This is my favourite little garden bed just by the back door...with Yellow Pear Tomatoes, Bushy Cucumbers, Casper Eggplant (white), Long Purple Eggplant, Chilli Shake Chillies and a couple of Minette Basil seedlings. It has recently been mulched with sugarcane which has led to a bit of earwig damage but the plants are big enough now to withstand a few holey leaves. I am looking forward to the first harvests from this bed.
The first Zucchinis for the year have been harvested and eaten...
This November is a month I would rather forget. The only positive thing was that we spent a lot of time with all our family...the reason was the negative. Doc's dear, sweet mother lost her battle with Alzheimer's last week. At only 74 years of age it was tragic to watch what this disease did to someone we loved. In many ways her loss is a (very sad) relief.
Temperatures this month: Lowest Min 1.2C Highest Min 14.8C Lowest Max 18.4C Highest Max 37.3C 1 mm Rain which fell as scattered, light showers during the month Rain: Year To Date: 347mm (Average YTD: 285.9mm) Comparison with other years: November Average is 25.7mm: 2013 1mm 2012 5mm 2011 79.5mm 2010 19.5mm 2009 55mm 2008 55mm 2007 60mm 2006 19.6mm
Weather Highlights? Very dry with temperatures rising...
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. For Salads, Juice and Stirfries I have been picking Silverbeet, Gotu Kola, Lettuce, Kale, Parsley, Beetroot Leaves and Lebanese, Upland and Water-Cress which are not always weighed. Kale 125g Red Onions 897g Silverbeet 48og Sugarsnap Peas 50g
Total Veg Harvest for November 1.5Kg
Total Fruit Harvest for November 3.8Kg
Total Eggs for November: 54 eggs. 25 From the 1 Farmyard Feral 29 From the 3 Faverolles November of Previous Years: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006This Blog is seven years old this month!!
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Apology: Any unanswered emails will be replied to as soon as possible...
Cherry Tree Net is already up ...those nasty winged creatures are not getting every single cherry like they did last year! With the fruit just turning red the birds were already visiting ARGH!!!
Weather Highlights: Lowest Min 1.2C Highest Min 12.1C Lowest Max 18.4C Highest Max 34.9C No Recorded Rain
Propagation: Seeds: Amaranth Red Mekong Amaranthus gangeticus Home Saved Seed Cosmos Candy Stripe and Purity Cosmos bipinnatus from Mr Fothergills Nasturtium Gleam Trailing Tropaeolum majus from Goodman Seeds Nasturtium Jewel Mixed Tropaeolum majus from DT Brown Sunflower Giant Russian and Sunfola Helianthus annuus from Select Organic Cucumber Crystal Apple Cucumis sativus Mr Fothergill's Cucumber Suyo Long Cucumis sativus Home Saved Seed Cucumber Mini White Cucumis sativus 4Seasons Seeds
Planting out: Beans Tongues of Fire and Gourmet Delight Home Grown (HG) seedlings as top up planting in Bed 3 Beans Domino HG Seedlings in Bed with the Sweetcorn in Bed 9 Capsicum California Wonder x4 and Sweet Chocolate x2 HG Seedlings into bed 5 Capsicum Sweet Paprika x6 and Purple Basil x3 HG Seedlings in Bed 13 Celery purchased seedlings went into the Bathtub Bed and the spare Wicking Bed in the Orchard Area Cucumber Mini White x4 HG Seedlings into bed 3 Pumpkin Butternut x6 HG Seedlings into bed 4 Cucumber Bushy x3, Tomato Yellow Baby Pear x2, Chilli Shake x2, Eggplant Casper x1. Eggplant Long Purple x1 and a couple of Basil Minette plants into Bed 6 all HG Seedlings Zucchini Early HG Seedlings into bed 8 Comfrey Horseradish in the Almond area
Lots of seedlings planted out in the garden...most have their own protective container!
Bushy Cucumbers in Bed 6 have a crate to climb up...the Tomatoes either side will be trained to the archway next to the bed.
The BathTub bed is a mass of production this year with Lettuces, Tomatoes, Onions, Celery and Basil. Around the base the flowers are blooming and attracting beneficial insects.
