Monday, March 28, 2011

Wander through the patch...

Update Video...
 The Monday morning update video might become a regular occurrence to help us keep track on the gardens progress as a whole me thinks... If I'm too boring let me know & I shall try to incorporate a jig or square dance in the middle to liven it up...
Have a great week all....

: )»

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Compost Teas & Seeds....

 Compost Tea...
Finely started up a batch of Compost tea on Friday using a small aquarium pump with an air stone, stockings, compost, worm castings, molasses & some cracker dust...


It was left overnight to brew after a few adjustments but hasn't turned out like other batches I have seen on You Tube so left it brew until early Sunday evening... I have been "massaging" the bags 2 or 3 times a day to help release the goodies further into the brew...

I did a few batches of soak & pour method of compost tea, where compost was mixed in a container & left for 24 hours then applied to plants, but really didn't notice a difference between the control plants & the ones that were fed with the tea after a week... I am still going to leave some as a control & see what they look like after a week... Have also thought about adding some seaweed solution to the brew but as it is an after though I may leave it to the next batch... Don't want to over do it too much...

Seedlings & other Plantings...
The seedlings in the trays have been a bit of a mixed bag as far as germination goes... The Udumalapet Eggplants we really wanted haven't germinated so have planted another batch of 16 seedlings in 2 trays... The Perennial Capsicum seed hasn't shot at all either so we might try some seed that Koo has been saving... The Purple Basil B☼ planted has germinated & we have Onions, Beans, Silverbeet & Kohl Rabi popping up everywhere....
** Does big HAPPY DANCE **
Seed Tape...
Moo & I have made up some seed tape with some Carrot, Onion & Lettuce seeds just to make the spacing of the seeds in the beds a lot easier...

Sunday Morning saw Koo & myself go to the Ipswich markets where we picked up another bulb of Elephant Garlic, Purple skinned Sweet Potato & a Pineapple... The Garlic will be planted this week with the other purple Seed Garlic we bought... Not to certain where the Sweet Potato is going yet but shall find somewhere & the Pineapple will go into another pot for now...





Sunday Walk...

 We went for a walk at a local "recreation Reserve" where we came across debris left over from the January floods that took so many lives & destroyed many others homes & livelihoods... The photos show some of the larger pieces we found... There was an astounding amount of plastic bottles, bits of foam, plant pots, water & fuel drums...We did come across a large blue drum cut in half length ways so collected that to use as a planter as well as some rubbish just to help clean up the place a bit... Will be a long time before places like this recover...


 Shall post a walk through update Video tomorrow... Ran out of light tonight...

Have a great one all....

: )»

Monday, March 21, 2011

Worm casting harvest...

Was a bit of a wet weekend with over 40mm of rain since Saturday morning according to Weather zone... Didn't feel like 40 mm but I shall take their word for it...
 New Toy...
Saturday was spent cleaning up my hidey hole under the house so I could find the work bench & make some garden toys... I made up a sifting box/cradle, that sits on top of the wheelbarrow, for separating out the worms from their castings... The tumbler I made needs a redesign & I am waiting some cheap parts to turn up in the local op shops... I am also planing to use it to break up the horse manure "clumps" before I add it to the composting barrels so it will break down better... The bags it is sitting on are full of Horse Manure... I fear I have a new addiction & B☼ will host an intervention for me soon... I went to return some bags on Saturday & just couldn't leave without purchasing 2 more... We now have 8 bags + 5 composting barrels full of the stuff...

Harvesting the castings...


We got stuck into the worm farm on Sunday as B☼ had promised some to a work mate  so he could start up his farm again... The shot to the left shows 4 eggs & what we think is a pregnant female... You can tell by the size of the "bulge" in the in the banded section about 1½cm below their heads... Worms are hermaphrodites that can fertilise their own or other worms eggs... From what I have read can carry up to about 10 eggs at a time with around 4-5 being the average amount...


We also found lots of Black solider fly larvae & a couple of the just hatched adults... The one in the photo to the right was hatching as we discovered it in the castings...
    The castings got put to use straight away with a few scoops being mixed with some compost as fertiliser for some seeds that got planted in the afternoon... Left is the food we have been processing & freezing as we have been withholding food for the last week getting ready for the casting harvest... A nice treat for them after the trauma of yesterday me thinks...


