Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ouchie. Hope I can recover from this.

Went into the office today. Umm, a Christmas present from Marziah was looking distinctly muchade - floppy.

Man, I'm only - really - good with houseplants that can stand sustained neglect but don't die from too much kindness either. Says a lot about me really, I suppose. Ahem. And I have been known to resurrect dead plants. Ahem.

I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: I may be out of the woods. Marziah will laugh when she sees this. Now.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Debbie White's Garlic

My friend Marziah gave me some garlic last year from one of her great friends, Debbie White. I didn't get around to using it, so I planted it.

Which was handy because Marziah had a crop failure and lost all of hers, so we can keep the strain going.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

70mm of rain last night

We'll see how my vines go. I expect badly, the downy mildew will go mad. Croppers will be selling off a heap of grain for feed. Wettest ever Dec day in Adelaide. Wow.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

$300 worth of Dutch Iris

On a positive note, I dug out a 3 year old bed of Dutch Iris, that I planted for $20. About 100 full size bulbs and a kg of bulblets.

I'll get a killer mass of new flowers next spring, and I should be able to grow those bulblets up to full size next year. Then it'll be $1000 worth of bulbs.

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These December rains are starting to cause problems. No matter how much I spray, the Downy Mildew is on the march. See the yellow "oilspots", the puckered leaves and the - well - downy fuzz on the rear surface. Any more rain or humidity, that downy will start forming on the clusters. From there the fruit ripens with black, disgusting crap all over them.

Outlook is not good, but goodness knows I tried.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Root Knot

Out of one of my other beds this tomato is showing the first signs of nematode problems.

See those clumps on the roots? Root knot nematodes. Happens when you don't rotate. What to do? The soft answer is to plant other stuff for a couple of years. The serious answer - run a crop of marigold there all year then dig the green back in. Man, that's a big hit.
I'll keep you informed.

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Tomato progress

They're tall and with golf ball size fruit. Lovin the sun.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome, tomatoes

Here they are. Four Roma, four mighty red. Drip line, rainwater option, anti chook fence, marigolds in front and the framework all set up for mid summer shade. Planted into compost rich mix, these tomatoes are ready to keep working on sunny days, when I have to be indoors.
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Loquats are on the way now

Again, no fruit last year but they've come on for this year.
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Nashi in flower

Last year I didn't get any fruit which was a shame because I'd set up the mother of all bird nets for it. It's promising this year.
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Feel like a bet?

This is a cordyline that was given to me by good friend Marziah. I kept it in my office and it got sick. Then I brought it home to intensive care. NOT the coriander behind it - the stick in front. And it got worse and worse. But I think I'll save it. Even before I brought it home my honours student buddy David had given the plant its last rites.

Care to bet on me saving it?

UPDATE DEC 29: Progress is being made. Must. not. give. up. 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Planting out a citrus

Dig wide, not deep, plenty of organic matter - the soil needs to be fluffy. Don't disturb the roots, plant in a raised bed and ONLY when the soils are really warm.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Killer antipasto mushrooms

Decadent, and vegetarian!

Buy the mushies on special, or whatever.

They don't have to look too good. Two frypans. Put a heap of olive oil into a hot pan, place the fresh mushies in, stem down, put a lid on. Keep the heat up and fiddle as much as you like. For 5-10 minutes.

Then turn the heat down, lid on for about five, ten, until they go a bit soggy looking and have a lot of juice in the bottom. Salt them during this time.

Get your other nonstick frypan going. Hot. Bring over your soggy mushrooms and fry the hard, until they're as browned and sexy looking as you like.

Take them out, place them stems down onto tissue paper. Eat them hot or chill them. Either way you're a star.

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Protect your citrus roots

Here's an orange I just planted out. They HATE getting their roots disturbed. With a dog and some chooks, that's a very real possibility. So I got some light wire, ran it across the surface and stapled it to the edge of the box. It works.

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First daylight savings

So I cut the insiders and decided to use the hour in the garden. That'll keep the flow and I'll catch the audio later. What a day!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spring is really kicking

 The buds have shot away...

An overcast Saturday after a sunny week, with a little rain due to follow. A great time for anyone who cares about their garden.

This weekend I'll cut the lawns, oilspray the roses, confidor (or pyrethrum) a suffering peach for its black aphids, fertilise the fruit trees, replant a marsh grapefruit that's well ready and tidy up a worn out bed, ready for planting pumpkin next week.

I think the flag has dropped for spring, at least in Adelaide. So I'll be getting to it without trepidation.
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Spring Compost

Yay. All those clippings and leaves from autumn and winter, now the temps are up, are coming down to a reasonable volume and consistency.

This heap was previously three times the size. A quick turn, yesterday and today, a few more weeks and I'll have the equivalent of a half pallet of compost - about 50 bags, normally valued as $6 per bag.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Government assisted garden care

I love the way I came back from this trip and found that the tree - of mine - that was invading the street powerlines had been pruned. See the harsh cut towards the right of the frame? Great - huge job and one I couldn't work out how to do. It was worrying me because the branches were fouling the powerlines.

