Friday, 30 November 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 332

Pergola Pots
I've had a tidy up under the back pergola
Mints - Ginger and Chocolate,
Tarragon and Bergamot in pots,
Salad boxes of Lebanese cress, Lettuce,
Parsley, Chives, Basil and Egyptian Mint.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Bed 10: Herbs

Bed 10:
Herbs

Basil
Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum
Family: Lamiaceae
Frost tender annual.
Soil: rich well drained soil.
Spacing: 20 cm apart


My Notes:
Pinch out flowering tops to promote leaf growth.
Liquid feed after harvest to encourage more growth.
Said to repel flies, white fly and aphids
Dry for winter use or make into pesto and freeze.

Good Companion to:
Tomatoes

Bad Companion to:
Rue.

Planted 23 Oct 07 as companion plants to Tomatoes on Bed 10


Parsley Curled
Latin Name: Petroselinum crispum
Family: Apiaceae
Hardy biennial.
Soil: Deep fertile soils.
Spacing: 25 cm apart.


My Notes:
Good in pots.
Grown as an annual and self seeds readily.
Seed often slow to germinate. Soaking seeds speeds up germination or try placing in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks before planting in warmer weather.
Best in shade in hot climates.
Said to repel aphids.

Good Companion to:
Tomatoes
Asparagus
Roses
Chives

Bad Companion to:
Mint.

Planted 23 Oct 07 as companion plants to Tomatoes on Bed 10

Sources:
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little
How Can I Use Herbs in my Daily Life? by Isabell Shipard
'How To' Book of Herbs and Herb Gardening by Ann Bonar

Bed 10: Squash

Bed 10:
Squash

Delicata squash from Phoenix Seeds were planted this year. Planted 24 July 07 potted on 21 Sept 07 and planted out on 23 Oct 07 to Bed 10.

Planted to grow on the mesh that was attached to West end of Bed 10 structure for shade and wind protection.
High winds shortly after planting meant that I had to attached shade cloth to this mesh.

Growing requirements:
Latin Name: Cucurbita pepo var. pepo
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Soil: They like a fertile, humus rich, well drained soil.
Sow: Spring and Summer after all threat of frost.
pH: 6.5 - 7
Spacing: 60 - 90cms apart allow them room to sprawl

My Notes
Direct seeding is best but if season is short raise in containers that allow easy planting with minimal root disturbance.
Water with drippers, or at ground level to keep leaves dry and lessen chance of powdery mildew.
May need to be hand pollinated.

Companion plants:
Beans
Corn
Nasturtiums
Radish.

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook by Keith Smith
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

Bed 10: Beans

Bed 10:
Climbing Beans:

Due to our highly saline soil and water supply here in SA we have difficulty growing dwarf/bush beans successfully See fact sheet here

I have had success with the climbing varieties Blue Lake and Purple King.
This year I am returning to the Blue Lakes after trialling other types from Seed Saver's Network last year and having no success with them.

These Blue Lake (from Eden Seeds) beans were planted direct into Bed 10 (on 22 Oct 07) which is also a trial Wicker Water Bed along with Tomatoes. The beans are growing at the rear (south end) of the bed on a 1800mm high trellis. They also share the 50% overhead shade structure with the Tomatoes.
Being in a wicker bed they are watered from beneath the surface although when first planted they were watered via an in-line dripper to ensure the germinating seeds were receiving enough water.


Growing requirements:
Latin Name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Family:Fabaceae
Soil: They like a fertile, non-acid, well drained soil.
Sow: Spring and Summer after all threat of frost.
pH: 6.5 - 7
Spacing: 15 cm apart along trellis.

My Notes
Give a liquid feed of Epsom Salts twice during growing season.
As legumes they do not require high levels of nitrogen in the soil.
Should be harvested as soon as ready to promote further fruit set.
In crop rotation they can follow Fruiting plants like Tomatoes and can be followed by the Cabbage family or other greens.


Good Companions:
Beetroot
Cabbage
Carrot
Parsley
Cucumber
Potatoes
Summer Savory

Bad Companions:
Fennel
Garlic
Kohlrabi
Onions
Sunflowers

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook by Keith Smith
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

Bed 10: Tomatoes

Bed 10: Tomatoes

This years choice of seed was Black Russian (dark, smooth fruited staking), Pacesetter (roma like bush) both from Eden Seeds and Ida Gold (golden bush cherry) from a member of SSN Planted 24 July 07. Potted on 23 Aug 07

I also purchased seed of San Marzano (cylindrical fruit to 9cm staking) from New Gippsland Seeds and Bulbs but only one of the initial sowing grew to of planting size.
A later planting as the first outside planting occured of San Marzano seeds has proved more successful and these will be for a late planting.
Germination was slow this year but once they started many grew.

15 Black Russian plants were sold at the fete stall for the garden club in October.

The main crop of Black Russians and Pacesetters planted in Bed 10 on 23 Oct 07.
The preparation for this bed began back in winter when a compost heap was built on site. See here
Then I decided to turn it into a wicking-water bed go here to see how that was made.



