Monday, October 9, 2017

So busy planting and digging for spring

I am still busy planting my spring crops. Today I direct sowed some beds of capsicums, sweet sorghum and beans. I was going to leave the beans a bit longer but the temps are getting higher and I want them to be well established before the soil dries out. I think I will also start on the the okra and other warmer weather crops.


 I have a little bed of self sown 'Camo Oakheart' lettuce. I am not fond of this lettuce mix even though it looks spectacular because it is always bitter, no matter what I do to it or when it is planted. I will save some seed though as some weird people actually light lightly bitter salad greens.

It is so pretty that I always have to stop and look at them when I walk past the bed.

The Chines Mahogany (Toon) trees are shooting now. The shoots have a lovely, savoury flavour that goes particularly well with egg dishes but I also like to nibble them while I am working.

I think they would also be lovely in stir fries and perhaps in savoury salads. The trees are supposed to sucker badly so I am being careful what I plant near them as I won't be able to dig. They are not showing any sign of suckering yet but they are only young.

Mine are seed grown and have reddish shoots but I would love to get a couple of trees with the bright pink new growth that many people like about these trees in spring.

Everything is growing so fast with the nice weather... well, the grass and weeds at least. I will have to mow the walkways again tomorrow.




Thursday, October 5, 2017

Yay, time to plant and the weather is perfect

The weather is warming up, actually a little warmer than expected, and my blocks are finally dry enough to dig. I am exhausted after spending much of the day with the rotary hoe, and planting. After doing nothing for the past three months or so even a little bit of physical work is very tiring.

It feels so nice to get out and actually get things done, and the weather is looking so nice that I decided to plant my corn a month early. As long as the temps keep up it will be nice to be able to harvest the ripe ears without having to race the mould causing dampness and cool of autumn.

I managed to plant 5 x 40m rows of oca as well as a couple of rows of arracacha.

I hope the oca flowers this year as I really want to harvest seed. It didn't last year and it flowers at different times each year. Not sure why, probably has to do with the temps or humidity.

I think I may have lost all my yacon because of the swampy conditions. It is a shame as I had some new seedlings, which are very rare. If any do survive I will have to start overwintering them in pots rather than in the ground.




I will be very busy in the next two weeks as I have a lot more to plant this year than last. My cucurbits will all go in this week but I might hold off another couple of weeks for the stuff that likes warmer conditions like beans, eggplant, okra and sorghum.

I still have a lot of digging to go but it will get done quickly now that I can walk on the ground.



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Still waiting *sigh*

After more rain and the blocks turning back into mud I still haven't been able to get out the rotary hoe to dig up the beds for spring planting. I am hoping that a few more days will see everything firm enough to give it a go so I don't think I will be behind, not like last year when it was wet for much longer.

I should be able to get some of my cucurbits out soon at any rate as they seem to be able to cope with a bit of cold as long as there isn't frosts.


 Just to see what they are like I bought a chook run to cover with insect mesh to make hand pollinating easier. It was easy to put together, all I have to do now is get the mesh on.

If you are into DIY though, I think it would be cheaper and last longer to build one out of treated posts. Great for a backyarder though.

My poor oca are telling me that it is well and truely time to get planted out. I should be able to do that in a few days.

I am going to grow a lot of oca this year and do quite a bit of testing to see which ones do best in the open ground. I will also try to get more seed - I just hope the weather is good enough to get them to flower this season.















Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nearly planting time, yay

Finally, the nights are starting to warm up and we won't have many frosts to go. I have a few trays of cucurbits ready to plant and in a couple of weeks I will start sowing most of my other seeds.


 I had forgotten how wet our winters and early spring gets after the years of drought, so I am going to have to rethink my planting. Everything is still too wet to walk on and most of the plants I have in are rotting.
I think I will have to stop trying to grow biennials that have to go through the winter like carrots and brassicas - here is a pic of red Brussels sprouts rotting in the mud.

