Monday, 27 February 2012

Basil Seed Mats

Last month I was contacted by the folks at Mr Fothergill's to try out some of their products. A box of goodies soon arrived and last week I had time to check out some of the things in it.

The Basil Seed Mats caught my eye
as I reckon I can get another crop of this to grow
before it gets too cold here.

These are great little 8cm rounds of tissue type paper with several seeds enclosed within.

You just fill a small pot with good quality potting mix lay the tissue round on top and cover with more potting mix.

They are easily watered as the seeds won't be dislodged.

I shall leave a couple of seedlings in this pot and pot up the rest for a late season harvest of fresh Sweet Genovese Basil.

Even with our heat over the last week
these seedlings were up in a matter of days.

Other herbs in this range are Coriander, Flat Leaved Parsley and Chives. See here.

I would be interested to hear from anyone else has tried these seed mats and how you went.
Either leave a comment below or feel free to Email Me.

More from the box of goodies soon...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

17 Kilos Harvested

Update February Week 3:

Over 17kgs of fruit and veg harvested this week...this was one day's haul.
Suyo Long Cucumbers, Blue Ballet Pumpkin, Tigger Melons, Purple King Beans, and those Tomatoes are supposed to be Big Rainbow but they seem to be completely different!

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 11.7C
Highest Max 36.7C
No Recorded Rainfall
We have had a couple of quick showers but I think the rain gauge has too much dust in it to record it.

Propagation:
Potting up/on:
Celery from seed
Chives from seed
Ethiopian Cabbage from seed
Fig Trees from cuttings
Parcel from seed
Pelargonium Madame Salleron from cuttings
Pigface Orange from cuttings
Pot Potpourri Pelargonium from cuttings
Silverbeet from seed
Volunteer seedlings of Primula and Erigeron from pots on the table

Seedlings planted out:
Alyssum

Division: from potted plants on the propagation tables!
Chamomile Perennial
Mints - Applemint, Orangemint, Gingermint and Egyptian mint,
Fernleaf Bamboo
Lebanese Cress
Thyme - Russian, Pink, White, Variagated Lemon,

Cuttings: from potted plants on the propagation tables!
Scented Geranium/Pelargoniums -
Lemon Supreme Marble Grey, Orange, Peppermint.
Felicia amelloides Variegated

Next Week To Do:
Clear beans from Bed 7 and direct sow Spinach seeds on the 23rd/24th Feb or 27th/28th Feb
Sow Red and Green Cabbage seeds in punnets on the 23rd/24th Feb or 27th/28th Feb

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.
Beans Purple King 262g
Capsicum California Wonder 1251g
Carrots Mixed 52g
Cucumber Suyo Long 841g
Garlic Elephant 150g
Melon Tigger 460g
Onion Red 86g
Potato Brownell 323g
Pumpkin Blue Ballet 515g
Rockmelon Hearts Of Gold 2250g
Squash Acorn Table Queen 1236g
Tomato Big Rainbow 307g
Tomato Black Cherry 52g
Tomato Ida Gold 64g
Tomato Money Maker 587g
Tomato Stor Gul 326g

Black Sultana Grapes 9083g

Eggs: total for the week 19
14 From the 5 Farmyard Ferals
0 From the Lone Barnevelder
5 From the 4 Faverolles


when it's full we will wrap a net curtain right around
the sides to keep the bugs and dust out.
It has been hot this week but we managed to resurrect the Grape Drying rack. We couldn't use it last year because the weather was too wet. We used the electric dryer but it took about a week to dry the grapes...much too long.
This year I'm hopeful of dryer weather...although rain is forecast for the weekend! Right now it's hot enough here for them to dry in the shade.

I am slowly making my way through the potting benches. Instead of making more room I seem to be finding loads more plants to pot up and take cuttings from...oh well at least I am getting rid of all the dead plants in the pots.

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

Some of the interesting links I have found on facebook this week...
Most of these come from the Homestead Survival facebook page.

This is a nifty way of storing a small number of packet seeds, if you save your own you could make up some storage envelopes of your own to put into the pages.
Some great templates for seed envelopes over on this link and this one

Something I have asked Doc to build for me...
...instructions over on this link

If you have tried potato towers and found them a bit hot (well I did in my climate) here's a nifty way to cool them down a little...I would top the growing spudz up with compost not just straw because straw doesn't hold enough water. More on this link.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Face of the Ladybird

Update February Week2:

Tiny Ladybirds on the Bronze Fennel...
...just look at that face!!!
Click the photo for a closer look!

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 4.6C
Highest Max 34.7C
No Recorded Rainfall

Propagation:
Planted out:
Home Saved Bismark Potato tubers in Bed 5 MVG

Seed Saving:
Beans Tongues of Fire
Chamomile German
Dill
Nasturtium

Cuttings/Division:
Layered some Myoporum parvifolium "Pink form" that is overgrowing it's pot.

