Thursday, October 31, 2013

What is Happening Here?

Strange goings-on in the garden? What is happening here? Why is the cast-iron flying pig in for a swim?

It really is simple. When you find two pots of thyme have become the homes of thriving ant colonies, the best way to deal with them is immerse the plants in water (minus the pots) for 24 hours.

Cast iron flying pigs have these lovely little trotters that grasp and hold the plants below the surface.

Every garden should have some. Or rocks.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

An Iris for Today

Today's beautiful iris.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What IS my Potting Bench?

I love Flickr groups - one of my favourites is Just Sheds. And, as you may have discovered, I love my potting bench. There is a group on Flickr just for Potting Benches.

 I have added the one above over there, with notes.


And this is the view from the other side - really wish I had moved that brush before I took the photo.

It is rarely this clear, but the wind has been so bad that I had to take most things off it. So you can clearly see the marble slab, which is the main working area. It is an old wash-stand top that my Mother used for pastry-making in the kitchen. Good pastry had to be made on marble.

My dream is to have a proper potting shed, with a quirky potting bench, based on the marble slab. With plenty of wood painted in primary colours. And found objects.

One day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What the Camera Sees

I took this quick snap the other day, and was really surprised when I downloaded it. On my screen there is a beautiful electric blue that I can't see in real life.

This pot is really orchids, with a volunteer Viola. I have been doing some pot plant gardening down at Mum's hostel, and the gardener has taken to giving me unwanted pots to rescue and put out on the verandahs. This is one of them. Well, a quarter of one of them. I don't think it had been divided for about 25 years.

Next season it is going to make a lot more pots, with a small pinkish-purpleish orchid going everywhere.

Planted in the Veggie Garden today:

Parsley seedlings
Radish seeds
Tree onion bulbs (not the right time, but I grow them all the time as shallots, and these are sproutng)
Broad Beans (Aquadulce) in a planter bag of compost along the fence. 

No much today, as I was working away.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What's on the Potting Bench? No. 4

When I finally sold my last garden (and the house), I took cuttings of some special roses, without a lot of luck. One was General Gallieni, given to me as a cutting by a venerable gardener. So, when my cutting failed, I went back to see her - 94 years old and still gardening. And she had also lost hers.

On Friday I went to Kurinda Rose Nursery near Warragul (sorry, no website), and they had it. So I have two, one for me, and one for Flo.

The General is an 1899 tea rose, said to be the first named after a man. Before that, the practice was, if you wished to curry favour, you named a rose after a man's wife - Madame Alfred Carriere is another favourite, but I haven't found a space yet for it here.

Anyway, apparently the General was a single man, so the rose was named for him. And a stunning rose it is - to see them in a vase is one of the most beautiful sights there is.

So - planting today: Six capsicum seedlings in three colours (from BAAG), carrot (Chantenay Red-Cored) and Parsnip (Hollow Crown) seeds. Was about to do more, when the rain was back. Both of those seeds are the varieties my father grew, so that makes a choice easier. They have been around for a while, and if they were reliable for him, they should work for me.

There's a bit of a break in the rain - I have a punnet of four different basils to go out in the citrus barrels.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Today's results

Today we have:

Filled a planter bag and planted two Zucchini (Black Jack), and potted the other two in case we lose one/two. Planter bag just filled with any rubbish in the bottom, then a lot of compost from the adjacent worm bin, with spent potting mix on top. Mulched with sugarcane mulch. When the Zukes are finished, we will just use the whole bag as compost.

The Zucchini are on the left, in the bag, and there are pumpkins in the bin on the right, planted straight into the bin

Started another bag, similar, for Broad Beans. These are Aquadulce, which are plant late Summer through Winter to Spring. Pinch tops out when flowers first appear (thanks Eden Seeds). The other ones were Early Long Pod, where were sow Autumn to late Winter.

Pruned the Grevillea "Moonlight" - which is on the way out, as it has developed a lean over the path in the last wind. Pruned the Grevillea petraphylloides - cut back hard so we can walk along paths, and maybe so it will throw the long flower canes again. Which the New Holland Holland Honeyeaters love. But might be too late for this year.

 Grevillea "Moonlight", before pruning and all over the paths.

After pruning, but looking from the other way - just a little mop-top now, 
to the right of the Waratah.

And then we weeded, and weeded, and weeded.

Might go and do some more weeding tomorrow.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What's on the Potting Bench? Mark 3

Yep, dat's it, the dog x goat loves anything with height - Milly is often to be found sitting on the potting bench. Or taking a flying run up on the seat and table onto the bench at one end, along the bench and down via the bench stool at the other end.

At least, if she is there, she is not on a garden bed.

 Lovely trip to Melbourne today, with a quick visit to BAAG - our favourite nursery in Melbourne (although Kuranga, the native nursery, is a close second).

