Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Potter Wasp

Australian Hornet
Abispa ephippium
Another Garden Good Guy
but I don't find these very friendly!
But they prey only on caterpillars.
From this site:
Potter Wasp, common name
for a group of caterpillar-hunting wasps
known for the pot-shaped mud nests built by some species.
Potter wasps are also known as mason wasps.
The potter wasp larva consumes from 1 to 12 caterpillars as it grows.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Garden Log: 27 Jan 08

With no significant rain
(not enough to show a reading in the gauge)
falling in the last five weeks...
...the garden is drying out in the summer heat
...the water tank is empty.

My attention is focused on growing seedlings for Autumn
and harvesting from the fruit garden.

Spurred on by joining the Hills and Plains Seedsaver's blog I've been collecting seeds this week:

This weeks plantings included more brassicas for Autumn Planting:
  • Broccoli Green Goliath
  • Mini Cauliflowers
  • Red Drumhead Cabbage
  • January King Cabbage
  • Senposai
  • Corn Salad
  • Red and Green Shiso
  • Royal Mammoth Leeks
  • Native Lemongrass
  • Angelica
  • Poppies
  • Catmint *
  • Celpar *
  • Perpetual Spinach *
*These last 3 to test viability of home saved seed.
Sunday morning saw a top up sowing of Tip Top Carrots on Bed 4 along with a row of Parsnips.

Monday we were out adding to the potting area shade. We still have some sorting out to do in this area but at least we can work under the shade now.

Wednesday's Full Moon meant garlic and crushed pumpkin seed in the chooks mash as a worm deterrent.
Having cleaned out and re-lined their nest boxes I haven't had to search under bushes for eggs this week!

Out in the garden the Eggplants are going strong
and those Purple Capsicums really are purple.

Red Cabbage

These Red Cabbage seedlings, up already
on the right, were only planted 5 days ago. eek
The heat of summer is good for something
after all. biggrin

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Curry Plant

Curry Plant
Helichrysum italicum
The heat of summer really brings out the curry smell.
These are the flowers now dry and full of seeds.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Info Blogs

I'm re-organising my blog roll list yet again. I'm trying to separate the blogs that are primarily a source of information. There are some good ones out there in blogland.
The other's are great to visit just to read what people are up to in their gardens but if I really need some thought provoking ideas these are the ones I visit.

Hills and Plains Seedsavers - a group of active gardeners (I've joined the blog from a distance) from the Adelaide area who have lots of helpful information and often post links to other great sites.

Nirvana Organic Farm - This is a Bio-Dynamic Education Centre...lots to read here about Bio-Dynamics.
Also includes a link to Deb's Garden, Kitchen and Veranda

Top Veg- is a serious English vegetable site...they have started producing 'How to Cards' which are interesting.

Another English blog with lots happening is Fluffius Muppetus where Emma Cooper always has interesting things happening.

Check out this link to her Alternative Kitchen Garden Podcast page ...not always on topic for us down under dwellers (coz their seasons are back to front) but the podcasts from last season are still available so you could find something of interest to listen while you're out in the garden.

The Sietch Blog
I wrote about this great source of information here on this link:

Kate at Hills and Plains Seedsavers did a great write up of Mas du Diable when I sent her the link. Thanks Kate! biggrin
I'll let you read Kate's post here.

And now some blogs I've had on my list for some time...

The first Cosmic Gardener from Tasmania always has some very useful hints for Moon Planting and Vegetable growing.
She has to be a nice person...she belongs to a Beagle. wink

This blog is from New Zealand called oUr bAcKyArD by the Urban Permies who say:
"We're Urban Permies wannabes with the desire to grow as much of our food as possible in our urban backyard utilizing permaculture principles."

Of course I will include The Frugal World of Doc on this list too. razzlolrazz

Crackerjack Marigolds

Marigold Crackerjack
Tagetes erecta
Not to be confused with Calendula officinalis
which are often called marigolds.
These tagetes only grow in summer here!

