Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mini capsicums and yacon

Since the rains have come early this year and the frosts are late everything is growing superbly, including the weeds unfortunately. I put some carrots in a bit late but I think that they are still going to be ok.
Until the root crops are dug up to select the best roots for seed, and the tuberous crops are dug up for harvesting late May or early June there really isn't much to blog about. I am sure you don't want me to put up pictures and complaints about weeds for the next month, lol  I think my blogging is going to be a bit more erratic from now until spring.

I took more notice of the mini capsicums this year as I grew more than usual. It is weird how different each colour/variety is.
The red ones are very delicate and break easily both when harvesting and with the wind. It is so easy to break of branches and most of the plants have blown over now. At least they are still bearing strongly.
The chocolate ones did not germinate or grow well this year. They need more fertilising that the others which I didn't do so the fruit is small.
The orange ones bear like crazy and have strong plants but the fruits hold on strongly and it is easy to break branches as you pull them off. And the orange ones have fruit that face upwards so they look great when the bushes are bearing.

 My yacon plants are growing strongly, though they are small as I transplanted them late. They were getting overrun with weeds so I had to dig up the young plants and replant them in clean beds.

 I can't wait till they are ready to harvest as I like eating them, though I usually have way too many tubers and a lot goes to waste.
Yacon is so easy to grow that I am surprised that more people don't know about it. I have noticed that many people in the permaculture community not grow it now though.

The sparrows finally found the sorghum. Luckily it is the end of the crop and I only had a few poor heads on the remaining plants. I will have to cover the two types I plan to grow next year (popping and sugar) as sparrows are quick to learn when food plants are growing each season.

I count myself lucky that the grain was not targeted by birds sooner.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Not much news, just random pics

Apart from picking the last of the capsicums over the next couple of weeks, and shortly the chufa, things are slowing down and there isn't much news. We had a heap of rain yesterday which helped moisten the beds so I won't have to irrigate for a week or so and the temperatures are going down. Everything is getting ready for winter.

The last couple of trays of brassicas will be going out next week and then I will be mostly resting apart from some weeding till the tuberous veggies are dug in June.

 Some posts ago I reported on some seed grown dahlias that I was pretty taken with. They are so lovely and this one is my favourite of the lot. It really stands out and looks so sunny. It makes me smile every time I look at it.

I think dahlias will be a regular crop from now on as they are so pretty. I am not sure yet whether to just collect seeds from them, or offer tubers as well in the future.

I said last post that I was going to wait a couple more weeks before pulling some of my new diploid potatoes. Well.. I got impatient. There were half a dozen plants that were pretty much died down so I pulled them up today.

I was really pleased with the production of them, especially as they are seed grown. They should do even better next season with bigger tubers - though they probably don't have much of a dormancy period so I will have to put them out soon and see how they do through the winter.
This plant has small tubers but two of them had quite large ones and I am thinking that one of them is a tetraploid, only because of the tuber size, I will take more notice when they are growing again.

The spring was so long and cold that I couldn't plant any seed from larger gourds but I did sow some mini bottle and mini dipper gourds and they are just mature now as the plants die down.

As many of you know, I love growing gourds and I hope I can get some big ones in next spring. They are fun to grow and you can make so many things out of them. I love these mini bottles as Christmas tree decorations when painted or carved.
I will leave them on the fence until they are nearly dry before picking as they seem to dry down better that way.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Diploid potatoes, and autumn food plants dying down

We are in the middle of a last run of warm weather it seems with a few days of 25-28 degrees. After tomorrow it should cool down and become more autumn-like.

 Some of my diploid potato plants are starting to die down now. Here are a few of the tubers.

These are traditional potatoes from South America. They don't tend to grow large tubers like common potatoes but have much more diversity in shape, colours and flavour.

In a couple of weeks I should be able to harvest a few plants but I am keeping some in the ground until their seed pods ripen.

My oca plants are starting to tuberise now. I will have to look at my records but it seems to me that they are a bit late this year. I hope the frosts hold off a bit but I expect the first frosts within the next couple of weeks.

Luckily the tubers keep growing while the plants die down from the cold so I will still get tubers but they might not be large this year.

My water chestnuts are also dying down now so I will start harvesting them in a couple of weeks.

I left far too many tubers in the tubs to regrow so they are too crowded. The tubers will probably be small.

