Sunday, 28 August 2011

Fortnightly update: 26:08:2011

"Small Hail" the weatherman said!!!

Weather highlights
The weather had been cold and miserable for the first week (13-19 August) so nothing was sown, potted on or planted out!

We did get 21mm of rain and even a quick downpour of Hail!!!

Last weekend it brightened up and we were outside working in the garden!!!
The end of the rain brought warm, sunny days but frosty mornings, not severe frosts but enough to put ice on the cars.

Beetroot Chioggia (Candy Stripe Beet) Beta vulgaris from Eden Seeds
Carrot Daucas carota:
  • Amsterdam Forcing (orange) from The Lost Seed
  • Lobbericher (golden yellow) From Southern Harvest Seeds
  • Lubyana (yellow) from The Lost Seed
  • St Valery (orange) from The Lost Seed
Chamomile German (Sweet False Chamomile) Matricaria chamomilla from New Gippsland Seeds
Savory Summer Satureja hortensis from New Gippsland Seeds
Savory Winter Satureja montana from New Gippsland Seeds
Zaatar Origanum syriaca from Green Harvest

Some flowers for companion planting:
Alyssum Carpet of Snow Lobularia maritima from DT Brown
Alyssum Royal Carpet Lobularia maritima from DT Brown
Cosmos Purity Cosmos bipinnatus from Mr Fothergill's Seeds
Salvia Blaze of Fire Salvia splendens from Mr Fothergill's Seeds
Zinnia Lilliput Zinnia elegans from DT Brown

Some Natives:
Black Coral Pea Kennedia nigricans from Southern Harvest Seeds
Sticky Hop Bush Dodonaea viscosa from Southern Harvest Seeds

Potting on/up:
Celery American Stringless (purchased seedlings)
Leeks Bulgarian Giant
Leeks Elephant
Lettuce Gloria
Silverbeet Green
Silverbeet Rainbow Mixed
Raspberry Smooth from New Gippsland Seeds

Double White Marguerite Daisy Argyranthemum frutescens
False Balm of Gilead Cedronella triphylla
Grape Ruby Red
Grape Thompson Seedless

Free from the garden:
Alyssum volunteers
Calendula seeds to spread around

Osteospermum volunteers,
it's always a surprise to see what colour they end up

Planting out:
Cabbage Early Jersey Wakefield
Cauliflower Mini
Celery American Stringless
Kale Red Bor
Lettuces - Goldrush, Drunken Woman, Red Coral
Purple Mizuna
A couple of each went into a new Tank Wicking Bed
Potato Cranberry Red Home 2 large ones saved from last years crop
These were cut and two pieces went into each of 3 large Wicking Pots

The carrots have been planted into an old bathtub. The bed was made by filling the lower section with rocks and leafy weeds. It was then topped up with clean sandy soil. Dripper lines have been attached and the carrots sown. I hope the earwigs will leave the carrot seedlings alone this year!!

Two small tank Wicking Beds are now in place near the Cob Oven. One has been filled with compost, coir, some good garden soil and the lower tray of the worm farm which included a number of worms! Planted up with Brassicas, Celery, Coriander and Lettuces, mulched, then covered with a net curtain until a proper net cover can be attached.

I'll catch up with the Harvest Tally and Egg totals in the end of the month wrap up during the week.

Edited 28 Aug 11 because some seeds disappeared off the screen... redfaceredfaceredface

Thursday, 25 August 2011

September Gardening Australia Magazine

The September issue of the Gardening Australia Magazine heralds the beginning of Spring in Australia!

This issue is jam packed with Spring Gardening Tips, Ideas (350+ of them) and jobs to keep us all busy.

There is a great Vegetable Growing guide from Jerry Colbey-Williams. Even though Jerry now lives in sub-tropical Brisbane he has worked in colder climates (UK) so knows how to garden in all climates.

Maggie Beer has a special on growing Oranges and of course there are a couple of her recipes including an interesting Grilled Orange Asparagus and Witlof Salad, sounds yummy!!

