Tuesday, 23 October 2012


I thought it was a weed - but NO! On closer inspection it is;


But it IS ASPARAGUS!!!!! I'm so thrilled!

There is one sprout on each crown I planted except one! There is also one that has turned into a 'fern' already which you can 'just' see in the photo below! They are so thin & small I have no temptation to pick them! It would be like eating a toothpick! haha. Such a relief as I was worried that they wouldn't come to anything! :)


Monday, 22 October 2012

Getting a bit arty in the garden!

My friend had a stack of bamboo that she generously gave me & so I decided to make my own trellis! Its amazing how hard weaving bamboo actually is. Note to anyone planning to do this: Don't use dead/dry bamboo - it will break! 

Also something I never expected was the thousands of tiny, tiny splinters covering my hands from the weaving! Who knew that Bamboo would give you splinters?!

Side on view 

But it's a standing success & looks very 'rustic'! I made a gigantic one for my beans & peas consisting of two trellises tilted against each other. I crossed the tops over each other & tied them so they wouldn't fall apart or tip over. I also made a couple of smaller ones for my zuchinni & cucumber plants. I'm hoping to try and train them up the trellis rather than over the ground, just to maximise on space & help air circulation to prevent diseases. I hate fungal diseases & anything that will help is worth a shot!

Having the bamboo in the garden makes it so much better to look at! Gives it depth and makes the garden come to life rather than the barren soil that it is! :)

However there are signs of life aside from the gigantic spuds! I've planted out my zuchinni, pumpkin, squash & a few more beans today. Some of my beans got broken in the high winds last weekend - I just hope the stalks that remain will re-grow. I've nearly gone through all of my climbing beans packet. With square foot gardens you can plant 8 in a square & I've allowed for about 15 squares including dwarf bean plants too. I know this sounds excessive, but we eat a lot of beans & I want to be able to get my stocks up for over winter. So I think I might have to get some more to fully fill my plot! They seem to only need a week to germinate in the greenhouse now the weather is warmer.

Smaller trellis with Zuchinni seedlings

There is still lots of space in the garden beds though for more veges!! It's so therapeutic getting out in the garden! Especially after all this horrible weather!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Growing them spuds!

Potatoes with the dirt covering the shoots
Potatoes - one of those 'really cool' vegetables that I've always wanted to serve up to visitors & gloat that I grew them! 

I bought the seed packet in one of those spur of the moment "that would be cool!" shopping trips & didn't think to check what type it was or anything about them! I followed the directions on the back of the packet & then decided to research them a bit more to figure out what to do with them! Well.... oops.

So, my potatoes COULD be early, they COULD be main crop. They COULD be red. They COULD be normal. They COULD be a lot of different things & I guess it all adds to the wonderful surprise I'm going to get when I dig them up! I didn't let them sit for a week in the sun to let their 'eye' or 'sprout' grow. I just plonked them in! But they seem to be growing well.... in my opinion anyway!

Original size
So I read a bit about how to push the dirt up when they get to about 10-20cm high, then cover them in dirt till only 5cm of plant is showing. Let them grow again & repeat the process. Most of the sites generally say to do this until the pile is about 20-30cm high. 

I've done that once so far, before I ran out of dirt & compost to use, until I came back from holiday this weekend to find them over a foot high! So, because this is all experimental anyway - I covered them in as much dirt as I could find about the place. They are still sticking out of the ground about a foot, but the dirt pile is around 25cms now. I covered leaves & all! Whether that's right or wrong or in between - I guess I'll find out at the end.

Learning Point: I planted the seed potatoes at the level of my garden bed. With all the piling of dirt you need to do I'm now at the limit of my raised garden beds. Next time I plan to actually dig further down, so I can pile higher & not have the dirt overflow.

Look at them bloom!
Apparently they need oodles of fertilizer. Originally I gave them some blood & bone. I will have to add some more when I get some! They have also sprouted more than one leafy bush per potato! More potatoes for me? I have no idea! They also have that annoying white fly buzzing around. I'm going to have to confidor them or something too!

Odd things really. They apparently will flower & then die. You dig them up similar to onions after all the growth is dead.

Christmas potatoes? Possibly!? 

Monday, 8 October 2012

What a difference a day makes!

I managed to neglect my seeds over the last few days of rain and WOW! What a surprise when I went in there this morning! 

There is growth everywhere! Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, artichokes, pumpkins - all had major growth spurts! The beans have all popped up after planting them a few weeks ago... even the ones I planted on Friday last week have been super keen & have little sprouts! 

Just shows what the right conditions can do! :) I think it could be the heat from not opening the door for a few days? Well that's my best guess since there hasn't been much sun around the place - just more rain!