Plantings...
Wednesday 16th,
10 x  White Vienna Kohl Rabi, seedlings (Eden seeds)
1 x 2 meter row of Mangold-wurzel, seed (Boondie Seeds)
1 x 2 meter row of Nates Carrots, seed (Johnsons Organic) Just to use them up...
1 x 2 meter row of purple Dragon Carrots, seed (Boondie Seeds)
2 x meter row of climbing Sugarsnap peas, seed (Eden seeds)
Thursday 17th,
9 x Sugarloaf Cabbage, seedlings  (Eden seeds)
3 x 1 meter row of  Lockyer Gold Onion, seed (Green Harvest)
2 x cuttings of Yellow pear Tomato (Chook yard)
2 x cuttings Cherry Tomato (Chook yard)
2 x cuttings Asian long Eggplant (from Bed #4)
Friday 18th,
4 x 75cm rows of Lockyer early White Onion, seed (Eden seeds)
4 x 75cm rows of Mini Purplette Onion, seed (Green Harvest)
Sunday 20th,
8 x Bush Beans, seed (Aldi)
4 x Brown Beauty Bush Bean, seed (Eden seeds)
2 x  Marketmore Cucumber, seed (Eden seeds)
7 x Purple Vienna Kohl Rabi, seed  (Eden seed)
1 x meter row + random sowing of Bright lights Silverbeet, seed (Boondie seeds)
2 x Brussels Sprouts, seedlings (Johnsons seeds)
25-28 cloves Glen Large Garlic (??)  (Purchased it from a local market gardener last Nov)
 Below is a walk through showing where seeds/plants have been planted out & a some other bits...


Have a great one all...

: )»

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Secret Pumpkin... Shhh.....

Pumpkins...
Since last spring we have planted 2 x Butternut, 2 x Golden Nugget, 4 x Kent/Jap & had one HUGE Kent self sown pumpkin in the Patch in the backyard... All but the Self sown Kent were dismal failures... Will not even be bothering with the Butternuts again as this is about the 3rd time we have had no luck with them... The Golden Nuggets will have 1 more chance next season as we now understand a bit more about soil make up & Composting... We have 1 Kent growing in the front yard in a pile of Grass clippings that looks like it will be a success though...

Hand pollination...
Pumpkins are in the Cucurbit family which also includes Zucchini, Squash, Melons, Gourds, Luffas & Cucumbers.. They bear Imperfect flowers which means that they have male flowers (left) that produce pollen & female flowers (right) that are connected to the fruit...
Hand pollinating is as easy as pulling off the male flower, removing the petals to form a cup around the Stamen then upending it over the female flower allowing the pollen to fall onto the Stigma...We also like to lightly brush the Stamen on the Stigma just to make certain... The pollen then fertilises an ovule in the ovary of the flower which becomes a seed & starts the process of forming the tasty fruit surrounding it which completes the pollination process...  Other family members use a paint brush that is set aside for this purpose... We have found pollinating this way has a near 100% success rate...



We like to do the pollinating before 9am as that's when the heat starts to cause the flowers to close... The Shot on the left shows a flower we pollinated this morning & one that was done in the past few days...The Fruit on the right was missed so it has turned yellow & should drop off in the next day or so...
There are about 6 fruit that we a certain will mature & about another 5 or so that we will wait until they grow to the size of a softball before we will count them in the tally for the plant...


I haven't mentioned this vine in fear of Jinxing it to tell you the truth...
**Crosses fingers & Knocks on all available Wood**
We will be feeding it some fresh compost tea & removing a few bits of the die back around the main stem this weekend just to pamper it a bit...

Have a great one all....
:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vids are Go...

You Tube...
If interested, we are going to start posting some updates onto a You Tube Channel...
2 have been posted today that show a general "where we are" update with the beds... It will be used mainly to show the growth rates of the plants, any little side projects & how to videos that can help explain what the blog cant...




Hope you enjoy them...
Feel free to post any questions/comments & I will try to answer within a day or 4... ; )»

Have a great one...


: )»

Monday, March 14, 2011

More beds = more plants : )»

Had a huge list of jobbies to finish yesterday but only finished ½ of them I think...
There was seed to sow in beds, seeds to sow into punnets, cutting's to take, some transplanting, seedling's to plant out, Chook pen to clean/re straw, some pots to organise for a Wetpot garden, wicking barrel to organise, set up a trellis for some climbing peas, sift some more Cracker dust to add to the bed's, place & fill the bathtub bed & join the lime tree beds to make 1 larger one...

