Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't the weeds ever stop *frustrated*

All I seem to be doing lately is weeding but as soon as I turn around they are back. When I scowl at them they just laugh.

I dug up a copuple of yacon plants to see how they were doing. I was a bit disappointed in the size of the tubers this year, but I didn't fertilise them so that is a lesson learned. I love yacon. It is sweet and crunchy and a wonderful addition to a salad.

Here are my rat-tailed radishes. They are not growing as fast as I had hoped because of the cold mornings but I can't wait to try the pods in a month or so.
As you can see - I need to WEED some more *sigh*.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Damn, I'm getting so forgetful

I meant to take some pictures for this blog today but forgot. I got some special seeds for breeding in the mail so I planted a couple of packets of them - genetically diverse siberian kales and leeks, and also planted some 'Green Wave' mustard which got a good review in Carol Depps book on breeding vegetable varieties at home. The other packets will wait till spring.
I didn't do much else because it drizzled most of the day and my back has been hurting.

I dug a couple more bed and am nearly ready to start on my third block so I will try and catch up with the owner in the next few days.

I dug over a bed of carrots that I was having trouble with - the ones that did not grow properly. I think the problem must have been because they were planted in the middle of summer and the heat got them, as the soil is fine. I put some onions in their place.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hamilton market and rain

Nothing has been happening much since my last post. It has been cold and a bit wet which has slowed my work down to a stop.

I went to the Hamilton Farmers Market this morning. I didn't have a lot - a lot less than I thought I would have this month, but I practically sold out of what I had adn got a lot of interest in the produce I will be bringing in the next few months. I am really happy with the way I have been going at this market.
Even with the cold weather there was a good flow through of customers, and I got the spot next to the wood heater - BARGAIN, lol.

I now have a couple of beds that I can resow now. I will put some peas or broad beans in to build up the nitrogen before planting new stuff in the spring.

Will take some new pictures for you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not much happening today

After a good bit of digging and planting a couple of beds on Sunday I have not done a lot since. I did a bit of weeding before my sister came over for a visit yesterday but today was a bit drizzly so I just did a quick inspection and came back inside into the warm.

Everything is moving along well and I am happy with most of the progress. I should have enough to pad out my market stall on Saturday. Luckily I have an inside stall as it is supposed to be wet by the forcast.

I think I might have a few days rest before I start putting in more seeds for June.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Waiting for people and not getting anything done - sigh.

I spent all today waiting for someone to come and pick up a bed we don't want any more. At last she messaged and said she forgot but will come around tomorrow. I really hope she does as the weeds won't wait.
I did manage to get out and water the germinating seeds and some seedlings I transplanted yesterday but I will have to pull my finger out tomorrow. I have some more transplanting to do as well as mowing the lawn and weeding, of course. I also have to get three beds ready for planting. I think I will put in some cauliflower and toy choy but I am not sure what I will put in the third - maybe soem transplants so I don't have to throw them out.

It is only a week till the next Hamilton market. Many of my carrots are mis-shapen and unsellable so I won't have as much to sell as I hoped. I have to do a better job with separating my seeding plants next time as I let too many cross. I have separated my new beds of carrots to avoid this problem come spring.
I will have to remember to start the chickpea sprouts on wednesday so they will be ready.

Friday, May 18, 2012

On hold and brownies

Since the government is insisting that everyone with a business go online to access all business services now I decided to finely get my Auskey so I can do my licences and stuff online. There was a bit of a problem so I had to ring the number provided to get it fixed up.

Well... I rung the number and the machine put me on hold, saying that the queue was only 6 minutes. After the 6 minutes was up and I was still on hold I decided to see if I could make a cake in the time it took them to answer.

I decided on bacon and chocolate brownies from Nigella Lawsons recipe. It took nearly an hour for the operator to answer, with only two minutes till the brownies were cooked. I wish they would spend more of our taxes on more operators. At least she was Austalian with no accent so I could understand her.

The bacon brownies were great. I thought they were very yummy but my mother didn't like them as much. I had to use Nuttella instead of chocolate pieces though. I don't think it needed the bacon as it was so chocolatty that you can't taste it. Very fattening, but worth every bite.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting, waiting, for my Red Russian kale

My first bed of Red Russian (really I prefer their other name - Ragged jack) is growing well now after a slow start. I think they should be ready to give me their first leaves next market at the end of June.

They don't look very big here, and they aren't, but they are starting to get going. Ragged Jack is supposed to be the best tasting kale and is mild - I can't wait to try it myself.

One plant that has really put on growth is the rocket - arugula in the US. I thought I would hate the taste as I don't like strong flavoured things but rocket has an interesting mustardy taste that I can handle in small doses. I will have a few bunches to sell at the market.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gettin' those snails and other pesky critters

I have been getting sick of tiny snails eating my wong bok so I went out and got a few of these snail traps. You can bait them with beer or leaves and salty water. My neighbour had some old home-made stout that didn't turn out so he let me have some of that to bait the traps with. I did a bit of both and baited with the brew as well as a few leaves.
The great thing about these traps is that they are rain proof. More expensive than plain saucers but better.