It is going to reduce my planned income but can't be helped.

My native mountain pepper bushes are still holding onto their berries so I harvested them to put in packets. The have more fruit on them than ever before and I am thinking of putting in a couple of rows just to sell the leaves and dried berries to local restaurants. At least they do well in the cold and wet - though they grow best under shade so that is an extra expense.



From now on I will be posting more updates because I will be busy working. It is always hard having to sit on my hands over the cold months.









Sunday, September 3, 2017

Just a quick update

It is still far too wet to get on my blocks to do any work, except for a sunny day a few days ago after no rain for a few days. I did manage to do a heap of mowing without getting the lawnmower bogged, just.

 I know there is still a heap of frosts to go this month, and this winter the frosts have been colder than for the past few decades, but I am so impatient that I just had to get out a put a few seeds in trays.

Well, if they don't germinate or get burnt off I can still sow later.

I have been looking at my seed stores and taking out the seeds I am going to plant this spring. Writing out tags, and sorting is fun. Sometimes it is hard though to choose what to plant each year.

When the weather and temps improve and I have more to write about I will update, this time next month I will be very busy.





Monday, August 21, 2017

I'm getting sick of winter - but I do have a new fence

I am really getting sick of winter, just as I do every year at this time. I can't start sowing seed in trays for another couple of weeks and it is still six weeks away till I can start planting outside. It is hard to stay patient.

It is far too wet to do anything outside so I just have to go out occasionally and look at the boggy, waterlogged ground and hope that the few things I do have in the ground don't rot before the soil dries up a bit.

Just another few weeks, I keep telling myself.







On the plus side, I do have a brand new fence on one side of the property. That will stop the sheep getting through, and they put rabbit netting on so that will fix the rabbit problem, on that side anyway.

Now I just have to find enough money to do the other sides, and then hope the owner doesn't want to sell the place in the future before I am able to buy it, in which case I will have wasted the money.



My bed of 'Island Gem' lettuces are doing well and starting to head. They have been a bit slow because of the cold and wet but they still look good. I love this mix of mini heading lettuces, they look great with their colours, spots and stripes, and they are never bitter.

I do have a small bed of 'Camo Oakheart' lettuces in also but even though they look fantastic they just go bitter all the time, and I hate bitter lettuces.


I think I have posted about these before but they are quite ornamental. These are 'Singara' rat-tail radishes. The pods are much longer than the 'normal' rat-tails you can buy here, and they seem to be tenderer and better flavoured. They are definitely not as harsh.
Pity I just haven't been able to take good pictures that show the pods off well.























Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Winter update

Well, there still isn't much happening for now, and it is still a month before it is time to even start trays of seedlings, so I don't have much to write about.


Today was sunny so I got out and started weeding this bed of mini lettuce. There is only a few beds with anything in them so weeding is not such a big job right now. I am sure the weeds are waiting for a bit of warmth to start growing like triffids.

The only other crops I have in are the overwintering potatoes I grew from seed last season, some beets and the perennials like rhubarb and asparagus.

I am planning to put so much in this spring though and it will be amazing.
Since the ground isn't too boggy right now I put in some 10ft posts so I can put bird netting over the sorghum. Next year I will put up shadecloth and plant oca under them.

Eventually I will have a few of these shadehouses which will take the place of the removable row covers. It will be much more enjoyable to be able to walk and work under the shadecloth more easily.
Another plus is that they will cut a lot of the wind.
The neighbours and I pulled down the boundry fence because the posts were rotting off so I saved some of the good pieces of old rabbit netting and dug it in on the fence at the front of the property where a lot of the rabbits are getting in.

It will be good to eventually get the whole property rabbit proof but at least this is a start, and the neighbour has agreed to go halves in putting rabbit netting on the shared fence too so that will save me a little, even though it puts the price of the whole fence up.
I just have to hope that nothing happens to make the owner sell the property before I have a hope of buying it as it will be annoying to spend all the money on the place and have it wasted.