Saturday, 31 December 2011

Last Week of 2011

December: The Last Week of 2011

This has to be the best year for Dwarf Beans
I'm harvesting a small amount each day!

Weather:
The week started Hot, cooled down on Monday then the temperature steadily climbed back to 36C by Saturday. The New Year looks like starting off very hot with 39C predicted for the next few days! Argh!!

Propagation:
Seeds:
Early sowing of winter brassicas
Brassica oleracea
Broccoli Purple Sprouting from 4 Seasons Seeds
Cauliflower Romanesco (I usually call this one Broccoli) from The Italian Gardener
Cauliflower Violet Sicilian from Green Harvest
Kale Morton's Mix from Phoenix Seeds
Kale Tuscan Black (Cavalo Nero) from Diggers
Cabbage Ethiopian Brassica abyssinica from Seed Savers Network

Some 'top-up' seeds from earlier greens planting after the rain and heat kind of killed the first lot!!!
Lettuce Butternut
Miner's Lettuce

Cuttings:
Coreopsis

The Large Mixed and Tiny Spinning Top Gourds
are setting and showing their curious shapes!

It looks like the mystery pumpkins in Bed 6
will be Butternuts!
I don't have a lot of luck growing that variety
and here they are volunteering all by themselves!


***Happy New Year to all***
May your Food Garden
grow well in 2012!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Web News Dec 2011

Things I have found interesting around the web this month.

You may have caught some of these on the Scarecrow's Garden Facebook Page and if you have I apologize for the double up!

Check out these great "Hay Creations" on this link

Costa Geordiadis of SBS's Costa's Garden Odyssey is all set to take over as the host of Gardening Australia. He should liven up the show!!! Read more about it here

Over at Organic Gardener Magazine website they reckon summer is the perfect time to get the Compost cooking!!! With the rainstorms we are getting maybe this is a good idea. See Here

While still at the ABC check out the Top Environment Stories of 2011 by Sarah Phillips Here

From Mother Earth News All About Growing Celery See Here

And from my Blog list...
Foodnstuff is celebrating the arrival of the first egg from the Barnevelders!!! Check out the post Here

Now for some videos...

A clever Chicken Tunnel system that I might have to investigate further for next spring so the girls can clean up the earwigs at garden bed level...I might have to top up the worms in the beds after though...



How about building a Mandala Garden like Geoff Lawton looks at in this video



For using up some of the harvest from the garden...
Here are is a video with ideas on using up a few of the never ending supply of Zucchinis. From The Garden Guru Phil Dudman



How about this sweet dish using SilverBeet (Chard) of all things from Gill at River Cottage



I finally updated my Garden Photo Blog with some Christmas pix Here
And don't forget to come on over to the Scarecrow's Garden Facebook page and say Hi!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Garden

This is a Christmas photo garden. It's very green for this time of the year following our recent heavy rains.

The shade covers are up already mainly because we have been on hail alerts with the thunderstorms. Yesterday was a scorching 38C so the shades will stay up now.
Another thunderstorm last night was a dry one with very little rain this time.

Here is what was picked from the Garden for Christmas Dinner:
  • Potatoes in a variety of colours
  • Rondo de Nice Zucchini (courgette)
  • Baby Leeks to have "au gratin"
  • colourful Carrots from the bathtub bed
  • colourful Beans called Tongues of Fire
  • mixed greens with the Cabbage and Red Kale.
Onions, Sage, Lemon Thyme (oops I forgot to photograph that one) and Lemon Verbena to make the stuffing for the free range chicken (no not one of our chooks!!!)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Longest Day plus Lots of Rain!!

December Week 3:

Summer Solstice Greetings 2011

Weather:
Over the weekend storms dropped 67mm of rain with 40 of that in about half an hour!!! Things got pretty wet but dried out quickly as the temperature rose through the week.

Propagation: Seeds:
Lots of flowering plant seeds have been scattered around the edges of the garden after the rain.
Sunflowers
Marigolds
Cosmos
Buckwheat
Mustard

Potting on/up:
Scuplit
Lettuce Butternut
Miners Lettuce
Salvia
Mitsuba
Silverbeet

Cuttings:
Chilli Yatsufusa - according to this site has 75,000 heat units, they reckon Jalapeno measures only 5,000 heat units!!
Capsicum California Wonder
These hopefully will grow in pots for over-wintering in the hothouse next year.

