Thursday, 25 February 2010

Scruffy


Meet Scruffy.

Not the prettiest Wattlebird you'll see!

But it's certainly a friendly one.

Chatting away as it manoeuvers closer to the grapevine!

I think it would rather I moved away...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Strawberry Saga

The continuing heatwaves this year, which began in November, have taken their toll on the Strawberry harvest. I have repeatedly pruned and fed the plants to encourage flower production and fruit setting only to have the heat or pests (grasshoppers) wipe out the new growth and fruit. exclaim

Now the plants are sending out runners to reproduce. question

I would like to continue to get some fruit off these plants so I remove the tiny runner stems as I see them.

This encourages the plant to send up more flower stalks.

Bingo! We have fruit. biggrin

OK so I missed one of the runners. rolleyes
A few that do manage to grow can be used
to fill in a clear space in the Strawberry Bed! mrgreen

Note that in Australia it is recommended that you buy in fresh, certified healthy, strawberry stock plants every three or four years to prevent disease build up (spread by aphids) in your strawberry beds! cool

Monday, 22 February 2010

Zucchinis, Birds and Figs!

Scarecrow's Garden Log: 20:02:2010:

Watercress in the shade house!

Temperatures this week:

Lowest Min 7.8C
Lowest Max 30.2C
Highest Max 36.6C
No Recorded Rainfall

What's the weather been like in the garden?
Temperatures over 30C all week topping at 36.3C.
Not even a hint of any rain!

Propagation:
Seeds:
Coriander seed scattered around the outside of future brassica growing beds!
Kale Lacinato
Kale Thousand Headed
Into punnets under curtains!

Potting up:

Broccoli- Nutri Bud, Celey- Tendercrisp and Chinese/Soup, Chervil, Coriander, Fennel- Bronze , Cabbage- Ethiopian, Parsley- Italian and Curled Leaf, Mitsuba (Japanese Wild Parsley), Silverbeet- Rainbow Miixed.

New in the Garden This week:

Doc helped me build a new shade area for the ever expanding supply of seedlings. This one has 50% white shade cloth as well as a net curtain inside to keep all the pests away while the babies grow.



The late planted Zucchini plants have taken off
and are adding to the harvest total.

Ring Necked Parrots hang around
to check out any fruit that is uncovered.


Butcherbird and it's beautiful song is back...
...hopefully to cull a few pesky sparrows.
See fact sheet here and download it's call.

The second crop of Figs is ripening...
...we may need to net these trees next!

The first ripe Rockmelon of the season fell off the supporting fence! It was eaten before I had a chance to photograph it...but I did remember to weigh it. biggrin

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.
Amaranth- Leaf***26g
Capsicum- Hungarian Yellow Wax***28g
Carrots- Chantenay Red-cored***100g
Eggplant- Casper***70g
Potatoes- Kennebec***517g
Silverbeet- Rainbow Mix***147g
Tomato- Grosse Lisse***52g
Tomato- Ida Gold***13g
Tomato- Roma***901g
Zucchini- Golden***626g
Rockmelon***545g
Strawberry***41g

Eggs:
20 from the Farmyard Ferals


To see how the various Garden areas fit on our half acre block check out the newest Map of our place HERE

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tropical Heatwave

Scarecrow's Garden Log: 13:02:2010:

Alyssum Lobularia maritima
with the flowering Butternut Pumpkins
in the Kitchen Garden.

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 10C
Lowest Max 29.9C
Highest Max 37.2C
1mm Rain

What's the weather been like in the garden?
We had another official Heatwave this week that's 5 days over 35C. Along with the heat this time came humidity that fed down from the northern tropical regions! Many areas of the state (and indeed the country) received significant rain...we received 1mm. confused

Propagation:
Planting out:

Sugarsnap Climbing Peas planted on the edge of the Wicking Bed by the old chook house in the Kitchen Garden. I've put some trellis up for them to climb on. See how the roots have grown out the bottom of the loo rolls in just 2 weeks! I buried the tube and all and mulched them well.