Next year I will pull everything out and start again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Green Bosnian melon and oca flowers

After spending a couple of months trying to find someone to come into the business as an equal partner I am about to give up. I haven't had any interest even from tyre kickers so I think there is just not the interest around to get into farming, even though I am offering this partnership for someone even with no money or land. People say "what a great opportunity" but are not willing to move here to a small town. Obviously they don't want it bad enough.
The business has so much room to grow with orders I can't fill and land I can't expand into because I just can't physically do it by myself. Oh well, I will just have to plod on.

 I am so happy that I found a few old seeds of this melon 'Green Bosnian' in the back of the cupboard. I thought I had lost it and was kicking myself, but now I have seeds from a couple of fruits from the one plant that managed to germinate.
This is the best flavoured melon I have ever tasted and since there doesn't seem to be anyone else in the world with seeds any more you can imagine how relieved I am.
The colour of the flesh of these fruits isn't as deep as it should be but that is probably just the genetics of the surviving plant. I may not be able to get the flesh colour back but at least I have the taste.

The one good thing about nearly losing this variety is that my efforts of the the last few years in trying to breed it back has resulted in some pretty amazing new varieties in the works. They are still a few years off though as it takes time to stabilise them.

A few of my oca plants have started to flower, pity it is too late though. I thought I wasn't going to get any flowers this year.
The frost will kill them off before I get any seed which is a bugger as I really wanted seed this year but I will have to wait.

I have managed to get a couple of more heat tolerant oca plants this year with no stem rot either in mulch or bare ground so it is a start in my selection program. I hope that I will get a couple more every year and then I can release them to the public.

Today I got a call from the ABC Radio rural reporter who wants to do an interview with me after Easter and take some pictures for the website. Wow, my communication skill may not be good but she assured me that it will be ok. That should be fun.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tomato seed saving part two, and sorghum selection

Well it looks like the heat of summer is finally over so I can get into chopping down all the dead corn and planting more winter crops.

Tomato seed saving part two

After letting your tomato mash sit for three days, or four in cooler weather, stirring it a couple of times a day, you will see some foam or a light layer of white mould form on the top. This shows that it is ready for separating the seed out.

Now fill the bucket or bowl with water to make it more liquid. This allows the seed to fall to the bottom more easily.

 Carefully pour out all the pulp leaving the seeds at the bottom.

 You will need to add water and pour off the pulp a few times until the water is clear and the seeds are clean

Use a fine strainer (I use a tea strainer) to strain off the water. Spread the seeds on a plate to dry. Make sure you label the plate if you are cleaning more than one variety of seed.

When dry, pour the seeds into a dry container and label.

Selecting broom sorghum seed

I have started harvesting my broom sorghum and have put the stems away to finish drying so I can then sort out the heads I will be saving seeds from.

Seed I will NOT be saving come from heads like this one at the right. These heads have a central stem within the head and are sparsely seeded. I will also be throwing out seed heads that are short.

Heads that are worth saving seeds from are those that are long, at least as long as my elbow to the tips of my fingers, and those with thick, full seed heads.

I will also be trying to keep as many different colours as possible without having too many of one shade.

To remove the seeds from the stalks I like to use a metal dog comb, or a horse mane comb might work. They work very well and are quick.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Snake beans and saving tomato seeds

I am so tired. I have been weeding non stop but at least I know that it is not too long till the days get colder, the beds will be clean of weeds, and when winter comes I will be able to take a long break.

I have been quite happy with how things have been going so far but that is about to change. The mouse plague that has been predicted because of the wet spring and plenty of grain and other plant foods is arriving. I am noticing lots of mouse holes in the beds and even see them running around during the day. I think I will have to go over to Farm Supplies and get a tub of mouse bait before they start eating all my seedlings.

My 'Three Foot Plus' snake beans are really getting up steam now but for some reason they don't have many seeds in the pods this year. The variety name is a bit misleading as the beans only get to around 60-70-cm rather than a whole three feet but they are still spectacular. They should be picked for eating at around 30cm.

This variety has pretty, bi-coloured seeds.

 I noticed that this year some of the plants have contracted a type of mosaic virus so I can't sell the seeds even if I got enough. This is really strange as they have not shown this disease before and are planted in clean soil.
Luckily they are planted away from the bush red snake beans as I really don't want a virus in those.

The plants are really only affected when young or stressed. They tend to grow out of it as they get older.