The Edge Planting at the end of beds 4&5 has come up well and is attracting bees under the shadecloth to the Rockmelons and Zucchinis with lots of flowers.

Although starting to show signs of humidity related problems (from all the rain!!) the Rondo de Nice Zucchinis are still producing delicious, round fruit almost daily!

We are expecting a great Grape harvest this year...the rain has knocked the vines down from the top of the pergola but we have left them down to dry out properly. Most of the state was on a Downy Mildew Alert over the weekend but things have dried out well with gentle winds this week.

It's getting difficult to get around in the Old Chook Run with Pumpkins, Trombones and Squash growing wild there. Shade was attached on the weekend (more hail alerts!!) and as the temperatures are set to rise this week the main cover has been left in place.

Grasshoppers are busy again this year like this little wingless grasshopper with occasional larger ones, they are quickly dispatched to the chook runs!!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas
and a Happy and Safe New Year...

...may your Garden Grow Great Food
for you all next year!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Matron's Christmas Veggie Blog

Matron asked for a photo what we had growing in the garden that we could use on Christmas day.

This is the photo I sent to her!

Well here in Oz we are never quite know what the weather is going to do on Christmas Day. It pretty much determines whether we eat a traditional roast (we usually do) or go for a more Aussie BBQ with plenty of salads.

Although it is technically summer here it's been a cold start and not everything is buzzing along. Morning temps still drop below 10C. It's beautiful weather really.

OK if we go for the cooked meal...we live in hope that the temperature will not reach 45C...then lets wander around the garden to see just what could be included.

We have Potatoes...Nicolas are ready with maybe a couple of Cranberry Reds for colour.
The Tongues of Fire Green Beans are just getting big enough to harvest.
There is a selection of Onions to choose from Cream and White or some tender young Baby Leeks.
We have to include a Rondo de Nice Zucchini (courgette) because we have quite a few of those.
Some Baby Carrots Orange and Yellow this year.
For some cooked greens we have a selection...Cabbage, Celery, Red Kale, Young Dandelion leaves, Purple Orach, Silverbeet (Chard), NZ Spinach, and I could try some of the tips of the pumpkin vines that I keep nipping off.

The chooks are safe (I can't eat my friends and workers) we have a purchased free range chook in the freezer but I've plenty of Sage, Lemon Thyme and Onions for the stuffing.

But for some salads for a BBQ...
Tabbouleh as there is plenty of Parsley and enough little Ida Gold Tomatoes, add some of the Garlic that's recently been picked with some Lemon juice that was frozen earlier in the year.

For a tossed Green salad I could go for Mini greens...baby Lettuce, young Red Kale, Beetroot greens, new growth on the Duck Potatoes, Lebanese Cress, Watercress and young Nasturtium leaves plus a few of the leaves of the Mushroom Plant. With some Chives for flavour.

Add to this some Radish, Shallot greens, Celery, topped off with some edible flowers Zucchini, Pumpkin, Borage, Hollyhock, Nasturtiums, Chives, Red Clover, Lucerne, petals from Calendula and some very young Dandelion flowers

A selection of herbs for flavour Coriander (flowers can go in too), many Mints, Fennel, Dill, Basil (sweet, lemon and Thai), Chives, Lemongrass (and a native variety), Parcel (cut celery) and Native Parsley (or sea celery) there is plenty of Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme and/or Sage.
And from the girls an Egg salad with Chives, Coriander and Parsley.

I have my fingers crossed that this little Cucumber (the first) might be ready and maybe some of the bigger tomatoes might just ripen in time. There are some Chillies ready that overwintered in the hothouse.

Dessert??
Fruit - Cherries, Loganberries, Mulberries, Apricots and a couple of Strawberries. If Doc is really lucky some of the Figs might just be ripe in time too.
These served with some homemade icecream or a creamy egg custard I think!

No one will go hungry on Christmas Day here that's for sure.

Be sure to check Matron's Blog Down on the Allotment to see what others in the Northworld have growing for Christmas Dinner! Her post should be up soon if it is not there yet...I can't figure out the time difference!!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Full Moon and Apricots

December Week 2:

The full moon last weekend coincided with a lunar eclipse but that happened too late for this Scarecrow to be out taking photos!!

Weather:
The week began with a couple of days of light drizzle that didn't amount to much rain in the gauge but did seem to settle the dust!
Day temperatures haven't gone much above 25C. It has been a rather pleasant week weather wise although not warm enough for ripening tomatoes or encouraging growth of the watermelon plants!

