Showing posts from March, 2010

Updates as the wet season tries to end

The beehive gingers are eventually dying down and forming compost around the base of the plant, just as nature intended.  They have created a lovely show for months now.  I have also been cutting back the branches as they die down and removing the leaves.  I get a lovely strong stake out of each one - it will probably only last one season, but free is good! The Geisha girl is coming alive with colour and I love how it looks against the yellow leaves on the bush next to it.  That bush should have orange berries and blue flowers, but  maybe they will still come.  I do keep cutting it back to keep it small, maybe that is why it doesnt flower....mmmm I will never tire of the tree fern fronds, and it has really shot up this wet season.  I wonder if there will be a slowing of growth now? We went up to visit some friends in the rainforest over the weekend - I dont like it there during the wet season - so hot and humid!  I keep thinking this rainy season will end, but still no end in sight. 

Gardening group meeting at my place

Last year the library started a gardening group where speakers would come once a month and we would all gather at the library for a cup of tea and some gardening information sharing.  The library this year has got very busy and so we decided to spread the load a little and have some of the meetings held at peoples houses for seed sharing and general gardening discussions.  This Saturday I hosted the event. All week long it rained..... we didnt have a rain plan (I thought the wet season was over).  I had calls from a couple of kilometres away saying that it was pouring, but by midday I still had not had any rain, although the ground was sodden.  At 1pm people started to arrive with plants to share, and information sheets on compnaion planting, along with catalogues to give away.  I was planning where I could put a dragon fruit plant, and before I had decided, all the plants were gone!  Everyone loved my  folia seed packets and so I said I would e-mail the template on to everyone in t

Gifts from a neighbour and suddenly I have another path

I was sitting down for a water break on Saturday afternoon when I noticed my neighbour in her front yard.  We began chatting and she asked me what all the blue flowers were on her side of the fence.  My jicama has been running riot so I went over to cut it back.  Only when you cut the flowers and seed pods off does the energy go into making bigger tubers.  While I was there, she asked me if I would like to take her two sago palms that she had in pots, and felt they would do better in the ground.  Well would I?  Would you say no to free plants?   What a question?  Within the hour her pots were empty and I had a re-design! It seems my shady garden that I have been wondering what to do with needed two sago palms!  There has been a  bit more colour and lightness lately with the easter lillies and impatients blooming.  Even the cordelines are showing more colour. The front area just sort of naturally extended out into the grass to create a spot for one of them, and this curve automatica

Peeling loofas

This is what my loofa looked like after drying out for a bit. Then over the weekend I decided to peel them.  I discovered that in actual fact the ones that I had left to dry for the longest time were more difficult to peel and they had spots of mould.  The ones that were in fact still green and quite moist peeled quite easily and have a lovely smooth texture.  When they say you will get plenty of seeds they are not exagerating!  I must have got 600 seeds from this pile of loofas.  If anyone in Australia wants to grow them just let me know and I can send you some. (Sorry - cant send any internationally) I gave the best one to my lovely neighbour - you will see why in the next post!

Pigeon Peas as the roof of my "nature made" greenhouse

I planted out some seeds this week in my little "nature made" greenhouse! The plan is that the overhanging branches will protect the little seedlings from heavy rains and bright sunshine as they emerge .  Yes, we are sitll getting some quite heavy rains.  I have noticed not quite a nip in the early mornings, but certainly not the heavy humidity that we get from October to February. As the seedlings grow, the plan is to cut back some of the branches, letting more light and sunshine in.  I still want to keep some branches on the pigeon peas - the theory is that every time you prune them,( since the seeds were innoculated), the roots will add nitrogen to the soil.  I originally planted these pigeon peas as a green manure crop to enrich the soil over the wet season.  I dont always have a concrete plan of where I am going in the garden, and often just work with it all as it evolves, and some plants do better than others. This is a great permaculture website where I first read

The mighty cucumber

My boss has been keeping me supplied with cucumbers for a couple of months now, and I have taken the seeds of some of the older ones and scraped them into a bowl.  I will let these ferment and dry out as this evidently is the best way to save cucumber and tomato seeds.  This creates a barrier that protects the seeds from fungus when they eventually start to grow.  I planted a few of his seeds betwen my pigeon peas and so hopefully soon will have my own home grown cucumbers.  Heirloom seeds, that have been passed down from one generation to the next seem to adapt well to our climate and are quite disease and pest resistant. I was forwarded this useful list - who knew the little cucumber could be so useful!  It came with no credits, so I am also posting it as I found it.  with thanks to the unknown person who compiled the list in the first place. 13 magical uses for cucumbers The humble cucumber is actually a little gem. And not just for its nutritional benefits... 1. Cucumbers co

In the vegetable garden

The lychee tree sprouted these lovely lime green leaves a couple of weeks ago.  Very pretty, I thought, until this week when something attacked them!  Yesterday afternnon we spent all day blowing and mulching up dried shrivelled brown leaves, and I did put them into the compost.  Hope I am not spreading diseases.  I remember this happening last year and we found lots of little catterpillars. Not so many catterpillars this year,so the other option is it could be a  fungus..  Reading up about it online I discovered that the only way to treat either problem is to spray the whole tree. If all it means is that I wont get lychees that is ok and preferable to spraying.   This tree is really too big to harvest the lychees and without covering it with netting there would be none left for us after the birds and bats have their share.  We will just keep looking at it as a lovely shade tree. The thick snake beans just keep producing. And my garlic chives are flowering - what lovely cheerful flow

First of March and a vegetable garden update

I keep hoping that the wet season is going to end soon, and over the weekend I tipped out a whole barrel of compost onto the vegetable garden, straightened up the eges, and planted some seeds.  Now I have a nice straight weed free path!  I cut back some of the branches of the pigeon peas (that should spread some nitrogen right into the soil.)  I planted gemsquash seeds on top of the mounds of compost, and then between the stems of the pigeon peas I planted some cucumber seeds.  I am hoping they will grow up the stems and after harvesting the pigeon peas I can cut the final leaves back to allow the sunlight in, while leaving the uprights as living stakes..  at the moment it is still a bit hot, so the light shade should be good for the litttle seedlings. I also have a couple of pawpaw trees that have sprung up in the very front, but I will leave them until I see if either of them are female - they dont like to be transplanted.  My eggplant seem to be all be doing fine,  behind the eggp