Sunday, 31 May 2009

Last Day of Autumn Downunder

Scarecrow's Log: 31:05:2009:

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min -0.4C
Lowest Max 11C
Highest Max 15.2C
9mm Rain

What's happening in the garden?

Apium prostratum Native Sea Parsley (or Sea Celery)
has survived the summer
and seems to be enjoying the cooler weather too.

The Broccoli and Lettuce in the old spudz bin has settled in well.

Even with the cold temps this little Cosmos is flowering!

A test planting of some seeds saved from an apple we bought at a market...

Potting up and Planting out:
From my Cutting homework last month I've potted up the resulting plants:
Euryops pectinatus - Yellow Daisy 8
Helichrysum italicum - Curry Bush 10
Artemisia pontica - Roman Wormwood 8
Correa alba - White Correa 10*
Tanacetum parthenium - Feverfew 10
Cistus ladanifer - White Rock Rose 4 outside... 6*
Salvia officinalis - Sage 10
Convolvulus cneorum - Silverbush 10*
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Pink' - Pink Rosemary 10
Coleonema pulchrum 'Aurea' - Golden Diosma 10*

The numbers indicate the successfully rooted cuttings...those marked with * have been put back into the hot house because they did not have strong root growth yet and will benefit from the extra warmth for a while longer. The rest have been put on the growing bench that is quite sheltered. Wasn't a bad result...96% strike rate. biggrin

Also potted up:
Silverbeet and Rainbow Chard into 10 mixed punnets and 3 pots.
Lettuce Marvel of 4 Seasons into 4 punnets.

Planting out:

6 Well grown Butternut Lettuce seedlings
into a wicking tub in the Kitchen Garden.

Divided up some Society Garlic and popped it in the edge bed in the main Veg garden. I'd noticed a predominance of yellow and orange and not a lot of blues and pinks. For beneficial creature attraction you need as many different colours flowering year round. This Society Garlic is a tough little plant that flowers at this time of the year.

New in the Garden This week:
Our first morning (this season) under zero! Brrr!

I've removed the shadecloth from the Northern (sunny) end of the propagation area. The sun is at a low angle at the moment and the plants will appreciate the extra warmth. These areas are still sheltered from the cold South wind that is of concern at the moment.

Weekly Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making.
Peas Blue Bantam Dwarf***143g

Plus a yummy mix of greens for soups/stirfries/salads...Kale, Lettuce, Watercress, Chives, Parsley, Sea Parsley, Soup Celery, Beetroot, Turnip and Swede Greens.

Still no Eggs from the girls.
We've bought some from our friends who we know look after their chooks well! wink

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Trees For Life - Ordering Season

Trees For Life adverts are appearing in the local papers right now!

This scheme is for landholders in South Australia.
Through this scheme volunteers (like us)
will grow up to 500 indigenous plant seedlings for you
or you may grow your own (up to 1000) for your own use.

Help Re-Vegetate SA Now...
...only we can do it!

Phone now to join (08) 8406 0500
or email:

Contact Trees For Life on the same number
if you'd like to become a volunteer grower!

Food Gardening for Beginners

Please click on the links to read the information:

Part 1 Basics

Part 2 Planning It Out

Part 3 Improve Your Soil

Part 4 Fast Food Growing

Part 5 Keeping Records

Part 6 Growing From Seed

Part 7 Taking Cuttings

Part 8 Fruit Tree Companions

Part 9 Compost Making

Part 10 Tea For Plants

Part 11 Planting Bare Rooted Fruit Trees

I have been through these and checked all the links...

...removed the links no longer working. rolleyeswink

Monday, 25 May 2009

Autumn's Mosaic

Scarecrow's Log: 24:05:2009:

Winter is an etching,
spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all.
~Stanley Horowitz~

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 3.9C
Lowest Max 15C
Highest Max 21C
1mm Rain

What's happening in the garden?

We have cleaned out one of the garden sheds for a new home for The Black Ninja...I'll be using her old shed as a garden shed for me as it already contains all the garden tools.

We have harvested all the Golden Delicious Apples and removed the netting. Many trays of apples have been dried and Doc was busy making Apple Crumbles and Pudding Cakes on the weekend to put in the freezer.

I dug up the Spudz in a Bin...well at least they didn't rot in the wicking style bin. wink
Considering it was way out of their season the 625g that I harvested will provide a few meals of new potatoes.
The compost and soil that was left will make a great bed for some broccoli and lettuce.
I shall be trying this method again in spring for potatoes.