Saving tomato seeds

I was asked how I save tomato seeds in the quantity that I do. here is my method:

 Here is a third of a bucket of currant tomatoes. Just pick and place in a bucket then add water to the top of the tomatoes.
Usually I would pick a whole bucket but I didn't have time this morning.

 Now I get my hand in and crush all the tomatoes into a pulp. This step can be done with a food processor with a plastic or dough blade that will not harm the seeds but I have not got around to getting a food processor yet.
I do want one but I always have more important things to spend the money on.
Remember to get all the whole ones that hide at the bottom. This is not so important for larger fruits as they are easier to see.

Now you put them away in a warm place to sit for a few days. This is called the fermenting stage and it doesn't harm the seeds. The fermenting allows the seeds to separate from the pulp.
Make sure to stir them a couple of times a day.

I will update with the rest and more pictures on Saturday when I finish cleaning these seeds.

Remember to place a named tag on the bucket handle if you are doing more than one variety at a time. It is easy to think you will remember which is which, but often you don't. better to be safe than sorry.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Problem corn pollination, and dahlias

I have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to scratch my bum, lol. The weeds are coming up abundantly and I am having to spend every day on my knees weeding.
I think I may have mentioned it on another post but I am planning on putting some sort of weedmat on most of the beds to cut down on the weed problem. I am having trouble finding the type of weedmat that I want. The ones I want are VERY expensive and most don't last many years. I am slowly building up a range of test beds with different type just to see which I like best and last the longest in the sun.

I am definitely not going back to the plastic types as they fly away too easily in the wind and fray badly. I am looking at a few types of geo fabric.

 This year I am growing a new variety of sweetcorn (for me) called 'Early Gem'.
I am not happy with it for a few reasons.
1, the flavour is ok and sweet but nothing to rite home about. Not nearly as good as Anasazi, or even young Painted Mountain.

2, Even though the weather at the time of flowering was perfect, I got very poor pollination. I did notice that the plants didn't produce much pollen so I guess that is the problem.

3, I was trying to mostly dry the corn on the plants this year after having mouse and possum problems in the shed (Hopefully I will have my drying shed built by harvest time next year) but I am finding that all the corn plants are rotting off about 10-30cm from the base as soon as the plants start to die off. This means the plants are falling over and leaving the cobs lying on the ground and in reach of mice. none of my other corn varieties rot off and I have to eventually cut them down after harvest.

I am bringing the cobs in to dry in my hothouse but even with baits scattered around the mice are still getting in and feeding well on the corn.

All in all, I don't like this variety and won't grow it again unless asked. The harvest will be very low and not worth the effort and water I put on it.

I planted some bedding dahlia seed last spring and so far I am very happy with the plants. Every plant has a different colour flower and they look really pretty. I have two small beds of them.

I think I will save the seeds and grow more next year in larger beds. I will also save the tubers from this year to get them growing earlier next spring. I notice the bees are loving the flowers so I should get a fair bit of seed.

Talking of bees, I wasn't expecting any seed berries on my diploid potatoes this year as I didn't hand pollinate them and the honey bees aren't interested, but I notice today that I had a couple of native Blue Banded Bees working them and one plant has berries so maybe I will be able to harvest some seed off them after all.
I dug a few different tubers from those potatoes a week or so ago to taste but most of the plants aren't tuberising yet. They should start soon as they days are getting shorter.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mini capsicums and finger eggplants

Time has really got away from me lately, sorry.

I have been really busy weeding as well as bring in capsicums and corn for seed processing. The weather has cooled down now which is lovely so I have also been getting out some more brassica seeds to fill up some spare beds and it won't be too long now till I will start on planting poppies and broad beans - so busy.
I am looking forward to having lower water bills. With the temps now down to less than 20 degrees I will be irrigating only once a week instead of twice until the winter rains come.

 I have been processing mini capsicums by the bucketload. I grow three colours of mini capsicum - red, orange and chocolate. My few yellow seeds didn't germinate this year and since they can't be imported and I don't know of anyone in Australia who grows them I think I am now just stuck with the three.
I have found this year that an apple corer is just the right size for coring them which makes the process much faster than cutting off the tops with a knife and scooping out the seeds. Next year I must invest in a suitable food processor to make it faster but for now it isn't too hard to do them in the evening when I have nothing else to do.

I love these little capsicums, they are so prolific and cute, as well as being sweet and easy to cook with. You don't have to core and seed them, I just cut the tops off, chop in half and add to dishes, but if you want to, as I have said, an apple corer makes the prep quick and easy.

