Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekend colour for you - linking to Garden bloggers bloom day

I thought I would just share some pretty colour for you - have a great weekend.
Tibouchina



Bromeliead

Baby desert rose


I seem to be in time for Garden bloggers bloomday for a change so am linking to May Dreams gardens.  Check out the other blogs for more colour!  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cutting back overgrown plants and using my new fertilizers

I got two different types of organic fertilizer in the pack that I won, and decided over the weekend to add some to the rest of the garden.  I recently planted lots of seeds in the veggie patch and think it will be a good idea to wait until they grow up into seedlings before I add any fertilizer to them. The seeds themselves are their own little fertilizer packages for the first few weeks.
I did dig some fertilizer into the area where I planted the snow peas, after I removed the Rosella plants so will be able to compare the difference..

Firstly I cleared the paths and edgings of excess leaves. The beds around the lychee tree are layered with fallen leaves and leaves and branches that I have cut back while trimming plants.  I noticed that there is a white mould/fungus in some very shady, wet areas.  I hope this is mycellium which is what we want to build up in the rotting matter and not some nasty fungus.
I moved the rex begonias into one section - I think they look good en masse.  The maidenhair fern is looking sad, and doesn't seem to be putting out new shoots.  Do they need to be dug out, re-potted and all the old fronds cut away?  They supposedly like shade, but the part that is not putting out any new growth is at the back which would have been in deep shade.

I don't want to cut back the branches of the lychee tree because we could be getting fruit in a few months, and those lower branches are the only ones we can reach!  A lot of my plants really require a bit more sunlight to flower though. Fortunately the Anthirium just love the shade under the tree, and I think I now have more than twenty plants propagated from one gifted plant about five years ago!  My neighbour asked for some plants too, so it is the gift that keeps on giving.

 I moved most of the ground orchids into sunnier areas, out the front, and in the amaryllis bed.   Then I got out the loppers and hedge shears and went to town.  Hubby gets very nervous when I do that - he has a hard time believing that they will grow back thicker and better.  My favourite plant is flowering (well one of my favourites!)  the lipstick plant. Now that I have cut the geisha girl back the lipstick plant can be in the limelight, and maybe a bit more sunlight wont be too bad for it either.

I have removed most of the large heleconias out of the very back bed as they didn't flower because of the shade and were overcrowding the area.  I moved the white crepe myrtle there as that is year round, whereas the heleconias were dying back a bit in the winter.  The pink and red gingers can stay, and I took the opportunity of starting some more plant by the layering method. I will do a tutorial on this later.  The corner where the sexy pink ladies are is easier to see now too (as long as I continue to keep things trimmed!)

Everything got a sprinkle of the new fertilizer and a good watering in - with rainfall, which is rather nice  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I love growing from seed

I do have a thing for seeds .... Lately I have been picking the rosella, and then drying them.  To dry, I just lay them out on the windshield screen in the back of the car - as I travel around the sun shines in and dries them, it take three to four days.




I will be removing these bushes this weekend to make way for more seeds to be planted there, specifically snow pleas.



  I told my grandson that the tea I was drinking came from the rosella seeds he saved last year. (I thought he would have been more impressed! - I was!) This makes awesome tea.


I have made seed tape before,Here is the tutorial. and wondered if that would be a good option with something like silverbeet and beetroot seeds which do better if soaked overnight in a mild seaweed solution.  I have never had much success with either of those seeds, so thought I would give it a try.  I laid out two strips of toilet paper and then evenly spaced the seeds, and folded the paper over.  Then I kept them wet for two days.  Of course picking up wet toilet paper turned out to be a rather difficult thing to do!  The pieces that were just damp worked perfectly. Since planting them we have had lovely rain every day, so hope I see some action real soon.

The cucumbers planted in the edge of the asparagus bed are doing really well, sooo much better than the ones at the back of the adjacent bed.  They get more water but I did worry about all the seaweed I have been putting on the asparagus beds since that adds salt, but clearly the cucumbers dont mind that.  In fact I am going to pull out most of the asparagus - the purple one is the only one that ever did anything.  That way I have three beds - better for rotating crops like solanacea.

Isnt it just amazing what comes out of those tiny seeds?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Garden Share collective - wrapping up May and heading into June

Time to link up with the Garden Share Collective again    No, I haven't fallen off the end of the world, but the last time I posted was last months catchup, other than sharing my chickpea patty recipe..  Gosh, that is bad.  I said I needed some inspiration though, and just in the last week I have got it in buckets. I won second prize in a competition (I didn't want to win first prize - I already live here where the weekend getaway is lol!)   I am pretty excited and this is excellent timing!

2nd, 3rd and 4th prizes: Richgro Organic & Natural Gardening Pack (value $85).

