Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zinnia time of year again

I always know it is time when a self sown Zinnia pops up.
You can see the environment could be described as harsh
But this little seedling is on a mission
This one is out in the rows.
I have raised some seeds and planted them in a circle.
It was supposed to be purple...pink will do!
Again out in the rows, this is a self sown Lions tail.
Hanging out with the Iris's
I really respect a plant that grows itself.
I also respect those plants that can survive our extreme temperatures
These Calla Lillies got a bit fried on that 45 degree day
Today we are expecting 40
My Roma Tomatoes are flowering and fruiting.
I am sure we will get a red one by Christmas.

This is the best patch of tom's Ive grown in a while.
With all this on offer
I have been surprised and frustrated that the rabbits have enjoyed my Asters

They have eaten the centres out of these poor specimens repeatedly.
I have replanted  and replanted but have just the one flowering

This will make it hard to fill my flower sales for the remainder of December
Blasted bunnies, sure they are cute but...
you should see what they are doing out in the paddock.
I'd sure like to blast them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

These are the latest camels out of the kiln

I am taking them to the farmers market tomorrow
It's really a food only market but I figure
a camel is required for ease of eating the food at an evening BBQ

Besides, they look good in front of the herbs,
and they will be guarding the ceramic plant tags.
These are three wise camels...
don't know what happened to their men?
My after school pottery kids need a quick finish activity for the last day
Usually its about time and patience but at Christmas time it is all about
We made some stars and trees.
Kids love glitter and I have to say in the right place it is fine
It works a treat on our stars.
These are really thin and fired unglazed to stoneware temperature,
then painted with acrylic paints.
A great take home activity for the last day of pottery for the year.
I have focused on pottery this post as I am going to share it with
Mud colony
If you like hand crafted, unique, not off a boat from China
 check them out by clicking on this link.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Silver beet a hardy staple.

Silver beet is my most prolific plant
in the vege garden.
It self seeds everywhere.
In fact it self seeds so prolifically that I have to weed/thin it out
so the plants aren't crowding each other too much.
It is popular on my market stall and
also popular at PJ's supermarket where I maintain a leafy green section
in their fruit and vegetable department.

I also supply fresh herbs at PJ's but they are a much slower trade.
Basil would have to be the most popular herb.

The plant nurseries bring in seedlings way before the ground is warm enough for the plants.
I have had a stream of disappointnted gardeners
complaining that their basil just isn't growing.

It's just sitting there waiting for the ground to warm up.
I don't think they realise that plant growers trick the seeds with heat beds.
Artificially warming the soil to get the jump on summer.
I don't do that and as a result many folk have already planted their basil
by the time mine is ready naturally.
If you look after the plant, not letting it go to and stay flowering,
it will feed you until the first frost which in some years can be as late as May.

I plant out my basil for picking in the rows.
As far as popularity goes, Coriander comes a close second, however,
Coriander is difficult to grow here. It just bolts to seed.
This climate in summer is just too hot for such a culinary delight.
I have tried to trick this herb by growing it in a shade house over summer.
It won't be fooled however so
 rule of thumb in Mildura is, Basil in summer and Coriander in winter.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Louie Tomatoes

We have an old Italian friend Louie,who brings us morning tea
every Red Cliffs market.
He grows the biggest tomatoes.
They are all flesh.
They cover the entire slice of bread when sliced for a sandwich.
He brought some seedlings to the market last month
I planted them in my new garden bed
A month later

The Louie tomatoes are on the right
I have also grown some Roma's on the left.
Cucumbers on the old gate.
Hungarian Paprika for spice along the front.
They all survived the heat wave and are now shivering with the
onset of summer and the cool change.

Some of you may remember this garden bed project I started
and then questioned my decision. 
In my haste to plant it up I did not wait for the soil to settle
and as a result it needs heaps of a top up.
More soil and the end needs to be completed.
The flowering purple verbena hasn't stopped blooming but will need to be removed and then replanted once the top up soil has been installed.
I get too excited and rush things.
There is a lesson for me with this project.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Michaal's bees

Michaal is a pottery friend.
She is into growing and using herbs but doesn't have her own place yet.
 I offered our forest to get her started with her dream of keeping bees.
It's really hot here today
I went to walk the dogs and check on Michaal's bees
We planted these trees 20 years ago thinking we would sell fire wood.
It was our superannuation paddock. 

This is about 8.30 am and they are shaded for the most of the day.
The sun rising in the east which ahead and to the right of this photo.