Propagation: Seeds:
Beans Climbing Purple King in the Old Chook Run garden
Radish Colorati Raphanus sativus (mixed colours) from The Italian Gardener
Beetroot Chioggia Beta vulgaris from Eden Seeds
These seeds were planted in a Wicking Box on the front verandah
Turmeric Curcuma domestica syn Curcuma longa rhizomes in a pot.

Potting on/up:
Sea Kale Crambe maritima

Planting out:

Melons and cucumbers planted to grow on a homemade trellis.

Cucumber Suyo Long
Melon Early Hanover
Melon Tigger
Summer Savory
Amaranth
Sorrel Garden
in the Old Chook Run in-ground garden beds

Lettuce Goldrush
Leaf Amaranth
Beetroot Golden Detroit and Bulls Blood
Cabbage Tokyo Bekana
In the Greens Wicking Tank to replace bolting greens (see where here)

Lettuce Goldrush
Cabbage Tokyo Bekana
These were planted in a Wicking Box on the front verandah

Cuttings:
Sweet Potato White
Lavender

The White Sweet Potato is sprouting up again
so I have carefully removed and potted up
some of the 'slips' for planting elsewhere.

Barnie the last Barnevelder
seems happy to be by herself.
I let her out to forage each day
and she is well behaved
especially with the Black Ninja on patrol...(ish)

The Tongues of Fire Dwarf Beans
are beginning to produce tiny beans
that colour up as they get bigger!

I have been harvesting Apricots this week
making yummy jam, drying some
and eating some (not too many at once though)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Potato Pots

Just what I thought might happen...the potatoes in the White Wicking Bucket are much happier than those in the Black Wicking Pots!

These have all been covered with 70% shadecloth on days with temps over 30C but those black pots are still heating up too much.

They would be better suited to a late winter/very early spring crop with frost protection...another note to self for next year!

***This was not a controlled test, just an observation!***

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Cool Start to Summer

December week 1:

The front garden has recently
become a playground for these two young
Top Knots aka Crested Pigeon - Ocyphaps lophotes
Info Link Here

Weather:
A cool start to the first month of Summer downunder in SA.
On the first of December the minimum temperature dropped to only 3C
Maximum temps have been climbing slowly from 23C to end the week on 33C.

Propagation:
Seeds:
Zucchini nero di Milano (Organic) Cucurbita pepo from The Italian Gardener
This is for late December planting out.

Potting on/up:
Eggplant Casper
Eggplant Long Purple
Lavender Munstead Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead' - purchased seedlings

The second planting (direct seeded) of Runner Beans
has overtaken the seedlings...
...a note to self for next year
- don't bother growing Runner Beans
as seedlings for transplanting!

Did you know?...
The white flowers of gourds are pollinated
by insects during the night!

Purple Orach (Mountain Spinach)
- a colourful 'greens' plant for summer.

More colour in the Red Bor Kale
but I think it would be happier growing through winter.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Scarecrow's Garden Journal Notes: November 2011

Some of this month's harvest:
Yellow Scallop Squash, Garlic, Broad Beans (for seed)
Loganberries, Rondo De Nice Zucchini
and Ida Gold Tomatoes!

Temperatures this month:
Lowest Min 2.2C
Highest Min 17.5C
Lowest Max 16.2C
Highest Max 36.4C
79.5mm Rain (recorded in my garden)

Rain: comparison with other years average is 26mm:
2011 79.5mm
2010 19.5mm
2009 55mm
2008 55mm
2007 60mm


Propagation: listed in weekly updates
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

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.
Asparagus 342g
Cauliflower Mini 274g
Celery American Stringless 740g
Garlic Purple Monaro 1313g
Garlic White 1389g
Lettuces - Goldrush, Drunken Woman, Red Coral 530g
Onion Stuttgart 296g
Peas Onward 150g
Radish 80g
Tomato Ida Gold 125g
Squash Yellow Scallop 199g
Zucchini Rondo De Nice 2426g

Loganberries 2042g
Strawberries 492g

Eggs:
(total for month)
63 From the 5 Farmyard Ferals
32 From the 2 Barnevelders (now only 1)
61 From the 4 Faverolles

November of Previous Years:
2010
2009
2008
2007

To see how the various Garden areas fit on our half acre block check out the newest Map of 'What's Growing Where' HERE

Come on over to the Scarecrow's Garden Facebook page and say Hi!

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