Saturday, 8 August 2015

My nursery obsession - and getting started on your garden.

Most of my friends are of the age that when you say nursery they think change tables and nappy holders and giraffe growth charts.  Me on the other hand - I think gardening!  I don't seem to be able to drive past a nursery without stopping and buying another punnet of seedlings, or a fruit tree, or a half price pot, or all of the above.  So this post is really for people like I was a year ago - very new to gardening, and maybe you don't know where to start.

My usual go to nursery is Flower Power.  This is not sponsored, (although I'd be very open to some sort of barter arrangement - I promise to post my purchases if I get some freebies!) but it is the most convenient place to my inner city suburb where I can still buy plenty of reasonably priced potting mix, and seedlings galore.  And even though it's a chain store I still think of it as being better than going to your generic Coles or Woolworths owned hardware caverns.
For herbs I think it is worthwhile going to your local fruit shop.  Sounds unusual, but mine certainly has herbs such as basil, coriander, mint and many others in pots rather than your usual bunches - you might as well pick up a plant, use what you need for dinner and then plant the rest.  Sometimes florists have things like this for sale too, or maybe that just depends on your local shops - but probably worth having a look.

Then I have the local organic farmers markets.  I can't go every week or I really would have too many plants to even fit in my yard.  Our local markets (at Orange Grove Public School) have fruit trees, seedlings and plenty of potted colour, all at very reasonable prices.  You can read about some of my adventures with seedlings from Orange Grove here.

And then there are the online nurseries.  I purchased a landscaping bulk buy of bulbs in March (the results of those will be posted at a future date - but it's looking pretty good so far.  Mind you, with 400 bulbs - yes, I have one of the smallest gardens you will ever see and I bought 400 bulbs - so I had to give a lot away to my dad).

I haven't even tried any seed swaps yet, but I've been seeing them the more I read of other people's blogs, and they certainly seem a great idea.  Not sure what my coriander and basil seeds (the only things I have managed to be able to save yet) would really be worth, but maybe I could swap hundreds of them for something more exotic....  I saw some information about the Seed Freedom Food Festival when it was posted in the Garden Share Collective group on Facebook and although I won't be in Adelaide it does look like a great event.

So I don't suppose it really matters where you get your seeds from, but get out and get planting!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Garden Share Collective - August

I missed last months Garden Share due to work, planning a holiday and general laziness.  But despite my general neglect of the garden (or maybe because of it!) some of my vegies are going well - and some not so well.

So as I missed last month this is a sort of catch up post!

I have managed to do a bit of planting, most of which was done in mid July.  I put in broad beans, cauliflower, and baby beets.  All were bought as seedlings, some from our local organic markets, (Orange Grove) and some from the nursery.  I also bought a kaffir lime tree from the markets.

These are my broad beans and cauliflowers after planting.
Snow peas are going great - climbing up my improvised chicken wire lattice - and I have even managed to harvest a grand total of 4 peas - but there are plenty more coming.

Lovely snow peas flowering away -and some of the peas themselves
My first ever snow pea ready to harvest

Broad beans also look good, flowering away and have grown much bigger.  No beans yet but I'm sure they're coming.

The broad bean flowers are quite lovely.

Trying to be arty aerial view of the broad beans - but it means you can't see really how well they've grown
The cauliflowers have grown and my land cress appears to still be working to keep the caterpillars away, but no sign of any florets yet.

The pak choi has been half/half - two seedlings bolted straight to seed and are now flowering away - the other two are looking like we need to cook some stir fries!

Look at the pak choi go!
Silverbeet has grown well and we have been picking a bit as we go.

Need to get eating the spinach

Other vegies that have still been providing this month are my never ending rocket plant - the more we pick, the more we get!

Some of the celery I planted ages ago is still going strong.

Coriander has gone a bit to seed but there are still quite a few good plants, and the other herbs - oregano, mint, thyme, rosemary - are still ticking along.  I also put in a pineapple sage so will see how that turns out.

When we got back from our holiday I discovered the broccolettes had all gone to seed, so they have been pulled out. Likewise my chilli plants I decided to pull out as they had gone pretty straggly.  The garlic were looking a bit brown, which may have been from lack of water (I went away and had assumed it would rain enough to water my garden - luckily nothing died but I probably should have arranged some watering!) and the lemon tree is looking like it needs a bit of fertiliser.

Bit of a mess - but broccolettes gone to seed, coriander also heading that way, the never ending rocket and some chives hidden in there too.

The garlic plants are still going well.

I had to conclude my potato in a bag experiment as all the plants had died.  I think a variety of factors played a part in this failed effort - probably not enough sun as I had in my back courtyard, which gets very little direct sun.  Also I have a bad habit of neglecting the back yard and focussing on the front, so I may not have watered often enough.  And when I just dug out the bag I discovered the top soil was quite dry but the bottom soil was quite muddy and almost clay like, so I suspect the drainage in the bag was not sufficient.  So for my 4+ months of effort I only have 3 small chats and some tiny easter egg sized potatoes!  On the plus side, the soil in the bag was full of worms and will now be stored until I can use it for some more planting in spring.

The grand total of my potato experiment.  Not exactly successful.

Very blurry but we're hardly going to be self sufficient at this rate!
So my plans for the next month - I will be travelling a lot for work so realistically I won't get much done, and can't really plant too many seeds as I won't be around to care for them.  But I'm hoping to keep tending my peas and beans.  I also want to spend some time planning out my spring/summer garden as my pots seem to be multiplying and I want to dig up my front garden bed, which has been overrun with self seeded vincas and even a primula or two that have popped up - but I think I could use the space better for vegies given the full sun it receives.