Monday, August 05, 2013

What's on the Potting Bench?

This is my potting bench at the minute. Main items, L - R, are:

Watering Can - full of a mix of worm wee and Maxicrop. Got them mixed up, in unlabelled bottles, so just combined them. Giving all the pots a very dilute feed.

Soaking bowl - just out of sight. It is the glass bowl from a benchtop oven that died. I couldn't bear to throw out the bowl, and if I don't drop it, it will last longer than any plastic. At the moment it is soaking a terracotta strawberry pot that dried out. This is one of those skinny ones, and despite some drainage pipe up the centre to help watering, it dries out easily.

A cast-iron Pig that Flies. Every garden should have one of these - currently deciding where it will move to. Sourced several years ago from BAAG, my favourite nursery, in Bulleen in Melbourne.

A large, squat and cheap Strawberry Pot from Garden World, just the other day. Immediately treated with terracotta sealer, and for want of something at the minute, planted with a double-pink geranium and some Lobelia. But I am having second thoughts. I think I will put drainage pipe down the centre and it will grow six lettuces. I like squat ones like this, as they don't dry out as easily.

Four packs of glazed terracotta saucers from Berwick Pottery. We called in there the other day and found a pallet out the front with a sign "Free - Take as many as you like". Thanks, BP!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Garden Share Collective - August

A month or so ago I received an e-mail from Lizzie Moult at the Garden Share Collective, and I am so glad to now have time to look at it. And I am waving to all the others - hope to head off soon and subscribe to all your blogs, as they look full of inspiration.

Our veggie garden is basically three large raised beds in a back yard in Gippsland, Victoria. Where it has been cold and wet for the past few months, but this July is on record as the hottest overall since records began. Which is a bit of a worry, but good for gardening. We supplement it over summer with lots of tomatoes in pots, plus a few barrels. Finally, after waiting fifteen years (?)  I have a lemon and a lime in barrels.

This is how things looked in January, which is mainly a view of the pots. The main beds are over to the right. Behind the veggies, and to the left, are extensive plantings of natives, especially of Grevilleas, which the birds love. Our New Holland Honeyeaters are a delight. The other birds, which destroy the lettuces and snow peas, are not.

This is how the same area looks now - with an extensive crop of green manure ready to be dug in. I usually do that by just digging trenches and covering it - cutting it up with a shovel as I go is now beyond me. So that is my main job for the next month.
 This is the view from the other side. The green manure crop is immediately above the dragon (each bed has a guardian or two to scare away snails), and some has been trenched in in vacant areas in the front beds.

 I will probably lay some sheep manure in the trench as well - a friend's grandson has just starting selling it, and I get big, heavy, well-matured bags for $5 each. It is either that, or horse manure from the side of the road, that I put in garbage bins for three to six months, adding worms after the first month (to make sure any drenches have broken down). Did I mention the worms? Three big worm bins and my little three-layer one that also produce fertiliser. We fight over who gets the spoils from the worm bucket in the kitchen. I was going to do a bout of "composting in situ" (burying the contents of the bucket in trenches) this winter, but didn't get a chance.

Another job for the month is the snails. We have new neighbours, so I have had to warn them that I am not mad. The torch that she will see out in the back yard at night is me walking around with a bucket of hot, salted water, into which I drop the snails. The very damp nights are the best to catch them. I was doing it with a solar torch (to be as low-impact as possible), and it was wonderful - until the battery failed. The winter days do not seem to charge it up enough. But B next door is lining up as an avid veggie gardener (with a continental grandfather giving advice, so all looks good).

There is not a lot in there that is being harvested at the minute - just lots of parsley (I have the Italian flat-leaf growing wild), and carrots. Parsnips too. We tried a long, thin beetroot, but three times the seeds failed 50% germination. It was an impulse buy in a hardware store, normally we source all our seeds from Eden Seeds.

And we can always find some sort of onions - I grow Tree Onions continually, so when they are not full-blown onions, they are shallots. And the Leeks. Did I mention the Leeks? Just pulled most of them and froze Leek and Potato soup (no milk included), so I could get another spot to dig in some green manure. And there is always the Rocket - I have a wild one that just grows everywhere.

What is being planted? Not a lot at the minute, but I must find somewhere to get another row of carrots started. We're trying to decide what - I prefer a Chantenay, and we have some handy, but it says not until spring. So, when is spring? The blossom trees are coming into flower, so I reckon that is good enough.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Life is too short to grow White Geraniums

I've just been yanking out white geraniums. I bought a six-pack at Bunnings, of assorted colours. Result? One red, five white. 

This is shot of where I have been doing most of my gardening lately, down at my Mother's hostel. They moved her room, so I have to uproot her pots (literally speaking) from a courtyard to a verandah. Lots more people to enjoy them where they are now, and my verandah area is, uuummmm, spreading.

I'm growing on stock at home - has to be hardy! And bright. Not white. Just had a couple of pavers put in where a woman was just looking at a brick wall with pipes. She loves gardens.

Whole, new garden.

Back soon.