October Growth: The Tomatoes are off and growing despite the cold mornings we have been having this month. These Bendigo Drop F6* started the month still in the greenhouse, now they are in their permanent positions and all are bearing flowers! Temperatures this month: Lowest Min -1.8C Highest Min 17.4C Lowest Max 14C Highest Max 36.3C 13.5 mm Rain
Rain: Year To Date: 343.5mm (Average YTD: 269.2mm) Comparison with other years: October Average is 29mm: 2013 13.5mm 2012 11mm 2011 26.5mm 2010 57.5mm 2009 58mm 2008 3mm 2007 15.5mm
Weather Highlights? Most of the rain fell on the morning of the first of October since then we have had no more than 1mm on any day! Taking 2C as the potential frost temperature we have had 10 potentially frosty mornings this month...add on a couple more just above 2C and I have had a lot of covering and uncovering of new seedlings to do this month but so far no frost damage.
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. For Salads, Juice and Stirfries I have been picking Silverbeet, Celery, Coriander, Cress, Gotu Kola, Lettuce, Kale, Parsley, Beetroot Leaves and Lebanese, Upland and Water-Cress which are not always weighed. Asparagus 510g Beetroot 265g Broad Beans 1504g Celery 68g Garlic 1650g Kale 250g Spring Onions 156g Sugar Snap Peas 330g Total Veg Harvest for October 4.6Kg
Strawberries 282g Total Fruit Harvest for October 282g
Total Eggs for October: 62 eggs. 20 From the 1 Farmyard Feral 42 From the 3 Faverolles
Springtime means Earwigs in the garden. Just when you are trying to plant out tender young seedlings...they disappear over night if not protected. Trapping the earwigs in tins of water with oil is one way of reducing their numbers when you don't have time to be checking hose traps everyday! Weather Highlights: Lowest Min -1.8C Highest Min 17.4C Lowest Max 16.4C Highest Max 36.3C 2.5mm Rain
I think the numbers above tell the story...frost one day then hot the next...usual for this time of the year.
Propagation: Seeds: Beans Climbing Snake Black Seeded Vigna unguiculata var. sequipedalis Eden Seeds Beans Climbing Snake Red Dragon Vigna unguiculata var. sesquipedalis Green Harvest Beans Dwarf Gourmet Delight Phaseolus vulgaris New Gippsland Seeds Beans Dwarf Tongues of Fire Phaseolus vulgaris New Gippsland Seeds Beans Winged Psophocarpus tetragonolobus Green Harvest Chickpeas White Cicer arietinum Select Organic Mouse Melon Mexican Sour Gherkin Melothria scabra 4Seasons Seeds Most of the Beans were direct sown but a back up of 6-8 of each were sown in the greenhouse...just as well since most of the climbers have been eaten by earwigs as they emerge!
Planting out: Basil Large Leaf Italian Tomato Roma x 3 Tomato Tommy Toe x 4 Into Bed 7 Tomato Kotlas x 4 Tomato Money Maker x 2 Tomato Black Krim x 2 Into the spare Wicking Bed in the Orchard Area Pumpkin/Squash mix Wangaporoa Crown, Sampson, Trombone, Spaghetti Squash, Into the Compost (Bed 20) in the Almond Area Garden Zucchini Golden x 2 Zucchini Black x 2 Zucchini Cocozelle x 2 Into Bed 10
Cuttings: Rock Rose Pink Daisy Pink
When Bed 6 was cleared it was full of earwigs...so the Faverolles came out and cleaned it up! Then I needed to top up the bed with more compost worms since they didn't just eat the earwigs!
The garden has been full of Hoverflies (Family Syrphidae) this year...here they are visiting the Loganberry Flowers
When started to cut back the Carob tree we found it was covered with pods this year.
White Currants are very popular with the birds and I rarely actually get any...this year I have covered the whole plant with a net fruit bag...maybe I will get some this time!
Weather Highlights: Lowest Min -1.4C Highest Min 14C Lowest Max 15.6C Highest Max 32.5C 17mm Rain
As you can see from the temperature ranges this fortnight we have had a real mixed bag weather wise! From almost hot weather one day to windy, wet and wintry weather the next. Throw in a couple of frosty mornings and I think we have just about covered it.
