Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How To Pollinate Dragon Fruit

Our one and only Dragon Fruit is growing really well. But having never seen any flowers on it I was wondering how it would ever develop fruit.

I'm glad I came across this Dragon Fruit pollination video on YouTube, as it could also mean that I may need another 'tree' as a pollinator. Fingers-crossed that our 'tree' is a self-pollinator. I can't wait for the first flower.

Did you know that the best time to hand-pollinate a Dragon Fruit is between 10pm and 11pm?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The 3 Principles of Gardening

Glut and famine can be found in a most vegetable gardens; some things grow rather too well while others get eaten by cabbage moth caterpillars, go straight to seed or suffer disease and produce very little for the amount of water and fertilizer spent on it. Suddenly the time and money spent becomes a real weight as to whether its worthwhile continuing a garden. So a solution is needed.

My veggie garden is undergoing a very quiet time this season as I am reassessing what I should REALLY plant.

I found that I can grow some plants very easily so I need to reduce those plantings and stagger their plantings. But I also discovered that it was cheaper to buy some veggies rather than to attempt to plant them and fight their disease, water and fertilizer issues. Its a matter of balance.

Having looked at my soil in the planter boxes and ground level garden beds, I want to get the mix right. I brought in some organic loamy soil by the trailer full to refresh the ground level garden beds, followed by a planting of rocket to fight the nematodes in other parts of the garden.

I currently have test crops in to see how well the loamy soil performs, such as the Broad Beans, Curly Kale, Garlic, and heirloom Chard.

As comparison, I have planted some other crops in the older soil to see if they will perform equally. Then I can make a really informed soil choice. I'm sure it will all be worth the test and measure for the longevity of my garden and its productivity.

Here's the basic principle every gardener should use when planning a garden...

3 Principles of Gardening
  1. Shelf Life - Whatever stores well
  2. Availability - What you don't normally see in the shops
  3. Price - What is too expensive to buy

Shelf Life

Root vegetables, pumpkins and anything you like to jam, dry, preserve or freeze.
Note: Potatoes cannot be frozen

'How fast will you eat what you grow?' is a good guide, too.


Broad Beans and many other bean varieties are usually very rare amongst the shops in a fresh form, that is because they really need to be eaten at harvest time.

If it is hard to get your favourite fruit and vegetables in your area then they are the ones you should grow.

Stone fruit and tomatoes have much more flavour when picked from your own garden and allowed to ripen in a cool dark place in your house. They far exceed what you can buy from the shop when it comes to flavour and smell. So even though that are readily available, the smell and flavour may not be there, that is why they fall into the Availability category.


Avocado prices can be extraordinarily high at times, so growing your own may work out to be much more affordable.

Dollar to kilogram ratio ($/Kg), herbs are by far the most expensive. They store well when dried so they also fall into the Shelf Life category.

Follow these 3 principles of gardening and you will find you have a more balanced way of gardening that is sustainable and rewarding.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fresh Eggs Daily Book Release

As you might well know, I'm an avid suburban chicken owner, plucked from the farm but with a total love for rearing my own animals still. The move also shifted how I do things on a smaller scale. So when I needed some handy advice I discovered Lisa Steele's blog called Fresh Eggs Daily .

Lisa has thrown herself into learning everything she could about raising happy healthy chickens. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, I really encourage you to do so.

This month Lisa has now released her very first book, all those handy hints from her website and so much more, all in one handy volume.

Fresh Eggs Daily now available on:

Book Depository (PayPal accepted)

Friday, October 4, 2013

How to stake and tie tomato plants

Mark Hutton from the University of Maine provides some great tips on how to stake and tie tomato plants and explains how to remove the suckers to make a stronger plant.