Monday, June 27, 2016

Garden share collective June - taste

The theme for this months Garden Share collective is taste.  Here are the others participating.
We have had an extended wet season, and so my garden is not as far along as it normally is at this time of year.  I purchased an eggplant and jalapeno and planted them in the far back corner.  the eggplant has to go into a pot because of the bacterial wilt in the soil.  Even then they dont always survive.  it is just a case of wait and see.

 I thought I had lost all the tatsoi and rocket in the flooding rains, but they seem to be bouncing back nicely.  Fresh greens in a salad is the best taste ever, and I am sure loaded with vitamins and minerals compared to what we can buy in a plastic packet.
 The bed along the side fence has a few volunteer cherry tomato, and one capsicum which is doing very well.  there are also a couple of cucumber, which go back and forth between looking on their last legs with powdery mildew and thriving....  I planted out a few snow peas to climb that fence too.  They do like it a bit cooler than it is right now. We might not get any cool weather this season.

The other capsicum plant is doing really well.  Also in this bed I have carrot, kangkong, silverbeet, beetroot, mangul wurzel, cherry tomatoes.  This is the sunniest bed.  A lot of them are all still small and hopefully will perk up if we get some sunshine.

I saw we have a volunteer tumeric growing out in amongst the ferns and flowers.  If you are looking for taste, that is one of my favourites.  I made an awesome curry with ginger and turmeric out of the garden.  I feel so blessed when I can use tasty fresh produce straight out of the garden onto the plate. 
I will be heading overseas on the 20th to go and visit both my Daughters and their families.  That means I will miss next months posting, but I will be busy tasting my way around France.  I might come back with some new gardening ideas!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Garden share collective - leaves in May

I just made the linkup -  check out who else has showcased their lovely gardens here. This months Garden Share collective is supposed to focus on leaves.  Now I could have a happy leaf photo or I could show you my cucumbers.  I was going to take a photo, but it is all too sad.

My cucumber was doing OK - little bit of downy mildew which is to be expected in this climate, but I gave it a spray with liquid  seaweed with a little bicarb mixed in and it seemed to be doing just fine.  Then the rains came, and it rained, and it rained.  The highest rainfall recorded in this area in May in 96 years! We had 200ml overnight a couple of weekends ago. I had noticed a little insect damage and sprayed with garlic chili spray, but of course the rains washed that all off, but they still carried on chomping.  I saw a couple of catterpillars, so the whole bush got another spray of garlic/chili, but now the whole bush has died.

I also had a lovely bed of tatsoi and rocket, but they just collapsed with the rain and didnt seem to be recovering at all. Needless to say I have been feeling quite down about gardening.  They are beginning to perk up a bit here.

This weekend I got out and replanted a few of my yellow cherry tomatoes, added some mulch and pulled out tons of weeds, and suddenly things look a bit brighter.  Some of the other cucumber plants seem to be doing fine, and I have some baby capsicums!  The mint is doing well in its wicking bed.

 I have been planting out microgreens into wicking beds (had to move one of the beds under cover because it was just too wet!)  Since I have a big packet of tiny tasoi seeds I am thinking that microgreens or baby greens is the way to go  this year. It is quite my favourite green salad leaf to grow, and seems to like to be planted quite close together.

Since we had the top of the lychee tree chopped off we dont have as many lovely dry leaves to add to the compost.  This makes my hubby happy as he doesnt have to mulch up the leaves weekly, but my poor compost doesnt like it!  My compost tumbler was getting too heavy and wet, so I had a big job moving bucketfuls of wet heavy compost into the bin where it can carry on composting.  I stirred that up a bit and it reduced down immensly.  The coffee tree got a good pruning - hopefully I did it right.

I do have some happy leaves, the mint, tarragon and parsley seem to have just lapped up the rain and have been happily adding an awesome flavour to my daily salads. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Green ants nest

I know some of you have been interested in the green ants we find here.  We have been seeing trails of green ants all around the garden and last weekend found the nest up in the tree.  It was about three feet around!  I know they are befeneficial, but that was just too many ants in my little garden, so we cut it down and my brave hubby carried it attached to a long stick down to the creek.  I didnt get any photos, but found this fascinating video that shows how the nests are built. Sir David Attenborough is the best!  Anyone else a fan?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Coffee beans and passionfruit

I harvested the remaining coffee beans this weekend - so they are out on trays drying.  Honey processing, so that means they still have a certain amount of the fruit attached as they dry.
 The curly parsley is doing well in the wicking box.  I keep cutting the bigger stalks, and the plants keep producing more stalks.  I love to have plenty of parsley for salads, taboulli, soups, in fact a handful of parsley will improve just about anything.

