Saturday, February 23, 2013

Back from the Hamilton market

Got back not long ago from the Hamilton Farmers market. Sold out, like usual, but I came home directly afterward as it was too hot to stay in town and buy anything. I wish I had more to take and I don't know what I am going to be able to rustle up for my veggie box customers in a couple of weeks.
The're not having a market next month as it clashes with Easter.

I have so many empty beds waiting for seeds at the moment but I can't risk trying to sow them until the weather cools down and the seed will germinate. I can imagine what some of the beds will look like if the seed that I have sown and resown in them all come up when it gets cooler :)
I am hoping that this weather will only last a couple more weeks. We have had barely a drop of rain for 5 months so my water bill will be horrendous. Even if it cools down I will still be watering till around July when the rains come, I hope - fingers crossed.
I am getting so excited and impatient to get some plants up that it is almost like waiting for a holiday to the Gold Coast. I love seeing new little plants popping up in the morning when I go out to check.

I have had a lady from Japan ask to come and work and she will be coming around the middle of march - just in time for digging and weeding with the cooler weather - she will be in for a shock.I hope she speaks English well. It is hard to tell from her writing. I suppose I could ask her but it wouldn't make a difference now that I have accepted her proposal.

Tomorrow will be too hot to go to the monthly produce swap in Nareen so I think I will just stay home and veg out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A bit of cooler weather feels so good

It is nice to get a couple of days of cooler weather before the heat hits again on thursday. It enabled me to dig another couple of beds this morning for the vegetables and harvest some more seed. I have begun digging beds on my melon block now that some of the melons have died off. The soil is so good there that I am expecting some great harvests this year and heaps to sell at the markets. At least I will have heaps to put in the CSA veggie boxes this year.

My sheep poo supplier dropped off a couple of ute loads so I am able to dig it into my empty beds and water it in. I might not be able to sow seeds at the moment because of the heat but it is giving me time to add a heap more organic stuff and improve the soil. The beds will be ready when it cools down in a couple of weeks to transplant the seedlings I have in trays to give them a great start.

Got the veggie boxes and the Hamilton farmers market this coming weekend. I won't have near enough stuff for the market but I have to attend or I will lose my great spot. In winter the wood heater behind my stall is lit  and keeps me toasty warm so I really can't afford to get moved onto another table. I will have to pull everything I have and then hope that I have something new for march.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I am mighty peeved today

Last night some mongrel came around to D block and stole all my rare Pastilla Shampan pumpkins. I am so annoyed, not only that they took the lot but they wrecked the vines as they did it, didn't have a knife on them it seems.

Some people are so greedy. It is so hard to get seeds from these that I am thanking my instincts that I picked the largest fruit a couple of days ago. At least I will have some seeds for next year. I was going to give all my CSA customers a treat with this delicious pumpkin.

Every house in this town has a large yard so everyone has the ability to grow their own veggies, but no, it is easier just to steal what you want from someone who have put all the time and work in.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Meloned out

At this time of year when I have been picking, eating and saving seed off my melons for the past couple of months I tend to become a bit 'meloned out' and looking for a rest from them, unfortunately, or fortunately depending on my mood, many of the melons and especially the watermelons have decided to get a new lease on life and are starting to grow again ready to make a new lot of fruit. Luckily I have a long enough growing season to cope with ripening a new harvest, and it means a new flush of fruit for the veggie boxes. Can't dig them up now, lol.

I have a lot of pumpkins ripening now. Last year a researched a lot of varieties of pumpkins to find the best tasting ones to grow from around the world. I have started harvesting my pepita pumpkins 'Gleisdorfer Naked Seeded', yum, I love pepitas and these naked seeded ones have no shell on the seeds so you can eat them when dried or roasted.

The others that I have already picked are 'Luxury Pumpkin Pie' from America. I have got great feedback on the taste from my CSA customers so I will put in a heap more of them next year. Now I will soon have to pick the pastilla Shampan' pumpkins and Nth Georgia Candy Roaster' which are ripening now. The Pastilla Shampan are a bit bigger than I expected so I will have to cut them in half for my boxes.

