Monday, October 26, 2015

Pusa Asita Carrots and broad beans

Things are still going steady on the blocks. The corn is growing well and I have replanted most of the cucurbits that didn't germinate well. I have a heap of beans coming up now - mostly blue speckled tepary and bush red snake beans but also some others.

I am trialing a new purple-to-the-core OP carrot from India called Pusa Asita and they are flowering now - they have lovely pink flowers.

I was disappointed by the VERY low germination rate so I didn't have any spare to eat but they are setting a lot of seed now so I should be able to taste some when I sow those.
Unfortunately the carrots that did germinate were very misshapen, not long like the reviews suggest. My carrots always grow long and straight in my sandy soil so I don't know what went wrong there.

My broad beans are starting to yellow now and are not long from being ready to pick. We had very strong winds yesterday which knocked a lot of them over and broke off a heap too so I hope the pods on those stems will be mature enough to finish ripening.

The pic on the right is 'Gippsland Giant', one of my favourites - it has big and impressive pods, and the immature beans are delicious with no hint of bitterness so you don't need to double peel the beans, not that I think you should have to do that with any broad beans - it is a wasteful and unnecessary habit.

I am really happy with the drip irrigation system on the new seed block, it really saves a lot of time and effort. I can get a lot of other stuff done while the beds are being watered.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Garlic harvesting, Chinese potato (Plectranthus rotundifolius) and more

A couple of cool days have allowed me to plant out a heap of capsicum and tomatillo seedlings which have been waiting to go out into the ground. With the how, dry weather we have been having I have been impatient but the seedlings would have died if I planted them out in the wrong weather.

 I have almost finished my garlic harvest. With the unusual weather they have matured early, too early to grow to their normal size, so I hope they will do better next year.

The pic on the left is Large White, about a third of the size they should be.

I only have four beds left to harvest and they should be ready to pull in a couple of weeks, even the elephant garlic which is usually harvested in december. The pic on the right is one bed of Monaro Purple garlic I have brought home.

 I new plant for me this spring is Plectranthus rotundifolius (Chinese potato, even though it is native to Africa)

They are usually boiled and I don't know yet what the taste is like. Some reports say it is bland but some say it is nutty and tasty. Can't wait to find out.

I have a couple of plants that are starting to grow vigorously now.

I have four trays of oca seedlings which will be ready to prick out in a couple of weeks. I have their beds ready and I will wait for a cool day for that.
Last year I pricked them out into pots filled with potting mix and planted the whole pots in the beds. It worked extremely well but I think my soil is the problem with them not doing so well direct so I have built up some beds ready for them with heaps of manure.

I was going to pull out my tamarillos over the winter since they have been having trouble setting fruit in the heat of summer but I never got around to it. They are now huge and straggly and are starting to flower. They have heaps of flowers on them and I think that if they set fruit many of the long branches are going to break under the weight of the fruit.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Markets and spring seedlings

Another hot one today - I am dreading the coming summer :(   At least the corn is growing well and I should be able to get a good crop. I am having trouble germinating my melons and pumpkins for some reason but at least with the early hot weather I have plenty of time for resowing.

I went to the Hamilton market yesterday that they have every year. It is held in a giant pavillion at the showgrounds. My stall was in the middle of it so this picture is of only one half as I took it from my spot.
It wasn't as busy as other years and there were quite a few empty stall places but it was still a good day out and I enjoyed it even if I didn't make much profit.

I have to admit that I spent some of my profit on some lovely bearded irises.

 I know it is a bit hard to see in these photos but here is a pic of some of my 40m (120feet) rows of corn. The plants are about 10cm tall now.

I am not sure if I will fill the corn order I have but I will give it a good shot. At least I haven't had cockies pulling up the seedlings which I was afraid of.

Here is a row of squash. They are looking very healthy right now.

I am starting to get a few fancier colours from my seedling bearded irises now. I wish there was an easy way of finding out if this exact colour iris is named but I suppose that since there are tens of thousands of named varieties it is unlikely that there is any colour combination that doesn't have a name.

I might give the best ones names just for myself anyway.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Goings on in the gardens

The unusually hot and dry weather continues and I am having to water my blocks every two days just to keep the seedlings going.

