Friday, November 29, 2013

Garden Share Collective report for December

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.

So here is the post for the start of December in my Gippsland (Victoria) suburban garden. You can see my post from last month HERE

There is a sort of mini-post HERE about a new herb pot (I think it will be the thyme collection), the chillies and bling in the garden.

The month has been a little more dry, but we are still looking for a bit of warmth to get things going. The month has ended again with rain.

This is a sort of in-between time - not much is actually coming out of the garden, only Tree Onions as shallots, and lots of Lettuce 

Not quite ready
Garlic - no results yet for the plant-off to decide the best time to plant.

Cukes (there are flowers)
Zukes (here also be flowers)
Onions (four sorts)
First lemons and limes (very excited)
Beans (climbers are slower than butter beans)

Tommies - bit worried they are flowering a bit early and low down, so won't get the large bushes with the big crops. Ditto the cappies.

Watching out for swooping Wattle Birds. They are a bit less aggressive now that junior is out of his nest in the tree on the nature strip.  


Above: The extension to the garden in the worm bins. From left: Broad Beans, Zucchinis and Butternut Pumpkins.

Nasturtiums here and there. I think they have doubled in size over the last 24 hours in one bed, but not the other. I like them for colour, and an occasional nibble in salads.
Onions, next lot of tommies (Mighty Red and a single San Mrizo [sp?]), a single Orange Bell Capsicum and a single Caysun Pepper 
  Above: Tommies going up the fence, with cukes beside them.

In the seed trays
Chillies up, cappies not yet

Parsnips. Tried germinating these on wet paper toweling, then transferred them to small deep planters. Don't think they will be deep enough - I usually don't plant any root veggies like parsnips, beetroot and carrots anywhere other than where they are going to grow. About to try parsnips in toilet roll inners. And maybe a small line where I direct seed but fill the trench with potting mix to try to deal with weed seedlings.

Trying to decide
What follows the garlic
What to put in five large pots (Late edit: Seven large pots)
What punnet of lettuce goes in next.

Leeks have bolted and been pulled
Direct-sewn parsnips failed to come up - probably too cold.
Mixed Basil failed to thrive - too cold.

Meanwhile, the Bird Wars continue. The cage above is the latest version, with two different ends to trial. It was put up to allow the tomatoes and some onions to get a start, but has to come off now so I can prune the tomatoes.

The cloche below is our latest idea. Some time ago a neighbour left a guinea pig cage of the nature strip for all-comers, so we grabbed it. We have now cut up the concrete reinforcing, and made two strips hinged with wire loops - four of them. We use a little bit of wire netting to cover the ends, and they are the best and quickest to put up yet.

Plans for the month 
Watch, Water and Weed. And prune tommies and empty all containers of water regularly as the mozzies have started breeding.

Looking for seeds
Majestic Red carrots. There I was, waiting at the doctor's, and found a 2012 copy of Gardening Australia, where there was a carrot plant-off. My Chantenay red-cored came in about second, but it was the Yates Majestic Red that won. So I thought I would try them. Cannot find them anywhere, and online all Yates do is refer you to where their seeds are stocked (and half the time they are not). Tried a "real" nursery - they can't help, as Yates just arrive and stock them with whatever they want to.

So if anyone sees Yates Majestic Red carrots around, I would really like to know. (Late note - I found them at Garden World!)

Seeds available
Parsnip Hollow Crown, best before December 2014 (Commercial source)
Detroit Beetroot, best before October 2014 (Commercial source)
Chillies - 10 years old, but they do germinate! Possibly Birdseye.

Happy to post from Victoria to other members of the Collective, if you think they are clear of legal issues for your state.

And, as always, Milly sends her regards.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Really Good Day

Today has been a really good day.

 This iris, above, which is one of my favourites, has finally flowered. The photograph does not do justice to the intensity of its colour.


This flower has materialised in the veggie garden. Sometimes a girl needs a little bit of bling. Although I am not sure it is in the correct position yet.

This pot, which I had seen at half price in a local nursery, also appeared. I love it - largest strawberry pot I have seen, and I really like the "pre-aged look". Now I have to clean it inside and seal it.

The purple Californian Poppy has flowered - not really what I would call purple, more a dusky pink, but still beautiful. These are really easy to save seeds from, so I really hope it come true to colour. This plant was a $2 bargain from BAAG.