I am pleased to see this magazine now includes quite a selection of practical articles on food growing and great photos of pests and beneficial insect each month. This month's article from Sophie Thomson on the Portuguese Millipede was a helpful read as these pests are increasing in numbers in my garden (and house) and are rivalling European Earwigs as my number one enemy lately!!

There is a step-by-step from Millie Ross on building her version of a Wicking Bed. It's useful to see a different way of doing things but I think I'll stick with my way as it has worked well for me for four years now and I like including worms in my systems!

Check out the Gardening Australia website Here

Or if you are into it, their Facebook page Here

Thanks to the people at Morey Media, who do the PR for Gardening Australia, for sending me a freebie copy of this latest magazine so that I could review it here for you.

Monday, 15 August 2011


Looks like it might be a bad year for earwigs. As I turn rocks in the garden there are masses of tiny earwigs hatching already. eekeekeek

Earwigs have what is known as an incomplete metamorphosis. They have three life cycle stages. Egg, nymph and adult. In this group of insects the young look similar to but smaller than the adults.

These are the European Earwig (Forficula auricularia ) you can see in this photo that the babies are almost tiny versions of their parents...

there I zoomed in for a better look!

I have begun collecting earwigs for the chooks already but I always check which ones I'm catching!

This handsome fellow is an Australian Brown Earwig (Labidura truncata) which is actually a very good guy to have around the garden! I rescue any of these before giving the bucket to the chooks!!! I am seeing quite a few of these fellows this year too! mrgreen

They are known to eat soft-bodies caterpillars, the main one in my garden is the larvae of the codling moth which attacks the fruit of my Apple and Pear trees.

I have seen quite a number of these out in the orchard where they are protected, from the chooks, by large rocks!

If I were to set out traps of oil to catch earwigs, as is often suggested, I could be guilty of murdering these helpful creatures...and that is not something I intend to do! razzwink

More about Earwigs Here

Friday, 12 August 2011

Friday Update: 12:08:2011

Plum blossom...
...seems to be early but maybe not!

Weather highlights:
The cold snap arrived on Saturday with the overnight temps dropping to 2C and for the rest of the week day temperatures didn't go much above 14C. It was quite windy and rained too! Brrrr! It was back to winter! 15mm of rain this week.

Into spaces vacated by the rapidly germinating Cucumbers, Basil and Melons (Yah!) I have managed to squeeze in some more seeds.
Luffa Luffa aegyptica from The Lost Seed
Gourds Large Mix from Eden Seeds
Tomatoes Black Cherry from Home saved seeds

Potting on/up:
Tomato Stor Gul
Tomato Big Rainbow
Tomatoes Moneymaker

Freebies from the garden:
Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis (division)
Borage Borago officinalis seedlings

Planting out:
Borage seedlings

Carrot seedlings emerging in the loorolls

I first read about this on on Peggy's blog Organic Growing Pains when she mentioned Terry Walton** starting carrots in bottomless peat pots, so thought I'd try with loo rolls. I have since found this article by Linda Woodrow on sowing them in paper pots. I found that link via Jason's Blog Zucchini Island so it looks like a way to get the carrots a) germinating and b) past that crucial stage when the earwigs attack!!! I have started some carrots and they are just emerging. I ll see how they go once the roots hit the bottom of the roll. That will be the time to get them out in the garden.

I'm glad the Melons have germinated as fast as they have, I'm intending to grow some of them on trellises this year and have been encouraged by this post on Tend. Growing melon up off the ground should help with any mildew problems as it increases airflow around the plants. I intend to grow some up the Tomato frame we built into bed 6 last year.

The early fruit blossom isn't the only sign
that spring is just around the corner... shoots from the winter dormant Valerian

and Lemon Balm, some of which I have divided up
for new plantings around the garden

and the Ladybirds are on the move!!

