Friday, February 28, 2014

Garden share collective March 2014

Wow how is it March already?  Time to link up with other gardeners at the Garden Share Collective.

The Garden Share Collective
  This time of year is funny in the tropics, we are nearing the end of the wet season (hopefully) humidity is still quite high and we could still have flooding which would destroy tiny seedlings.  Quite honestly I have more success with planting seed directly into the ground, but at this time of year I am playing it safe by starting  some seedlings, and keeping them under the eaves where I can control the moisture a little easier.

I have used an assortment of eggboxes and toilet roll holders to start my seeds in, and they are contained in an old plastic bin.  I love the seed raising mix that comes in a compressed block, it is made of coir and you add water to re-constitute it.   I have been scraping off little bits as I haven't wanted to use the whole block.  That works so well as it doenst take up much room, and is so easy to sprinkle over fine seeds that have been planted and just need a light covering. Now I will be using more so I re-constituted the rest of the block, and am keeping it in a covered bucket.
Last month I ordered quite a few seeds and planted a few out directly, but have not had much success with them.  I feel prety wiped out and lazy in the humidity so maybe the seeds feel the same....  I planted some eggplant, cucumber, parsley and warringal greens, and have not had anything come up!  Then a friend gave me some cucumbers and some of his seeds and  I planted them out, and they have come up.  They might be more acclimatized to the local conditions.  The temperature seems to have dropped a bit to just under 30*C but the humidity is still in the high 80's.  I notice that this batch has lots of little green shoots, so success at last!  
My in ground worm bins seem to be working fine - I think the goodness  leaches out the sides into the surrounding soil, but now I am going to try and harvest some castings that I can spread elsewhere in the garden. 

I took another bucket the same size, drilled some holes mostly around the bottom and lower sides and then a layer around the top.  This has a few veggie scraps and shredded paper and hopefully will intice the worms up into the next layer. I also plan to call in at the local coffee shop and get some of their leftover coffee grounds as I understand that worms love it. I will not add food to the bottom layer and then can eventually harvest the bottom layer of castings, once the worms have moved up.  I am thinking I will alternate the top layer between buckets, if this system works.....  I lay a lid on top to prevent water getting in, and it has worked well - even in our heavy rain.

The seeds I planted are two types of basil and Italian parsley for the herb spiral.  I increased the size of the herb spiral and am going to plant the parsley in the besa bricks as a type of edging.  I have a wonderful friend who grows prize winning gerbers and she keeps giving me free plants, so that is what is along the side.  I think I will continue the floral theme and plant nasturtium in the front part where I have expanded.

I will re-pot my asparagus into bigger pots until I move them into the ground.  They will eventually be planted behind the wicking beds.  I grow tomatoes and eggplant  in the wicking beds, in order to evade the bacterial wilt that lives in our soil and attacks anything from the solonacea family.

To do 
I guess this list is quite long as I have a trip planned down to the big smoke and a long shopping list. I am very lucky to have 100.00 in bunnings gift certificates in my hot little hands..... On my list:
Hanging strawberry pots - I want to try the kind that fit flush against the fence - the ones I have with begonias in have been going for about five years with no trouble.  Hanging baskets seem to always collapse on me.

5 in 1, a mixture of manures that I find is a wonderful additive to my soil at the beginning of the season..

Sugar cane mulch - This is expensive, but is the best mulch for tucking around small vegetable plants.  I keep a bale inside my old garbage bin and use it when needed.

2 or three pavers for my front path.

Soaker hose - I think mine has been patched one too many times, and I want to replace it before I plant out my seedlings so that they dont get disturbed. I have looked at other systems and still think my black soaker hose is the best system for me.

Garden stakes - I am never sure which are the best - the plastic covered metal ones seem to rust away so quickly, it might be better to look at fence posts.

So that is all that is on my list, I wonder if that is all I will buy?


  1. You are making me want to get back into the vegie patch. I've let mine go over summer. It's been too hot and dry. We haven't had a wet season. I'd like to try the coir blocks od seed raising mix. They sound good.

    Be careful at Bunnings. You always see extra things you "need".

    1. I hope you do get out there, and plant some things in the veggie patch. You have been busy propagating new plants though and that is always fun. we had our rain late, but I think have had enough now. Oh yes I have been making my list and checking it twice....

  2. March? Not til tomorrow here... but your post got me excited. I had to check the calendar. :) It's time for Winter to move on. Our snow is melted, but that doesn't mean we won't get more. Maybe if I start my To Do List Spring will come a little sooner.

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      It must be very exciting to have such a dramatic change in seasons. Ours is much more subtle. I really enjoy your snow and ice photos.

  3. I am so happy for you that the in-ground worm bins are working well.
    You have inspired me to start more veggie seeds as well......thanks.

    1. Virginia,
      well they dotn seem in a hurry to move up to the top bucket - I keep checking. I have heard you need to get something they really like so I keep meaning to go past the coffee shop and pick up some used grounds.

  4. i love your shopping list - you have given me some ideas too. the 5 in 1 sounds delicious!
    i also love the potential of the besa block used as container edges. very practical and very pretty.
    as always, it is gorgeous to see how different things are in your part of the country. we are crying out for rain, and you are dealing with humidity.
    have fun an bunnings. that $100 won't go very far, i'm sure.

    1. The 5 in 1 has the same ingredients as dynamic lifter and is less than half the price when it is on special. I am always trying to get the edges of my beds neater and more practical for as little cost as possible. I love travelling the world with the collective to see all the different gardens and get ideas. I am definitly going to get the most bang for my buck at Bunnings.

  5. What a lovely collection of plants! Your garden design is practical and pretty. I love the besser blocks for edging beds. It is certainly a great time to plant seeds now that the really hot days are behind us. We buy the thick wooden stakes at Bunnings as they last for many years, the plastic comes off the metal ones too easily leaving them open to rust. Enjoy your shopping expedition and I can't wait to see next month's blog.

    1. Thank you Merryn, it is just a small yard, but I do manage to cram a lot in. I am envious of you having the space for dragonfruit and bananas. Thanks for that I will look at the wooden ones - but I am always worried they will attract termites.

    2. We haven't had an issue with termites but if worried you could paint the bottom foot to deter them I have seen some elsewhere with almost a tar like substance on the lower part.

  6. Have fun on your spending spree! I tend to get my garden stakes from a wholesale place in bulk so I know that they are Australian hardwood and that they tend to last longer than the cheaper ones in bunnings. Due to our weather conditions Ozzie hardwood is best I find. Your grass is so green, I hope mine changes colour this coming month.

    1. Liz, I wont be buying in bulk but will definitely look into the wooden ones. A spending spree is always fun, especially when it involves free money! Our grass is always green - even during the dry season!

  7. Great idea to use the toilet rolls and egg cartons for planting pots. I'm going to be borrowing that idea! And look at those worms grow. So nice to visit a growing garden, it makes the time go by for me much more pleasantly.

  8. Karen,
    Oh I think your quiet time shooshing through the snow sounds great too. I like the idea that you dont have to handle the little seedlings as much - you just plant the whole thing.


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