The Garden Share Collective: July 2014

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

gsc-trees

Our fruit trees are growing well. Here from left to right is our black sapote (chocolate pudding) fruit tree, guava (coffee tree underneath) and our tropical apple.

gsc-tropical-apple

I’m so excited to see our first tropical apple coming along well. The citrus trees are doing much better and we have had a few limes. The macadamia is nearly up to my hip.

gsc-carrots

We’ve had a bumper crop of carrots and bulls blood beetroots. We eat the leaves of the beetroot, either steamed or roasted just like kale chips. We have also had a few of our own sweet potatoes, but they are a bit stringy for my liking.

We planted in some of our seeds from Fair Dinkum Seeds, and the garlic and marigolds have come up already. The Egyptian spinach is not doing much. The coffee plants have red beans on them, but not enough to make it worthwhile harvesting yet. We got a free basil seedling from our local library on Saturday that needs planting out.

The weather has been getting cooler, so we haven’t spent as much time in the garden as I would have liked, but everything is going well.

Coming up I’m hoping to give everything a handful of rooster booster, trace elements and seaweed solution. Things will be quiet again since winter is here.

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The Garden Share Collective: June 2014

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month (after a bit of a break), so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

fairdinkumseeds

We generously received some seeds to trial from Fair Dinkum Seeds. I encourage you to go and visit them, as they specialise in hard to find heirloom seeds.

fairdinkumseeds-2

We plan on having a gardening session and planting  some of these in the vegetable beds this afternoon. Haven’t we had lovely weather lately? Perfect for gardening anyhow.

citrus

Our citrus trees are going well, but they take forever for the fruit to develop to maturity. I’ll give them some seaweed solution and potash today.

figs

Our figs are starting to develop, and I can’t wait to try them. You know I have never had fig from the grocery store, only home-grown ones. They are always seem to expensive.

carrots

In the vegetable beds, we are growing carrots and bulls blood beetroots. It looks like we are going to have a bumper crop, since Matt used the whole packet of carrot seeds! There is also some sweet potato and Egyptian spinach growing in the beds. Our chilli is going well, but Matt finds it’s not hot enough. We aren’t actually harvesting anything at the moment.

Today we are also planning on adding some mulch to the vegetable beds, and one bed, in particular, needs a top of organic matter and soil. I’ll also give all the fruit trees some rooster booster. I’m hoping to have a productive afternoon in the garden.

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The Garden Share Collective: February 2014

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

feb-zucchini

We have been harvesting black beauty zucchini (above) and a few acerola cherries (below). All the rain we have had was a welcome sight. We also harvested a suyu cucumber, but it was terribly bitter and inedible. Apparently the bitterness is caused by environmental stress, or irregular watering (ah ha!). The only downside of all the rain we’ve had recently.

feb-acerola-cherry

Some of our fruit trees really need to go in to the ground as they are out growing their pots.

feb-mandarin

We’re having mixed results with the citrus trees. I rang the nursery to see why they were forming fruits and then falling off – they suggested the citrus need a complete fertiliser. I have only been using chicken manure and Epsom salts. However with the rain, they seem to be starting to form larger fruit. Some how in my head I think they need potash, but I could be wrong. The photo (above) is of a mandarin that has taken months to mature.

feb-rockmelon

We are yet to harvest the canary yellow rockmelon (above), as I’m not sure how big the mature sized fruit is, but I’m really looking forward to trying it. The Egyptian spinach is at the end of it’s life and now producing seed pods.

Matt spent the long Australian Day weekend mowing and cleaning up both the front and back yards, so the place is looking really good (outside anyhow). I need to get some more seeds in the ground in the coming month.

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Companion planting

nasturtiums-orange-jan

Here are some tried and tested companions that help a variety of edible plants:

  • Marigold with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and most plants – repels white fly and root nematodes
  • Corn with spinach, swiss chard and leafy greens – protects and shades delicate leaves from the harsh sun
  • Borage with strawberries, cucumber and most edible plants – increases yield by adding nitrogen to the soil and attracting bees
  • Onions and garlic with fruit trees, tomatoes and eggplant – help deter aphids, slugs and other insects and weeds
  • Geranium with grapes, tomatoes and eggplant – attract insect pests so they stay away from other plants
  • Comfrey with tomatoes, berries and fruit trees – the leaves are full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium
  • Nasturtiums with cabbage, radishes and apple trees – attract aphids so the aphids avoid other plants
  • Sage with cabbage, carrots and strawberries – repels the cabbage white butterfly.

Can you think of any others?

Edible Garden Design by Jamie Durie

Photo by Jan.

Garden design widths

kale-bed3

When designing your garden it’s handy to know what are good measurements for the vegetable bed width and path width. Both will depend on your available space and the design shape you wish to use.

The ideal width of your bed will be if you can reach to the centre of the the bed from all sides. A good rule of thumb for a ground level bed is 1.2 metres.

The best width for a path will need to be able to accommodate a wheelbarrow. If you are designing for a school or aged care facility you may want to make sure a wheelchair can be used on the path. 90cm to a metre is a good width.

Crop rotation

sunflowers

An easy way to remember crop rotation is dividing plants into leggy, leafy, fruity and rooty. These plants must be rotated so as to meet and replenish their Nitrate needs.

  • Leggy = legumes
  • Leafy = high Nitrate feeding
  • Fruity = medium Nitrate feeding
  • Rooty = low Nitrate feeding.

The Garden Share Collective: December 2013

Garden Share Collective

I’m participating in the Garden Share Collective again this month, so here’s a round up of what has happened in our garden over the last month.

figs

We’ve been waiting and waiting for it to rain, and finally it did! Yeah. The garden is now looking fresher and greener. Our fig plant is fruiting and so is one of our limes. The acerola cherry has berries on it and the coffee plants are just thriving in this weather.

mystery-plant-bed

We planted Egyptian spinach months and months ago, and only now has it started to come up. We must confess we didn’t know what it was when it first came up and someone identified it for us on the Brisbane Local Food Ning.

kale-bed3

Only the third bed is planted out with huge amounts of kale and behind it you can see the Egyptian spinach. In the forth bed, there are the tiny beginnings of cucumber, rockmelon and zucchini – fingers crossed they make it through the next couple of hot months.

It’s going to be pretty quiet in the garden because it’s just too hot to be outside working in Summer. So the plan is to keep everything alive for the next few months.

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Does anyone know what plant this is?

mystery-plant-bed

Can anyone identify this plant which is about 30 cm high and has small yellow flowers?

It’s living in our vegetable beds. Matt thinks it may be a companion plant. It doesn’t look like what I planted there – eggplant, pumpkin, leek, rockmelon or watermelon!?! So I’m not sure what it is.

 

Best plants for Brisbane’s weather

strawberry-watercolour

I attended a seminar on vegetable gardens presented by Tim Auld. He encouraged the group to brainstrorm the best plants for each of the seasons in Brisbane.

He explained that the traditional seasonal climates (spring, summer, autumn and winter) are mostly applicable to southern states of Australia. Queensland has a more temperate climate (sub-tropic) and further north have a tropical wet season (Dec – March).

Here’s the list of plants the group came up with:

Plants for the wet season (December to March):

  • ceylon spinach, choko, kang kong, melons, squash,  snake beans, sweet potato, taro and yams

Plants for a Cool temperate summer (April to August):

  • broccoli, carrot, garlic, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radish, silverbeet, spinach, and tomatoes

Plants for a Mediterranean summer (September to November):

  •  basil, beans, beetroot, capsicum, chilli, corn, melons, silverbeet, and squash