Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tip of The Day #4

If your plants look wilted in the sun, do not water them to make them feel better. Plants naturally release the moisture from their leaves to conserve water in the heat of the day, directing all moisture back into their roots. When the shade returns over them, they spring back to full health. Watering them in full sun will cause plants damage.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vintage JigSaw

Here's today fabulous distraction . . .
Click on the image below to play your online jigsaw.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tip of The Day #3

To kill weeds without chemicals, simply use boiling hot water. Straight from the kettle or left over cooking water from the saucepan, pour directly over the weeds. Watch them die over the next day or two. Saves you money and great for the environment.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Boosting Strawberries

Growing strawberries is usually very easy, whether they be in a pot or planted directly in the ground. But there are times when strawberries just don't seem to grow the way they should. Dry leaves, little or no fruit, just plain sick. 

Strawberries require plenty of water. Drip irrigation is well worth the time and effort. Try not to use overhead watering, but if you hose water, ensure that it is in the evening or very early morning to avoid sunburn on wet leaves. A fortnightly application of seaweed fertiliser (e.g. Seasol) improves the vigor of the plants. 

My Challenge

This year, I had one pot of strawberries that just lost its zest for life. So I started to research what strawberries really need, rather than just watering in more soluble fertilizer.

Strawberries like a slightly acidic soil with a  pH of 5.0 - 6.0.
Solution: Just add some Pine or Sheaok needles around the strawberries.

I tried a small handful of Sheoak pine needles gathered from our local playground and just watered over as usual.

My test pot was a complete success!
Bursting with flavorsome fruit and very healthy leaf growth.
I've never seen so many strawberries on this bush before.
Picking an average of 4 ripe strawberries per day. 

If you have tried the Pine or Sheoak Needle application on your strawberries, please let me know how it went and if you have had the same success.

Strawberry plant thriving with sheoak pine needles

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tip of The Day #2

How do you remember when to plant each plant?
The simple answer is that you can't remember everything, so we have Growing Guides to help us.
But I do have a little trick of my own . . . birthday association.
Choose a family member's or friend's birthday for each month of the year and remember them with a vegetable that you would sow in that month. Call me crazy, but it works!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Garlic Harvest

Summer is garlic harvest time.

The confusing thing about growing them, however, is that many magazines say that they are ready to harvest after flowering. In actual fact, I find that when the stem wilts, it's time. (The same can be true for potatoes.)

Check out these beauties from my veggie garden, harvested this week.

Garlic Tips
  • Garlic loves well rotted cow manure and lime.
  • The perfect garlic has a shade of purple.
  • Keep well watered and in a sunny position.
  • Excellent for growing in pots.
  • Don't be scared to use a lot of cloves of SLICED garlic in recipes, as they are a lot less pungent than the minced garlic (as commonly used in garlic bread).
  • Never buy a pure white garlic; they have been bleached
    (imported from poor sanitary conditions in such places as China or Mexico)
  • Buy in season for LOCALLY grown garlic at your Fruit 'n' Veg store.
  • YES, you CAN grow your own garlic from the Fruit 'n' Veg as long as it has the slight purple colouring. Organic is the best choice.
  • Remember to HANG your garlics to dry. Do not leave them on a surface to dry as their moisture tends to pool. Use their own stalks for tying together, or use natural twine.
  • Suitable for storing.

My December Garden

It's only early December but the garden is still Spring-lush, and full of summer salad potential!

My Adelaide garden been through such a tremendous transformation in one year, that it has been hard to believe that such a small spot behind a work shed could prosper so much. I'm feeling truly blessed.

You may notice a few of the planter beds are bare already. Harvests have been taking place.

Gone are the Spinach, Garlic, Spring Onions, Broad Beans, and the first round of Broccoli.

Our current ongoing harvest includes:
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Lettuces
  • Carrots
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Basil
And soon . . . the POTATOES.

The potatoes have been my biggest experiment this year with growing them in different planting situations. Direct in the ground, in a special planter bag or direct into a potting mix bag.

The potatoes in potting mix bags have struggled the most, mostly with yellowing leaves and lack of height. But I can wiggle my fingers down inside of each bag to feel how my potatoes are progressing in size, and all seems very healthy there.

Do you need to feed Potatoes during growing time?
Yes, and there are two ways you can do it. Using both methods is recommended but not too frequently.
  1. Lucerne as a mulch
  2. Thrive liquid soluble fertilizer

What's next for Summer?

We can look forward to:

  • Capsicums and chillies will begin to set and ripen
  • Cucumbers will multiply
  • Carrots will be harvested over time as needed
  • Broccoli harvest
  • Potato harvest
  • Large Tomato harvest
  • Pulling out old broad bean plants and digging the nitrogen back into the soil
  • Getting beds ready for new crops
  • Next round of planting

What to plant next? That is the question. Meanwhile, check out the progress of some of our garden produce . . .

Pink Pearl Cherry Tomatoes

Capsicums in flower

Burpless Cucumber in flower and setting

Chillies are setting

Teacher Comedy