A visit to Green Harvest

Yesterday I made a visit to Green Harvest, the organic seed producers, by accident.

I was visiting Maleny on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, driving along the Maleny/ Kenilworth road and just came across it. What a lovely surprise.

If you live in South East Queensland, and you want to purchase organic seeds – Green Harvest is the place. For one thing, because it’s local you know that if they can grow it, so can you. (In theory!)

At Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment we practice our own seed-saving. However, if you want to try something new – and they have a wonderful selection of seeds – you get them from (you guessed it) G.H.

I have very little growing in my allotment over these hot summer months – the reason my blogging has tapered off. I have one cucumber plant that is trying to take over Brisbane (I swear you can hear it growing); a few snake bean plants which enjoy sub-tropical conditions; and various herbs carrying on heroically.

That doesn’t leave much for the dinner plate.

However, after chatting to the staff at G.H. I found a couple of interesting plants that will (should!) keep me in green leaves throughout the summer.

This Surinam Spinach Talinum triangulare,  (and I quote) a leafy green; self-sowing annual; use raw or cooked.

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Surinam Spinach

And this – Mushroom plant Rungia klossii – perennial low-growing leaf vegetable, use raw or cooked.

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Mushroom plant

So, dear readers, I shall not starve this summer!

Happy gardening.

A solitary Lebanese Cucumber

Last week I put my allotment to bed for the summer.

This week I weakened.

My allotment neighbour Brian had a small punnet of Lebanese Cucumbers and needed a new home for the last one.

Well Dear Reader what would you have done?

So I planted it. And here it is.

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I found this empty plastic water bottle someone had left behind, cut the bottom off, removed the lid, and stuck it upside down in the ground beside the plant for ease of watering .

This helps in two ways, saves wasting water by taking the water straight to the roots of the plant, but it also saves getting water on the leaves which in our humid summer encourages a mould on the leaves. That’s the theory anyway. If it works I will be patenting it.

This lucky little seedling is sitting in a lovely pile of rotted compost because we had just opened one of the big compost bins, right next to my allotment, and I took advantage of it.

I watered it in with a weak solution of worm juice (wee) and pulled the mulch around it to keep the moisture in.

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I am not sure about pollination as it sits alone, but it’s sitting pretty close to my neighbours seedlings so I’m hoping it won’t be a problem.  This one plant will keep me in cucumbers throughout the summer as they grow prolifically as long as you keep them watered and they get lots of sunshine. Well, the sunshine is guaranteed!

(I’ve just noticed the toe of my rubber gardening shoe in the corner of the pic.)

Happy gardening

“We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave”

Who first sang that line?  I’m singing it today!

It’s 39c degrees in Brisbane as the heatwave continues this week.

I went over to the allotment at the crack of dawn this morning to see if anything is still living!  It was.

It amazes me that stuff is still growing despite this heat as I cannot get over every day to water it. But I thought it was a good idea not to push my luck and to harvest as much as I can, while I can.

I filled up insulated bags with plenty of silverbeet, kale, parsley, cucumbers and carrots. Once I’ve finished this post I’ll process the silverbeet and kale for the freezer. The curly parsley is starting to go to seed so I picked heaps of it and I’ll chop it up and freeze it in ice cubes.

I’ll check over the cucumbers to make sure the fruit fly hasn’t stung them and I’ll probably have enough to do another small batch of bread and butter pickles.

It will be a good way to spend the afternoon, in the air conditioning.

Just to finish off, here is a pic of my first tiny little melon. It was hiding under a leaf.  Is it cute or what?

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Happy gardening.

Work continues on the wheelchair access at the farm

We are improving wheelchair access at Beelarong Community Farm where I keep my allotment. Concrete paths were laid this week.

Concrete can cut an ugly swathe through any previously green area but will be softened once we relay some turf to butt up to the concrete path. We were working on laying the turf yesterday but I had to leave before the job was finished so I couldn’t take a pic.

The important thing is that this gives easier wheelchair access to the raised garden bed, the meeting area where we share our morning tea, the sheds where the tools are kept and the toilet (which also has wheelchair access).

I set out to the allotment early yesterday morning to beat the heat of the day. There was hardly any weeding to be done as the whole plot is mulched now. I harvested the last bag of potatoes and picked plenty of kale. The kale and silverbeet is still producing even though the plants are a bit long in the tooth now as they are what remains of my winter crops.

Yay! picked the first of the Lebanese cucumbers. (The tomatoes are courtesy of my local greengrocer. Gotta support him where I can with fruit and tomatoes as I grow most of my other stuff.)

I want to harvest enough of these little cucumbers over the next few months to make my bread and butter pickles.

Lebanese cucumbers, first of the season

Know what I love about my home-grown veggies? They have more personality than those in Coles (supermarket) where they only stock straight cucumbers.

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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