Unfortunately, it seems that most of the best tasting pumpkins are not long keepers so I will have to plan better to have some for my customers in the winter next year.

It is very hot for the next couple of days so I have to put off planting out some of the seedlings that I have in trays that are almost ready. I have some Asian cabbage and mixed lettuce that can almost go out now. I have to put in a lot more Asian cabbage this year as it grows so well and it doesn't matter if it bolts to seed as I can then sell the budding stems as napini which is delicious and a good seller.

Just to end - even with the harsh summer and poor tomato season, the blocks are looking quite good and healthy. I just hope I can harvest enough over the next couple of months to keep everyone happy till the young stuff becomes ripe.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sandford market yesterday

I went along to the Sandford market yesterday to do some advertising of my CSA veggie box program. This is a tiny local market that I like to go to just to support the local community, I never make a profit or sell much there but it is held at the public hall and when these halls don't get used the councils sell them off. I love public halls to that is why I support it.

Anyway I did get rid of a few of my melons but it was also great to get a few more people who would like to get my vegetable boxes. I will now struggle a bit to supply all the CSA customers AND the Hamilton farmers market but with my putting my melon blocks into other veggies I will be ok in a couple of months or so.

I did think of stopping the Hamilton market stall but they do rely on me as the only produce seller and I will lose my great spot which will be a bugger later on when I am over-run with produce again. I will just have to put my back into it and grow more. Out with the melons that are not growing and are wasting water, and in with my winter veggies.

I have put a lot of seed in trays today as I am getting such a bad germination in the ground because of the hot summer. It should be much easier to get them growing if I transplant them as larger seedlings instead. We are going to get some very hot weather again over the next week so I am glad I put the seeds in trays, I have wasted so much seed so far. Lucky I produce most of my own seed.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Things are looking up

The weather has been a bit hot but not too bad. A windy day blew off some of my covers on the melons so a couple got sunburnt but not as bad as it could have been. I have so many melons that I will go to the local Sandford market on Sunday to see if I can offload some. I don't think my CSA customers would like me to fill their boxes with melons, lol.

I am still having trouble getting the seedlings up in about 10 beds so I am giving up on them and going to totally remake those beds - more manure, digging and replanting. I have a heap of seed to put in so it will be good to get it in. I have to start thinking of getting veggies in to take me through the winter so I don't end up with no vegetables to sell like what happened last spring. Lesson learned.

I have been keeping an eye on a volunteer melon plant that came up where I had melons planted last year. The first fruit just ripened this morning and it is the weirdest melon I have ever seen.

It tasted good, not great but acceptable. I will save some seeds and grow it again next year to see how it does. There are another 4 fruits on the plant which will ripen soon. I can only guess that one of the parents was 'Banana' but I don't have a clue as to the other.

It will be fun to see if I can stabilise it, and then think of a name.

I just delivered my veggie boxes to my customers this evening and one lady told me how delighted she was to find a stick insect in her box. I don't use pesticides so it is not unusual for customers to find ladybugs in the vegetables but this is the first stick insect.

Well, I will post again after the Sandford market to tell you how I went but I don't think it is the type of market that my sort of vegetables will do well at. Can't hurt to try though.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Over-run with melons

Well, I got back from my three days away helping at the Colac Heritage Festival and found that most of my melons had ripened while I was away. I did expect it but it was stilla sight and it took two wheelbarrow loads to bring most of them back. I will have to go to the Mt Gambier market on saturday to sell them as there are way too many to put in my veggie boxes.

Luckily the weather was cool so I didn't have to worry too much about the vegetables but I did leave early yesterday so I could get home before dark to water the seedling beds. I had a great time. The festival is a great event each year and we had the most amount of working donkeys there that we have had so far.

A few new ones this year like Zatta and Cesme had ripe fruits on them and I quickly got them in to taste. This year there hasn't been any that I haven't liked so far.

Zatta melon