It is hard to pick a favourite for today, but this is up there with everything else. The chillies have come up! I think I grew these about ten years ago, and decided it was time to throw out this very dusty group of them I still had hanging around. So I grabbed some seeds out of one, threw them in a pot. And waited. And waited. And waited.

I was about to throw them out - it has been more than a month. Then, all of a sudden, this morning they seem to have all come up together. They won't fruit in time to make a Christmas wreath, but they are back in the garden.

Does anyone from the Garden Share Collective want some seeds? Happy to post them, as long as you are sure I can post them to you from Victoria.

And I am off to write up the post for the Veggie garden at the start of December. It always takes a few days.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Spotto! and Free Seeds

These were both spotted on 1 November, but I haven't had a chance to blog them yet:

First cherry tomatoes, above, growing in one of the pots along the fence.

Next - first flowers on the Crimson Silky Oak (which is a seedling from an earlier tree). I know when we saw them first, two years ago, it was on Christmas Day. So these are quite early.

And they are a long way up. Can you see them at top middle?


If any member of the Garden Share Collective is reading - I have oodles and oodles of spare Beetroot seed (Detroit) and Parsnip (Hollow Crown), best before October and December 2014, respectively. I am not saying who, but the Engineer in this garden did not realise how many seeds made up 20gm when he ordered. Drop me a line, on kapana [at] I am happy to post.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

November 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. The records we create are building up really well, and I am learning heaps from others.

So here is the post for the start of November in my Gippsland (Victoria) suburban garden. You can see my post from last month HERE.

 This was the veggie garden yesterday. With the eight foot high broad beans.
 This is the view looking back the other way.

Firstly, we have again had a little bit more rain than I would have liked. Whenever the moat around the raised beds dried out, it rained again. There has not really been enough sun to get the cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkins moving along. A couple of times there has even been unseasonal snow in the hills.

November is one of the busiest months in the garden. I am wrapt as I have had 99.99% success with the seedlings - only one lettuce lost. The secret is that I cut up heaps of drink bottles to make individual guards, which were held in place with skewers. The only problem with them was that on hot days they trapped the heat, and that is how I lost one lettuce. I've also been keeping big vats of water spread around the garden, to dip a little bit of water (with added worm juice) frequently onto them. I don't like hoses or large watering cans when they are small. We used to use a jam tin with holes punched in the bottom with nails to make a sort of sieve to water carrot and other small seedlings.

We have previously used pvc pipe for this, but the birds just sat on the edges and used that as a perch to eat the lettuces. They can't do that with the drink bottles - too thin. But the pvc was cooler.

We have also been out working hard on the weeds around the garden beds - my beloved is absolute murder with a flame thrower. We are nearly there, and almost look respectable.


Last of the Broad Beans
Snow peas finished during the month and pulled out

Planted in October:

Parsley seedlings
Radish seeds
Tree onion bulbs (not the right time, but I grow them all the time as shallots, and these are sprouting)
Broad Beans (Aquadulce) (seeds) in a planter bag of compost along the fence. 
Zucchini (Black Jack)
Mixed capsicums (seedlings)(Big Bertha, Cherry Pick, Golden Bell)
Mixed lettuce (seedlings)
Mixed Basil (seedlings)
Tomato seedlings (Roma and Grosse Lisse)
Carrots (seeds) Chantenay Red-Cored
Parsnips (seeds) Hollow Crown

This is where the next Broad Beans, Zucchini and Butternut Pumpkins are - in worm bins or bags along the fence. Looking down on the pumpkins in a worm bin (below), you can see a little inverted pot. As we start the bin, with put slotted drainage pipe down the centre, with a tomato stake in the middle, and a "cap" over the top so it doesn't get filled when we throw stuff in. We use it them get water into the centre, and allow air in.

Plans for the month:

Dig over the broad beans bed and get it plated with tomatoes.

Get the three lots of seedling onions in

Stake the tomato seedlings, and build a semi-permanent bird net over them. Prune tomatoes as required. Weed.


Red Bunching Onions (seedlings)
Red Spring Onions (seedlings)
Spring onions (seedlings)
Beetroot (seeds)

More tomatoes - not sure what next, but any spare capacity at this time of year goes to tommies. This is cup weekend in Victoria, when it is often traditional to get them in. Except we are hoping some seedlings might come in the corner where the Redorta were last year. It is impossible to get seeds this year, and we didn't save any.

And this is the view of the Broad Beans Bed this morning. We had a barbie last night, and cut them off low and have cut most up for green manure. I can see the whole veggie garden again.