From the list we managed to,
- Sifted more cracker dust,
- Lime & put some bedding straw down in the Chook pen,
- B☼ started to clean out Bed #8 by transplanting some flowers to under the Lemon tree & a sage into Bed #3,
- The washing machine barrel had the Lemongrass removed, potted up for a family member... That was an hour long Battle I don't want to go through again... OH the Carnage !! B☼ planted out the barrel with some Lavender seedlings after the soil was freshened up with some home "cooked" goodies...
- Some seeds were planted out in punnets for the Wetpot garden...
- A new bed was made by joining both Lime bed's together& filing it with 2 bags of horse manure, bag of composted horse manure, blood 'n' bone, rock dust, the last of a soil delivery that was stored in the bath tub & the last ½ of a bag of "5 in 1" that was found under the house... 2 poles have been put in for a future trellis for some Tomatoes... Onions are planed for this bed along with a Garlic or 2...
- A wicking barrel was placed between the washing machine barrel & the Zucchini barrel at the end of Bed #1 along with some bits of mango trunk... This helped make a small retaining wall so we could fill the hollow between the new Lime bed & Bed #1 with some soil we have had stored... The grass removed from the new bed was placed in between the 2 beds & some "good bug" mix was sown behind the barrels...
Some compost tea (Thanks Praxxus) was also made & added to a few of the seedlings & some plants I feel are struggling... Will be interesting to see how they go as I have left a few as control  plants to see what the difference will be...
I will be a busy this week finishing off a few trellises, planting out some of the seeds & seedlings listed above... I think it is time to check some of the Compost barrels to see if any have finished cooking down so the compost can be bagged up & the bins refilled...


Just to finish up, we visited my parents on the weekend & had to grab a shot of dads Friends...


We counted 13 plants in pots grown from heads of fruit they have bought or "pups" from the past few years plants... The centre shot shows 2 pups forming below a fruit... You cane end up with 3 plants for the next season if all pups survive... The shot on the right was just to show how pretty the fruit is when young... Rather spectacular Me thinks... The 2 to the Right are our first 2 plants... I am hoping to have enough to do a little strip don the fence line with the neighbours...

That's about it for now...
: )»

Neem...

Gooseberry Beetles... 

Remember these guys ????
They are Colorado Striped Potato Beetle & its larva... I have been spraying the leaves & around the base of the Cape Gooseberry plant with Neem & it appears to be doing the trick.. Even though the plant has about ½ a dozen mating pairs on it everyday I am only finding 1 or 2 larva...  It has also been suggested to turn them into Larva Pancakes by using flour to dry them out... Might give this a try on an individual Larva as I find them rather than getting the sprayer out for 1 Beastie me thinks... Tar Del... : )»(>E
 The Azadirachtin in the Neem oil stops eggs from hatching, stops the larva's ability to moult, & by inhibits their ability to feed... It has these & other detrimental effects on many other leaf eating insects... I have read that when Neem mulch or the foliage spray is applied near the roots of some plants that some Azadirachtin will be taken up & act as a deterrent to some pest...
As far as I know it isn't available as a registered pesticide here in Australia due to not meeting government standards but has been used in India for centuries as for its horticultural & general health benefits to us Ooomans... We use the soap, toothpaste, mosquito repellent, the oil as an antiseptic & in cream blends to help with rashes/eczema...
Here is a link to a QLD Government PDF download that has some useful information & "Discover Neem" has a great round up of it's broad range of uses if you feel like looking into it further...
I purchase all our Neem products from Neeming Australia but there are a few distributors around now...
Have a great one...

: )»

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seeds & Vlogs...

Seeds...



To the left is what is left of the collection after any seed dated to expire before June last year was taken out... They won't be wasted, just donated to people with larger gardens than us that can afford a dud seed or 2... Over the past 12 months we have been purchased from a large chain Hardware outlet on & off rather than placing orders for 1 or 2 packs of seed... We will not be doing that any longer as a lot of what's available from there comes imported from the UK, which shocked us, or is from a formerly Kiwi then Aussie owned company that has been gobbled up by Monsanto but that's another story not for here...I will admit to buying a few punnets of seedlings through there as we needed to get a jump on the plantings & unfortunately, the local nurseries were found to be lacking with the quality of their seedlings...