Weekly Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making.
The highlight this week has been the Verona Purple Savoy Cabbages that had begun to loosen to bolt to seed!! Argh! but they are still delicious.
Cabbage Verona Purple Savoy 2514g
Celery American Stringless/Pink/Celeriac leaves 680g
Lemons 565g made into some marmalade for Doc

21 From the 5 Farmyard Ferals
3 From the 3 Barnevelders (only one is laying)
20 From the 5 Faverolles

To see how the various Garden areas fit on our half acre block check out the newest Map of our place HERE

*Terry Walton is a long time allotment grower from Wales. He is a popular broadcaster and garden writer in the UK.
See Terry Walton's Allotment updates Here

Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday Update: 06:08:2011

With sunny days this week the bees have been out
among the Almond Blossom!

Temperatures rose to 24C+ this week. With this the wind picked up and by Wednesday it was trying hard to rain. Thursday night saw 8mm of rain fall.

This week saw Greens planting dates from the Thomas Zimmer Moon Planting Chart...I noted that at the bottom of the chart it says that some seeds can be sown on either Green or Fruit days these include Cucumber, Melons, Leeks, Shallots and annual Flowers.

The following went into the heated propagation frame, replacing the recently vacated tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums that have germinated well enough that some have ventured out into their first "pot on pots" in the hot house!
Arnica Arnica chamissonis subsp. foliosa - Phoenix Seeds
Basil Large Italian Sweet Ocimum basilicum - The Lost Seed
Basil Mrs Burns Lemon Ocimum basilicum/americanum - The Lost Seed
Basil Purple Ocimum basilicum cv purpurascens - Phoenix Seeds
Basil Sweet Genovase Ocimum basilicum - DT Brown
Basil Thai Ocimum basilicum - Home saved seed
Cucumber Bushy Cucumis sativus - The Lost Seed
Cucumber Green Gem Cucumis sativus - Eden Seeds
Cucumber Suyo Long Cucumis sativus - The Lost Seed
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum - Eden Seeds
Honeydew Melon Early Hanover Cucumis melo - The Lost Seed
Honeydew Melon Tigger Cucumis melo - The Lost Seed
Korean Mint Agastache rugosa - Eden Seeds
Marigold Crackerjack Tagetes erecta - DT Brown
Mexican Hyssop Agastache mexicana 'Sangria' - Southern Harvest Seeds
Purslane Portulaca oleracea - Home Saved Seed
Rockmelon Hearts Of Gold Cucumis melo - Eden Seeds
Watermelon Golden Midget Citrullus lanatus - Diggers
Watermelon Sweet Siberian Citrullus lanatus - The Lost Seed

The following were sown into punnets, put into a styrofoam fruit box and wrapped in plastic outside as they are not as frost sensitive (well mostly)
Black Cumin Nigella sativa - The Lost Seed
Chives Allium schoenoprasum - DT Brown
Coriander Coriandrum sativum - Mr Fothergill's Organic Seeds
Leek Allium ampeloprasum King Richard - Diggers Seeds
Marigold Tagetes patula Oranges and Lemons - Grower's Pride
Parcel Apium graveolens var. Secalinum - Home Saved Seeds
Queen Anne's Lace Ammi majus - Cornucopia Seeds
Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor - Home Saved Seeds
Silverbeet Beta vulgaris Rainbow Mixed - 4 Seasons Seeds
Valerian Valerian officinalis - Eden Seeds

Into a cell/seed tray went Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus
A mixture of colours and forms from the seed box!
Pink/Candy Stripe from some home saved and from Mr Fothergill's seeds, Seashell Mix from 4 Seasons Seeds, Sensations Mixed from DT Brown, Yellow home saved seeds and a Mixture of home saved seeds.

Also into a cell tray went some of Green Harvest's Clucker Tucker™ seed mix that came with the Kit I bought. This mix contains some unusual seeds to plant for chicken forage!! It will be interesting to see how some of these seeds grow here, maybe they will outgrow some of my weeds!! I am starting these in a seed tray so I will know what the seedlings will look like.

Potting on/up:
Tomatoes: Big Rainbow, Pineapple, Grosse Lisse
Root cuttings and rhizomes from Green Harvest these will be grown in wicking tubs/boxes or large pots around the garden this year. There is some Ginger Zingiber officinale too but that can stay inside for a while until things warm up a bit.

