Thursday, January 31, 2013

A bit of rain - no need to water *whew*

As I am typing this I can hear the glorious sound of rain on the roof. It is wonderful and I won't have to water the seedling beds this afternoon. Maybe it will rain enough that I won't have to water till after the weekend - wishful thinking .

I am going away for the weekend to the Colac Heritage Festival to help with the working donkey display so it really puts my mind at rest to have this bit of rain.I love helping out there but it is such a worry with the vegetables at this time of year.

Picked some Cavaillon Espagnol melons and Golden midget watermelons this morning, and this afternoon my first Zatta melon should be ready to pick. I have been looking forward to that one.

Golden Midget watermelon. These watermelon are pretty seedy like all the small types but tastes ok. I love the way it turns yellow when it is ripe so you know when to pick it.

The cavaillon Espagnol melons are sweet and have creamy,soft flesh. They are not my favourite melons but they are still pretty yummy.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm really enjoying the reprieve

It is so good to finally get a little cooler weather, it has been around 25 or less degrees for the past two days and the next few. It gives me the will to get out and do some work.
Here is one of my sunflowers I planted this year. After seeing the one that my sister had come up in her garden I got to wondering why I hadn't thought of growing some to attract bees, and because they look so good.
I didn't really look after my packet of mixed colour sunflower seeds so only a few grew. This is the biggest and the finished flowers have lots of seeds in them. The bees love it so I will definitely be planting more next year, maybe between the rows of melons to give them some shade.

I had this strange looking melon come up in the garden from seeds that were dropped last year. I only grew one long, thin melon last year, Banana, so I think it is a cross between a Turkish melon and Banana. It will be interesting to see what it will be like when it is ripe.

I love volunteers of any vegetables, even if they are crosses they are usually good growers and don't take any looking after. I usually let every volunteer tomato grow where it may, every fruit is one I can sell at the market and I don't have to go through the bother of watering, germinating and planting.

I have to go away to the Colac Heritage festival to help with the donkey display next weekend. I'm so glad that it is still supposed to be cool and I won't have to worry about the veggies. I love going each year but it is a worry at this time of year with the heat.

Friday, January 25, 2013

MMMmmmelons coming out my ears

Picked a wheelbarrow full of melons this morning. Some will be going out in my veggie boxes this afternoon and the watermelons will be stored in the garage to sell later. I have a few hand pollinated ones to save seeds from. Whew, even mum is complaining about all the melon she has to eat to keep the fridge manageable - and it is still only the start of picking.

The ugly yellow one at the front is Prescott Fond Blanc. It is delicious even if it does look like a pumpkin on the outside.
Unfortunately I planted all my green fleshed melons on P block where none are doing well due to me not getting rid of the running grass well enough. I love green fleshed melons, they taste so much better. next year I will plan that better.

With the cooler weather for the next week I will be working very hard to get everything back on track. I have already been out harvesting carrot seed, weeding and sowing seed. I will dig a few more beds tomorrow for the autumn/winter vegetables.

I am going to put in a few rows of native vegetables to trial them. First is yam daisy, muntries, pigface and also, when the seed is ripe enough to pick, kurrajong. I love kurrajong root. Most people only know it as street trees but you can grow them like carrots and eat the sweet roots at 5 months.

This is only a seedling kurrajong and it was in a pot which is why the root is bent. The roots are delicious, all you do is peel and eat or cook. I have some other native foods in and will evealuate them as they are ready to eat.
Here are some native muntries berries that I picked a week ago. They are delicious and I have half a dozen plants in the ground. If they grow well they should fruit next year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looks like no achocha this year

The achocha, like the Mexican sour gherkins will not open their male flowers so I don't think I will be getting any fruit off them this year, pity as I was really looking forward to them :(

I think they are so slow to take off that the heat beet them before they could set fruit. That is a problem with many members of the melon and pumpkin family here. I have to grow them as early as possible so they are setting fruit before Christmas or the heat stops them in their tracks.