Poly pipe arches were added and shade cloth attached by threading hemmed edges over the end pipes.

Just before planting we prepared the area by:
Attaching lengths of wood to the polypipe arches;
Lengths of wood were placed on the ground under this;
Strings were attached between pieces of wood to support tall Black Russian Tomatoes because I was unable to hammer stakes into the ground due to the plastic base of the wicking system .



At the time of planting they were already flowering and some of the bush ones were setting fruit.

Growing Requirements:

Latin Name: Tomatoes - Lycopersicon esculentum
Cherry Tomatoes - Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium
Family: Solanaceae
Soil: well drained humus/compost rich
pH: 5.5 - 7.5
Plant: Spring/Summer after frost outside
Types:Indeterminate - Staking or tall varieties eg. Grosse Lisse, Beefsteak, Black Russian
Determinate - Bush or dwarf varieties eg.Burnley Gem, Roma, Pacesetter
Cherry Tomatoes eg.Tiny Tim, Cherry Cocktail, Sweetie Spacing: Tall staked plants min 50cm, Bush min 75cm

My Notes:
Regular watering is required to prevent splitting and Blossom End Rot
Ensure adequate calcium levels in soil by adding gypsum, dolomite or crushed eggshells.
Don't plant in beds where other Solanaceae family members (Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggplants, Chillis) have just been growing
Roots of Apricot trees and tomato plants are incompatible.

When pruning take cuttings for a later crop.

Good Companions:
Basil
Parsley
Borage
Marigolds

Bad Companions:
Rosemary
Potatoes
Kohlrabi
Fennel
Apricots
Strawberries
Dill

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook by Keith Smith
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

A Photo A Day - No. 331


Thirsty Huntsman
Water from last night's quick storm
has attracted this spider
He'd better be careful,
the last one that did this drowned!
eek

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 330

Santolina chamaecyparissus syn S. incana
See Here for more info.

Herbs - Santolina

Santolina chamaecyparissus syn S. incana

AKA Cotton Lavender although it isn't a true lavender.
Santolina's low need for water and grey foliage makes it a good water-wise plant and attractive small hedge growing to 60cms. It grows easily from cuttings taken at a warm time of the year.

As it's a member of the Asteraceae or daisy family the yellow button flowers open to reveal many tiny flowers that attract insects.

Useful for repelling moths in the garden and the dried foliage is often used to repel moths in clothing cupboards.

Best pruned back hard after flowering to keep a compact growing habit.
Green foliage varieties are available but the grey leaved form seem to be the hardiest.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Beds 7 & 8: Pumpkins

Beds 7 & 8
Pumpkins:

This years choice of seeds are:
Rouge d'Etampes New Gippsland Seeds and Bulbs Seed planted 6/8/07
Buttercup New Gippsland Seeds and Bulbs Seed planted 6/8/07
Just Another Pumpkin Eden Seeds planted 24 July 07
Potted on to growing-on pots 13 Aug 07 (JAP), 27 Aug 07 (Rd'E) and 9 Sep 07 (BC)

Planted into compost filled holes in Beds 7 & 8 between the small cherry trees on 23 Oct 07 were:
1 Rouge d'Etampes
3 Buttercups
5 Just Another Pumpkin

Growing requirements:
Latin Name: JAP - Cucurbita moschata, Buttercup and Rouge d'Etampes - Cucurbita maxima
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Sow: Spring/Summer after frost when soil is warm
Soil: They like a fertile, well drained, humus/compost rich soil
pH: 6.5 - 7
Spacing: 90 - 140 cm

My Notes:
Larger growing varieties need lots of space
If limited for space try bush varieties Golden Nugget.
Direct seeding is best but if season is short raise in containers that allow easy planting with minimal root disturbance.
Harvest before frosts and allow to harden in sunshine for a week or so
They store well when picked with stalk in tact and unblemished.
Water with drippers, or at ground level to keep leaves dry and lessen chance of powdery mildew.
May need to be hand pollinated.

Companions plants:
Beans
Corn
Nasturtiums
Radish.

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook by Keith Smith
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

A Photo A Day - No. 329


Drying Apricots

Monday, 26 November 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 328


Hollyhocks!
The Hollyhocks are blooming!

Minute Moments Pottering


Nothing is particularly hard
if you divide it into small jobs.

- Henry Ford

Bed By Bed

When your garden design revolves around individual beds then maintainance is easy.
Take it one bed at a time...
  • Weed the bed
  • Top up the mulch
  • Feed the plants if necessary either with a purchased fertiliser or liquid feed.
  • Remove dead foliage and flowers to prevent disease build up.
  • Tie up sprawling vegetables to supports or guide them off pathways when they get too vigorous.
  • Pinch out growing tips or flowers where necessary for continued growth/harvest.