Propagation: Seeds: Basil Thai Lime Ocimum americanum var. americanum 4 Seasons seeds* Borage White Borage officinalis 4seasons seeds* Chamomile German Matricaria chamomilla New Gippsland Seeds* Savory Summer Satureja hortensis New Gippsland Seeds* Spinach Egyptian Orchorus olitorius Cornucopia* Spinach Mountain Atriplex hortensis Cornucopia* Cosmos MixedCosmos bipinnatus Home saved seeds Basil Mrs Burns Lemon Ocimum basilicum/americanum The Lost Seed Black Cumin Nigella sativa The Lost Seed Marigold Crackerjack Tagetes erecta DT Brown Marigold Safari Mixture Tagetes patula Yates Seed Mexican Hyssop Agastache mexicana "Sangria" Southern Harvest Purslane Golden Portulca oleracea Cornucopia The seeds marked * were sown in small pots in the greenhouse, the other seeds were direct sown around the tomato seedlings in the Old Chook Run Garden.
Basil Large Italian Basil Lettuce Leaf Basil Purple Lettuce Drunken Woman Lettuce Gloria Tomato Bendigo Drop F6 into the Bathtub bed and Bed 11 (Fridge Wicking Bed) Tomato Capri Showstopper F3 into the in-ground bed in the Old Chook Run (these ones are not dwarf plants so I shall just see what they produce)
While some of the spring seedlings have been planted out planting/sowing was put on hold as we had frosts forecast for Oct 14/15. Those seedlings already planted out were covered the rest were better off waiting in the greenhouse.
With frost forecast I had to grab whatever I could find to cover the new seedlings. Many of the beds are already covered with netting...mainly to keep off the birds that scratch around looking for the worms!!! The netting will raise the temperature in the beds by a couple of degrees and that often is enough to prevent damage but at this time of the year with such young seedlings I like to add a bit more security. These are removed each morning.
Plastic juice or milk containers with their bottoms cut off act as "hats" and with the tops on provide mini greenhouses for the seedlings...
Styrofoam or cardboard boxes are useful for larger plants...
This perforated plastic sheeting came as part of a kit some years ago and is handy to grab and throw over the netting hoops...
Or here it is used to wrap around tomato cages. Secured by cheap shop clamps, it does the job...
Even pieces of shadecloth or old tarps, you can even use old bed sheets, come to the rescue...
These Trombone Gramma seedlings have grown in the cut down juice bottles that covered the direct sown seeds. These "hats" stay on during the day and the lids are added when frost threatens.
September Growth: The new Cherry Lapin produced one cherry Cucumber seeds sown at the beginning of the month are now ready to plant outside Tiny Tomato seedlings have grown ready for outside planting too!
Temperatures this month: Lowest Min -1C Highest Min 12.4C Lowest Max 14.3C Highest Max 29C 13.5 mm Rain
Rain: Year To Date: 314.5mm (Average YTD: 255.7mm) Comparison with other years: September Average is 33.1mm: 2013 13.5mm 2012 10.5mm 2011 16mm 2010 35.5mm 2009 65.5mm 2008 11mm 2007 33.4mm
Weather Highlights? Windy!!!!! A warmer than average September see this link from WeatherZone South Australia's sweaty September With dust too see this link also from WeatherZone Adelaide disappears into dust
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. For Salads, Juice and Stirfries I have been picking Silverbeet, Sea-Celery, Celery, Coriander, Gotu Kola, Lettuce, Kale, Parsley, Beetroot Leaves and Lebanese, Upland and Water-Cress which are not always weighed. Beetroot 1151g Brussels Sprouts 275g Carrots 919g Celery 857g Kale 695g Kohlrabi 175g Parsley 109g
Total Veg Harvest for September 4.2Kg
No Fruit Harvest for September
Total Eggs for September: 57 eggs. 25 From the 1 Farmyard Feral 32 From the 3 Faverolles
Red Shallots divided in Autumn have grown to provide Green Onions for salads.
The first Asparagus spears appeared this fortnight although they were not weighed because they were munched straight from the garden...a sweet, raw delight!
Weather Highlights: Lowest Min -1C Highest Min 8.3C Lowest Max 14.3C Highest Max 28.5C 4.5mm Rain
The last half of September was as windy as it often is. The Equinox on the 23rd always tends to bring the wind with it. This year though we have had gale force winds repeatedly. So now we head into summer which feels like it will be a long, hot and dry one. Everything is drying out very fast and rain seems scarce already...mulching has become a high priority.
