Those little cardboard tubes

If you are into recycling here is one way of using those little cardboard tubes you will find in the bathroom!

This hint was given to me by Tatiana at the gardening group in New Farm library, I have also seen my daughter-in-law use this successfully.  The idea is that if you raise your seedlings in the cardboard tubes, when they are large enough to transplant into the garden or allotment you just pop the whole tube, plant and all, into the ground without disturbing the roots.  The cardboard will decompose. Happy plant, happy gardener.

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“Drunken Woman” lettuce for lunch today

I would grow this Drunken Woman lettuce in my allotment just for it’s name alone even if it wasn’t so beautiful. I love the pink tinge to the leaves, and the abandoned way it throws out it’s leaves.  OK, I’m getting carried away. Thank you Wendy for the seeds. I picked this one for lunch.

Drunken Woman lettuce

No problem, there are plenty more …..

A row of Drunken Woman lettuce

The radishes are coming along nicely. I am not a big fan of the radish but I planted them to mark where I had planted the rows of the much slower germinating root vegetables – parsnips, swede, carrots.

Rows of radishes as a marker

My “Nicola” potatoes are coming along nicely. In fact they are growing so well that when I banked them up with more compost and straw I had to build a cage around them to hold the whole bed together. I fancy I should get a nice crop later in the year. New potatoes dripping in butter – delicious but straight to the hips probably!

Potatoes in their ‘cage’

Here’s a shot taken from the top.

Healthy spuds

Happy gardening.

Pouring down and potting up at the allotment

After a dry spell we had a wonderful downpour at the allotment yesterday. It seems to me that one good drenching of rain will do more good in the garden than a couple of weeks of hand watering.

I have been potting up cuttings this week for the Morningside Fair being held on Sunday 29th July. Beelarong Community Farm where I keep my allotment has a stall there to promote the farm and to raise funds too. We sell plants that we raise ourselves and jams made from the fruit grown at the farm. Committee member Di works tirelessly to make this stall a success. I will be writing more about the Fair nearer to the time.

When I was at the allotment on Wednesday I pulled out a large Rosemary bush that was getting very woody making it hard to snip off pieces for my culinary needs, and taking up far too much room. So I am using the bush to start up new plants, one for myself and the rest for the Morningside Fair. This is one of them, looking pretty strong.

Rosemary cutting

Today I’m going to tackle the Brazilian Spinach. I grew this plant from a tiny cutting given to me by Lissa at our local Seed Savers meeting. But that too has rather taken over my tiny plot so I will be taking lots of cuttings from it.

This was the original plant after just a few weeks.

Brazilian Spinach

Now it’s like this – growing vigorously in a corner of my allotment, and I’ve been picking at it constantly.

Brazilian Spinach

I’ll pot up some cuttings for the Fair, but I also want to pot one up for Tatiana who leads our gardening group at New Farm Library. Brazilian Spinach grows vigorously in the sub-tropics where I live, but it seems to be one of those plants that you don’t see in nurseries. So there is a bit of an ‘underground movement’ in Brisbane to ensure it’s survival as we pass around snippets of the stuff.

Talking about survival.  Will you just look at this.  I will never understand Mother Nature. I planted lettuce seeds in the best potting mix weeks ago and after much cosseting up popped these tiny seedlings. (Look hard – they are there!)

Cos lettuce seedlings

Put that alongside this testosterone fuelled plant that is growing valiantly out of a dry brick wall outside my garage.

Happy gardening.

A Melbourne Garden

When I was in Melbourne at the weekend I took a stroll through my friend Wendy’s garden and took a few photos.

This is an interesting one – the plant is commonly known as ‘elephant ears’ as an ornamental, but the tubers are edible and are known as ‘taro’, a useful food, especially in the tropics.

Elephant Ears

Just as a matter of extra interest, the clump of rather spiky leaves with pink flowers on the right is ‘aechmea gamapetala’, a bromeliad.  On the other side is a ‘wrinkly chili’ quite mild, grown from seed in ripe chillies given to Wendy by a Greek friend.  Behind it, looking straggly, is a recently replanted black seeded chilli – very hot.  Both of these are perennial, the hot one can grow to around 3 metres and last 7 or 8 years.

The edible canna canna edulis, known as Queensland arrowroot, is quite attractive with bronze tipped leaves and smallish red flowers, although in Melbourne it has reached its scraggy season as winter approaches.

Edible Canna

A quote from Wendy “I’ve included a photo of my jaboticaba tree, as it is unusual.  It’s a Brazilian fruit tree, very slow growing, in fact this one is already about 8 years old and is only a metre and a half high.  It will, hopefully, have grape-like fruit which form right on the branches – if I live long enough!”

Jaboticaba

I thought this weeping tree below was a lovely corner of the garden
And finally, Wendy’s husband Kevin took a snap of me under this tree with the lovely autumn colours. A novelty for me because we don’t  get a fall of leaves up in Brisbane.
Thank you Kevin and Wendy for a lovely weekend.
***

A morning at Veg Out Community Garden

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Veg Out Community Gardens in St Kilda, Melbourne thanks to my friends Wendy and Kevin Hocking. There are 145 allotments beautifully maintained. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area. If you can’t make it,  you can check out their website here.