Potting up and Planting out:
Planted Broccoli Green Goliath and Butternut Lettuce seedlings into the bin that held the spudz!

Spotted in the Garden This Week!

The saga of Doc's escapee chicken continues. (see his comment on last week's Garden Log)
She will visit by sneaking in over the fence but she would rather spend her time roaming the nearby street, much to the amusement of the neighbours! rolleyesbiggrin
You will have to look closely at the photo to see her sitting on the fence behind the tree.

Autumn is mushroom season...but I won't be tasting this one.

The growth on Bed 3
has just about reached the limits of the curtain
and it looks like the Violet Sicilian Cauliflowers
are well on their way!

Bed 1 Greens are powering away too.

Even the last of the King of the North Capsicums
are producing, sheltered in their little plastic enclosure.

The tree in the kitchen garden is loaded with lemons.

The Pink Rosemary in the Dog Pen gardens
keeps the bees visiting.

Weekly Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making.
Carrots Atomic Red***140g
Celery Kintsai (Soup Celery)***125g
Potato Red Star***625g
Pumpkin Butterbone***4153g
Snow Peas Roi de Carouby***60g
Turnip Golden***283g
Apples Golden Delicious***9844g

Plus a yummy mix of greens for soups/stirfries/salads...Kale, Lettuce, Watercress, Chives, Parsley, Soup Celery, Beetroot, Turnip and Swede Greens.

Plus (or not!) 0 Eggs from any of the girls. eekeekeek

Monday, 18 May 2009

Planting-up and New Chookies!

Scarecrow's Log: 17:05:2009:

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~Albert Camus~

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 1C With ice on the car!
Lowest Max 14.4C
Highest Max 18.7C
1.5mm Rain

The ice on the car! eek

What's happening in the garden?
The Trees For Life have been picked up and are on their way to a re-veg project in a nearby town! I hope my baby trees get lots of rain for this their first season.

Doc and I have been doing some soil tests around the place.
We've also did a pH test on just about every different soil mix (and more) in the garden with some very interesting results.

Of course The Black Ninja Cat had to help out!

Potting up and Planting out:
Potted up 150 plants of all sorts as an exercise for my course.
50 from punnets
50 from tubes
50 from other pots

Some of those potted up plants!

Planted seedlings of Red Cabbage, Celery, Coriander, Squire Kale, Kinstai Soup Celery into the Wicking Beds in the Dog Pen Garden. There was misty rain falling most of the weekend, so they should settle in well...they were watered in with Worm-cast tea.
I haven't covered these new plants yet and hope the cooler weather will keep the Cabbage Moth numbers down.

I built up and planted 3 new Wicking Boxes.
These boxes each have a Celery
and Mini Cauliflower seedling in them.
They have a net curtain over them.

New in the Garden This week:

We have picked up some new little chookies...but they are Farmyard Ferals and as a result extremely timid... I'll let them settle down before annoying them with the camera at closer range. wink

Meanwhile the 6 remaining Ginger Girls have moved back to their old run near the Dog Pen. They seem very happy there and are busy building nests in their new nest box but so far no sign of any eggs!
I've put a fake egg in the nest box as a gentle hint! razz

Weekly Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making.
Carrots Atomic Red***90g
Jerusalem Artichokes***1124g
Peas Blue Bantam Dwarf***265g
Apples Golden Delicious***1718g

Plus a yummy mix of greens for soups/stirfries/salads...Kale, Lettuce, Watercress, Chives, Parsley, Soup Celery, Beetroot, Turnip and Swede Greens.

Plus 1 Egg from the Ginger Girl(s). eekrolleyesredface

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Seed Germination Rate Trial Results

I recently had to do a trial for a course I'm doing. I had to:
  • collect seed from five lots of different plants
  • clean it
  • dry it
  • test germination rates
I had to use 2 different seed raising media. I chose a retail mix, I hadn't used before. The other one was my home made mix of coir and sandy loam.