Chinese Artichokes Stachys affinis syn S. leboldii, S. tubifera
Chinese Keys or Krachai Boesenbergia rotunda syn B. pandurata

Comfrey Symphytum officinale
Queensland Arrowroot
Canna edulis syn C.esculenta C. achiras C. rubricaulis

These last two from their Clucker Tucker™ Kit.

Free from the garden:
Greek Oregano Origanum vulgare hirtum (by division)
Lemon Catnip Nepeta cataria spp. citriodora (by division)

Planting out:

Peas Dwarf Onward
Lemon Catnip Nepeta cataria spp. citriodora
Parcel Apium graveolens var. Secalinum
Into the Kitchen Garden Pathside Edge Bed which had become choked with Greek Oregano and Mint. These have now been removed and I hope this will once again become a useful picking bed.

With almost spring weather the garden has come alive... won't last though the temperature
is set to drop for the weekend!!

Weekly Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making. The highlight this week continues to be the Celery which is providing a handful of leafy stalks for our morning juice!!
Celery American Stringless 470g
Celery Pink 150g
Radish French Breakfast 50g
Silverbeet 180g

12 From the 5 Farmyard Ferals
3 From the 3 Barnevelders
8 From the 5 Faverolles

To see how the various Garden areas fit on our half acre block check out the newest Map of our place HERE

Monday, 1 August 2011

Scarecrow's Garden Journal Notes: July 2011

Freebie of the month!!!
Doc managed to grab a couple of huge bales
of clean straw for the garden.
They had been rotting out in the paddocks
and many more are going up to the Community Garden.

The chooks are happy!

Temperatures this month:
Lowest Min -4.9C
Highest Min 8.6C
Lowest Max 8.2C
Highest Max 20C
45mm Rain

Weather Highlights:

This Verona Purple Savoy Cabbage didn't mind the nearly -5C frost!

The month began with quite warm temperatures but a rainy change in the weather put a quick end to that! Over the next three weeks the daytime temperature hardly rose above 12C with quite a few chilly mornings below zero! In fact the cold weather had our state in the weather news!!!
See Here and Here
The month ended with almost spring weather! Except for the -2C frost!!!
Light rainfall and drizzly, damp mornings kept the rain gauge ticking over slowly.

Rain comparison with other years:
2011 45 mm
2010 28.5 mm
2009 35 mm
2008 26 mm
2007 16.5 mm

Lettuce Lactuca sativa
Black Seeded Simpson - The Lost Seed
Crispmint - Diggers Seeds
Drunken Woman - The Lost Seed
Gloria - Select Organic
Red Coral - Eden Seeds

Broccoli Brassica oleracea Nutri Bud - The Lost Seed
Cabbage Brassica oleracea Red Express - Southern Harvest Seeds
Cabbage Brassica oleracea Early Jersey Wakefield - The Lost Seed
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea Mini - Diggers Seeds
Kale Brassica oleracea Lacinato - The Lost Seed
Kale Brassica oleracea var acephala Red Bor F1 - Diggers Seeds

Leeks Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
Bulgarian Giant - The Lost Seed
Elephant - Diggers

Carrots Daucas carota var. sativa
Lunar White - New Gippsland Seeds (white)
St Valery - The Lost Seed (orange)
Lobbericher - Southern Harvest (golden yellow)
Purple Dragon - Home saved seeds (purple)

Clover Trifolium pratense var sativum Red - Phoenix Seeds
Coriander Coriandrum sativum - Mr Fothergill's Organic Seeds
Peas Dwarf Pisum sativum Onward - DT Brown (germinated in hot house)
Phacelia tanacetifolia - Phoenix Seeds info link
Silverbeet Beta vulgaris Green Silver - Organic DT Brown
Willow Herb Epilobium parviflorum - Eden Seeds info link

Very early sowing of Spring Seeds into the heated propagation frame housed in the caravan See descriptions Here

Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum
Big Rainbow - Diggers
Black Russian -The Lost Seed
Grosse Lisse - Eden Seeds
Ida Gold - Home saved
Kotlas - The Lost Seed
Money Maker - The Lost Seed
Pineapple - The Lost Seed
Stor Gul - The Lost Seed