Although I had trouble germinating them this spring because it was so cold I am happy with the amount of seed I will have from the plants I have.

This year I am growing three colours of 'Fingers' eggplant. These are cute little eggplants that are great for 'gourmet' cooking, or just cut in half and throw on a grill.
I have purple, white and green types. They are all fruiting now so it will not be long till I will be harvesting those.

The plants are tough and only about 90cm tall so I guess they would go well in pots. The seeds are really popular at my market stall so I think many people just want smaller plants for their tiny gardens, As well as the cuteness factor, lol.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Broom sorghum, and my top five tomatoes

After the bit of rain we had a few days ago the busiest time of the year is about to start - weeding. The capeweed and clover are starting to show themselves and I have to spend a fair bit of time each day on my knees weeding.
If you let these weeds go for even a few days they can just get out of control and overwhelming. When I can afford it I will be covering as many beds as I can with geofabric to keep the weed loads down and save the extra work.

 The broom sorghum (or broomcorn) is just starting to ripen and I am harvesting the heads as they do just in case they are found by birds. I do have a net over them but it is not wide enough and on windy days the movement of the plants tends to throw it off.

I love broom sorghum, not only is it handy for making brooms and brushes, it doesn't shed the seeds easily so it makes great features in dried plant arrangements.

Another job I am busy doing is harvesting the seeds from the Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins. These are great tasting and they are also productive.

I have already made pies and soups with them and put mash in the freezer, and given away a heap. Now most of the left overs will be wasted as no-one wants to come and pick up freeby vegetables in this town, especially a pumpkin they are not familiar with. This is a very conservative, retirement town and no-one likes new things.

Here is a list of my five best tasting tomatoes, in no particular order.

Brads Black Heart

This is a large heart shaped, dark tomato which is so delicious that I have to pick them slightly under-ripe and the mice eat them as soon as they are fully ripe. They are sweet but still with a lot of umami flavour.
They are fairly good producers also.

 Chocolate Pear

Sorry about the strange colours, my camera flash went off.
This little, dark, pear tomato has a most unusual, savoury flavour that is hard to describe. It is from japan as far as I have read.
 Wild Currant tomato

This is the most tasty and sweet tomato you will ever eat. I have often mentioned it in my posts so you should know about it now, lol

This is a perfect tomato for kids to forage but I have rarely met an adult who didn't like it either.
Speckled Roman

I love the colour of this tomato just as much as the flavour.
It is meaty and great for sauces as well as fresh eating. Sweet and with a true tomato taste.


For some reason I don't have a picture of this wonderful, large, bi-coloured tomato. It is absolutely delicious and soft with a nice mix of yellow and orange/red marbled skin and flesh and a very sweet and fruity flavour.
I haven't grown it for a few years now so I might have to put it in next year.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shishigatami pumpkin, Madagascar beans and more.

Today I took advantage of the cool, showery day to plant all the trays of poor seedlings that should have gone out a while ago but it was too hot and dry - alpine strawberries, kale, asparagus and Tronchuda cabbage. I have a heap of empty beds waiting, and more when the corn comes off.
We had half an inch of rain overnight so the ground was damp enough to give them a start and recover before the weather heats up again in a few days.

My garlic is shooting early. I was hoping to get some rain to bring up the weeds while the garlic was still dormant so I could deal with them before the garlic came up but it looks like I will be doing a lot of hand weeding now.

 It is quite a bit earlier than I expected and I am not sure what that will mean for the quality of the bulbs but I guess I will find out in November.
I just noticed that some of the pods on my Madagascar beans are starting to ripen now. These plants don't produce near enough seed to sell to a seed company so I usually just grow a small bed just for my own seed packets.

It produces a lima type bean that produces a dark red and white speckled seed. Unfortunately each pod only has one or two seeds in it so it is not very productive.
They are usually eaten as a dry bean.

 I picked my first Shishigatami pumpkin. It is related to Butternuts, and looks like it.
It is a rare, Japanese variety.

The skin is pretty firm and I would guess that it would keep fairly well, and the flesh is a buttery yellow colour.

Taste: it is very mild in flavour but the texture is very nice, thick and smooth. I liked it but my mother thought it needed a stronger flavour.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Currant tomatoes and raised beds

I have noticed that I am starting to power down now. There is still a bit of seed to harvest - corn, capsicums and zucchini, but most of the work is over for the summer. It feels good that I don't have to rush out as soon as I can see in the morning and I now have a bit more time to do a bit of planning.