There were a few problems in the beginning.
Local ants invaded and there was a bit of a massacre,
M put some oil tins under the legs and installed a landing runway.
This has sorted out the ants. Thank goodness.

I have noticed an increase of bee activity in my vege garden.
I have also noticed an increase of native bees which is interesting.
They may be fanning cooler air into the hive here.
I am looking forward to the honey.
I do keep my distance from the hive as I don't want to upset them.
This is proof that it is very hot today.
I worked down at the seedlings until 1pm then came up for lunch.
The thermometer is inside at our front door.
The top reading is the inside temperature.
45.4 outside.
Thank goodness for low humidity and a light cloud cover.
I keep checking the weather radar in search of rain.
We might get lucky in a few hours but I would not be surprised
if it all evaporates before it gets here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Leek Flowers

I particularly like leek flowers.
I think they are beautiful, architectural,
unlike most commercially grown cut flowers

I once gave them to fellow staff members as a thank you
for their extra work on a performance.
Everyone was taken by their unusual shape
nobody guessed what they were.
Some of the impressedness was lost (hows that for a word?)
when I told them the truth.

Red French Shallot flowers are even better.

They are white white white.
Like a firework
Very similar to the leek but crisp in their whiteness, no pink tinge.
I never know whether to save the seeds or sell the flowers.
$2.00 a bloom.
The seeds saved would be way more than a packet of seeds.
This bee didn't even wait for the flower to hatch!
Gladys coming on, they are not liking our heat wave.
38 degrees C today and 43degrees C predicted for Thursday
These dahlias were bought as seedlings.
I couldn't resist and have been rewarded with colour.
I wonder if they will form corms or tubers for next year.
I'm inside avoiding the heat,
Clearly avoiding house work by playing on the computer.
Oh well!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oil Lamps

I always think of them as citronella oil lamps.
We have a lot of mosquitoes here.
Any oil would work and a few drops of essential oil
will customise the smell.

I had to try a lady bug,
they seem to like flowers more than vegetables
I have seen more of them since I put more flowers in the circles.
I have some work to do on the design it's looking a bit like the dreaded
pumpkin beetle, that orange rogue that eats every thing.
I have a new camel design also
I have just noticed I can see my reflection in the glaze.
It's very shiny.
This one is much is much more fiddly to make, 2 bowls put together then cut in half,
Bottoms on, saddles on, blanket wick holder,
oh and don't forget the head/neck.
I enjoyed finding this site http://mudcolony.blogspot.com.au/ 
 There was an encouragement to join in so I just had to, jump on the link
and have a look to see what some other potters are doing.
I am pleased to see there are other potters out there doing their own thing.
I couldn't resist this cute leek flower with it's little hat still on.
I hadn't noticed the bee until I uploaded the photos onto the computer.
A friend has just realised her dream of being an apiarist with a box of bees in our forest.
More on that later.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Market preparation

This is our Thursday pick for the Sunraysia Farmers Market
Buckets and buckets of flowers.  
A box of ranunculus corms.
Coriander roots for cooking
This is after I raided Mum's garden on Friday morning.
30 bunches of flowers later I was ready to pack the car.
I had spent much of the week before packing seeds
Its a messy time consuming job.
Lots of brown paper bags with seeds of various plants.
Looking at this photo I am wondering where my workspace went.

                                                    I managed to pack a few spares too!
Took 60 packets to the market and brought 60 home!
Oh well, maybe next time.
I cant resist this little black puppy. Stella.
She needs something in her mouth all the time so we got her
a yellow puppy called "Digga"
This may protect some of my things from being chewed!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's so good to be out in the garden again
A bit daunting, lots of weeds
Circles that need to be totally cleared and replanted.
I still have to take it easy and not over exert myself
Mr Flowersandveg helped redo a whole circle while I was out of action
Now planted with egg plant, capsicums, globe artichoke
Silver beet and some basil

Salvia Hormium
This is a new favourite
Salvia Hormium
It has a grey leaf with a delicate purple and white flowers up the stem
It is the leaves at the top of the plant that have the most colour
They turn from grey to purple
masquarading as flowers.
I love it!
The poppies were spectacular
now I am just growing seed and thinking of baking bread
to put the seed on.
The wild rabbits ate many of these seedlings
I should know better than to have them on the ground.
Space in the nursery becomes a bit of a problem over spring.

These are Aster seedlings
I am hoping to sell the flowers in my bunches at the market
It will be a few weeks before I am picking these ones.
They are safe from the rabbits anyway, and should survive until I plant them out.