The other things that I have been having success with lately is microgreens.  I will do a separate post on them soon.  They deserve a post of their own.   Here I have radish and kale.
 I also took a photo of the passion fruit forming from the center of the flower.  Isnt nature awesome?
I am enjoying the slightly cooler weather and pretty regular rainfall.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Flowers, fruit and tea

The cordelines are flowering and I think they look quite scruffy.  The bees and honeyeaters love the flowers though.  I thought I would take a closer look at the flowers.  They are quite untidy as the birds go crazy pulling bits off, and they go in all different diections....
 Taking a closer look shows how pretty they are though.  They remind me of the flowers on the bromeliads.
 At long last my passionfruit vine has flowers, and fruit.  It has taken so long - I am really not sure why.  Fruit salad alley is sure looking productive lately.  Lemons, limes, the odd strawberry and mulberry, and now passionfruit.  It is perfectly place near the front door because you can smell their sweet scent even before you see the flowers.  It is like living in paradise.  I am truly blessed.
 Sometimes I experiment with seeds that I am not sure will grow in my climate.  I ordered a bag of seeds specially for teas. Lemon Balm, cinnamon basil, chamomile, anise and mint.  I hope they grow, I have had a lot of success with the seeds I order from The seed Collection, and they have published an article I wrote for them on composting in small places.  Have a look here Composting systems for small gardens.
I planted it next to the mexican tarragon in the herb spiral.  My grandkids think I am awesome growing lollies in the garden - peppermint and liquorice, and hopefully next we can make flower tea!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Garden Share collective April - the theme is SAVE

Once again it is time to catch up with other gardeners in our  Garden share collective and the theme is SAVE. Link to the other gardeners here.
I really dont make jams or preserves out of the garden - I prefer to just grow enough so that it is eaten right there and then while fresh.  I did plant extra ginger last year, and dug that out a month or so ago.  I like to keep a big bag in the freezer, so easy just to grab a chunk and grate it - I do that with turmeric as well.  My favourite after dinner drink at the moment is grated turmeric and ginger in hot coconut milk, with a little black pepper grated in.  A little golden cup of goodness.
Oh another thing I have been doing is picking and drying our coffee beans, and the first batch was roasted last weekend.  I just pick them as they ripen, so it looks as though I will have one pot a week :).

I do love to grow from seed - it seems proper somehow.  If someone else has started the seedlings it seems more like fostering or babysitting, whereas planting from seed is giving birth!  It seems that hard sometimes too!  I have decided that planting directly is the most sucessful for most of my crops.  I like to grow intensively and continually harvest leaves as soon as they are big enough.  In fact I am also trying microgreens again - will save that for another post (if they work out!)  Here I have some lovely rows planted, with their labels at the end of each row.  I clear a path into the sugar cane mulch and then sprinkle the seed, press lightly to connect with the soil, then lightly drizzle coir over the top.  We have suddenly had a wet season deluge of rain every day, so hopefully the seeds have not drowned.  I also noticed it is full moon so probably not the ideal time to plant.  Oh well.
To the left of the bar I have kangkong, then rainbow carrot, silverbeet, mangel wurzel, beetroot, then lettuce, banana capsicum, and cinnamon basil.

I do plant tomatoes as seedlings, and have laid the pots along the edge of the herb spiral.  Cherry tomatoes pop up everywhere, but the other tomatoes can be replanted quite deeply and they form extra roots along the stem.  This makes them bigger and stronger in my opinion.   Some tomatoes also need to be planted in pots since I have baterial wilt in the soil.
Saving seeds - some of my seeds that I planted were saved from previous harvests, and those seem really special - it feels as though there is a circle that I am completing. I find that when I save tomato seeds they seem to have developed a resistance to my common garden ailments.
How I save seeds;
Tomato seeds need to be placed in water for a couple of days so that they ferment, then the slime is washed off (I use a sieve for this) and they are dried.  I just spread them out onto a paper serviette with the name written on the serviette.  When dry they are folded over and stored in my seed box.  Herbs and lettuces are left to go to seed, and then the tops cut off and placed in a  small paper bag.  Label and peg to a washing line that is under the eaves.  When dry they can be shaken so that the seeds drop off and the branches can be removed.

Things on my to do list:
Keep up succession planting, so as there are empty spots, I will plant a few more seeds.
I have a few gift cards for the big box hardware store, and on my list are sugar cane mulch, seaweed solution.
Next month the theme is leaves, and hopefully by then I will be harvesting daily salads from my garden.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A kookabura visits our veggie patch

My hubby looked out the study window to see a kookaburra hanging out in the veggie garden so I went around the side with a camera.  He was not at all shy and let me take a few photos before he flew off.

enjoy!  I hope you are having a lovely weekend!  


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