Seed Orders...
3 orders of seeds arrived yesterday !!!!!  **Does Happy Dance**

I ordered from our old favourite, Eden Seeds, another trusted Queensland Supplier, Green Harvest & from a store on eBay, Boondie Seeds... This is the first time I have purchased from Boondie Seeds so shall see how they go...
 From these guys we got,
Capsicum, Perennial
Onion, Lockyer Early White
Pea, Sugarsnap climbing
Beetroot, Early Wonder
Cabbage, Sugarloaf
Kale, Dwarf Green
Broccoli, Albert
Kohl Rabi, Purple Vienna

We have been using these guys fairly exclusively for the past few years as they have a great selection "old Australian varieties and organically or bio-dynamically grown where possible" seed varieties...

From Green Harvest we purchased,
2 x 48 cell seeding trays
Bean, climbing Madagascar
Onion, Lockyer Gold
Onion, Mini Purplette
Pumpkin, Kent/Jap
Sunflower, Sunbird

I bought from these guys at a Permaculture fair some years back & found the seeds to be great... The Turmeric & Galangal sets we are growing come from these guys & have never had a problem... We will be keeping an eye on their website for when their Strawberries & Asparagus sets are available... These guys have heaps of good books & other gardening bits & pieces available for sale... The Madagascar Bean is an old favourite here as it has a great nutty flavour & goes well tossed into salads raw... Unfortunately, the seed we saved years ago was too old when we planted it & did nothing but grow single runners that produced no flowers... It has a suggested sowing time of Spring for us here in "sunny" Subtropical Queensland so we will need to wait a few months before sowing...


Silverbeet, Bright Lights
Cauliflower, Purple Sicilian
Carrot, Purple Dragon
Mangelwurzel


I came across this eBay store when I was searching for Mangelwurzel... I have wanted to try this plant after seeing it on the Gardening Australia Website ...It is an old variety of veggie that will provide a leaf crop for us & the Chooks as well as a root that we will be able to utilise in stir fries & stews...

A few other stores that I have only browsed through after recommendations are Cornucopia Seeds & Diggers Garden club... I haven't used either of these suppliers but have heard good things about both so thought I would mention them to be fair...

Saved Seed/bulbs...
We bought 4 bulbs of garlic grown by a local market gardener before New years & have had them hiding up the back of a cupboard until planting time in mid April...
Oh !!!!
& I must mention this up & coming seed supplier.... (Teee he he he he he)  
Koo (Dear Daughter #2) has been saving Bush been seed from plants in the patch & have been asked to show her effort... She has named them "Nira Beans".... : )»
 They are Brown Beauty Bush Beans we purchased as seedlings last    August...The last of them were pulled at the end of  February... Hope fully they will produce something for Koo..

The first is what we think is a cross between the Orange Mild Chilli & a yellow Banana Pepper... It has the shape of the Banana Pepper but the heat & flavour of the Orange Chillies... The plant is still growing & producing but I thought I would grab some seed to see if they grow true to type later this year...
Other saved seed include,
Shallots
Basil, Sacred
Basil, Sweet 
Bean, Blue Lake climbing
Silverbeet/Chard, Red stemmed
An unknown variety of Flat seeded Bush bean
Snowpea, Roi De Carouby
Pumpkin, Kent/Jap..(We have the seed but all 4 plants from it that have grown in the back yard from last years seed have not been holding onto fruit after fertilisation so I bought the seeds listed above...) 
Tomato, Yellow pear
Tomato, Cherry

The seed tin will get a good clean out today so we will be ready for tomorrows seeding frenzy... Anything 2010 or previous will be tossed unless we can't source that variety any more...

Vlogs...

I have started to look through You Tube for helpful information on gardening from everyday people who are out there getting their hands covered in dirt... I was searching for information on Composting & came across a channel put out by a Happy Chappy called Ray (Praxxus) in Minnesota, U.S.A... Although our growing regions are quite different he has a straight forward approach to gardening that I like... I have learnt a few things about propagation & Feral Turkey wrangling (teee he he he he) that I have missed looking through dozen of sites while gleaning for helpful tips...