So far I've haven't had much trouble with the seeds, which has surprised me - I thought I would fail at most of them & have to sneak down to the shop for some seedlings! A couple of the tomatoes didn't germinate & mesculin lettuce wasn't a great success. I haven't had much luck on the watermelon & capsicum front either. After the initial sprout of the capsicums they have reached a major plateau with no further growth! I still have hope for the melons - there is no sign of anything there! Will give it a little while longer before I re-sow them.

As for the main garden - the onions seem to have taken alright - but my poor carrots...... I can see a couple here & there.. but I think the others have shriveled back into nothingness. DOH! I'll have to re-sow some I think - straight into the ground this time! No transplanting! Maybe I transplanted them while they were too small.......?

I also managed to convince hubby to empty the compost bin too last weekend.... needless to say this smelly job was not the most dignified! But we got the layers going! My friend has the same issue with it not breaking down & is trying compost accelerator - so I thought I'd give it a go too! I think its mostly manure/blood & bone which can increase decomposition - so its probably more on the expensive side then buying a bag of manure but it probably has some bacteria & lime or something in there to help it along as well. You only use a small amount - so I'm expecting it to last a very long time! We did the layering the 'perfect compost recipe  way - 10cm each of brown sticks etc, then food scraps, a handful of compost enhancer on the scraps & then a grass layer to add heat. We had so much brown matter in there that I've filled a smaller bin up with it to have on tap when we empty the food scraps bin. That way I can keep the layers going rather than just putting in huge amounts of scraps! :) The bin is nearly full though!

Looking forward to just a bit more growth before I can plant them out! :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Putting out the first seedlings!

Today I planted some of my seedlings out!! Wahoo! The cabbages were starting to get a bit lanky in the greenhouse! I have no idea when I'm supposed to put them out really! But I read somewhere that when they have 4 proper leaves (the first 2 leaves don't count!) it's generally good size. 

Look closely & see the cabbages! :)
I also planted out the onions, beetroots & the carrots. I'm a bit worried that they will all shrivel & die being moved! But the onions & beetroots had become stagnant in their growth & the carrots I got told don't like being transplanted when they get bigger... so I planted them all! Hard things to plant when they are small! If they die, my plan is to try the direct seed method, as its warming up (well... a little anyway).

Before I planted them I did 'harden them off' like the books recommend. This is just when you take them out of the greenhouse environment & put them outside gradually for a couple of days for them to get used to the differing temperatures. When I say 'gradually' I just put them out! They were fine, even though it poured the first night!

I haven't done so well on the succession planting. We are going to have an abundance of carrots, onions, cabbages & beetroots at once! When I put my seeds in - I accounted for some not to take - & they all pretty much did! I couldn't bear to biff the plants out! It just seemed a waste! I guess succession is all about trial & error! But most of the things that are in the ground now in mass are things that can be stored well.

I also have a HEAP of radishes, as my 'supposed spring onions' are defiantly radishes! Bonus for my Mother in law! She will reap the harvest of my excess!

I've also started to think about watering for summer. You can see in the picture some bright green stripes & no, that's not just an arty zebra move! They are soaker hoses ($5 for 7m down at Mitre10) and I've put one in each garden before the plants grow & make it difficult to lay them underneath the plants. The soaker hoses just slowly leak out water from your hose. The idea being that it dosen't soak the foliage of the veges when you're watering & cause fungal infections from it being wet too long. I'm all for not standing for hours getting soaked by a dodgy, leaking hose watering the plants! :) 

So a fairly productive few days! :) Its so exciting to see some plants I've grown from tiny, tiny seeds actually IN the garden!! It never ceases to amaze me how amazing nature is! :) Fantastic!

Coffee Anyone?

Wow! I found some fantastic information when I was searching for what to do with my endless coffee grounds! Coffee grounds have some fantastic uses! I'm going to try the snail barrier idea! :)


  • Put coffee grounds in your compost bin. They are a valuable source of nitrogen.
  • Add grounds directly to the soil in your garden. You can scratch it into the top couple inches of soil, or just sprinkle the grounds on top and leave it alone.
  • Create a slug and snail barrier. Coffee grounds are both abrasive and acidic, so a barrier of grounds placed near slug-prone plants may just save them from these garden pests.
  • Make coffee ground "tea." Add two cups of used coffee grounds to a five-gallon bucket of water. Let the "tea" steep for a few hours or overnight. You can use this concoction as a liquid fertilizer for garden and container plants. It also makes a great foliar feed.
  • Add coffee grounds to your worm bin. Worms love coffee grounds! Add some to your worm bin every week or so. Just don't add too many at once, because the acidity could bother your worms. A cup or so of grounds per week for a small worm bin is perfect.

Other uses - 

They can repel fleas, be used as a facial scrub, hair conditioner, remove furniture scratches, repels cats from gardens, absorbs odours in cupboards & freezers, increases carrots & radish production & so much more!

WOW! Makes having a coffee all the more worth it!