Monday, July 6, 2015

Garden share collective - July already

I always look forward to this season, it is cooler, the humidity is gone, and I can grow "normal" vegetables in my tropical garden.  We have had an usual amount of rain this year - it seems as though the wet season is starting later in the year and then continuing on later.  Of course that means it is cloudy a lot of the time, and things need sunshine to grow.  I suppose we cant have it all ways.
My cucumbers were the first crop of this season and they are still going strong. I made some pickles last night, and realized I dont have  a pot high enough to water bath them, so they are in the fridge.  How long can you keep them in the fridge unopened?

I have noticed a little bit of mildew on the lower leaves, so I might give it a bit of a spray with some milky water.  These are growing on the edge of the asparagus bed.  One thing I add to the asparagus bed that I dont put on the rest of the garden is fresh seaweed, and now I am wondering if that is worth adding every now and then as a mulch to the rest of the garden.  The paths are nice and clear now that the rosellas have been removed. Along this fence I have purple podded beans and snow peas.  With a row of lettuces in front of them.  I am trying some seeds a workmate gave me - Darwin lettuce.  rocket is doing well as are the spinach which I am constranly picking.  I think I will let them go to seed eventually as I have never had any type of spinach do so well in this climate.
 I have been re-thinking the perrenial asparagus bed.  The only asparagus plant that has been satisfactory has been the purple asparagus, and I have tried to start more plants from seed with little success.  The green asparagus is incredibly skinny, so I think I will eventually pull  them out.  I have popped a few tomato plants in between them for now.  .

Out in the front fruit salad alley has a name tag. :)  I moved both the lemon and the lime tree into the line-up.  The pomegranate was re-potted into a bigger pot.  The mulberry has been suffering with some kind of disease, and I sprayed it with my new organic bug spray which did nothing.  In the end I chopped it right down and will see what happens next.   The citrus trees are enjoying the full sun and putting out lots of new leafy growth.

 My first passionfruit is forming, so hopefully soon we will be eating some fruit from fruit salad alley.
To do:
The main thing to do this month is to keep up the watering with a little bit of help from some organic fertilizer and seaweed and charlie carp.  
I will also keep sowing seeds so that I have a continual harvest of leafy greens.
I have my brother and his wife visiting next month so I want to make sure the garden is overflowing with yummy goodness.
I am linking to the lizzie for the Garden share collective and understand there will be different hosts


Garden Share collective



Off to go and see what everyone else has been doing this last month.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekend colour for you - linking to Garden bloggers bloom day

I thought I would just share some pretty colour for you - have a great weekend.
Tibouchina



Bromeliead

Baby desert rose


I seem to be in time for Garden bloggers bloomday for a change so am linking to May Dreams gardens.  Check out the other blogs for more colour!  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cutting back overgrown plants and using my new fertilizers

I got two different types of organic fertilizer in the pack that I won, and decided over the weekend to add some to the rest of the garden.  I recently planted lots of seeds in the veggie patch and think it will be a good idea to wait until they grow up into seedlings before I add any fertilizer to them. The seeds themselves are their own little fertilizer packages for the first few weeks.
I did dig some fertilizer into the area where I planted the snow peas, after I removed the Rosella plants so will be able to compare the difference..

Firstly I cleared the paths and edgings of excess leaves. The beds around the lychee tree are layered with fallen leaves and leaves and branches that I have cut back while trimming plants.  I noticed that there is a white mould/fungus in some very shady, wet areas.  I hope this is mycellium which is what we want to build up in the rotting matter and not some nasty fungus.
I moved the rex begonias into one section - I think they look good en masse.  The maidenhair fern is looking sad, and doesn't seem to be putting out new shoots.  Do they need to be dug out, re-potted and all the old fronds cut away?  They supposedly like shade, but the part that is not putting out any new growth is at the back which would have been in deep shade.

I don't want to cut back the branches of the lychee tree because we could be getting fruit in a few months, and those lower branches are the only ones we can reach!  A lot of my plants really require a bit more sunlight to flower though. Fortunately the Anthirium just love the shade under the tree, and I think I now have more than twenty plants propagated from one gifted plant about five years ago!  My neighbour asked for some plants too, so it is the gift that keeps on giving.

 I moved most of the ground orchids into sunnier areas, out the front, and in the amaryllis bed.   Then I got out the loppers and hedge shears and went to town.  Hubby gets very nervous when I do that - he has a hard time believing that they will grow back thicker and better.  My favourite plant is flowering (well one of my favourites!)  the lipstick plant. Now that I have cut the geisha girl back the lipstick plant can be in the limelight, and maybe a bit more sunlight wont be too bad for it either.

I have removed most of the large heleconias out of the very back bed as they didn't flower because of the shade and were overcrowding the area.  I moved the white crepe myrtle there as that is year round, whereas the heleconias were dying back a bit in the winter.  The pink and red gingers can stay, and I took the opportunity of starting some more plant by the layering method. I will do a tutorial on this later.  The corner where the sexy pink ladies are is easier to see now too (as long as I continue to keep things trimmed!)