This only takes a short while and next time you have some free time move on to the next bed.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Bed 6: NZ Spinach

Bed 6:
New Zealand Spinach
Also called Warrigal Greens
A native of New Zealand, Australia and Japan
Originally grown from a cutting from a local open garden (with permission of course!) It has re-seeded regularly in my garden and is now a welcome volunteer plant.

Growing Requirements:
Latin Name: Tetragonia tetragoniodes
Family: Tetragoniaceae
Sow: During warm times of the year.
Soil: Well drained, sandy, humus rich soil.
pH: 6.8 - 7 will tolerate quite alkaline conditions.
Spacing: 30cm apart.

My Notes:
The leaves should be blanched before eating.
It is used in dishes in which spinach or silver beet would be used.
It is a hardy plant tolerant of heat but can be knocked back by frost.
It is salt tolerant.
Propagated by seed or cuttings.
Shallow rooted but does not need high amounts of water due to the succulent leaves.
It's often found in sand dunes in coastal areas.
More water and nutrient will mean lush growth and better flavour but it will survive dry times to come back after rains.
Seems to grow happily with most other vegetables although probably best away from young seedlings that it may overcome with its excessive growth. I use it as a living mulch in parts of the garden.
Quite pest free with none causing significant damage.

Sources:
The Seed Savers' Handbook by Michel & Jude Fanton.
Australian Plants Online

Bed 6: Watermelon

Bed 6:
Moon and Stars Watermelon
Seeds from Diggers Club were planted on 23 Aug 07 and potted on to growing-on containers on 22 Sep 07 and planted outside on 22 Oct 07.

Growing Requirements:
Latin Name: Citrullus lanatus
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Sow: Spring/Summer after frost when soil is warm.
Soil: They like a fertile, well drained, humus/compost rich soil.
pH: 6.5 - 7.5
Spacing: 50cm apart in rows 100cm apart.

My Notes:
Frost sensitive plant when frost finished and soil is warm.
Start early under glass or in hothouse and keep warm till planting out.
Leaves calcium rich good to compost when crop finished.
Don't rotate squash, cucumbers and melons to the same site as they are members of the same family Cucurbitaceae.
May need hand pollination for a good crop.

Good Companions:
Corn
Sunflowers
Nasturtiums

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook by Keith Smith
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

Bed 6: Capsicum

Bed 6:
Capsicums: Also called Sweet Peppers

As Seeds of these plants are often slow to germinate and grow I chose this year to purchase a punnet of Mixed Coloured Sweet Capsicums and a single potted Purple Capsicum.
After purchase these were potted on with the Mixed Sweet collection going into cardboard loo roll holders to be planted complete with minimal root disturbance. They were planted to Bed 6 on 23 Oct 07

Growing requirements:
Latin Name: Capsicum annuum
Family:Solanaceae
Soil:They like a fertile, well drained soil
pH: 5.5 - 6.5
Sow: after all threat of frost
Spacing:Plant 40-60cm apart Capsicum

My Notes:
Self supporting, but may need short stakes in windy areas.
Don't plant in beds where other Solanaceae family members (Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggplants, Chillis) have just been growing
Ensure adequate levels of calcium in soil by adding gypsum, dolomite or crushed eggshells.

Good Companions:
Lettuce
Onions
Carrots
Parsley
Mint
Basil

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook by Keith Smith
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

Bed 6: Potatoes

Bed 6:
Potatoes:
Planted on 5 Aug 07 into a trench prepared earlier with nettles, broadbean leaves and compost.
This was covered with a plastic cloche tunnel and had a water container added to enable watering when the water restrictions came into force this year. See here.




For growing requirements, notes and companions
see Bed 2 entry here.

Beds 4 & 5: Onions



Beds 4 and 5:
Onions

These beds are still planted up with the onions from winter crops, Bed 4 has Red Odourless and Gladalan White planted 24 April 07 and Brown Onions and Gladalan White in Bed5 planted as an early experiment on 31 May 07.

Growing Requirements:
Latin Name: Allium cepa
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Sow: Plant early and late varieties from Autumn through to late winter.
Soil: Well drained, humus rich soil.
pH: 6.5
Spacing: 10 -15cm apart.


My Notes:
If planted too early in season they bolt (flower) early in Spring.
Usually harvested when tops dry off but can be used anytime they are big enough.
Red Onions are milder in flavour for use in salads.
Brown Onions are usually the long keepers.
Small onions can be pickled.
Long Keeping Onions are usually planted after the winter solstice 22 June.

Extend harvest time by growing different varieties and using substitutes:
Spring Onions planted year round
Shallots, Bunching Onions and Tree/Egyptian Onions or even Chives during summer.


Good Companions:
Carrots
Beetroot
Silverbeet
Lettuce
Kohlrabi

Bad Companions:
Beans
Peas

Sources:
Organic Vegetable Growing by Annette McFarlane
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Southern Holdings Easy Guide to Companion Planting and Seed Sowing
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little

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