Saturday, October 22, 2016

Camo Oakheart lettuce, new shed and more

It looks like we will finally get a week with little to no rain so I am taking advantage of it to make a start on my new seed drying shed.

It might shower tonight so I just took down the shelving and placed the relatively rain proof items outside. Tomorrow I will bring it all out. I put an ad on the local Facebook group to try and get someone to help move the heavy cupboards outside but so far no-one has replied.

The man who is doing the cement floor will be here sometime next week so I have to have everything out by tomorrow night, and hope it doesn't rain in the meantime.

They are still small but I am very pleased with my new 'Camo Oakheart' lettuce seedlings. They are beautiful with all sorts of colourations, much more beautiful in person than this shot shows.
I can't wait till they get bigger.

It is hard to find pictures of this variety from Wild Garden Seed so I will have to take my own, but it also great sense of anticipation.

 My seedling bearded iris are coming out now. I must do more hand pollinating this year. They are so much fun to grow from seed. It is a two year wait to see what you have but it is always a surprise.

At long last some of my poor garlic plants are starting to make scapes. Everything is so late this year with the cold, wet weather so I don't think I will be digging them until Christmas this year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Talbot market and arracacha propagation

With the cold and wet weather back again I was happy to escape to the markets over the weekend with my seed stall.

 The Talbot market is great and too busy to get around to take good pictures. Here is a photo from next to my stall. It was still early and the bare spots were filled soon after this pic was taken.
I love this market.

Luckily we had a great day and the rain didn't start till we had all packed up.

With the wet weather rotting most of my root crops I feel lucky that four arracacha plants survived.
I tested out their toughness by leaving two outside in the ground all winter and two in my hot house.

The ones outside lost all their leaves and look very poorly but they did survive. The ones inside grew well but did get attacked by spider mites that can quickly kill these plants.

I got busy yesterday dividing my plants to build up stock.

You can see how the tops grow from these first two pics. All you need to do is break off or cut the short stems off. Each one will regrow when potted on.

 Cut off the leaves and lay out the pieces to dry for a day before potting up.

Don't worry, they are quite tough and a few days of drying will not hurt them.

Before you plant them you should cut a cross in the base. This is supposed to make each cutting grow more roots.

 Keep only lightly moist till you see new leaves and then give them a bit of fertiliser and a bit more water.

This is what leaves look like when they are attacked by spider mites. They get discoloured, yellowish or greyish spots covering them.

You must inspect your arracacha regularly as spider mites can kill this plant in a week or less.

If you ever want great growing guides for any of the Andean vegetables pop over to the website:

Bill does a wonderful job of explaining how to grow all these plants.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Broad beans and oca planting

Although we have had a couple of very light frosts last night and the night before I just can't wait any longer and have started putting my tomatoes and related plants in trays. It is late this spring but with the weather I am not going to take chances on sowing too early. If you sow when the weather is right then the later plants generally catch up with the others.

 My broad beans all have pods on now, a bit later than usual because of the weather but that is ok.

My red flowered broad beans are really late and the pods are only just setting. At least I will get some harvest off them - I was getting worried.

I lost a couple of varieties to the wet but most pulled through and are producing enough seed to replant next year.

Even with the awful wet we had I have had hardly any fungal problems with the broad beans this year. A few of the red flowered broad beans are just showing some chocolate spot now.
I don't use controls on fungal diseases on my broad beans as I only want the toughest and most resistant to survive. It has really made a difference in the red flowered ones especially as when I started growing them they would succumb to every disease and now they are hardly affected.

I have started planting out my oca seedlings from the past two years. I am sure this will be a good year for assessing them.
I had a couple of shaded rows ready for them but it was infested with a hard-to-kill running grass that made it hell last year and I can't wait until it shoots again (to respray it) to put oca there so I will shift the row covers to the new beds before it gets hot in a month or so.

I am looking forward to getting a good crop of many colours of oca next winter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Time to get back into regular blogging

Ok, so the weather has fined up a bit and although everything is still a bit boggy I can at least walk on the blocks so I have started planting the melons and pumpkins. I have also started planting out a few more fruit trees.
Unfortunately with the bad weather so far it looks like most people are not going to get any fruit of their trees and no fruit has set. The parrots are going to go hungry this year, lol.