Next Week To Do:
Clean up and rebuild the Drying Rack
Harvest all Black Sultana Grapes to dry
Pot up Silverbeet and Ethiopian Cabbage seedlings
Tidy/clear out propagation tables and shade house

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.
Beans Purple King 79g
Carrots Mixed 214g
Cucumber Suyo Long 841g
Leeks Bulgarian Giant 122g
Rockmelon Hearts Of Gold 585g
Squash Acorn Table Queen 818g
Tomato Money Maker 799g
Tomato Stor Gul 42g

Grapes Black Sultana 2416g
Pear William 552g
Plum (Tree 2) 849g

Eggs: Total 22 for week:
15 From the 5 Farmyard Ferals
0 From the Lone Barnevelder
7 From the 4 Faverolles

Apart from the strange ladybird above the Bronze Fennel has become a breeding ground for ladybirds with many of the larval stage feeding on what is a low supply of aphids this year compared to other years.

First harvest of Purple King Beans
brought back memories
of my early gardening days in the 70s.
This was one of the first vegetables I grew.

The Red Bor Kale has enjoyed
the cooler summer this year and is thriving.

Sunflower time again!

I can't wait to taste these Tigger Melons
they are only small but are starting to colour up.

This is the only bunch of Grapes that has survived life on the outside of the pergola! Thanks to a bag from a cheap shop. Fortunately under the pergola many bunches have survived the blackbird attack. We will be harvesting the rest this coming week for drying.

This volunteer Silvery Fir Tree Tomato
made it's home in the wicking pot
with the Chinese Artichokes.
Both seem to be thriving and the tomato is setting fruit.


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

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pea Shoots

Update: Week 1 of February 2012:

We are attempting to keep the birds away
from our Black Sultana Grapes!!!

Weather highlights:
Lowest Min 7.3 C
Highest Max 30.4C
No Recorded Rain

Propagation:
Seeds:
Peas - Angela's Blue Home Saved Seeds into Wicking Pots under the back Pergola
Beans Dwarf - Butter DT Brown direct sown in Bed 13 in the Kitchen Garden

Potting up/on:
Seedlings:
Cauliflower Mini
Cauliflower Violet Sicilian
Cabbage Red Choi
Cabbage Tokyo Bekana
Kale Red Bor
Broccoli Royal Dome
Mizuna Purple
Cima Di Rapa

Planting:
Into a Wicking Pot under the Back Pergola
Mitsuba Cryptotaenia japonica
Spring Onions

Next Week To Do:
Plant Potato Tubers in Bed 5 MVG on 12th-14th Feb
Harvest the Plums from the second tree before the birds eat them!!!

And From Last Week:
It did not start pea seedlings in loo rolls as I am waiting for some new seeds to arrive!
I did not plant out the lone surviving Zucchini plant because a snail got to it first!!

Oh well it is a bit late to be planting Zucchinis now anyway.

Harvest:
Beans Gourmet Delight 55g
Cucumber Suyo Long 471g
Onion Red 45g
Tomato Money Maker 723g
Tomato Stor Gul 429g
Silverbeet 132g

Apple Cox's Orange Pippin 1184g
Black Sultana Grapes 291g
Cossack Pineapple 348g
Plums 261g

Chooks: 16 eggs
0 from the lone Barnevelder
8 from the 5 Farmyard Ferals
8 from the 4 Faverolles

The Wicking Pots that held the Potatoes have been revitalised with mushroom compost and Blood and Bone for use under the back Pergola where it is quite shaded.

One has some Mitsuba Cryptotaenia japonica
and Spring Onions planted in it.

Into the other one I have planted pea seeds very thickly to provide Pea Shoots for salads. This process is described on this link and I thought it be interesting to try some to have in our salads. I have used some peas seeds that I saved from an earlier crop so I know they haven't been treated with any nasty chemicals as is often the case with purchased seeds for the garden.

The Purple Orach has flowered
and is producing many, many seeds!!!

Buckwheat Flowers

Saturday, 4 February 2012

January Totals

Scarecrow's Garden Journal Notes: January 2012

Just some of this month's Harvest:
Capsicums, Tomatoes, and Cossack Pineapples.

