Seeds…ahh

When I looked back at my notes from seed season last year, I saw that of the 25 tomato seeds I planted only 10 germinated and none of the chilli seeds germinated.  I only planted heirloom seeds last year and was hoping for a bumper 2015 tomato year, in fact it was the worst year in my planting history!

I think we gardener’s are the eternal optimists,  a new season brings fresh hope of bumper crops and past failures are just that, in the past!

This year I have been better at sowing and getting my seeds to germinate, what’s different this  year I hear you ask?

  • I did my first sowing 27th July a whole month earlier than last year.
  • Purchased all new seed from Lambley in Victoria.
  • Set up a misting system in the green house.
  • Used my heat mat for all Chillies and Capsicums.

I am super happy to say that all of my tomato’s & capsicums have germinated, the new tomato seeds from Lambley are  hybrid F1, I chose Elmo a mini grape and Roma masai a roma, 8 of each, from what I have read they have good disease resistance which is what I wanted after last year.

 

Harvesting

I didn’t plant any significant crops over winter so most of my beds are ready to be planted out, I have been harvesting lettuces, beetroots, carrots, coriander, parsley.

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Sowing

Plenty of seed sowing still to be done:

  • beetroot    10-14 days to germinate
  • carrot         14-21
  • beans          7-10
  • chives        10-14
  • coriander  10-14
  • dill               10-12
  • lettuce         6-10
  • pak choi      7-10
  • peas              7-10
  • rocket           6-10

Jobs to do and events to go to

Keep on top of weed management, which means don’t let any weeds go to seed!

In Adelaide Sat 24th Sept the Seed freedom festival is on again at the market shed on holland St. here is my review from last year it was fantastic.

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Adelaide again, the happy patch community garden is having their spring fair 17th Sept.

I am hoping to go to both so might see you there.

If you are on Instagram or twitter say hi, I’m gardeninghands I would love to see your gardens.

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Thanks to the girls from Garden share collective, Kate and Krystie who each month encourage us to share our gardens and what we are growing.

 

 

 

Monster beets

Hipsters, sorry to disappoint, this post is not about monster beats by Dr Dre which are high performance headphones.  It is about monster beets, beetroot that have been left in the ground too long.

I was reading a post by fellow gardener muddy boots and fingernails who was sharing the last of her beets she had harvested and it reminded me of some I hadn’t harvested.

Here is my monster beet, without the leaves weighing in at 812g the top is pretty gnarly from growing out of the ground, you are probably thinking “Is she going to eat it?” I’m going to roast some tonight with fennel from the garden and see how it tastes!

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3 new garden beds

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I have been super busy in the garden, on the weekends doing full days knocking off about 4pm for afternoon drinks and then doing the walk around the garden so we can admire the day’s hard work, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, walking around the garden early evening with a drink in hand.

This has been an exciting garden project over the last 3 weeks, 3 new garden beds!  I had a half circle bed which I started off growing flowers in then dug out the middle thinking I would turn it into a fire pit and it ended up being the home for a healthy patch of weeds!

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Spoke to Mr GH about it and asked if we could knock it down and build some new beds that would be more productive, he agreed.  My job in all of our renovations is that of the lackie, the person who has to do all of the ugly jobs.  I had 300 bricks to clean for the new beds and dispose of the old bricks and general clean up, as well as keeping Mr GH feed and watered.  I would do it all again for the beautiful beds he made for me (insert love heart).

The beds are 1.2 x 2.1m and 3 bricks high, I filled them using the lasagne method, cardboard bottom layer, prunings, compost, soil on site, manure until they were full.  I have them irrigated I linked them into the existing vege garden irrigation.

Just waiting till the long weekend in October till I plant my summer crops. I’m hoping for a bumper season of tomatoes this year, fingers crossed.

The greenhouse review – September

I started sowing seeds the last week of August, I have a heated mat in my workshop where I started the first tray of flower seedlings and have now moved them to the greenhouse.  I started them off in the soil blocks I made and they have continued to do well, the block are half coir which helps with retaining moisture and not dry out too quickly.

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Grown from seed

  • Rudbeckia –  Indian summer
  • corn cockle – ocean pearl
  • Salvia – blue monday
  • Scabiosa – mixed
  • Borage
  • Zinnia – red spider
  • Poppy – jelly beans
  • Cosmos – sea shells
  • Calendula
  • Orlaya
  • Lots of tomatoes and capsicums when they sprout!!

My biggest challenge in the greenhouse is the radiating heat, we are only 2 weeks into spring and I have noticed that my newly sprouted seedlings and trays waiting to sprout have been drying out and have to be watered twice a day which is tricky.

The entrance of the greenhouse faces north and will be shaded by the apricot tree when it comes into leaf the same with the  western side, it’s shaded by the nectarine, there is a fence on the eastern and southern aspects. This weekend just gone Mr GH. has made 2 removable shade frames to help reduce the amount of sun and we have removed 2 panels in the western wall for more ventilation.  The largest panel is on the western side and one for the roof, we used white shade cloth which is 50% UV block and being white it reflects the heat.

I am really looking forward to seeing how it reduces that radiating heat over the coming months, making it possible to grow seedlings for longer in the greenhouse.

Every month Julie hosts a review of her greenhouse and invites us all to share what is happening in ours, thanks for having a look.

Diggers to the rescue….

Here in the burbs we get one very cold snap of weather every winter and this is it at the moment, the one time every year where there is snow at Mount Lofty or Mt. Barker is happening now.  It started last week on Thursday, the same day I received my Diggers seed annual in the mail, whoo hoo!!!  I was saved by Diggers.

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I decided Sunday was the best looking day to head over to the Diggers shop which is in our Botanical Gardens, we are very lucky to have a shop in our state otherwise it is mail order.  Every day I would re-read the seed annual taking mental notes of what I wanted.  It is a ritual for me, spreading it out over the days and then making the list on the Sunday morning.

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  • Pink Bumblee Bee tomato which won at the great tomato test in March 2015
  • A re-introduction of an Australian heirloom lettuce- yellow leaf
  • A new chilli called Maui Purple, midnight black chillies turn red when ripe

They were the only vege garden seeds I picked up they were all new releases for this year, I have plenty of everything else I need but I did get lots of flower seeds to attract more bees and other beneficial insects to the garden which I will inter-plant and I also want to do some meadow seeding.

  • Wildflowers for Bees- a mix of cornflower,dill,poppies,flax,salvia and others
  • Helichrysum an everlasting mix
  • Echinacea magic box a mixture of 3 colours
  • Borage
  • Summer meadows-zinnias, poppies,cornflower,cosmos,barley and others
  • A white corn cockle- ocean pearl
  • Salvia Blue Monday – I had to get it that was my fav song song from the 80’s
  • Rudbeckia Indian Summer- a tall variety
  • A mixture of Scabiosa or Pincushions
  • Queens Anne’s Lace

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I also visited the new vege garden at the gardens, the tee-pee like structure is a resting spot there are tree stumps in there to sit on.  The scarecrows look great and the winter veg was huge!

It was a great day out and I’m feeling excited…….