Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Part of my Diggers Club membership involves getting some free seeds (from a limited selection, but hey, they're free). My first selection of free seeds from the Christmas catalogue arrived today. I got garlic chives, pak choy, red onion, and Martino's roma tomato (a dwarf roma).

Not really the season for onion, so those will wait until next winter, however the others I'm going to plant into the propagator trays on the weekend. The pak choy should grow quickly (40 days from plant to harvest), so what I'll probably do is plant a few every couple of weeks so I'll have a steady supply.

The other propagator tray now has a few sunflowers starting to poke out. The seeds have literally rocketed out of the soil and are still unfurling. No sign of the riesenstraube tomatoes or yellow capsicum yet.

I've ordered some other seeds and things (not free) that should arrive next week. All very exciting!

Dad has also given me a lovely little book called "Nature on your Side", which was published circa the 1970s and is about companion planting and organic pest control. He already had a copy and then found another copy amongst my nanna's books. Some of the stuff is fairly common knowledge, but some of it is quite quirky. Apparently flies hate the colour blue and will never settle on it. No one knows why, but kitchens painted blue stay free of flies. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but it's quirky.

I've decided I'm going to get some pyrethrum and african marigolds as my pest control companion plants (plus they're pretty, so bonus there).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We have tomatoes

Well the beginnings of tomatoes at any rate. The first rouge de marmande tomatoes have just started to form.

My tomato leaves are being eaten by little green caterpillars. This weekend I practiced one of the organic methods of pest control, i.e. sat down next to the plant, turned every leaf over and squished the little buggers. I'm thinking about getting some pyrethrum plants, both as companion plants and so I can make a spray from the flowers to keep the bugs down. Also got some whitefly, but they don't look like they're doing much damage.
This weekend saw a lot of transplanting. The capsicum seedlings have been transplanted into seperate pots. The thyme and marjoram have been transplanted into the front garden. And a couple of rosemary cuttings that had started to put out roots after sitting in water on my window sill have been transplanted into pots. The strawberry plants continue to do well, though I wish they'd produce more!
Something the Cunning Plans Dept did a few weeks ago was transform an old wine barrel that we picked up a few years ago into a water tank for the front garden. I finally remembered to take a photo as it is kinda neat.

There is a diverter on the downpipe, which goes into the hole that was there when we got it. The CPD has added a tap at the bottom. Unfortunately, the wood has been so dry for so long that it isn't swelling enough when wet to seal, so we're probably going to have a put a liner in it to make it more useful. We've also ordered a commercial rain water tank to put down the side of the house for more serious water storage.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Vegie patch planning

Today we mapped out the new vegie patch in the backyard. It will be around 5x5m, maybe 5x7.5 depending on how many fence panels I can score from Mum and Dad. Aiming for 4 long beds about 4x1m. G mowed the patch so I can see how big it looks (I'm crap with spatial visualisation). We dug a small hole to check the soil. Like the rest of the yard its mostly clay and rocks.

We popped down to Kennards Hire and got a rotary hoe (and said "Hi" to Dan). This turned out to be a bit of an adventure. The thing was a bitch to get down to the backyard. I then went off to Bunnings and when I came back G had the rotary hoe back up the top and Dan was getting it into the Kennards truck. Apparently grass, clay and rocks can defeat a rotary hoe. Apparently G chased it across the yard as it took off without doing much to the ground and when it did hit the ground, something broke. Fortunately he could just call Dan to come and pick it up and Kennards didn't charge us for it.

Plan B is to get one of the larger small tractor things (can you tell I vagued out when the boys started to talk large mechanical things?) It won't fit down the side of our house, but G is going to talk to our neighbour about taking it down the side of his house and through a panel of our shared fence. Hopefully that will work as the other option of manual labour will suck.

In other happy gardening news, my Diggers Club membership arrived during the week along with a book on raising heirloom plants and two packets of free seeds. They gave me some Reisenstraube tomatoes (little red grape tomatoes) and some yellow pollenless sunflowers. I'm very happy about the sunflowers as I'd been eyeing them off in the catalogue. I'm a little confused by the membership, but I think I also get to select some free seeds from a variety of their catalogues. Today I got some seed propagating trays and a few more window box pots for out the front. We're going to hang them from the fence. I think I'll put herbs in those, or maybe some lettuce or asian greens.

The carrots, corn and broccoli planted down the back garden are going well. We weeded the patch today and thinned the broccoli. We should thin the carrots, but it is really hard to tell the difference between carrots and weeds at this point.

Plan for tomorrow - start digging over the front garden. I'm going to plant the thyme and oregano (which I'm starting to think may actually be marjoram, I've never been great at telling the difference) so it can spread as a ground cover. They're rapidly overrunning the pots they're in.

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be visiting Mum and Dad for Dad's birthday. I'm going to do some gardening with Dad, swap seeds and plants, collect fence panels, G is going to help him rig up some irrigation stuff, then we all have dinner. I love weekends.