My brain had worked that one out ages ago - it's their problem - but my emotions were still stewing on it.

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Drought tolerant parsley

Ever wonder why Italian parsley survives so well? Probably those foot long roots.

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Exploding into spring

Lots of early signs. The ground is wet, the sun's out a little more, soils are warming. If gardening is about assisting nature to do what it needs, this is the season where nature gives me a hand.
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Surprise Citrus

Against advice I bought a Tahitian lime about 15 years ago. I get about six fruit a year, where if I'd bought West Indian I'd be getting hundreds. But a tough prune in winter has brought strong spring growth and - surprise - two great fruit.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Reservoirs very full

SA has a heap of water. That's good. Overflowing reservoirs give these great things calle "environmental flows" - ie flush all the crap out to sea.

I hardly expect any relief - my water bill will still be thumping - but it's good for the state.

Friday, September 3, 2010

HEAPS of rain in Adelaide

I'm here in Singapore but the word is that Adelaide is a full sponge. The end of August has always been a miserable time for me in Adelaide. Winter just refuses to come to an end. So it's probably good I'm here.
I am a little nervous about what I'll return home to, however. The lawn will be crap, leaks in the roof might have collapsed the drywall. We got 113mm in Aug, compared to 55mm last year. And today has unloaded 21mm so far.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tamarillo with garlic underneath

I've never grown a tamarillo before - it's meant to be a tomato like fruit that tasted like a passionfruit. And the garlic that Marziah gave me is planted around it.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

You can prune a fig back to nothing

I let mine grow a single node each year. It fruits fine. The biggest challenge with figs is to keep the birds off it and the fruit at an acceptable height. At this rate this tree will take 20 year to get 8ft tall. Perfect. Just make sure to pull out all the ground shoots, about three times a year.
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Late Winter Chillies

Planted a single one of these last season, and they've been maturing all winter. I'll strip all the fruit and lightly prune before I go to Singapore.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garlic has sprouted

A friend gave me some homegrown garlic that I didn't use in time. So I planted it. It has started very strongly; while I'm away in early spring I think it'll really kick off.

All I can do is winter damage control this weekend. I'll spray the wintergrass, some more copper on the stonefruit, throw around some fertiliser -oh, and plant those abused roses I rescued from Bunnings. Nice $7.00 wins there but gee do they mistreat their roses.

I'm annoyed I couldn't get to Ross Roses at Willinga this year.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Things I'd Like to do at home

I'll build a little hot box for those lucky bamboo that are suffering in the cold.
I want to clear the front veranda that has bikes and coffee tables etc sitting there - sylv harshly referred to it as making the place look like a rental property.
Clear the back step for a similar reason Clean out the "unstruck" lavender and buddeleiah -reminds me I'd better get E to pour some water in there tomorrow.
Clear out and dig over last year's yomato plantings. Prep next year's bed - just behind it. That'll keep tomato roots going into different soil and hopefully keep nematodes down.
Move soil around as well. Get all this year's old tomato soil into the compost heap. Better google that to see if it is the way to go.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Now THAT'S a mango!

This doesn't give a true indication of size but these mangoes in Cold Storage are HUGE!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's killing me being away

Listening to talkback gardening here in Singapore and it's killing me. Plenty of stuff to do at home; pruning, fertilising, gypsum, mowing, scarifying, composing, even planting early stuff under plastic. But I'm here in Singapore. Still - a few days and I'll be back. Not so happy about spending my Birthday here in Singapore away from my family but I knew it was headed this way.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pink Tip Stage

Another job for this time of the year. When your stone fruit starts to look like this, spray with some copper based fungicide. Kocide, Bordeaux, Mancozeb plus. It'll stop a whole range of stuff; leaf curl, freckle, brown rot (I think). It's just the right thing to do - leave it and you'll be looking for fixes in spring and the advice will be "you should've sprayed back at pink tip stage"
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Winter in OZ

When people ask me "what should I plant right now" my typical answer is "get your soil under control and do your pruning".

Sure you can plant some winter vegies or flowers and you'll get something out of that. Broccoli, Lettuce, Coriander, Rocket in particular. Primulas, Daisies, especially Iceland Poppies. You'll get something out of that. You can also plant plums and all those other bare rooted fruit trees and of course roses; australian natives go in really well at the moment. You'll get something out of that, but the garden moves slowly at this time of year.

But the best thing. Soil. If you've got bare soil that you want to get better, put four bags of cow manure on it and just leave it. You could have done that as long ago as early June. That, alone is the best thing you can do. In late August you can turn the soil over, put some seedlings in there and it'll rip away.

The other high yield activity is garden maintenance. Sounds boring, but you get one chance a year to do it right. Prune anything that loses its leaves and rake up all that leaf litter that's under your deciduous trees. You're wrong to think it's good mulch - what you're doing if you leave all that stuff under your tree is allowing the fungal and pest lifecycle to go untrammelled. So break the cycle. Clear up all the crap - if you're organised you'll put it on that bare soil before you put the cow manure on the top of it. That's compost. It'll kill all those diseases.

Get to it. Do the boring stuff. It makes you look like a star in spring time.