Eggplant Solanum melongena
Casper - Eden seeds
Long Purple - Diggers

Capsicum Capsicum annuum
California Wonder - New Gippsland Seeds
Hungarian Yellow Wax - Eden seeds

Beans Runner Phaseolus coccineus
Scarlet Emperor - The Lost Seed
Sunset Runner - Diggers

Cossack Pineapple Physalis pruinosa - Phoenix Seeds

Potting up/on:
Broccoli Nutri Bud
Cabbage Early Jersey Wakefield
Cabbage Red Express
Cauliflower Mini
Kale Lacinato
Kale Red Bor
Goldrush, Red Coral, Drunken Woman, Black Seeded Simpson, Crispmint
Miner's Lettuce
Purple Mizuna
Silverbeet Rainbow Mixed
Early Black Wattle Acacia decurrens
Tomatoes Black Russian, Ida Gold
Beans Scarlet Emperor, Sunset Runner
Sage Grandfather (cuttings)
Native Thyme Ocimum tenuiflorum see Here

Planting out:
African Bush Daisy Euryops chrysanthemoides (from cuttings) at the Community Garden
Almond Tree seedling that had grown too close to a cherry tree was transplanted into the chook run
Jostaberry Ribes nidigrolaria (from cuttings) into the perennial bed
Potatoes Solanum tuberosum - The Lost Seed into Bed 1 Main Vegetable Garden
Rhubarb Rheum rhaponticum crown Great Victoria
Taupata or Mirror Bush Coprosma repens (from cuttings) into the chook run

Seedlings planted out:
Broad Beans Crimson Flowering into Kitchen Garden Wicking Bed 1
Miner's Lettuce in the old chook run
Red Clover in the old chook run

Cuttings/Division: freebies from the garden!
Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum
Black Currant Ribes nigrum
Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
Evening Primrose Oenothera speciosa
Fig Tree cuttings from prunings
Garlic Chives Allium tuberosum
Jerusalem Artichokes - dug and replanted around the chook runs
NZ Spinach Tetragonia tetragonioides
Prostrate Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus
Sage Grandfather Salivia apiana
Rock Rose Pink Cistus incanus

Around the Garden :

New Pumpkin Bed in the Old Chook Run area. Based on a Hugelkultur design but a lot like a compost bed with wood underneath. I've used Tagasaste and Acacia wood (from storm fallen trees) that was already beginning to rot. The theory is that this wood holds a lot of moisture and slowly releases it to the plants growing in the bed. I intend to grow some Trombone (Gramma) and let them sprawl over the area. More info on Hugelkultur Here

While I was weeding and clearing the Old Chook Run area
I dug up a few Sweet Potatoes!

Busy sowing lots of seeds, potting up seedlings
and even planting a few
with more going in up at the community garden.

The new straw meant mulching, mulching and more mulching.
The soil is still a bit cold for mulching
but in my climate now is the best time to mulch
to retain the soil moisture.

Harvest Tally:
Doesn't include Greens fed to the chooks on a daily basis or herbs picked for use in the kitchen for cooking or tea making. This month this has included Drunken Woman, Crispmint and Miners Lettuce, Parsley, Parcel, Gotu Kola, Shallot Greens, Coriander and Endive. Lots of Dandelions, Thistles, Winter Grasses, Kale and a few bolting Lettuces, Endive for the chooks.

Apples Golden Delicious 4800g
Apples Jonathon 2300g
Celery American Stringless 3080g
Celery Pink 50g
Pea Snow Roi de Carouby 55g
Radish French Breakfast 88g
Silverbeet Rainbow Mixed 170g
Spinach Bloomsdale Long Standing 175g
Sweet Potatoes 1382g

60 From the 5 Farmyard Ferals
7 From the 3 Barnevelders
34 From the 5 Faverolles who have been hiding their eggs in bushes/straw!!!

The Favorelles love the straw so much
they are laying in it (everywhere but in the nest box!!)

July of Previous Years:

To see how the various Garden areas fit on our half acre block check out the newest Map of our place HERE

For links to the Seed Suppliers go here


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