering if you could list a few for me it would really help me, thanx 🙂
Thanks for your question. I can see how this could be quite confusing as there is a lot of talk about herbs on the Internet but, mostly the information is non-specific in terms of their seasonal classification. It can also be tricky in some parts of the world, like here in Australia, where we don’t necessarily have clearly defined seasons. In cold climates for example it would be much easier to tell that you have “summer herbs” because they would be the ones that either can’t survive in winter or go dormant during that time. However, in my garden that is not quite so evident – because many of the perennial herbs that would, in a cold climate garden, go completely dormant, don’t. Sure, they start to look a little tired and die back a bit but, after a good prune they reshoot and continue to grow into the autumn and winter. Mint, sage and oregano are just a few of those continual growing “summer herbs” that I have in my garden.
So, I would say that “summer herbs” are those that like the warmer weather and do most of their growing during the spring and summer months. They are herbs that we plant in the spring to enjoy harvesting during the summer. They will often be the type of herbs that die down at the end of summer (but, not always!) or in the case of perennials, ones that need to be cut back hard before the frost arrives.
One place that might give you a good clue as to which are “summer herbs” and which are “winter herbs” is to look at a few recipe books. For example mint is one of those herbs that is used a lot in summer dishes and drinks. Pineapple sage and lemongrass are beautiful in fruity, summer iced teas and are also a nice accompaniment to bottled fruits like peaches. Basil is another important summer herb – very often teamed with fresh tomato dishes because they share the same growing and harvesting seasons and also because of their naturally superb flavour combination.
The following are some of the summer herbs that I have growing here in my garden. I have listed their Common names and their Botanical names for easy reference. I hope this helps.
Every Day In The Garden’s Summer Herb List:
I’m well and truly up and out of bed now and for the first time in many, many weeks I have been back out working in my garden. If you’re still with me, thank you so very much for your patience!
I have been out in the garden from time to time but I didn’t have the energy to actually do anything except sit and enjoy my girls company. Bless my girls! While I was in bed they were right there outside my bedroom window keeping me company and keeping me entertained. And Chickie was there with me too as always =)
So, I have quite a lot to catch up on. Yes indeed! I’ll tell you all about as I tackle it throughout the next week or two.
My poor vegetable garden is in a very sad state. It is getting very empty now as Autumn is upon us. I have been out and cut out all of the veg that had gone to seed or was totally neglected in my absence. I cleared out my tomatoes yesterday – the earliest that I have ever done this! They were not happy and had endured an unprecedented attack by the birds. We have however, had a fairly good crop all things considered. So, there will be bottled tomatoes to come – watch this space! But for now I am off to make a Tomato Cake. See you soon!
Well folks we’re certainly in the thick of the strawberry season now.
It’s a good idea at this time of year to get out there and check the condition of your strawberry plants. Keeping them clean and healthy is the key to good yields.
Strawberries really are one of the easiest and most rewarding plants to have in your garden. You just need to make sure that they are planted in free draining soil that has been enriched with compost and sheep or cow manure (well, that’s just my preference!). It is a common practice to mound your soil, this is to ensure good drainage and it is certainly a good idea. Oh and don’t bother with black plastic, this is an agricultural technique and absolutely not necessary in the home garden.
Pruning your strawberries:
Use a nice clean pair of scissors to snip away dead or yellowing leaves. Cut low to the base of the plant to prevent left over leaf stems rotting and causing fungal problems. I like to use either a sharp pointed pair of scissors or nail scissors so that I can get deep down into the plant and also to avoid cutting healthy leaves. It can be a delicate job but definitely not a hard or time consuming one.
Don’t mind my dirty pot, I had a few other pots standing around it and it kept getting splashed with potting mix when I watered them. It’s beautiful and clean now but, I really should have cleaned it before my photos =) oops!
I do grow my strawberries in the garden by the way but, I have been testing some strawberries in the greensmart pot. They have done exceptionally well. I will have to replace the potting mix every second season to prevent disease and maintain the vigour of the plants.
Now, please don’t tug at the spent leaves as you will disturb the roots and possibly break your crowns. You don’t want that!
I give my strawberries a thorough clean up about twice a year. That said, I look at them often and if I see bits I don’t like they get the snip! I love my strawberries (and my plants) so I give them a bit of love from time to time and boy do they thank me for it. “Checkin’ the strawbs” it’s just one of those regular things I do when I’m wandering around my garden and it only takes a few seconds.
FYI – about 30 plants will be sufficient to feed a family of four. If you can’t afford to buy 30 plants in one hit well, fair enough! Buy what you can when you can. Buying them bare rooted can be quite an economical way to do it. If you look after your plants you will be able to propagate them as their runners develop during summer. When they have taken root snip off the runner and you’ll have a new plant to add to your collection.
One quick thing – when you harvest your strawberries leave a bit of the stem on as I have done in my picture below. These are a couple of my White Frais De Bois strawberries that I just picked now after tucking my chooks into bed. They may be tiny but they taste like sherbet and we love!
Check in tomorrow to see what I did with my strawberry harvest! Oh-la-la!
I think it might be a great time for a few strawberry recipes.