Each pack contains:
  • 1 x Mega Booster Complete Organic Fertiliser
  • 1 x Mega Booster Vegetable and Herb Fertiliser
  • 1 x Charlie Carp Organic Liquid Fertiliser
  • 1 x Beat-A-Bug Naturally based Insect Spray  – 1 Litre Ready to Use
  • 1 x Beat-A-Bug Naturally based Insect – 1 Litre Concentrate
  • 1 x Beat-A-Weed Naturally based Weed Killer – 1 Litre Ready to Use
  I have lots of rosella to pick and dry for tea, but no time to stop and sit and enjoy a cuppa!    Busy, busy, busy.  once those rosella are harvested the plants will come out and snow peas will be planted in their place.

 The lovely flowers are just open for one day and by the time I got the camera out they had all started to furl up - you can see how the calyx has started to form - that is the part you dry for tea or make jam with.  I only just noticed the green ant peering over the edge of the flower once I posted this photo!
 The red papaya are getting bigger, yeah!
 these little round eggplant are super tasty and convenient.

I don't know what is attacking the purple ones - they seems to be curling up into a ball and then falling off.  Haha bugs - I have some beat-a-bug on the way just for you!


I have been loving this little spinach - most spinach just bolts in my climate, but this has been great.



 I popped in a few cucumber plants and they are all doing well, as are the two tropic tomatoes a friend gifted me.  Volunteer cherry tomato plants are popping up everywhere, and some of them will have to be moved to  more convenient locations.   

I reckon we might be picking some cucumbers this week already.



I decided that the long green beans had to go - what a dreadful job that was dragging them off the top of the barbados cherry and fighting green ants all the way.  These are still hanging off the trellis - so we might get a few more beans, but once the others start to bear then these will go. 



The Barbados cherry also got a good haircut.


 These are purple king beans with summer savory in front - I am not sure if that will grow here, but I had the seeds.....  I harvested a huge bunch of ginger out of this bed to make room for them.  That is all now cleaned and in the freezer.


 I just love it when I get excited about gardening again - life took over and I haven't been able to get out into the garden for ages.  I ordered some seed, and have planted some out into trays - others will go directly into the ground.




Planting: Purple king beans, cos lettuce, lemon cucumber, Pakchoi, Green and red salad bowl lettuce, snowpeas, nasturtium. Tomatoes. The seed collection also included free radish and daisy seeds :)  I love how their packing slip and envelope is brown recycled paper!

Harvesting: Rosella, long green beans, eggplant, herbs, ginger, spinach, baby rocket, leaf celery.  

To do: add manure and compost to the beds where I will be planting out my seedlings.  Water with tea from the worm castings and move the worm buckets.  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Curried Chickpea stacks

I entered a recipe into the Grains and Lentils competition and am now in the top picks. So exciting! Check it out http://www.glnc.org.au/recipecomp/tag/top-picks/





I just love cooking with chickpeas and found that these patties and the rice mix freeze very well so have been awesome for lunches.  I hope you like this recipe.

There is still time to enter if you are quick.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Garden Share collective May - better late than never!

Here we are already halfway through the month and still no veggie garden catchup.  Hubby sent me a photo of the veggie garden to show that he was watering as requested, so I thought since I have one photo I will be able to give you a run down of how things are going in my veggie patch.

It is most unusual for us not to have any rain, and I must admit that the garden has been struggling. I just never seem to find the time to water. Luckily the fact that I now have quite a bit of shade from the Barbados cherry the soil is not sitting in the hot sun and those shady areas seem to be doing just fine.   The long green beans are going crazy and have gone right over the top of the Barbados cherry.  There are lots of beans that I miss and then only notice once they are dry and wrinkly.  Oh well I now have plenty of seeds to share around!  They are pollinated by green ants which can cause a nasty bite, and so it is not always pleasant picking them and avoiding the ants.  I guess I can always pop a couple into a jug and make lemonade - that is a bush tucker trick in this area!
The okra has also taken off and I have three bushes producing although the very large one is winding down.  I will save the seeds of those as well as they were a great vegetable to have in the garden once they got themselves established.  I have English spinach in the shade and it is doing well - I love the little leaves in salads, and this looks like a great variety - it has not bolted.  Also rocket - still baby at the moment, but I am thinning the bed out so that some of the plants can get more established - I just scattered a whole bunch of seeds.  I did the same with the tatsoi but they all died :(.   Two different type of eggplant are still doing well in the wicking beds.  I have a couple of cucumber coming along and of course my volunteer tomato cropping up everywhere.  The rosella are starting to flower and the plants are now so big and overgrown I cant wait to harvest them so that I have a bit more room in the garden.  I will dry them all for tea, although I was thinking I might try preserving a few in syrup as they look so pretty in drinks.  You can buy tiny bottles of them for 10.00 so think I can make them much cheaper than that!
Once the rosella are harvested I will plant snow peas against that fence, so that should be perfect timing as they don't like the heat.  I also need to plant out some lettuces and might go with seedlings as the seeds are struggling without any rain.  Sorry I don't have more photos, but better late than never!  Thanks Lizzie for hosting the Garden Share Collective again and do check here for the rest of the lovely gardens that are featured this month.  I am too late to add my link this month.

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