Temperature range for January:
Lowest Min 8.5C
Highest Min 21.2C
Lowest Max 20C
Highest Max 39.5C
20.5mm Rain

Rain comparison with other years: January average is 22.6mm:
2012 20.5mm
2011 12.5mm
2010 15.5mm
2009 0.4mm
2008 0mm
2007 92.6mm

Harvest Tally for January:
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.
For Salads, Juice and Stirfries I have been picking Lettuce, Kale, Silverbeet, Leaf Amaranth, Purple Orach, Mushroom Plant, Gotu Kola, Basil, Nasturtium leaves and Beetroot Leaves which are not always weighed.
Beans Gourmet Delight 71g
Beans Tongues Of Fire 503g
Beetroot Bulls Blood 68g
Capsicum California Wonder 328g
Capsicum Hungarian Yellow 356g
Carrots Mixed 96g
Celery American Stringless 706g
Cucumber Bushy 658g
Leeks Bulgarian Giant 132g
Onion Red 326g
Potato Bismark 216g
Potato Brownell196g
Potato Cranberry Red 384g
Silverbeet 77g
Squash Acorn Table Queen 103g
Tomato Big Rainbow 305g
Tomato Black Cherry 117g
Tomato Ida Gold 238g
Tomato Money Maker 883g
Tomato Pineapple 620g
Tomato Stor Gul 931g
Zucchini Rondo De Nice 3578g

Total Veg Harvest for January 11.1Kgs

Apple Cox's Orange Pippin 675g
Cossack Pineapples 714g
Plums (tree 1) 11352g
Plums (tree 2) 914g

Total Fruit Harvest for January 13.6Kgs

Total Eggs for January: 131
65 from the 5 Farmyard Ferals
9 from the lone Barnevelder
54 from the 4 Faverolles

January of Previous Years:
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007

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

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

Thursday, 2 February 2012

New Seedlings Planted and Potted-on

Update: Week 4 of January 2012:

There seems to be plenty of pollen around the Trombones
if this bee is anything to go by!!

Weather highlights:
Lowest Min 11.9C
Highest Max 35C
3.5 mm Rain

Propagation:
Seeds:
Cauliflower Mini Brassica oleracea Diggers
Cauliflower Violet Sicilian Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group Green Harvest
Cabbage Ethiopian Brassica abyssinicum Seed Savers Network
Cabbage Red Choi Brassica rapa var. chinensis Green Harvest
Cabbage Tokyo Bekana Brassica rapa var. chinensis Green Harvest
Kale Red Bor F1 Brassica oleracea var acephala Diggers
Broccoli Royal Dome Brassica oleracea Italica Group Grower's Pride
Mizuna Purple Brassica rapa Japonica Group Southern Harvest Seeds
Cima Di Rapa Brassica rapa The Italian Gardener
Silverbeet Rainbow Mixed Beta vulgaris 4 Seasons Seeds

Planting out:
Silverbeet Rainbow Mixed from seeds sown 27 Nov 2011
Celery Tendercrisp from seeds sown 27 Nov 2011
Beetroot Heirloom Mix purchased seedlings
All were planted into Bed 11 in the Kitchen Garden

Next Week To Do:
Sow Pea seeds in loo rolls late on the 4th Feb for planting out soon after germination
Sow Dwarf Beans seeds and plant the lone surviving Zucchini seedling in Bed 13 in the Kitchen Garden late on the 4th Feb as we will be busy on the other fruit planting days.
Pot on Brassicas sown earlier this week.
Remove old Cucumbers and tidy gourd plants in Bed 8 in the Main Veg Garden

Weekly Harvest:
Beetroot Bulls Blood 68g
Capsicum California Wonder 328g
Capsicum Hungarian Yellow 333g
Celery American Stringless 706g
Cucumber Bushy 135g
Onion Red 240g
Tomato Big Rainbow 112g
Tomato Black Cherry 49g
Tomato Ida Gold 62g
Tomato Money Maker 611g
Tomato Pineapple 537g
Tomato Stor Gul 581g
Apple Cox's Orange Pippin 675g
Cossack Pineapple 387g

Chooks: 30 eggs
0 from the lone Barnevelder who is molting
14 from the 5 Farmyard Ferals
13 from the 4 Faverolles

I have removed the tomatoes from bed 3 as all were infested with tomato russet mite. I have other bushes producing well in other parts of the garden so these were not worth trying to save. The Basil has been given some TLC in the hope of a useful harvest.

Newly planted seedlings in Bed 11
have been watered lightly 3 or 4 times a day.
Even with the cooler temperatures this week
humidity levels are very low
and new seedlings can dry out quickly
until their roots reach the damp soil in the Wicking Beds.

Newly potted on Brassica seedlings need protection from pests!
Exclusion is the safest way!

I have been unable to purchase any Potato Tubers at this time of the year so I have saved a few of the Bismarks that have started to sprout. Bed 5 in the Main Vegetable Garden has been rough hoed and kept watered. I have added some Neutrog Rapid Raiser Organic fertiliser and blood and bone, I will add worm castings (with worms) when the tubers are planted out later this month.

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