He also Has some great Recipes which I shall be trying out once I am done with "Asian" March...
 I have been working through his videos from start to finish & am really enjoying them... Am up to July 2010 at the moment...


I will be adding links to other helpful Channels/sites as I come across them... 




That's about it for now...
Have a great one all...

: )»

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Worm update...

Worm Kingdom Update...
An update for Lynne & all... :
The worm farm is going great guns... The little fellas are munching through 3-5 kg worth of "processed" food every week... It is getting near time to harvest the little fellas so they can start again as nearly all the Coconut coir bedding has been turned into castings... They love to mass under their food along with a few Black Soldier fly larvae... The larvae are no real problem & when picked out make a great source of protein for the Chooks... Some even farm them as a food source for their Chooks & for fish bait/food... Here is a great site with heaps of information on the Larvae... http://www.microponics.net.au/?p=175
We have been stockpiling the Worm wee over the past few months just for the Autumn crops... I pour about a Litre into a 9 Litre watering can then spot water the Veggies & lime trees every second week... None have complained yet so it must be good...

Horse Poo Palace...
 Charming name me thinks... **giggles to self**

The old worm farm has been sitting around doing nothing but storing some Wetpots so today it was put into action as a farm again...
 I filled the 3 tiers of the farm with some of the "special blend"  manure compost with some Sugar cane trash and about 1 cup of worms for every level... It will be interesting to see just how fast they get comfy, start little families & eat their way through the mammoth size meal that they have..

My Favourite plant...

B☼ & I have this thing when we go driving around where we get so excited when we see nature start to take back over what we Ooomans think we have conquered... Trees & grass growing in gutters always bring a smile & grass growing from cracks in the centre of bitumen roads just makes us do a seated Happy dance in the car, much to the disapproval of the spawn in the back seat... That is one reason I don't mind the weeds & grasses growing in between the paved paths between the beds... I figure they also provide food for pests which in turn feed the countless Skinks, Geckos & spiders that live in the gaps around the beds & paver's... This Sweet Basil deserves to be a revered plant & wont be harvested unless catastrophe strikes all the other Sweet Basils that are popping up in & around the patch... The others that live in the lawn around the patch are still there even though they have snapped their main stems due to their size... Nothing better than the smell of fresh Basil as you walk around the patch & disturb the leaves on the plants...


Have a great one...

:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Digging In...

Compost...
All the compost drums we made over the past 2 weeks were added to the garden & have  been filled up  again with the next batch of Horse manure & "fixings"... The big surprise was the horse poo, mushroom compost, Blood 'n' Bone & Cracker dust blend we did last weekend... It has turned out smelling very sweet with no bad odour...
video


Not the most exciting Clip but better than a photo...

The Patch...

Saturday saw us clearing out & transplanting the left over plants from Bed #1 & the Capsicums from Bed #8..
Bed #1 had the far end topped up with Mushroom compost then both had some compost added along with Bed #3...  (Action shot Included)

The Thai green & Early long Eggplants that were trimmed in Bed #3 have already started to bounce back with new growth... 6 Cauliflowers were planted up the other end... I have purchased some Purple Cauliflower seeds that I am going to sow in the rest of the bed to see how they go...



2 of the 4 Zucchinis & a small pot of Lemongrass were planted into Bed #9...They appear to have settled in nicely & have already been given a health drink of Worm Wee... The 2 remaining Zucchinis found homes in the old Lemongrass Barrel & the end of Bed #1...



Bed #10 is going great with the divided Parsley taking root & the Beetroot seeds shooting... Bed #11 had a Coriander seedling & the baby Leeks From Bed #1 planted in it...


Bed #7 has the Broccoli  & had the Snow Peas planted out under the trellis on Saturday...






Also managed to clean out the paths between the beds... A bit more clearing of weeds needs to happen... The whole patch is looking heaps better which also motivates me to get in & spend more time out there...

I have 2 bales of Sugar Cane trash to mulch the beds with during the week...
 I am expecting a small seed order to come in as well as organising some seeds that we have saved over the past few months... That should keep me busy as well as planing the Wetpot garden that never eventuated during Summer...
I will also do a Worm Kingdom update tomorrow... I think I have waffled on enough here already...
;



Weekly Harvest...

Well, that's about it except for 21 eggs... The leeks will be used up in dinners this week & the Lemongrass has already made it into the freezer...

Have a great one alls....

: )»