Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spring Onions

Spring Onions are great for cooking and salads.
I love the fresh flavour.
I have shaken lots of seed heads into the garden,

but in true impatient style
I have also planted out some seedlings.
I hold the plants gently in my hand while I shake the soil off the roots.

Being careful not to crush the stems of the young plants.
This should kick start the patch!
The shade created by the sunflowers is quite useful.

I have Cos lettuce and Chinese broad leaf celery planted there,
they get dappled morning sun and they get the afternoon sun
which can be pretty fierce
the Sun flowers grow so tall so quickly this lot is blocking the path.

I could push through but the meat ants are busy farming something and they
jump off the plant onto anyone who dares to push through.
Easier to go around.
I do love sunflowers!
The trick to them looking good in the vase is to
cut, slit up the stem  a couple of cm's to allow easy access to more water.
I need to prune my Kale, I probably should pull it out and replace the plant
but is is still going strong and I think with a prune it will keep going.
I have experimented with one plant that has many young ones up the stem,
it was getting so heavy it has leaned over.
I have tucked it in to the garden bed by raising the soil up to it.

I think it will work.
I might put some fresh plants in anyway, hedge my bets.
I did shake all the self sown kale seeds around these beds.

My handsome companions can always find a shady spot to keep an eye on me.
Stella had  a run in with an ant or bee yesterday.
The camera ran out of batteries
before I could capture her poor swollen face properly.

She has nearly returned to normal this morning.
Her spirits remained high despite the discomfort,
however we did cancel her play date with a Bella the Dalmatian pup.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Look what Mum noticed!

Look what Mum noticed when she left our place yesterday.
They only last the one day.
Stunning, exotic, white.
We were out in the driveway looking at the current works in progress.
I haven't talked much about it but we have only ever had solar power.
We are not connected to the grid.

Some of you may have noticed the panels in photos like this one.
It has had its draw backs like needing a generator to run things like
washing machines or vacuum cleaners.
Power tools also require the generator.
The system is working OK but as we get a little older it
would be nice to have the luxury of an air conditioner or a microwave.
Well, change is afoot
We are going to be able to plug in our cool room here at home,
there will be three phase power right here at the house.
 I will be able to relocate the pottery studio here!
Run kilns etc.
I am sure I will not like getting the bills!
The house will remain solar powered but we might get a few new power points.
Thanks to the fabulous fellows at Cummins and Noonan
 I had a nice surprise at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning.
A customer said "Are you JB Flowers and Veg?"
" I follow your blog"
I was so excited, it was really nice for her to say g'day.
Turns out she is a quilter from Ballarat.
I don't thinks she knows my sister Annie but has regularly read her blog also.
That is the first time I have had that happen.
Blog tourism.
I do hope she had a nice time in our town.
At least it wasn't too hot, actually it was quite cold on Saturday,
jeans and a jumper till after lunch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Copper etching

I have been playing around with copper etching.
Making things like hair clips

I am wondering how to finish off this piece and have various alternatives

Too many choices.
It could be just as it is without something through the hole
however I think it is just screaming to have something in it?
What do you think?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Making the most of a break in the weather

The long hot heat wave has broken,
back to jeans and a jumper,
anyone would think we were down south.
I have been out in the garden and finding lots of self sown things like

Broad leaf Chinese celery
a yummy leafy green that tastes like celery.

Cos lettuce

I have moved them within the circles hoping for a
saleable crop.

The strawberries are merely a treat for the gardener,
that's me...Yum.

Not many make it all the way up to the house.
I am looking forward to cucumbers!
They are funny looking things as they grow.

In my usual fashion I have a basil plant growing much too close to the cucumber,
I have to keep pulling off some leaves so it doesn't get smothered.
The Asters that the rabbits have feasted on are finally coming out.
The replacement seedling mark 4 are still tiny and being chewed
by my furry friends :(
That's gritted teeth I am speaking through.
There is a circle that has planted itself with purple verbena and sunflowers
It's quite stunning but you will have to rely on my word as this photo
 does not give the spectacular impression that it is.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Heat wave

We survived the twilight market but sweltered.
With heat wave conditions predicted it was a long hot day preparing.
I had picked my herbs on Thursday evening
all I had to do was flowers on Friday
Up early to beat the sting of the day I picked the flowers
and quickly back inside to bunch up.

The temperature inside was not much better than out so
I borrowed the pottery clubs portable air conditioner
(Thanks Michaal)
What a life saver...kept the house just under 34 degrees.
All produce was looking really good until I loaded the car.

I had the air con on in the car for 15 minutes before I put anything in there.
It was one of the hottest afternoons I have ever experienced.
I survived with several litres of water and
a wet towel around my neck.
Well done to the volunteers and the brave stall holders who attended
and hats off to the public who ventured out and supported the market.
There were more people there than I expected
given it was still well over 44 degrees at 6pm.

The water in the flower jars was nearly hot enough to make a cup of tea.
In future in similar weather I will take extra water.

The silver beet practically cooked in the jar on the stand.
Lettuce lasted about 5 minutes before it looked to sad to sell.
The herbs held up well despite their water heating up as well,
even in the shade.
That's living/surviving  in far north west Victoria

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Wow

It sounds funny, like a future prediction or something.
I can't quite believe that we are this far into the future already.
It is now!
I still have a lot to learn about growing garlic.
These are my second year from seed, garlic bulbs.
I think I planted them too close together.
They would have benefited from a weed free bed and a bit more fertilizer.
The taste is still there, they are just a bit small.
Perhaps another year in the ground will swell their stature

 I also learned there was no real benefit from really early planting.
If anything that just meant they matured a month earlier
than the later plantings.
I am hoping to have some new ground for this coming years crop of garlic
I resolve to water more, fertilize more and make sure the bed remains
weed free in my quest for huge garlic returns.
This new bed was planted out in early spring with Roma and Louie tomatoes
Its hard to remember what is growing well and when.

This year I hope to reflect on what matures and when,
so I can use this blog to keep track of my next gardening move.
I am picking tomatoes daily. I hope I can grow enough for making sauce.
We ate a Louie tomato on a toasted sandwich the other day,
Flavour plus!!!
Home grown tomatoes are definitely much better than the
red things from the supermarket.
Worth the effort!
Flowers out and pickable at the moment are

This plant does best with regular deadheading.

I don't know why some petals are trumpet shaped, fluted.
They have nice long stems and produce masses of seeds,
which could prove a self seeding problem in an area where it rains occasionally.

I must look after these lillies better this season.
More water, some fertilizer & mulch.

Today I picked my first bunch of Zinnias for the season.
They are definitely one of my favourites. I love the bold strong colours.
They are so good as cut flowers too, long lasting in the vase!
The other flowers about at the moment are
Alstromeria, Lions tail, Aster, Dahlia, Verbeena, Calla Lilly, Sunflowers.
We are having another heat wave so I don't know
what will survive a week above 40 degrees Celsius.
Thank goodness for irrigation.
I often think of the pioneer women who would
plant gardens they had to bucket precious rainwater to.
What they would have achieved if town water
and a hose had been available to them?
A lot of old gardens relied on winter and spring bulbs for flowers.
Dormant over these hot months.
If I had to bucket water to the garden I would take their advice.
All the best to you for this new year!