 Beans are coming up everywhere. Although green beans generally don't like our summer heat I am trying a couple of new ones this year, and also a few more snake bean varieties. One snake bean is looking particularly vigorous. It is a particularly long one with bi coloured seeds.

The green beans I am trying against a wall that gives afternoon shade so they might do ok.

The three brassicas I let go to seed this spring have masses of pods on them. This one is Portuguese kale. I will have to net them soon as they start to brown against parrots.

My broad beans started setting pods early this year luckily, before the heat struck, so they have lots of pods on them.

The only broad bean that is not podding well is 'Crimson Flowered'. I was hoping for lots of seed of them this year but that is not to be. At lest I should have plenty for myself for next season, even if I don't have enough to sell.

The pic on the right is of 'Gippsland Giant'. They have very big pods and seeds, and they are very sweet and tasty - no need to double pod them.

After shelling my corn by hand last year and the effort and soore fingers that entailed I decided to buy a cheap corn sheller this year. If it works well and I grow heaps of corn next year I may consider getting a better one then.

I was hoping for a great corn season this year but the snail problem at the moment is terrible and they have taken a lot of the seedlings. Lucky there is still time to replant which I will be doing in the next couple of days.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Horsham Festival, garlic and more

Sorry I have been so slack in updating my blog. There really isn't a good excuse since it is spring and lots of veggies are growing.

On Friday I drove up to Horsham for the weekend spring festival. I haven't been before and it has been years since I have even visited Horsham. I had forgotten how much I like that little city - wide roads, hardly any empty shops, a huge business and shopping centre, and friendly people. What more could you want.

Here is my stall set up at the festival. I had a heap of seeds and plants and a display of gourds at the back. People loved the gourds and those were the seeds that sold out first.

I was a bit disappointed by the lack of crowds and I took home less than half what I expected but it was still a good couple of days away.

I think people were a bit worried by the coming summer so they weren't buying many plants and garden stuff. The other stall holders commented on the low takings also.

It was really sad to see all the miles of failed crops on the drive up there. Everything is so dry for this time of year that most farmers will lose their whole years income. Those who didn't have crop insurance are trying to cut their piddly failed grain crops for hay. It will be very poor hay but they have to do something to get enough money to buy seed for next year.

 My garlic crop is a failure this year. The heat came too early and the plants started maturing before they bulked up their bulbs.

Only the Elephant garlic (pictured) has even put up scapes. At least it is hard to have a failure at that as it is so hardy.

The first bed of garlic was ready to harvest last week - it is Mexican Purple Stripe and at least a month early. See how small the bulbs are, I won't have any to sell and will have to plant them again and hope for a better harvest next year.

The other garlic beds are not looking any better and will be ready in a couple of weeks to start pulling.

The trouble with having a variety of rhubarb that is sweeter and has less oxalic acid than most is that it is very tasty to bugs. It is hard to get this variety (Red Rover - my own selection) to grow as it is always beset with bugs and especially snails. They eat it right to the ground unless I keep the snail bait around it.

As a plus though, my mother thinks it is the best rhubarb she has ever cooked and is always asking for it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Scary summer coming

I know I have mentioned in in my past few posts but it is getting scarier every day with unheard of high temperatures for this time of year. In the next few days the temps are set to get into the mid 30s which is two months early and the ground is already dry. I have started watering all my blocks and tomorrow I will have to start putting up my shadecloth row covers. I am very worried thinking of my water bills for the next 6 months or more.

Our bushfire risk this year is going to be worse than for the past 20 years I think over much of Australia. They have already had a catastrophic risk day in the NT.

 The warm weather has got a few plants germinating far earlier than usual. These  mouse melon seedlings from last years missed fruits should not be germinating for another couple of months but I see a heap starting to pop up now.

I have even started planting my corn a month early - got about a third of it done now. I still have about a quarter acre to go. Next year I will make a planter to make it easier.

Continuing on from my last post,  a few more of my seedling bearded iris are coming out now. Unfortunately they are all pretty plain but I there are a lot more to come later so maybe there will be something spectacular later.

I also have a few seedling gladdies coming up but I don't think they will be big enough to flower this year.