Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Tomato Boil Down

Today is a Most Significant Day in our garden calendar. It is the First Tomato Boil Down.

This is the day when we have too many ripe tomatoes to eat, so we boil them down and freeze them, in today's case until we have enough for the first quantity of sauce.

We have been keeping preserving records since 2001, although the data did not really get comparable until 2005. And this is what we have found for the First Boil Down Day.

10.02.2005 First boil down, mainly Romas

07.01.2006 First boil down, mainly Romas, a few Grosse Lisse. We knew that was a really
early year.

28.01.2007 First boil down, mainly Romas

16.01.2008 First boil down, mainly Romas. This was the best year in memory - usually we
eat the last boiled down ones (ie use is pasta etc) about August. This year they
lasted until New Year's Day in 2009 - and we still have tomato soup left.

25.01.2009 First boil down - mainly Earliest of Them All. The Romas are all still green, and
the Grosse Lisse are an almost total failure. The Amish Paste are not far away.

P2009-01-25 P2009-01-27

This is them - we find they are a true climber, and have taken the top out now. next year they will go up a really tall trellis, if we can find one.

And memo: don't plant tomatoes on red stakes, or use red ties. It makes it really hard to sort out the ripe tomatoes.

It doesn't get much better ...

It doesn't get much better than this


Two cobs of corn, lightly pre-cook and strip

1 zucchini, middle sized, grated

1 spring onion, finely sliced

2 home grown spuds (as were the above), grated

2 beaten eggs, dash of milk, plain flour to thicken, salt and pepper to taste - all unfortunately shop-bought.

Throw in some sliced, cooked bacon

Mixed all and cook in lightly greased pan.

Eat at any time of day. Throw a few in the freezer, once cooked, for snacks and BBQs

Think I might stock up the freezer. Summer is here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Galtonias are Here


The Galtonias are here - so I am off to add them to Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - just a little bit late.

I love my Galtonias, and they are so easy to grow. Hopefully I will have seeds available this year for anyone in Australia who would like some (as long as you know I can send seeds to you from Victoria).

Late Note: Since a few people obviously haven't met these before, I went outside and measured them. The tallest is 1.25 metres high. These are the giants of the snowdrop world. They are growing in full sun in my Kitchen Garden.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sweet Corn Update

I am grateful to Val Webb on Kitchen Gardeners International who has pointed me to the Ohio State University poster of Abnormal Corn Ears, where a similar condition is described a "Tassel Ear". There is more HERE.

Ours are definitely on "tillers", side shoots to the main stem. There is no useful corn on those side stems.

I now suspect we have so many tillers as the soil is too rich. In both gardens the crops have followed the green manure cycle, in one of them there was also horse manure added. The corn loved it so much it thought it would throw in a few extra side shoots.

Reading further, we find that some hybrid varieties are more susceptible to tillering under certain conditions, although these are not specified.

So there, I think, we have it. Unfortunately we have just put in another lot of seedlings of that variety, but they will be the last.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What is Happening to the Sweet Corn ???


What is happening to the Sweet Corn?

Cobs are growing out the tops, where the Pollen Anthers usually are found. And the cobs are mixed in with the anthers. These cobs don't have husks, either.

When I first saw them, I thought "looks like weedicide drift to me".

Then I found it in both my gardens, 80 km apart.

And saw a reference somewhere, on someone else's blog, to it happening to them.

So, is it happening to anyone else?

Ours are DT Brown's "Kelvedon Glory F1" that we have grown from seed. If it is happening to you - are you growing the same variety, or is it only happening with "Kelvedon Glory F1", no matter who is the supplier?

Curious Minds want to Know. Because we do not like it.

Here is another shot:


We have done nothing to these to interfere with husks etc - they are as they are growing, on top of the plant. In verrrrry rich soil, I have to admit.

New online Australian Gardening Group

There is a new online Australian group at Kitchen Gardeners International.

It is Gardening in Australia - obviously with a Kitchen Garden focus. Not a lot of members yet (eight as I write), but it does look to have potential.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Update on Toilet Rolls Experiments

An update on the toilet rolls experiments:

The mustard in the toilet rolls all died. The rolls can dry out easily, and coupled with some slugs, the whole lot bit the dust.

The Watermelon seedlings are still showing the same difference.


The one grown in a punnet and transplanted is on the left, the one grown in and planted in the toilet roll is on the right. The difference is mirrored in another tub, which only has two from punnets, which are as small as the smaller one here (if you follow).

New Conundrum:


This is Russian Tarragon, planted side by side. The ones in the toilet roll centre are doing fine, the ones in a long roll that we cut up (from the centre of a roll of fabric), are hardly moving.

My first reaction was to put the pH metre over everything (knowing from another life how acidic cardboard can be). Every roll tested is so near seven (neutral) that there is no appreciable difference.

So, as far as I am concerned, there is something nasty in the non-toilet roll.

Another thing is - have a look at the little toadstools growing along the edge in this poor photo:


We sort of figured that there is fungus growing all through the soil, most of it probably beneficial - we definitely need it in our compost heap. This one doesn't seem to be effecting the seedlings, so we aren't too stressed.

Therefore, our general feeling with toilet rolls so far is:

The bigger the seed, the better they seem to grow in them. We like them for Sweet Corn, Cucurbits and Beans. All have worked well in them, other things not so well.

We have also pulled up some of the Rocket that was planted in the little jiffy peat pots.


Although the roots obviously got through the jiffy pots, the plants were still a little root bound, and the pots didn't break down all that well. There wasn't a large, healthy root system.

One of the few plants that has been pulled out from toilet rolls - excess Zucchini, no photo, sorry - the toilet roll had completely broken down and the roots were good and widespread.

So that is it at the minute - toilet rolls for large seeds, and we will see how things progress.

Salad of the Day

Today's salads included

Several small Zucchini, sliced across, thinly

Several small radishes, sliced across thinly

French dressing (fresh lemon juice - although I sometimes use lime) and an equal quantity of good olive oil.