Sowing the seeds

For three of the seed lots there was no difference in the germination rate at all and the other two results won't convince me to pay $5+ for a tiny bag of commercial mix that I have little knowledge of it's contents.
I would need to buy it in bulk for all the seeds I sow anyway. cool

Seedlings during growth

I find it's most important to have fresh seed. For this years onions I've planted some of the red onions that went to seed. I collected the seed from the garden one week and sowed them the next and had at least 100% germination...there are millions of them (well it seems like it wink ). The others I purchased as a fresh packet and have barely had 40% germination with! eek

Another thing is the water you use on them. After reading in the Trees For Life handbook that if your water supply is good enough to grow vegetable seedling successfully then use it for these native seeds otherwise use rainwater.
I have always used rainwater since first reading that about 10 years ago.

I have also found Moon Planting to be an advantage with seed germination. See Cosmic's May Guide here on her blog. She has a link in her side panel for the current guide.

Temperature at time of sowing is important too...however most of the seeds I chose to sow were summer crops and I planted them in Autumn...I still had good rates of germination in my unheated greenhouse (that was featured in this post). confused

Sunday, 10 May 2009

64kg of Pumpkins!

Scarecrow's Log: 10:05:2009:

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 4.1C
Lowest Max 14C
Highest Max 18.5C
No Recorded Rainfall

What's happening in the garden?

The Black Ninja helped with the Pumpkin harvest!

With the threat of frosts looming fast we have harvested the rest of the pumpkin (etc.) crop. Of course the Black Ninja had to help...we weighed the pumpkins...they totalled 64kgs all grown in Wicking Beds.
That should keep us in pumpkin soup, scones, fruit cake/muffins/rock cakes for a while not to mention roast pumpkin...Doc's talking about drying some too. cool

In the Main Veg Garden

Peas and Swedes

Salad Greens

The brassica bed had a quick tidy up

and some greens went to the chookies!

Cleared and roughly hoed some patches around the garden for a few small grain beds.
  • Kamut Wheat Triticum persicum went into a fenced area in the chook run. This wheat is described as "Very large kernel, 2 to 3 times the size of modern wheat. Ancient grain thought to have originated in the fertile crescent." by Eden Seeds
  • Spelt Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta was planted in the unused chook run on the Northern side of the block.
  • Some Barley Hordeum vulgare was planted at the back of the old chicken house in the same run, this will get water runoff from a neighbour's shed roof (that has no gutters) and also from the chook house roof.
  • Over in the Almond area chook run (but out of any chookies reach!) I've planted some Oats Avena sativa.

While I was in the Almond area the pumpkin Wicking Worm Bed was cleared and topped up with soaked coir, old sheep manure, bagged compost and mineral mix. I also popped in some new worms from the worm farm as I didn't notice many when I cleared the bed. The bed still worked well producing over 40kgs of pumpkins over the summer. This bed was not protected from birds during summer...maybe they stole some of my wormies. sad

I have planted Broad Beans in this bed Early Long Pods and Coles Early Dwarf. As they grow the bed will be mulched.

Potting up and Planting out:

Planted out some Red Onion seedlings (sown at the end of February). These went into the Wicking Worm Bed by the chicken house where the Jumbo Pink Banana pumpkins grew. The area where they were planted in did not have anything added to the soil as the soil is rich enough for onions. As this bed isn't in full sun during winter we removed the shadecloth cover and I've planted some Celery and Silverbeet seedlings along the shady side with some added compost there.

I planted the onions as Peter Cundall (ABC's Gardening Australia past presenter) recommends by laying them flat on the surface of a trench and just covered their roots with soil.
"Just bury the roots with a little soil and, believe it or not, within a week the whole lot are standing up. That's how simple it is." so Pete says.

Last week's seeds have germinated
and will soon be potted up.

New or Found in the Garden This week:

One Perpetual Spinach plant
left to go to seed last year
has re-sprouted with some lovely baby spinach
leaves for eating!

The Water Chestnuts in the shadehouse
are starting to yellow off,
nearly ready to harvest.

Weekly Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making.
Carrots Atomic Red***120g
Pumpkin Queensland Blue***13115g
Pumpkin Sampson***38671g
Pumpkin Jumbo Pink Banana***11339g
Zucchini Tromboncino***1495g
Tomato Ida Gold***100g
Apples Golden Delicious***2906g

Plus a yummy mix of greens for soups/stirfries/salads...Kale, Lettuce, Watercress, Chives, Parsley, Soup Celery, Beetroot, Turnip and Swede Greens.

Plus 2 Eggs from the girls. I think we need some new girls!! eekeekeek

Thank you Doc for the yummy Mother's Day Roast and Cheesecake and for making the porridge this morning...



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