I have started doing a couple of video reviews of my melons as I pick them but I will have to do something about he light. My slow connection and the cheap webcam really won't do the job properly. I will loom into it.

See, I'm really getting into technology :)  It takes me a while to work these things out.

Well, I had better have something to eat and go and do some watering.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New photos and melons galore

I have decided to put a bit more effort into my melon photos, well all my produce photos really. I am a bit ashamed of mine after reading Amy Goldmans books so I have decided that I might not be able to do as well, but they will be interesting nontheless.

Here are a couple of melons I picked yesterday - Noir de carmes from France and Krynychanka from Russia (The two at the back).

I am going to work on finding a better background for my photos though.

This is Noir de carmes sliced open. This melon is a very old variety that is productive but has its problems. It is probably not for the new melon grower. Its fruit get badly sunburnt and ruined at the slightest hint of a warm, sunny day, and the fruit ripen in hours and get over-ripe so quickly that you have to be aware of any minute changes and pick them at the exact right time. - But is is very sweet and juicy, yum.

Many of the melons are about to ripen in the next week and my fridge is already full of cut melons from my tasting, assessing and saving seeds.

Must go now and eat some melon :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Getting ready for a bumper autumn

After the last over 40 degree day my plants came through better than I expected. Now that the temperatures are a bit more comfortable for a few days I am digging more beds to put in a heap more vegetables. After mostly selling out at the Mt Gambier market I have found that I can probably sell as many vegetables as I can grow so I am going to see just how much I can grow.

Here is one row of my heat stressed melons. This variety is Krynychanka and I don't think it will recover so I won't get any melons this year.

I have started digging beds in my P block where I have some melons and gourds but they aren't doing well due to weed pressure so I have a heap of room for more beds. I have put in some radishes and carrots but I will also be puting in some celeriac and witloof (Belgian endive) seeds today then more carrots as I get the beds dug, you can't have too many carrots,lol.

Witloof is used like lettuce but is a bit more bitter so I hear. It needs extra work in forcing for the tender heads but I want to give it a go to see if it is worth it. I know it is the wrong time to plant it but I think I have enough time before the frosts to experiment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting ready for the heat again

It is going to be hot again for the next three days, up to 40 C on thursday so I have been getting the veggies ready by watering hard to get more water deep in the soil around them. I have also been covering some of the more mature melons fruits with cardboard to protect them from sunburn. Last year I lost a lot of my crop to sunburn.

Damn, I was going to add some pictures in this post but blogger is having a glitch it seems and won't let me, even when I try on another browser.

I am still having trouble getting some seeds in the beds to germinate. I have no idea what the problem is, I am doing everything as normal. I think I will start a heap of seeds in trays to be safe. I might put in some more lettuce, scorzonera and celery in trays to plant out later.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slow market and some cool at last

I took a bit of stuff to the Rotary market in Mt Gambier yesterday. It was very slow with not mnay customers about but I did sell most of what I had - all except the zucchini anyway. The people in Mt Gambier are not as adventurous as in Hamilton but I will keep going to that market a couple of times a month once my veggies are growing again. They just need a bit of educating.

I was surprised a how many people were wary of different coloured zucchini and beetroot. They are very reluctant to try anything new, but that will give me an edge over the other veggie sellers there I think as many people asked when I will be back. I recon thay just need to mull a bit about strange new food.
Even the other vegetable sellers didn't do any good yesterday which was a surprise as they usually sell out fast. It is a good sign for me for when things pick up next month.

I am relishing the cooler weather at the moment and some of the melons are perking up. I think they might start to put out a few more flowers if it doesn't get too hot again for a while. We will be having one really hot day on thursday but it is just for one day. I am beginning to think though that I will be paying a lot for water for the next few months. It doesn't pay to skimp on watering so I will have to sell a lot more to pay for it.

It is sad to see the poor plants suffering but will a bit of cool and water they will come back. The cucumbers and zucchini were hit particularly hard by the heat.

I bought some notebooks and am planning my planting and harvesting for the next year. it will be interesting to see how acurate I will be. I think I won't be too far out as I have had a year of practice now.

