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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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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The Garden Share Collective: November 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.

heartsee

It’s Spring time but there’s not much happening in our garden. Not one of the bulbs I planted came up! Matt pulled out all of the brassicas in our vegetable beds because the caterpillars were winning that battle. There is not much remaining in the beds, just some kale and beetroot.

lemon-tree

The dwarf Meyer lemon tree that was on it’s last legs has been revived with some chicken manure and seaweed solution. We repotted the herb garden we were given at Christmas and it’s doing really well. I was surprised, because it was planted in soil made entirely from grass clippings!

We lost a couple of fruit trees this month with the lack of rain and heat. I think they were mostly lychees which a colleague had warned me that they were too fussy for Brisbane’s hot weather. I did grow them from seed, so it was sad to see them wilt and die.

Matt was given a gardening kit for his birthday and it was made up of two narrow tin pots for the windowsill. Unfortunately the combination of the tin being too hot and the coir bedding material meant it needed to be watered every day. The lettuce ended up pathetic looking and only the dill is doing really well. Matt has abandoned it as a failure.

Here’s hoping we get some more rain so we can revive the garden this coming month. I am planning on planting some flowers in the outer garden and some drought-hardy vegetables in the vegetable beds.

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The Garden Share Collective: October 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.

I volunteered at Northey Street City Farm, but it’s starting to get too hot to be working outside in the garden in the middle of the day.

In the vegetable beds, I planted Red Kuri pumpkin, Eggplant Listada di Gandia, Leek Elephant, Hales Best rockmelon, Sugar baby watermelon and Minnesota midget rockmelon. Some of these seeds were old, so it’s more than likely they won’t come up. We also need some decent rain to soak the beds.

bottlebrush

The red bottlebrushes of the King’s Park are spectacular and are really the highlight of our garden this month. The rainbow lorikeets adore them.

bottlebrush2

We have been harvesting lots of green beans and green leafy vegetables. My parents had an abundance of lettuce, so we got a bunch and made lettuce soup – delicious, if not unusual and very subtle.

Plans for next month include working out how to revive my citrus tree that looks half dead but still bares a fruit. I also want to plant out the first bed with more vegetables.

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The Garden Share Collective: September 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.

sept-carrot

I volunteered twice at Northey Street City Farm in the nursery, so I learnt how they propagate seeds and then make the seedlings ready for selling to the public. I got some rejects to take home and plant – Purple Dragon carrots (above) and kale seedlings which seem to be doing well in Bed 3. Some old potatoes have also come up in this bed.

sept-bed-brassica

This is bed two – we been eating lots of baby cauliflower and green leaves from this bed. Matt picks off all the caterpillars by hand each afternoon. 

sept-bed

This is bed four – we are harvesting green beans and kale from this bed. I fertilized all of my fruit trees with yellow leaves with Epsom salts.

sept-beans

I planted two seeds of Giant Pumpkin for a growing challenge, but they unfortunately haven’t come up. Matt bought a chilli seedling and planted it in bed one. It’s Scotch Bonnet orange – very hot.

The highlight of the month was going on a tour of Northey Street City Farm, which I had to go on before I volunteered to work there. It was very inspiring. I’d like to go back to volunteering again before the weather becomes too hot. I also wrote a blog post on what is a herb spiral?.

This coming month I’d like to plant out some seeds in bed one and three.

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The Garden Share Collective: August 2013

Garden Share Collective

Welcome to all the new readers and hello again to my faithful long-term readers. I’ve decided to join the Garden Share Collective as a way to track the progress we are making in our garden and as a way to motivate us to get out there and make the most of the our backyard.

Our garden

We have been gardening for 6 years now, and learnt many lessons along the way. The garden is based on permaculture ideas and we use organic methods and inputs. We try as much as possible to use open-pollinated, heirloom seeds. Around the perimeter of the garden is planted out with natives to attract wildlife and provide a wind break.

We have four beds for vegetables, where we practice no-dig gardening. At present, Bed 1 is mostly fallow with some self-sown parsley and Queen Anne’s Lace.

broccoli seedlings

cauliflower

Bed 2 has some broccoli seedlings, cauliflower and kale from Northey Street.

Bed 3 has some Egyptian spinach which is not doing anything. It was recommended to us from Annette McFarlane in a talk at the Queensland Plant Expo.

brassicas

Bed 4 is doing the best, but we aren’t exactly sure what we have planted. The seedlings were gifted to us from Matt’s Mum, and we think they are either purple cauliflower, broccoli or kale – they are a brassica of some kind! We also have two lots of heirloom beans which all came up.

buckinghamia-celsissima

We have about 11 herbs in pots, and 19 fruit trees and vines in big pots which we are gradually putting into the ground. Matt planted our two free plants from the Brisbane City Council along the fence line. They were both Buckinghamia Celsissima (above) and they have the most interesting shaped leaves. Matt also planted into the ground a sea grape, peanut tree and a pomegranate.

lillypilly

There is lots of new growth on the lillypillies and black sapote.

Highlights from the month

tumeric

We recently pulled up all of our tumeric plants to harvest them and got a bumper crop. We got lots of inspiration and ideas from The Queensland Garden Expo and the highlight was meeting Costa. With some recommendations from Jerry I wrote about Plants for honey bees.

I was fortunate to interview Marion Grasby and also Ian Hemphill, Herbie’s Spices.

To do list

I must confess I’m not very good at planning the garden month to month, so this month is just going to be to plant in some more fruit trees into the ground and plant some seeds in the two empty beds. I’m also hoping to attend one of the free tours on a Tuesday at Northey Street City Farm.

I’ll be happy if I keep better records and I hope blogging for the Garden Share Collective will motive me to do just that.

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