Propagation: Seeds: Direct sown: Cucumber Crystal Apple Cucumis sativus from Mr Fothergill's into bed 16 in Old Chook Run Garden Trombone Gramma Cucurbita moschata from Eden seeds into the compost tank bed in Old Chook Run Garden Squash Spaghetti Cucurbita pepo from Eden Seeds into Wicking Fridge Bed 11 in the Kitchen Garden Sorghum Alpha from Select Organic into the Compost Bed in the Almond Area Garden
The following seeds were sown into cut down Milk/Juice Containers (See pix below) in the greenhouse Pumpkin: Lakota Cucurbita maxima from 4Season Seeds Sampson Cucurbita maxima from a friend they were very old seeds so I sowed all that were left Triamble Cucurbita maxima from The Lost Seed Trombone Gramma Cucurbita moschata from Eden seeds Walthem Butternut Cucurbita moschata from 4Season Seeds Squash Spaghetti Cucurbita pepo from Eden Seeds Zucchini Cucurbita pepo Black Beauty from Diggers Cocozelle from The Lost Seed Golden from The Lost Seed Lebanese Early from Inspirations Seeds
Basil Lettuce Leaf and Large Italian Sweet Capsicum Sweet Paprika, Sweet Chocolate and California Wonder Chilli Shake Tomatoes - Kotlas, Money Maker, Sweet Potato Slips - white, orange and purple Grapes Black Sultana and Ruby Red
Planting out: Basil Purple and Lettuce Leaf Tomato Red Colossus Into bed 3 White Currant Ribes rubrum Syn. R sativum, R silvestre, R spicatum Gooseberry Captivator Ribes grossularia planted into the wicking bed with the Raspberries in the Almond Area Garden Mint Orange Mentha citrata Mint Basil Mentha basilicum Mint common Mentha sp Planted in amongst the fruit trees in the Almond Area Garden where I don't mind if they take off Sweet Potato slips White and Orange a couple more into Bed 17
The warmer than normal start to spring has meant I can sow seeds directly into the soil...something I rarely am able to do.
Early sown Sweetcorn has germinated well...now to keep the snails from munching it. Late night scrunching sessions are yielding many small snails!!
These pots are what I start larger seeds off in. When they are ready for planting out the container slides off with minimal disturbance to the roots or can slide up to remain as protection for the newly planted seedling.More on this link (Growing On Pots)
I can't go without showing off these Strawberries...yummy!!!
The new Cherry Lapin has produced a couple of flowers already!!
Weather Highlights: Lowest Min -0.9C Highest Min 12.4C Lowest Max 15.3C Highest Max 29C 9mm Rain
With the day temperatures creeping up to nearly 30C I have cautiously started seeds and sweet potato slips out in the garden beds. However frosts can still threaten so I have to be ready to cover them up at night.
Propagation: Seeds: Corn Sweet Kelvedon Glory F1 Zea mays DT Brown Cucumber Cucumis sativus: Bushy The Lost Seed Crystal Apple Mr Fothergill's Mini White 4Season Seeds Honeydew Melon Tigger Cucumis melo The Lost Seed Marigold Safari Mix Tagetes patula Yates Marigold Tagetes patula Oranges and Lemons Growers Pride Seeds Marigold Crackerjack Tagetes erecta DT Brown Mouse Melon (Mexican Sour Gherkin) Melothria scabra 4Seasons Seeds Mustard White Brassica hirta Eden Seeds Nasturtium Alaska Tropaeolum majus Growers Pride The Cucumber and Mouse Melon seeds were sown in the green house the rest were sown direct outside in Beds 10 & 12 Mr Fothergill's Carrot Early Nantes Seed Tape by the Grandtwins into their Special Wicking Bed
Potting On/Up: Basil Lettuce Leaf Basil Large Italian Lettuce Drunken Woman Lettuce Darwin Lettuce Gloria Pinks Dandelion Red Ribbed Tomatoes: Black Krim Kotlas Moneymaker Red Colossus Roma Tommy Toe Yellow Baby Bendigo Drop F6 Capri Showstopper F3
Things are getting busy in the greenhouse! The potted up Tomato seedlings are put outside most days when the weather is good. Planting out: Pansies Lettuce Into the Grandtwins+1 Special Wicking Bed Sweet Potato White, Orange and Purple slips into Bed 17 in the Old Chook Run Garden Sticky Wattle Acacia howittii in the Orchard
The Sweet Potato cuttings (slips) I took at the beginning of winter have survived well. I have planted one of each variety Orange, White and Purple into their position except that the bed isn't empty yet. The plants that are still growing in the bed will provide some shelter to the new slips and by the time the Sweet Potatoes take off the other plants (beetroot and onions) should have been harvested!