Got a few things, the most exciting being a purple Californian Poppy, marked down to $2. Hopefully it will seed and come true to seed.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Another Bird Net Structure

This is for Kyrstie, who commented on another post about the netting. I like this even more - Do two ridges, each along one side of the bed, and hang netting from one side to the other.

Anchor down with half bricks. If you don't have half-bricks, consider a packet of cheap tent pegs.

The tomatoes are going under this, which will do until the semi-permanent cage is built for them.

Stand by - Beloved (who has a few engineering genes) is still talking 2 x 4 treated pine. I am talking plastic stakes and string. I like plastic stakes and string.

Really Weird Clouds

Really weird clouds out there today, all across the sky, all across the Valley. They looked like clouds in a very big hurry.

And in half an hour, they were gone.

Late Note: These are, I find, Cirrus unicus clouds, meaning rain is coming. It sure did. Lots more pics on Google.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

First Iris of Spring

 The first Iris is out for Spring in the front garden - a sort of icy white with the slightest overtones of blue. One of my favourites, and really vigorous.

 Meanwhile, in the back garden, Gargs, the Guardian of Bed 1 contemplates the carrots, and tries to ignore that he is surrounded by a swamp with water two inches deep all around him.


Saturday, October 05, 2013

October in the Veggie Garden


It is that time of month again, when gardeners across the country, and across the world, report on their activities, as part of the Garden Share Collective. This is kindly hosted by Liz at Strayed from the Table. 

You can see my post from last month HERE.

Until today, not a lot has happened in the garden. Apart from the Broad Beans (see below!). It has been too wet to do much at all, the drainage in the back corner has failed, and even today I can only walk around the beds wearing gumboots, in about two inches of water. And it continues to be very windy.

 So I dug out the cheap arch, and installed it to bridge between Bed 1, at the back, which is mostly out of sight and cooking the green manure, and Bed 2, in the front, where today the climbing beans went in on one side. This gives me extra growing space by going up in the world. I have had to put sections of poly pipe around the beans to try to protect them from the strong wind today. And the birds.

 Then, I put two rows of sweet corn across the back of bed one, with one of my instant cloches. I am using them a lot - lash two lots of two bamboo canes, stick them in the ground, put a long, plastic tomato stake between them, and bird netting over it. Weigh down with bricks, and birds frustrated until the corn is big enough to survive on its own. Milly was assisting.

A week or so ago I got the first cherry tomatoes into the pots on the right, and today put cucumbers in the ones on the left - again with polypipe to deter birds and abate the wind. If seedlings get set back by wind at this time it takes them a while to bounce back. The other four cucumbers will go on the other side of the arch between beds one and two. The front two pots are oregano and rosemary.

So, what is happening in Bed 3? It is those giant Broad Beans.

 Honestly, I don't know why I have been caught again. When you add the height of the beds, the tops of the beans are eight feet off the ground, and I have to harvest them with a step ladder. This photo, mind you, is after I took to them fairly aggressively with the secateurs and thinned them out a fair bit (and treated the thinnings as green manure - into pots and beds). Nothing else survives in the bed with them, as they are sucking out all the moisture. Yes, I know there are dwarf varieties, but I like these. Except next year they are going in a planter bag on the fence line! But in the meantime, think I will chop the tops off. I cannot get them up there, and it will reduce the lever-action in the wind.

 Elsewhere in Bed 2, we are having a plant-off. I reckon I read somewhere that garlic should be planted in March, and my Beloved swore they are like other onions, and planted on the shortest day of the year. So I put the row in on the left in March, and the one on the right on the shortest day, in June. I have to admit, the June ones are fast catching up to the March ones.

So here are the formalities:

Now Planting: Tomatoes. (two varieties of cherry in, other two passed across side fence to another gardener). Roma and Grosse Lisse go in tomorrow, if the weather stays nice.

Sweet Corn, Apple Cucumbers, Lebanese Cucumbers, Climbing Beans (cannot even get a name for them, from Bunnings), Butternut Pumpkin.

Planted earlier - Leeks, Cos Lettuce (with a lot of self-seeding lettuce coming up)

At the end of the month the Capsicums and Basil go in, although I have tried letting the basil go to seed last year and just throwing it all around the garden - I noticed a few seedlings around last year. None up yet. Italian Flat-leaf parsley is coming up all by itself.

Now Harvesting: Carrots, Snow Peas, Broad Beans, Tree Onions as shallots, Parsnips, Beetroot (that long one - don't like it, but it is fighting with the Broad Beans).

Plans for the month? Plant carrots. Maybe some Radishes. Invent a new cage to keep the birds off the tomatoes. Stay tuned.

What's on the Potting Bench? 2

Oh Dear - the wind was a bit much for Elliott, Guardian of the Back Garden.

But he can be repaired. This has happened before, when he was an indoor dragon. He got a bit close when he was taking a peek out the window, and forgot about the sliding door over there to the right.