Thursday, 24 January 2008


It's summertime that means BBQ time.
With the radio on for the cricket.

And a couple of Doc's Marinated Chops
Mmm it's all good!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


Lebanese Mini Cucumbers
The second planting on Bed 4 is loving the milder weather.
Flowering well and setting fruit.
And hope for some rain this week to help them along!
See this link for notes on growing cucumbers.

"A weed is but an unloved flower."

Caltrop - Tribulus terrestris
Fact sheet here

Ella Wheeler Wilcox may have said
"A weed is but an unloved flower"
but I don't think she ever met this one

This is one plant I thought I'd managed to banish from my garden. This morning I wandered into the old chook run to check on an apple tree, when I discovered a very healthy patch of this menace. Argh!!

The plants were immediately dispatched to the wheelie bin and I spent some time picking up the nasty, thorny seeds they left behind.

I presume the source of this outbreak was the straw I bought in last year as I've noticed a few seedling emerging but have always managed to get to them at a very early stage and dig them up. This patch I missed. As it was close to the trees dripper I'll have to keep a very close eye out for any more seedlings.

I'm very annoyed with myself for allowing these weeds to take off and produce seed which will be around for many years, just lurking ready to sprout when it rains.

One year's seeding makes seven years' weeding.
1873 Harland & Wilkinson Lancashire Legends

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Carrot Flower

Carrot Flowering and Setting Seeds
I let a few carrots flower each spring
These umbel flowers attract many beneficial insects to the garden.
Each head is made up of several hundred tiny flowers,
small insects can visit these individually
Now the flowers are setting seed;
another phase in the plant-world cycle.

Monday, 21 January 2008

More Potting Shade

The latest extension to the new potting area.
On the left.
Now to re-organise the area beneath.
They make great cool spots to escape the heat!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Garden Log: 20 Jan 08

This week the weather has been in a word, MILD.
It was a chance to get out in the garden
and do something except water.

Monday and Tuesday we spent clearing the potting area and building a new shade tunnel over it. Since I've replaced the 70% shadecloth on the garden beds with 50% I had a few lengths already hemmed up and didn't need to buy any more shade cloth!

I needed more shade for pottering around with the pots and since the pussy willow tree fell down didn't really have anywhere.
When it was done well...the area next to it could use some shade and there was room for some more on the other side...we could see a few more of these structures yet! wink

Planting this week has included potting on of the brassicas:
5 Red Cabbage
9 January King Cabbage
9+ Green Goliath Broccoli
6 Mini White Cauliflower
12+Seven Hills Brussels Sprouts
12+ Morton's Mixed Kale

Also some:
10+ Borage
Corn Salad
Red Shiso (more will be planted)
These last 3 are tiny but I'll see how they go.

More seeds of the brassicas will be planted soon just to make sure I haven't got my timing all 'up the creek' with this strange weather we've been having.

I also planted out some San Marzano Tomato seedlings that I was struggling to keep watered in the shady/hot house.

The potted up Comfrey in the shade house are starting to show signs of growth and the Rhubarb is enjoying life under the mini shade tunnel. See here

Only 2 rows of new carrots out of the 4 planted on bed 4 have survived the heat but these will be re-planted next week.

We had a very interesting guest speak on Permaculture at our Garden Club meeting who also brought many seeds along as she is our Local Seed Saver's Network coordinator. I now have some new local seeds to try out. A couple of us are intending to join the their group.

On Friday the radio was issuing severe thunderstorm warnings for our region and the Adelaide suburbs with flash flood warnings. Yes!

We had a quick tidy up and put the buckets out to collect every drop.

Then we sat and waited as the sky grew dark...
...the birds grew silent...
...the thunder rumbled...
....the rain started...


...one minute later it stopped!


The birds came back to the bird bath...
...the clouds disappeared
and the sun came out.

Argh! evil

So much for flash floods!
Didn't even register 1 mm in the rain-gauge!


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