Although the business is paying for itself except for some much needed additions that have to get done at some time like finishing my seed drying facility, it is not yet making a wage. I have been thinking about how I am going to get more production going and have come to the conclusion that one person can make the business pay for itself but it needs more people to start making extra. So I have started seriously looking for a partner. I know the farm has heaps of potential and I can't fill the orders I have so I just need more help with the workload. I have an ad coming in a magazine soon and I will see if I get any interest.

 My bed of currant tomatoes are getting huge, even taking over the nearby beds. They are growing so well that they are bigger than they have ever go and bearing superbly.
The fruits are bigger than you see in the pictures from seed companies and that is normal. They seem to only choose the smallest fruit to take photos of. I could do do that myself but I don't like to lie to my customers.

These are the most delicious and sweet tomatoes you will ever taste.

The corn is starting to dry down. Since the weather is still dry I am going to try and dry it as much as I can on the plants this year as I don't have much room where there is no mice to dry it anywhere else. When my seed drying room is finished this will not be a problem.

Raised Beds

A couple of people have asked me lately why I don't use raised beds.
I realise that raised beds would have saved me from losing so many plants last winter but for me they would not work for two reasons.

1, Because most of the year is so dry I don't need to shed water. Raised beds tend to dry out more than in ground and that is opposite to what I need for most of the year. It is rare to get a winter as wet as the last so I don't really need to have better drainage.

2, Because my soil is so sandy and loose raised beds collapse quickly when the soil is worked. I have tried doing a few on one of my other blocks and found that even without working the soil it is hard to keep them intact. If my soil was heavier I would get my neighbour (an agricultural contractor)to do raised beds over the whole place but it just won't work on this property.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Seedling potatoes, apple melons and Round of Hungary capsicums.

Whew, a couple of cool days is giving me a great break. It is predicted that summer is going to hang on a bit longer this year so any cooler break is so welcome.
I got some giant Chinese spring onion seedlings planted out but wasn't game enough to plant out any of the other seedlings in trays just yet and the temps are supposed to rise into the 30s for the next week after tomorrow. At least these couple of cooler days has seen them looking fine and if I keep up the irrigation on them for the next week to get their roots down they will make it through.

 Most of the melons have now been picked but the 'Apple' melons are a bit later this year.
I love these little melons. They have the flavour and texture of nashi pear.

I have a commercial grower wanting to trial them next spring so I had to hurry up and put a few more plants in so that is why they are a bit later.

I am really loving these 'Round of Hungary' capsicums. They not only look spectacular but they are sweet and fruity to taste. It makes you realise just how harsh the flavour of supermarket capsicums are.
These are great to stuff as they sit flat on a baking tray and they are not too big to put with a meal.

My little diploid potato seedlings are flowering profusely. I am excited to see what the tubers look like later. Many of them died when I got an influx of crickets who lived under the straw mulch and ate the stems. I had to push all the straw away from the stems to save the ones that survived but they are doing well now. I will have to watch that in the future.

It is a bit hard to see in this pic but I love the range of pink and purple shades in the flowers, each one is different.

I think I have about 40 plants still alive from about 200 and I hope to get about 5 that will be good enough to go on with.

These potatoes have to be hand pollinated as unlike 'common' potatoes they are not self fertile. I didn't bother pollinating them this year because I want to see what the tubers turn out like first. Next year I will do some pollinating to see what I can come up with.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Melons and heat tolerant beans

I love melons but the time of the year has come, like every year, when I am totally meloned out. Although I couldn't get many varieties going due to the cold and wet spring the ones I did manage to grow have all come ripe at once.
I have had to go out every morning to check and taste all the ones from my breeding lines for selection. Unfortunately I couldn't get many to take with hand pollinating but at least I will have an idea of what to expect next year when I plant a greater number for selection.

 I have a couple of my own melons that are only a couple of years off being right. This is one I call 'Casanova'. It looks a little similar to Emerald Gem but a bit bigger and the flesh is not as soft so it should keep better.
Unfortunately it doesn't have a ripening indicator so it is difficult to tell when it is ripe. I will have to do something about that.
It is pretty stable so I can work on finding a good, dominant ripeness sign to breed in and it will be finished.