Remember Hills the people that brought the Hills Clothesline to every backyard way back in 1946??? Well just look at what they have developed now...it is an amazing little Wicking Bed Kit. You can get these at your local Mitre 10 or Masters store, starting from $199.
When this kit arrived the weather had just turned wintry and stayed that way until recently. I decided that I would build it and let the Grandtwins +1 plant into it. Earlier this month we heard that the kids were coming to visit so I thought I'd would get this bed built and let them plant it up while they were here.
The best thing about this bed is that it is a Wicking Bed in a box. All you need to add is the sand in the "pool" area and good growing media in the top for some plants. You get a stand for the whole lot to sit upon. In fact these beds can even go indoors!! We really don't have the room for plants inside and we have so much room outside. So this bed is situated under the Back Pergola.
The first thing to do was to study the box it came in, open it up and find the instruction book. Then check that all the items listed were present. and of course carefully read through the instruction book!!
I found the instructions very easy to follow even with a stuffy head cold!!! Everything is in the box including a nifty hex key and multi spanner for tightening the bolts. Soon I had the frame all put together.
It even includes a moisture/pH probe so you can check the soil whenever you want and see if it needs watering or adjusting.
Next I unfolded the liner and located the drain hole. Put the liner inside the frame and secured it with the clips provided.
Then the edge caps slotted in just right and were secured with the nuts, washers and bolts provided. After I connected the base plate together with a click, I found a level (ish) spot on the not very level concrete. I used Doc's levelling thingy and found a piece of foam matting was just enough to make it perfectly level.
Now comes the interesting bit. The water-hose is covered in a fabric to stop any sand entering and it is all neatly coiled up and secured with ties. The end pipe just needed to be twisted the right way round so that the drainage hole poked through the hole in the side of the unit ready to be secured with the overflow nut. The funnel, for filling, clips neatly under the top corner frame and we were all set!
A layer of sand was added to cover the hose...
Then I needed the help of three very willing Grandies, complete with gardening gloves and hats as the weather was warm that day. They helped fill the box with a mixture of Coir, Mushroom Compost and Potting mix.
When it was full I had to find something to plant in it!! We found some Lettuce seedlings and a Pansy or two for colour. When asked what they would like to plant in their garden box the overwhelming response was CARROTS of course! Luckily I found a strip of Mr Fothergill's Carrot Early Nantes carrots on tape left over from last year so they were easy to plant.
All that was left to do was firm down the potting mix over the carrots and give them a drink...Nanny went off to get a watering can. "Better get two" said little Miss. So I did. Luckily seeds in tape can survive a vigorous watering by two three year olds!!
I'll include this video below that gives a professional look at the assembly of these units. I think this would make the ideal gift for someone new to gardening especially someone wanting to try using the wicking system.
See more videos about Hills Garden Products Here View the Garden Bed on the Hill's website Here
August Growth: Sugarsnap Peas were just showing through at the start of the month. By the end they were out enjoying the warmer weather!
Temperatures this month: Lowest Min -3.1C Highest Min 11.7C Lowest Max 9.9 Highest Max 22.9C 4 mm Rain
Rain: Year To Date: 301mm (Average YTD: 222.6mm) Comparison with other years: August Average is 37mm: 2013 4mm 2012 20mm 2011 36mm 2010 49.3mm 2009 19.6mm 2008 27mm 2007 7mm
Weather Highlights? Things have dried out this month as the rain has only been misty. Day temps are on the rise and it really feels like spring. We still had 11 potential frost days with the lowest of -3C halfway through the month.
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. For Salads, Juice and Stirfries I have been picking Silverbeet, Chinese Broccoli, Celery, Coriander, Cress, Gotu Kola, Lettuce, Kale, Parsley, Beetroot Leaves and Lebanese, Upland and Water-Cress which are not always weighed. The winter harvest is much lower than other months but we continue to eat out of our stored food supply. See side bar for details --->>> Beetroot 645g Broccoli Chinese 123g Broccoli 349g Carrots 2382g Cauliflower 1972g Celery 538g Parsley 59g Silverbeet 476g Turmeric 386g
Total Veg Harvest for August 6.9Kg
Lemons 850g Tangelo 241g Total Fruit Harvest for August 1.1Kg
Total Eggs for August: 23eggs. 16 From the 1 Farmyard Feral 7 From the 3 Faverolles