Wet One day Wonderful the next!

Yet again a wet, cold miserable Gippsland Day on Saturday! With the forecast for a nice Sunday we took the opportunity of attending the Baw Baw Garden expo on the yucky Saturday. Did this for a couple of reasons, one was that as soon as the sun comes out crowds were sure to appear and make it very difficult to talk to the exhibitors we wanted to see and with so few nice days having been gifted in the weather department this year it would be nice to just enjoy the garden and work at home on one of the many projects.

I am very excited to have finally placed an order for our new greenhouse. I decided on a Sproutwell Prestige 3000. Slightly bigger than my existing unit and  better ventilation in hot weather. I am quite excited about this new investment, as this year I have grown all of the vegies and flowers in the garden from seed. With the price of seed punnets these days it won’t take long to recoup the cost. This and the opportunity to extend the growing season plus add few items not normally suitable to our climate and it becomes a great addition, not to mention a great cubby for me!

Always on the look out for great ideas, I was impressed with this little find!

There was a lady there selling these bags made of fine net mesh that looks quite durable and stretchy. The objective is to take them shopping with you so you don’t need to use those ‘tear off the roll’  plastic bags. I must admit, the only things I use those bags for is grapes, everything else goes in loose, much to the chagrin of the checkout operator!

We also purchased a new Cercis canadensis (which I admit I cited as Cercis pallustris in my spring post, will need to correct that!). We have one of these near my pizza oven and it is a joy to look at all year round. Different qualities in different seasons and they are all lovely, displayed on their delicate zig-zag branches.

Sunday 14th

Woke to see a few grey clouds and I thought the forecast had been wrong again, but within an hour or so the hardly seen lately sun appeared and the day just got better and better! I had to do some boring ‘clean up to make the house look better for prospective buyers (PB’s)’ jobs but I even enjoyed doing those in the sun. The jungle that had emerged in our garage spouting has now been put into the compost and the carport and drive way is now nice and tidy. Unfortunately still too wet to mow so the PB’s will have to imagine nice, neat grass areas.

It is traditional in Melbourne and Victoria to plant tomatoes out on Cup Weekend but mine have been doing so well in the greenhouse they need to go in or they will start showing signs of stress. This will be the first major planting in the new, big wicking bed so I am a bit excited! These ones are the San Marzano variety which is similar to Roma and will be used in making ‘passata’, tomato sauce and for drying. I have yet to plant out the Gross Lisse and a couple of specialist varieties, but I need to allocate space for them first. Still working on a wicking bed staking system  because you cant just hammer in stakes like in a normal bed as you would puncture the water reservoir liner. Might need to check out the scrap metal bin at the tip and be a bit creative!

The namesake of this blog is bursting into life!

Garlic galore!

As I ponder if there is anything else I need to record, I hear a crunching sound behind me. The king parrots have discovered the new growth of the grape-vine on the pergola outside our back door. Just beautiful! But oh dear, looks like I had better get up and clean under the eaves for the PB’s!

New Life Beginning!

It is a week since I planted tomato seed into the peat Jiffy Peat Pots and they are starting to peep through to surface. With the added benefit of a heat pad under them they should continue to grow in leaps and bounds. I really enjoy seeing these little cherubs develop!

 

 

Preparing for warmer weather.

I always like to have plenty of tomatoes to harvest for making passata, tomato sauce, drying and of course to enjoy the incomparable taste of just eating them.

There is something quite tantalising about watching a tiny speck turn into a two meter high plant that produces such an abundance of juicy, beautiful bounty.

Planting usually happens in late July into Jiffy Peat Pots which I buy in bulk. I like these because they are made from a waste product and create a complete environment for the tiny seeds to germinate and commence their life cycle. Because we will have a much bigger area to plant in this year I am increasing the varieties (past couple of years I have only grown bottling tomatoes and a few eating varieties) that I plant. Along with my favourites of San Marzano (bottling and sauce), Gross Lisse (eating) I will be planting some Cerise (cherry size on trusses), Purple Russian and Buddia(?) which is apparently a heritage variety that I have saved seed from but can’t find much information about.

The pots are put into my greenhouse on a heat mat and an old frying pan I have improvised as a heat bed and when they are big enough I pot them up into a larger container until ready to plant out. There has been noticeable lack of sun this year so even the greenhouse is not really getting warm enough to kick-start the germination so the extra warmth from underneath the pots will help.

Feel like we are getting off the ground-literally!

Today was a big step forward, the first of the wicking beds was started and the electrician came to discuss the rewiring of the house. We have been in limbo since purchasing the property and not able to do much until some basic upgrades such as reblocking and rewiring have been done. Unfortunately these are high price tag items and have had to wait until cash resources are available. We have been diligently squirrelling funds to enable us to get the rewiring done as it feels quite unsafe in its current (pardon the pun) state. Raspberry bed is finished and I planted out sixteen hollyhocks that I have started from seed saved from last years blooms (Very proud of that!).

We decided on wicking beds for a couple of reasons, elevated for easy access, easy to bird proof, shade cloth or poly covers can be added to cool or warm the beds as necessary and watering can be easily managed. The theory with wicking beds is that they work on much the same principle as the self watering pots you can buy but in a specially constructed bed so that a reservoir of water is available to plants as they need it. Evaporation is minimised and watering is kept to a minimum. For more detailed information on the construction and use of wicking beds visit http://www.urbanfoodgarden.org/. There is also a wealth of information here for living more sustainably and growing food for the table.