I was impressed with the whole set up.

Some allotment holders had gone to great trouble to individualise their plots using all sorts of artwork to decorate, lots of amusing letterboxes, and all sorts of fun paraphernalia.

The whole area was full of the most wonderful vegetables just bursting with life and I couldn’t stop snapping photos of them, I ended up with 70 (I think I have a problem!).  Here are just a few.

Not a caterpillar in sight

This is about as healthy as a little lettuce gets in my opinion. Wanted to slap it between two slices of bread with a slice of tomato. (Please note, I didn’t!)

I could post lots of veggie photos similar to the ones above but it could be (dare I say it?) monotonous.  So I have chosen to show you some plots that are a bit different below.

This was a pretty little plot

A quirky design from another plot holder. It was pretty impressive, shame I couldn’t get the whole of the ‘ship’ in the photo.

Another quirky design

Like I said, if you find yourself in Melbourne and you are interested in gardening – it’s a bit different and certainly worth a visit. Better check out opening times though so that you are not disappointed.

A lovely morning over at the allotment

These Brisbane days are just beautiful at the moment.  The temperature this week has hovered between 21 – 25c with clear blue skies every day, perfect weather to spend a bit of time over at the allotment.

I visited the farm yesterday morning where I keep my allotment for our usual Wednesday gathering of allotment holders and volunteers working in the community garden. It was another opportunity to work on the land with friends and enjoy our morning tea together.

Good news. There are horses back again in the field next door, a wonderful opportunity to gather some ‘good stuff’ to add to our compost bins and give them a real boost.

It has been pretty dry lately so we did some watering and worked on the community garden, weeded, planted new seedlings, turned the compost bins, mowed the grass, put weeds through the mulcher, … and so it goes on.

Here’s a Wednesday morning view across part of the community garden.

I have a new toy

I had an old cooker that has served me well since I moved into my unit nearly 15 years ago. The only thing it needed during this time was a couple of new elements in the hob. But it’s done it’s dash and has been overtaken by new technology.

So yesterday the new fan forced super duper modern ceramic hob cooker arrived, and the electrician was here at the crack of dawn today to connect it all up. Here it is. Shiny, new, gleaming and ready for action. I love it.

I have my homework for the day…. the instruction book.

 

 

Banking up the potatoes – again

I had a really good afternoon at the allotment yesterday. They open the tool shed at the farm from 3pm every Sunday afternoon so that allotment holders have access to wheelbarrows, hose pipes and a whole range of tools to use on their plot. There is only so much you can carry in your car boot so this is a wonderful opportunity to do the heavier jobs using the farm’s equipment.

My original idea was to do a bit of weeding and tidying up. But wouldn’t you know it. Never goes to plan. I took one look at the potato bed and realised the only job I’d be doing that afternoon was banking up the potatoes a second time. The plants had really grown and were just starting to fall over. So out came a wheelbarrow and I trolled around the farm collecting compost. A barrowload of wet compost is not for wimps. Here I have to thank Craig for helping with shovelling and pushing the loaded wheelbarrow back to my little plot. I finished the job off with a layer of straw mulch.

Still found time to have a yarn with the other allotment holders and see what they were growing. The sun was setting when the last of us stragglers left.

Happy Birthday Hilda

Happy Birthday Hilda over there in the UK.  We met in infants school in England more years ago than I am prepared to mention here.   It was great to talk to you on the telephone today. This is for you Hilda because I know you are watching!

It’s not my backyard, just down the allotment.

Jerry Coleby-Williams open garden

I spent half an hour at the allotment this morning giving a gentle watering over the seeds of root vegetables I planted earlier this week. They will be slow in germinating so I planted quick growing radishes in the same drill and they are popping up their heads so I’ll be sure to know where my parsnips and swedes are.  I also gave a liquid feed to my silver beet and kale seedlings.

But the highlight of the morning was my visit to the garden of Jerry Coleby-Williams. You will know Jerry if you watch ABC Gardening Australia.

Enjoying the garden on a beautiful morning.

You can check out all about Jerry on his website.

Previous Older Entries

Frugal Queen

Writing about all things thrifty, home cooking, fun on a budget and living between Cornwall and Huelgoat in Brittany.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

The Power of Thrift

and other ramblings

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The Blog that Challenges Policitally Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

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'obbitry of the horticultural kind

Leisa Rayven

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Frugal Queen

Writing about all things thrifty, home cooking, fun on a budget and living between Cornwall and Huelgoat in Brittany.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

The Power of Thrift

and other ramblings

Nourishing Traditions

The Blog that Challenges Policitally Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

could do worse

adventures in London

Allotmentals Plot 103

Allotment, garden and daytrips

Pickle Me Too

Nourishing foods for the whole family (including pickles!)

myproductivebackyard

Sustainable Backyard Food Production

My Front Burner

making what matters

30 acres of sunshine

organic, sustainable and self-sufficient hobby farm in the making

Lottie Land Girl

Living the 'Good Life' the Brown way!

Throwback at Trapper Creek

An ongoing chronicle of meeting the expectations of the land...

Foodnstuff

Energy decline & self-sufficiency from Melbourne, Australia

horticultural 'obbit

'obbitry of the horticultural kind

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