Will take some pictures for you tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Goodbye to marie

Marie left today and we are so sorry to see her go. She became one of the family and was always eager go give anything a go. It was great while it lasted and I got a lot done while she was here to help. I think I will wait a month or so before I find another helper.

Going to the Rotary market in Mt Gambier tomorrow but I am quite embarrased by the amount and quality of the produce I am taking. It really bought home how much damage those really hot days did to the vegetables. It will take weeks to recover, and perhaps some beds to replant. Oh well, that's how it goes.

The beds of rat-tails are germinating and a few lettuces but all the rest are not showing yet. I am getting worried. I pulled up some scorzonera for the market from a bed that I thought was free of nematodes but their roots were all lumpy and deformed. I think the whole of block D is infected which will really limit what I grow there. It will take a lot of work and money for manure to control it I think. It is really disappointing. At least I know now that scorzonera is not nematode resistant, lol.

I'll survive but I might have to change how I do some things. I am having to water a lot more than I expected but I will just have to pay a bigger water bill as I have found that skimping on water doesn't pay.

Till next time

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Update and lots to do

The weather has cooled down a bit today, and will be even cooler tomorrow. It is a lovely reprieve. I expect the cucurbits will love the chance to recuperate before the hot weather comes again.

I am getting a few veggies ready to pick - mainly beets, silverbeet and of course, zucchini so I reserved a stall site at the weekly Rotary market in Mt Gambier on saturday. The stall sites are cheap so I hope I have a great day.

My bad... I got on the computer and bought a heap of seeds. Well, they will go to growing out more seed as I am getting a few enquiries for bulk seed and the local homewares store is happy for me to have a rack of seed in there. Maybe more of my income will come from seed sales rather than fresh veggies.Oh, how I love getting seeds in the mail  :)

I bought many packets of scorzonera seed. This is a delicious vegetable and should be more widely known. It is a bit of a pain to handle, but not a lot more than having to peel potatoes for example. With scorzonera it is easier to cook it before peeling. I hate peeling hot vegetables and getting my fingers burnt. Lucky for them they are so tasty or I wouldn't bother.
I hope they sell well at the market.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

And here's the heat damage

Veggies got fried yesterday in our 43 C temps. The poor celery, melons and zucchinis look like they were hit with a nuclear device, well I suppose they were in a sense. I don't think the melons are going to set any more fruit now with the coming hot weather so I will have to be thankful for the fruit that does ripen. I have to say that covering all the larger fruits with cardboard did the job and none were hit with sunburn.

We are having a reprieve of only 30 degrees today before the temperature starts up again. I hate hot weather.

On a lighter note, my caigua have finelly began to set fruit. I will post a couple of pictures when I harvest the first ones.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hot, Hot, HOT

Oh boy, I am roasting. We are having a heat wave of 40 degrees plus for most of the near future, luckily there will be a break tomorrow and the next day with only 30 degrees. I hate hot weather. I am lucky that Marie was here yesterday to do the watering while I spent all day attending a funeral in Geelong.

It is too hot to do anything except water in the morning and again just before sunset. I have lost a few plants and if this weather keeps up I may lose all my different kiwifruits, even the more mature ones. They just can't handle the heat even with water. Luckily the melons and pumpkins can cope as long as they have water. I think one of my watermelons is about ripe enough to be picked. I have all the developing fruits covered with pieces of cardboard to save them from the sunburn disaster of last year and it is working. I just have to hope that I don't get any strong winds to blow them off. I have the cardboard pinned down with pieces of wire but that won't be enough in high wind.

It will be a little while before I will know if my seedlings have been watered enough to germinate, I am getting a bit worried that many of them are not poking their heads up yet. It could be the heat and dry, or that may have been sown a little too deep. I will wait and see for the next week before I think about replanting.

I had almost given up hope because they were so late but I notice that my ginger and Chinese keys plants are shooting now. It will be interesting to see if I can get them to survive the winter. I think that if I can get them growing strong enough they might be big enough to survive when it comes.