I have had the seeds to two large melons for a heap of years but have never grown them so I put some in this year to renew the seeds.
The two are 'Escondido Gold' (pictured) and 'Canoe Creek Colossal'. I really wasn't fond of Canoe Creek Colossal as the flesh was very stringy/fibrous, though it tasted ok.
Escondido Gold has the most soft and melting flesh that you have to wear a bib to eat it, or scoop the flesh with a spoon. It is delicious.

Both these have fruits that are big enough to feed a large family.

My few 'fingers' eggplants are finally fruiting. I had trouble germinating them but I think I have three colours setting. This is the white one.
The purple ones are fruiting well and are more vigorous than the green and white.

 Heat tolerant bean trial

I have finally pulled out all the bush and climbing green beans. Here is the results of my trial to find out which ones will tolerate and set pods in the heat. A couple of beans like 'Hidatsa' stood up to the heat ok but did not set pods, and I lost a heap of varieties to rabbits so this trial did not go well.

All these tolerated heat well and produced.

Tasmanian French - climbing green bean. Green pods. Good producer.
Yellow butter bean - Climbing bean that is totally stringless. Yellow pods.
African Premier - Bush dry bean. Green coloured beans with pink splashes. Red and pink spotted seeds. Good producer.
Red Swan - Bush green bean. Heat tolerant small bush. Red pods. Tastes good raw or cooked.
Crow river - Bush dry bean. This is the best producing bean I have ever seen. It literally bears itself to death. Speckled small seeds.
Devil Fin Precoce - Bush green bean. It is a bit stringy for me as a green bean but makes a very tasty shelling bean. Not as productive as I would like.

Of course the two heat tolerant beans I grow every year was not part of this trial as they are not P. vulgaris. They are bush red snake bean and blue speckled tepary bean.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Trying out my new camera, Shishigatani pumpkin and Don Quixote eggplant

I decided to get a new camera since my favourite Fuji is getting so old and I don't know how much longer it will last. I got this little Nikon Coolpix on Ebay. It is an old model but never used. I am pretty happy with the pictures though they are a little glarey. It is nice to have a littler camera that will sit in my pocket though.
I thought I would test it out today.

 I have a few plants of Shishigatani pumpkin growing this year. It is an old and rare Japanese pumpkin that is related to butternut.
The fruits are a bit smaller than I expected and lovely dark green. They will turn tan and warty when fully ripe.

The vines are quite vigorous and long but not as many fruits on them as I would expect for largish vines.

Another new one I am trying is 'Don Quixote' eggplant. This is a smallish plant that has no spines and scimitar shaped small fruits.
The almost black fruits should be picked small like in the first pic. The second pic shows an over ripe fruit.
I have noticed that these plants don't like as much heat as other eggplants. The plants are also on the small side but still quite productive for their size.

I don't have sensitive enough taste buds to pick the eating quality compared to other eggplants.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mini gourds and capsicums

With the hot days continuing I am doing my work early in the morning. After inspecting all the beds I put on the irrigation (on the days that it is needed) and get stuck into picking the snake beans - they dry out properly during the day and in the evening I can thresh them and clean the seed. I am getting a great bush snake bean harvest this year. I then go around and pick anything else that is ready for seed like melons and tomatoes.

I got notice today that my business name trademark has been accepted - it has been 6 months but we can't hurry these things, lol.  Garden Larder ™  ( I am allowed to use the ® symbol in two months when I get the paperwork in the mail). Now I am protected against anyone else in Australia using my business name to trade in plants and seeds.

 I usually only grow mini capsicums but this year I planted a new one (for me) called 'Round of Hungary'.
They are just starting to colour up now. I don't know anything about them but they look interesting, flattened and fluted.
They seem to be pretty heat tolerant and productive though the plants would be better if I had some afternoon shade over them I think. They are pretty small.

I love growing gourds but with the very late start to spring I could not plant the 'normal' sized ones with a surety that they would ripen before frost as they have a very long growing season. I did plant a few mini gourds though.
This mini spoon (top pic) and the mini bottle.
The mini bottles are great painted and used as Christmas tree decorations.

They are really late setting fruit but at least I will have fresh seed for growing more next year. I will try to get a few of all my gourd varieties going next year, as well as some loofah which I always have trouble growing for some reason.

I am busy picking all the Luxury Winter Pie pumpkins which were about the only ones which grew well this year. I already have a buyer for the seed from a market gardener who was impressed with the taste last year.

This one came equal first in my pumpkin tasting tests and I will be growing it every year.