Everything got a sprinkle of the new fertilizer and a good watering in - with rainfall, which is rather nice  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I love growing from seed

I do have a thing for seeds .... Lately I have been picking the rosella, and then drying them.  To dry, I just lay them out on the windshield screen in the back of the car - as I travel around the sun shines in and dries them, it take three to four days.




I will be removing these bushes this weekend to make way for more seeds to be planted there, specifically snow pleas.



  I told my grandson that the tea I was drinking came from the rosella seeds he saved last year. (I thought he would have been more impressed! - I was!) This makes awesome tea.


I have made seed tape before,Here is the tutorial. and wondered if that would be a good option with something like silverbeet and beetroot seeds which do better if soaked overnight in a mild seaweed solution.  I have never had much success with either of those seeds, so thought I would give it a try.  I laid out two strips of toilet paper and then evenly spaced the seeds, and folded the paper over.  Then I kept them wet for two days.  Of course picking up wet toilet paper turned out to be a rather difficult thing to do!  The pieces that were just damp worked perfectly. Since planting them we have had lovely rain every day, so hope I see some action real soon.

The cucumbers planted in the edge of the asparagus bed are doing really well, sooo much better than the ones at the back of the adjacent bed.  They get more water but I did worry about all the seaweed I have been putting on the asparagus beds since that adds salt, but clearly the cucumbers dont mind that.  In fact I am going to pull out most of the asparagus - the purple one is the only one that ever did anything.  That way I have three beds - better for rotating crops like solanacea.

Isnt it just amazing what comes out of those tiny seeds?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Garden Share collective - wrapping up May and heading into June

Time to link up with the Garden Share Collective again    No, I haven't fallen off the end of the world, but the last time I posted was last months catchup, other than sharing my chickpea patty recipe..  Gosh, that is bad.  I said I needed some inspiration though, and just in the last week I have got it in buckets. I won second prize in a competition (I didn't want to win first prize - I already live here where the weekend getaway is lol!)   I am pretty excited and this is excellent timing!

2nd, 3rd and 4th prizes: Richgro Organic & Natural Gardening Pack (value $85).

Each pack contains:
  • 1 x Mega Booster Complete Organic Fertiliser
  • 1 x Mega Booster Vegetable and Herb Fertiliser
  • 1 x Charlie Carp Organic Liquid Fertiliser
  • 1 x Beat-A-Bug Naturally based Insect Spray  – 1 Litre Ready to Use
  • 1 x Beat-A-Bug Naturally based Insect – 1 Litre Concentrate
  • 1 x Beat-A-Weed Naturally based Weed Killer – 1 Litre Ready to Use
  I have lots of rosella to pick and dry for tea, but no time to stop and sit and enjoy a cuppa!    Busy, busy, busy.  once those rosella are harvested the plants will come out and snow peas will be planted in their place.

 The lovely flowers are just open for one day and by the time I got the camera out they had all started to furl up - you can see how the calyx has started to form - that is the part you dry for tea or make jam with.  I only just noticed the green ant peering over the edge of the flower once I posted this photo!
 The red papaya are getting bigger, yeah!
 these little round eggplant are super tasty and convenient.

I don't know what is attacking the purple ones - they seems to be curling up into a ball and then falling off.  Haha bugs - I have some beat-a-bug on the way just for you!


I have been loving this little spinach - most spinach just bolts in my climate, but this has been great.



 I popped in a few cucumber plants and they are all doing well, as are the two tropic tomatoes a friend gifted me.  Volunteer cherry tomato plants are popping up everywhere, and some of them will have to be moved to  more convenient locations.   

I reckon we might be picking some cucumbers this week already.



I decided that the long green beans had to go - what a dreadful job that was dragging them off the top of the barbados cherry and fighting green ants all the way.  These are still hanging off the trellis - so we might get a few more beans, but once the others start to bear then these will go. 



The Barbados cherry also got a good haircut.


 These are purple king beans with summer savory in front - I am not sure if that will grow here, but I had the seeds.....  I harvested a huge bunch of ginger out of this bed to make room for them.  That is all now cleaned and in the freezer.


 I just love it when I get excited about gardening again - life took over and I haven't been able to get out into the garden for ages.  I ordered some seed, and have planted some out into trays - others will go directly into the ground.




Planting: Purple king beans, cos lettuce, lemon cucumber, Pakchoi, Green and red salad bowl lettuce, snowpeas, nasturtium. Tomatoes. The seed collection also included free radish and daisy seeds :)  I love how their packing slip and envelope is brown recycled paper!

Harvesting: Rosella, long green beans, eggplant, herbs, ginger, spinach, baby rocket, leaf celery.  

To do: add manure and compost to the beds where I will be planting out my seedlings.  Water with tea from the worm castings and move the worm buckets.  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Curried Chickpea stacks

I entered a recipe into the Grains and Lentils competition and am now in the top picks. So exciting! Check it out http://www.glnc.org.au/recipecomp/tag/top-picks/





I just love cooking with chickpeas and found that these patties and the rice mix freeze very well so have been awesome for lunches.  I hope you like this recipe.

There is still time to enter if you are quick.



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