I have also sorted and thinned out the Trees For Life, planted some replacements and graded the plants. I've sorted and checked the seedlings of Old Man Saltbush Atriplex nummularia for the Community Garden.

Other than that I have been scrubbing pots for re-use. rolleyesrolleyesrolleyes

In the Garden This week:

The Jalapeno Chilli has set fruit for the third year!



Doc's Gourds are setting - Speckled Swan and Spoon!



The bees are loving the Sunflowers that have volunteered around the garden this year...so are the Ring Necked Parrots so I've covered some of the heads with old orange bags!

The Perennial Sunflowers Helianthus maximilianii,
that sprouted again this year,
are sneaking under the shade cover on the Berry Bed.

I'm trialling some brewed compost tea (well worm cast tea actually) and this one doesn't smell at all...just as well because it is brewing in Doc's workshop! More about this later.

The first of the Red Lima Beans have set...
...these are the only beans that have survived
this year to set fruit.

Lucky Dog has found another source of grapes this year! The Ruby Seedless Grapes are ripening on the Dog Pen/Chook Run fence. We told her dogs aren't supposed to eat grapes but she doesn't want to know about that! rolleyesrolleyesrolleyes



I had already added that photo of LuckyDog when Matron asked for some pics of Lucky. So here are a couple of others. With this heat and humidity Lucky doesn't do a lot except sleep, scratch her face and go back to sleep. She turns 16 this year and is feeling very old on hot days...

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.
Amaranth Leaf***52g
Capsicum Hungarian Yellow Wax***15g
Carrots Chantenay Red-cored***271g
Eggplant Casper***142g
Parsnip Hollow Crown***182g
Potatoes Kennebec***637g
Salad Mix***65g
Silverbeet Rainbow Mix***341g
Tomatoes Roma***370g
Zucchini Golden***25g a tiny baby one! mrgreen
Grapes Black Sultana***500g
Plums***470g

Eggs
22 from the Farmyard Ferals

To see how the various Garden areas fit on our half acre block check out the newest Map of our place HERE

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Aptenia cordifolia

Matron asked about the plant the snail was on in the photo on last weeks garden log.
The plant is Aptenia cordifolia also called Baby Sunrose or Heartleaf Ice Plant See link here

New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)

It is a member of the same family (Aizoaceae) as New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) but has a smaller, lighter coloured leaf and a larger, bright pink flower.
The flowers only open in full sunshine and wouldn't you know it we have a cloudy day here today Argh!
rolleyes
It is said to be edible (see here) but I haven't tried it yet.

Aptenia cordifolia is not native to Australia, coming as many of our plants here do, from South Africa, has almost weed status in some states/regions but here it is a fairly vigorous, useful succulent ground cover. It's growth slows and is kept in check with our frosts in winter.

This is the Leaf Amaranth I'm growing this year Amaranthus gangeticus also known as Chinese Spinach or Edible Amamranth.
The Plants for A Future database has a warning that it should only be eaten when it is grown using organic methods.

To me the young leaves, eaten raw, taste like raw beetroot. Lightly cooked/steamed they make tasty greens. The Plants for a Future database says it requires damp soil but here in Oz it is said to be drought tolerant when established.
It requires less water than English Spinach (which I can't grow in summer) or Silverbeet which also wilts in our summer heat.

This is the Eden Seed catalogue description:
LEAF AMARANTH - (CHINESE SPINACH) (Amaranthus gangeticus)
Fast growing leaf protein, annual to 60cm, valuable for vitamins and minerals. Bright red and green leaves, tasty in salads or like spinach, stems also cooked. Drought-hardy when established. Sow after frost in cooler areas, throughout the year in warmer climates.
I hope that clears things up for you Matron and no the snails didn't do any major damage to the plant! biggrin

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