Saturday, September 29, 2012

Good news and bad

Took my produce to the Hamilton Farmers Market again today and sold out before 10am again. Not too surprising since I didn't have a lot but it was good just the same. I loved the way people were quick to try and buy my more unusual stuff. I took rat-tail radish pods and celtuce and had some tastings of them. They were quickly bought up.

If this goes on I will have to have an assistant to help with the selling. it is really hard to keep up when customers five deep are all trying to hand you money so they don't miss out on what they want. In a few months when my beds are really producing it will be hectic at the market.

Now the bad news... while I was at the market we got some strong wind here, as we do in spring, but it totally destroyed the poor polyhouse that was already feeling a bit worse for wear. It was not really surprising but I wish it had held on a couple of weeks longer. Oh well, time to get a new plastic skin.

I hope we don't get any frosts from now on (a bit optimistic I know) or I might lose all the tender seedlings I have in there. I have a couple of naranjilla seedlings that have been trying to die on me for months. I have been coaxing them along but a bit of cold might push them over.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Early ladybirds

I have noticed over the last couple of days that there are ladybirds on some of my veggies. They are weeks ahead of schedule. Usually they come well after the aphids start decimating the shoots of the plants but aphids are only just appearing now.
I don't know if this is a good or bad omen. Anyway, I love seeing them in the garden and I will enjoy them as long as they stay around.

Went to the Casterton Garden Club meeting today. We had our meeting and then walked around a couple of local gardens. Everyones gardens are looking so good at the moment, better than my weed infested blocks, lol.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pooh, do I stink

Well, the man who supplies my sheep poo can't get in to load it up as it is too wet so I bought some bags of chook poo instead. I've been spreading out on some just dug beds and boy, does it (and me) stink. Must be good stuff, lol.

In other news, I have put in all my tomato, eggplant and pepper seeds, I just couldn't control my impatience any longer. I just have to pray that our poor, ripped polyhouse lasts a few more weeks. The days are getting warmer now so I will be getting my melons and pumpkins in soon too.

I was looking carefully around the blocks today and noticed that the kale is bolting so I am not going to have much at all for the market next week. I think I will have to take some plants and my gourds.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spring weather and exhaustion

With the beautiful weather I was up and out early at 7am to start digging beds and weeding. Now I have about 7 beds ready but not many seeds to put in. It is another 2 weeks till the last of the heavy frosts but we usually get a couple of light ones in october. I am itching to get in my tomatoes, melons and pumpkins. I dug a heap of holes for them and filled them with old rotted manure to start.

I keep flicking through my seed packets, just waiting to get them in. I have so many types of everything for this season that my CSA and market customers will be amazed.

Lucky it is the end of the cold weather as the polyhouse plastic is on its last legs, it is torn in so many places. I will get new plastic in a few months to replace it. I am disappointed at the quality of this lot as it has split at all the seams.

A couple of days ago I harvested my first celtuce. I have never grown it before. I ate some raw and cooked some just to see if it was worth keeping as a crop and putting more in. It was a lot less bitter than I had come to believe and had quite a pleasant taste, especially raw, with just a hint of bitterness but not overpowering. This says a lot to someone like me who hates anything bitter. I think I will continue to put some in, even if it is just to have something different to sell.
I wouldn't say it is worth it in time to reward ratio because it is a nuisance to prepare but it is interesting.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Another day another job

Got a heap of potting done today - potted up some seedling hardy kiwifruits, collected some water ribbon plants and sowed some rhubarb seeds. Not a huge amount of work but I am tired today for some reason. I think I just need to have a day off.

I have a heap of self sown 'Brighton Rock' snapdragons coming up so I will have a great show during the summer. These snap dragons are an old variety with pretty spotted and striped flowers. I think I will put some in punnets to sell. I think they are marvelous.

Picked a heap of rat-tail radish pods for yesterdays veggie boxes and to cook tonight.

I just steamed them and stirred some butter in but I think they would be better stir-fried. I picked them all small but the ends of the tails were still a bit fibrous. I think they need to be tailed before cooking. I might try to breed a variety that doesn't have this problem perhaps. I find them fascinating.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's in the veggie box this week

The weather has been fine so I have been getting a lot of work done. Heaps of weeding and some seed sowing, and a bit of repotting as well. I am feeling good.

Got some native food plant seeds in the mail so I have sown them in trays. I am already impatient for them to come up. Planted some flower seeds too for colour and to attract bees - it is going to look very interesting with all the flowers among the veg.

In the veggie boxes going out tomorrow there is not as much as I had hoped because a lot of plants have bolted to seed and I am busy digging them up to put in new crops but here is what you will get:

Doz free range eggs from my sisters well-loved hens
Punnet of rat-tail radish pods - first of the season
Red onions
Cauliflower - last of the season
Mini red cabbage
Punnet of snow peas
Carrots - yes, more carrots, hope you are not getting sick of them, I will give a couple of recipes.
Bag of beet greens

I have noticed an explosion of worms where I have been laying down sheep poo mixed with straw. It is great. I hoped that the heavy doses of Round-up I had to spray to get the couch under control would not harm the worms but it seems as though my fears were unfounded. Most of the blocks grass is hand controllable now so I can stop spraying and just do everything by hand. Very happy about that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meets, greets and good work

Had a great day today. I went to a sort of forum thing in Merino where we got lots of ideas for getting food growing ideas into the community. The henty garden club is going to discuss getting a community produce swap going once a month which will be exciting.

That took up most of my working day but when I got home I found a couple packets of heirloom tomato seeds and my newest copy of the Heirloom Gardener magazine in the post. Had to flick through that before I got to work in the gardens, of course. It has some fantastic stuff and recipes on squash/pumpkins, and heirloom dahlias this quarter, as well as other stuff.

The day was sunny and warm so I got all the empty raised beds in the polyhouse topped up to put in our early cucumbers and tomatoes. Great work done but I am a bit stiff now from all the wheelbarrowing of dirt. Too late to do anything else though.

Yeah, I know - I will try to remember to take my camera out tomorrow and get some pics for the blog. I have to go out now before it gets dark and cover some plants up because we are supposed to get a frost tonight.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Miserable weather

After another couple of days of rain and cold my poor plants are looking terribel. Many of them have been sitting in a swamp for weeks and they are starting to rot. The rat-tails have blown over (but luckily I think they will keep on bearing), the carrots are rotting, and the rocket is dying. I am really looking forward to a bit of dry weather now, sigh.

I should have enough snow peas and rat-tails to give as a treat for the veggie boxes which will give my customers a bit of a rest from the carrots and napini they must be getting sick of now. I will also be able to give them a bit of celery (the only plant loving all the wet) and silverbeet. most of everything has bolted to seed with the couple of nice days we had a while ago.

Been busy planting seeds in trays, taking cuttings and dividing mints to sell through the nursery website. My bank ballance is in trouble again with my Ebay buying, can't help it - maybe I should join Ebay Anonymous, lol. Ahhh, spring.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh, what a beautiful day

Spring has sprung and everything is waking up. Buds are burstung, flowers are flowering and the sun is shining. What more could you ask for.

I am getting ready for all the work that will need doing over the next few months and the sunny day today get me out and working all day. I weeded, dug, planted, weeded, sowed seeds, weeded some more and came in a few times for a cuppa.

I am exhausted but happy with the amount of work I got done today. Pity we are in for rain for the next three days. Got a couple of metres of potting mix delivered and have started potting up already.

I love gardening when it is like this.