I have been putting a heap of capsicums, eggplants and similar seeds in trays and they will be coming up shortly. After tonights frost I will start getting the oca and other tuber crops out in the beds also.

Last weekend I had a stall at the Horsham Spring Festival. I only took half the money I did last year which was very disappointing.
The weather was fine but there were less stalls and fewer people came through the gate than last year. I hope it improves next time.

Here is a pic of the part where I was set up and you can see how bare it was.

I enjoyed myself anyway though I spent too much on junk food like always.

My mothers 70th birthday was the day before the Horsham Festival.
I made her this chocolate cake and invited a few of her childhood friends to come out to the pub for lunch. It was great.

It is not a long post but I will be out working all day for the next couple of weeks on the blocks so I will take a heap of photos and start blogging again every few days.
There are heaps of things to write about now that work is starting.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The rain is almost over *whew*

Sorry about my lack of posts but I still can't do anything, this forced idleness is killing me. The rain still hasn't stopped but it looks like it is almost at an end according to the forecasts. Everything is still a bog and I won't be able to plant much for a couple more weeks.

I have lost all my jojoba and caper bushes amongst other trees and shrubs from waterlogging.

 Just to pretty things up here are a couple of pictures of one of our 'Pinwheel' cyclamens among a heap of others on our back table. The flowers are all splayed out rather than upright like other cyclamen.

We have been growing these from seed for a number of years but it was only when I got in touch with the cyclamen society I found that it must be a mutation as no-one had heard of this flower form. I think I will have to do some hand pollinating to get more colours as we only have a couple of shades of pink.
Maybe at some point I can sell seeds of them when I get a few more colours.

Monday, September 26, 2016

More water woes

With everything still a bog and not a lot I can do there is still not much I can write about. We are predicted to have another heap of rain this week so there won't be any improvement for a few weeks. I really hope the rain ends soon.

I will have to delay my spring planting as it is way to wet to plant any seeds but I have a few melons and pumpkins, as well as some pots of oca and ulluco that really need to go in soon. Well, I will put them out in a couple of weeks and hope for the best.

I have bought a couple of big bales of pea straw and started putting it out on the oca and ulluco beds. Oca does so much better under mulch so I hope I get a good harvest this season.

The coming rain this week should settle the straw well so it will be ready to plant into when things dry out a bit.

My poor garlic is strugging under a mat of grass and weeds but I can't weed it because it is too boggy. Not only can't I walk on the ground but when I try to weed I pull up the garlic plants with the weeds.
Luckily garlic is pretty flood tolerant except that when it is too wet it tends to go 'hairy'. The cloves start to grow before the mother plant is ready to harvest and the leaves all grow out of the main stem.

At least I should still have enough bulbs to plant for next season.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

It's so wet I can't get on my blocks

Although I am thankful for the unusual amount of rain we have had this month - breaking the drought and filling the dams and soil, it is still a bit trying as I am so impatient to get my spring planting done but it is just too wet. It will be very delayed as I predict that the soil won't be firm enough to do anything with for at least a couple of weeks of sunny weather.
The soil is such a bog that I can't even step on it to do any digging or weeding, and our town and the next had flooding in their lower parts. Many shops and houses were flooded but luckily for me I live on a hill.

Many of the crops I had in the ground for seed have rotted but these purple asparagus are bravely doing their thing. At least it is nice to see some life in the ground. The green asparagus are also starting to show themselves.

I find the purple asparagus tastier than the green but I will continue to grow both.

My pots of oca tubers from last years seedlings are sprouting strongly and I wish I could get them in the ground but they will just have to wait.

At least these are a bit better going in late in that they don't seem to suffer as much stem rot later in the season when they are put in later.

I have a few trays of seedlings germinating but at least it will be another month till they will be ready, no hurry there.

These are some mixed colour lettuce seedlings. I have not grown lettuce for a few years but I am keen to try them again.

I have a few new colours of ulluco to try, and they are also wanting to get in the ground.

This year I am going to try mulching some of them, though they did fine with no mulch last year. I am a bit worried that the slugs and snails will get at them if mulched, but I won't know if I don't try.

I am looking forward to being able to offer quite a few colours in a couple of years.