Well, they didn't seem to do any good on the snails but they did well in attracting and killing the millipeded that have been causing havok with my seedlings and also a couple of European wasps which I am happy about.

European wasps are vorocious preditors and kill all insects, good and bad, within 500m of their nests so I want to get as many of them as I can, especially as they are so bad this year.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Digging and more digging

I took my camera out while I did some digging of new beds today. I only have a small spade so it is hard work, especially when trying to get rid of the couch grass is considered.

First I dig the outside of the bed and into squares so it is easier to remove the grass. You can see in this pic how I do this - at the start, and after removing the grass and shaking out the soil from the roots.

Now I cover the soil with a rotted mix of straw and sheep manure. Then sprinkle it with some soil wetter and a little artificial fertiliser. Then it is ready to be planted into. if I am planting seeds I don't use as much manure mix as this. When I have harvested my first crop or two off each bed they will be going into legume cover crops to build up nitrogen. Eventually I will not need artificial fertilisers at all with the cover crops, manures and some blood and bone.

This is how block D is looking at he moment. I am about ready to start on my next 1/4 acre block. A pile of straw/manure mix is in the middle.

As you can see, the beds are small, 3m x 1m so I can grow as many different varieties as possible. When I get a bigger piece of land I will make bigger beds.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Purple Peacock Broccoli, yay

I finely got a couple of packets of seeds from America that I had been waiting on - Purple peacock broccoli and White Russian kale.

The Purple peacock looks fantastic when it is growing, the leaves are purple, pink, white and green. Apparantly it is not a high producer of broccoli but you can eat the leaves as well. The kale is a white veined version of red Russian (Ragged Jack). I don't know why I bought that but if it grows and tastes like the red version it will be worth it. They are both very cold hardy and will stand water saturated soil.

We have had some sun and some rain over the past three days so everything is growing well. I am feeling good about what I will have ready for the market at the end of the month.

I bought a new set of scales of ebay, these are mechanical ones. My digital ones are too small and I am always worried that the batteries will die at the market. I love these new ones, the face/dial is green.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm exhausted and pepinos

With a couple of days of non-stop digging and weeding, I have to go to my other part-time job tomorrow to have a rest, lol. Got some seeds today but I will have to wait until spring to put them in.

 I did plant some more snow peas. I am putting a few beds into snow peas for a few reasons:
  • Most people like them and they are too expensive in the shops. My CSA shareholders will love them I think.
  • They make a reasonable weed supressing mat (mostly because I am too lazy to stake them)
  • They add nitrogen to the soil so I don't have to add any artificial fertiliser to the next crop in those beds.
My pepinos are starting to ripen now but I am getting a few bugs in them, especially soldier beetles and slugs. I picked 5 today. They ripen very slowly but I should have a few for the next market. I will post a picture or two tomorrow.

Pepinos can be delicious raw but they are so unreliable in taste that I prefer to cook them. Cooking really makes them beautiful. I had one stewed with my ice-cream for dessert tonight. Absolutely delicious, yum.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Asparagus and more

After deciding not to do asparagus for the CSA I spent yesterday diging a new bed for them. I really don't like them as a crop because, like corn, they just don't give me the bang for the buck that I need to make money on a tiny bit of land. They only produce for a few weeks a year and use up space that could be turning over a number of crops.

Anyway... I ended up turning over a bit of waste area for them that I had nothing else in. They had better be worth it, lol.

Today I planted beds of white cauliflower, wong bok and romanesco broccoli. Tomorrow I think I will dig a couple more beds and put in some more snow peas and red bok choy.

The cold weather has really slowed down germination. Most things are taking 2-3 weeks to germinate now rather than the one week in the warmer weather.

I printed a heap of fliers for the CSA program. Time is getting on and I need to get the word out as it is only 3 weeks till I wanted to start the winter CSA season. If I don't get the subscribers I am not too worried as the market will be a good sales point.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pulled the peanuts today

My couple of  peanut plants were starting to rot with all the moisture around then (because i threw a heap of carrot seed in with them when I was sorting it) so I decided to pull them up. They had a lot of nuts under them in all stages of ripening. I will sit them on the bench for a few days to harden before I eat them. I think I will plant them next year because they seemed to do well.

My yacon is also showing signs of starting to die off because of the cold. They did no good out in the sun so I think I will plant them in shade next year. I tried full sun as an experiment but they really love shade.

I will still get enough growing tips to grow next year and a few tubers to eat, but not nearly as much as I should have got. I love yacon and I will put in a heap next year for my CSA boxes. They will be ready to pull in a month or so.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Garlic is all up but not much else happening

I didn't get much done today with the weather drizzling after work. I did notice that at last all the garlic is up. I have in: Purple monaro (hard neck), Australian white (soft neck) and Elephant garlic. I won't have much to sell though this year as I have to build up stock first.

With the hours of the days getting so short, there is little time to do everything I want but I suppose it is a good way to have a rest.

I think I said in an earlier post that I had my eye on another block for growing. I spoke to the owner and she is happy to rent it to me just for the water costs and fresh veg. She doesn't have to mow it so we both win. I will take it over in a month or so I think. I still have to finish digging the beds on D block before I start on more.