Sunday, October 5, 2014

New shoots, and water plants to plant now

Another warm and sunny day means that it is drying out so fast that the earth mites are starting to disappear, thank goodness. I have started to plant some of my melon seeds out in the ground as they now have more of a chance against the mites. The other reason is that I am having trouble keeping the mice out of the seeds in tubes so with planting outside as well as in tubes I should get enough going to grow all the melons I want this year. It looks like I will be planting about 40 varieties this year.
I love growing melons

 My Hopniss (American Groundnuts) are starting to show themselves now. These are such a delicious tuber that I wonder why they are not better known.

I tried to import some seeds of bigger tubered varieties as I haven't been able to get this variety to flower here, but the seller included some dirt in with the seeds so it was confiscated at customs.

I might try again next year.

I am trying moringa trees again this year. The seedlings are just popping up now.
I will look after them a bit better this time and hopefully get them big enough before next winter so that they reshoot from their tuberous taproots after winter kills the tops off.
They call this the 'Miracle tree' because you can eat every part of it, and it is supposed to also have some medicinal qualities, it also grows terribly quickly.

Water edibles to plant now.

No matter how small your garden is you can always grow some edibles in tubs. here in Southern Victoria it is time to put them in for harvest next Autumn/Winter.

I have been growing these plants in flexible plastic tubs which work well but they were getting too hot last summer on those roasting days so I have now got some bigger bathtubs.

Fill then mostly with water, most water edibles only need a few inches of water above the soil, and when the plants are growing well, push in one or two water plant fertiliser tablets to keep them growing well.
Make sure you top up the water in summer to keep it at a constant depth, but as the cooler weather of Autumn hits it is time to let them dry up a bit more to encourage the plants to produce tubers.

Water Chestnuts:
This is a picture of water chestnuts dying down in late Autumn.
As you can see, you only need one or two tubers to make plants that will fill up a tub or bath.

Water chestnuts are a tasty addition to any stir-fry but are a bit of a pain to peel before cooking.

Water Ribbons:
This is a native Australian water plant that grows in ponds, lakes and swamps all over Australia.
It produces small, white tubers that can be eaten raw or cooked. They have a very mild taste.
Mine have very small tubers so when I have time I will try to find some with bigger tubers. They are very variable so I should be able to find some.
Be aware that these plants fill up a tub quickly and make a mass of roots that can be difficult to separate to get out all the tubers.

Although lotus is a tropical plant it will grow down here when established. I have had trouble getting them established up till now but I have one plant growing and I hope it will do well now.
The tubers are one of my favourite foods and can be cooked in many ways, and other parts of the plant are also edible.

I don't grow bulrush as it needs more room that I can provide, and although I have eaten it when living in the bush, I really think it is no more than an emergency food. The young shoots can be eaten but the tuberous roots are the better food and provide a useful source of carbs when prepared. The copious pollen can also be collected and eaten.

There are a few other good water edibles which I don't grow at this time like, rice, watercress, kangkong and wasabi.

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