Monday, August 30, 2010

Lazy Ballerina Cellars Gardens

Last weekend we decided to take the children on a trip close to nature. Its been awhile since we had a drive to the countryside. I cannot even remember when was the last time we did that. In last Friday newspaper,we read that in Kuipto there will be an open garden to tour. So here some interesting spots in the Lazy Ballerina Cellars Gardens.





On the way back we stop for a while on the road side to view McLaren valley one of South Australia wine region.DSC08524 DSC08529

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Spring preparation (春の準備)

Finally its weekend and its a no wet day today after almost a week of erratic weather. I could do some gardening in the morning before I go to the lab to look in the microscope looking at chromosomes in the afternoon. Mik helped sowed seeds in recycled containers and I transplanted seedlings.

This veggie bed is in front of the kitchen window that I have manured 2 weeks ago. I transplanted leek seedlings here.

leek transplant

Harvested some leek and other winter vegetable today to make porridge (rainfield61 gave me the idea) for buka puasa. Lettuces growing well for one of the lazy cooking day.

leek lettuce

Last week I posted a blog about this nest that we found but don’t know what kind of bird nest it is. Yesterday we saw the bird inside the nest. We think it is laying eggs now. The bird is slightly bigger than a crow.

nesting (2) My next door neighbour back yard has many big trees that is flowering and many species of birds are flocking on top of those trees. It is a heaven for bird watchers. I don’t have a sophisticated tech camera that can zoom out that far to get a good picture. I got really distracted looking at those beautiful birds yesterday from gardening. Because of that I did not get to do much gardening as I like and went to lab later than I planned to.

End August propagation:


  1. Tomato Super Sioux (Eden seeds)
  2. Challenger tomato ( Phoenix seeds)
  3. Tomato ‘ Cherry Rainbow Mix’ (Green harvest)
  4. Romanesco Zucchini (Phoenix seeds)
  5. Eggplant Early Long Purple (Eden seeds)
  6. Capsicum “Golden Calwonder” (Green Harvest)
  7. Cucumber green gem (Eden seeds)
  8. Lettuce salad mix (Yates)
  9. Mustard spinach (Phoenix seeds)
  10. Hon tsai tai (Phoenix seeds)
  11. Celery Crisp & Tender (D.T. Brown)
  12. Choy Sum (Eden seeds)
  13. Cabbage Earliball (Grower’s Pride)
  14. Bloomsdale spinach (Phoenix seeds)
  15. Wong Bok Cabbage (Phoenix seeds)
  16. Lemon Basil (Phoenix seeds)
  17. Basil Thai (Mr. Forthergill’s)
  18. Chives (D.T. Brown)
  19. Spring onion (Phoenix seeds)

Direct sowing>

  1. Sunflower Evening Sun (Home save seed)
  2. Bush Bean Redland Pioneer (Eden seeds)
  3. Apple cucumber (Phoenix seeds)
  4. Saskatchewan watermelon (Phoenix seeds)
  5. Radish daikon (Eden seeds)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Guard!

I am curious what is this cabbage moth?cabbage white butterfly? up to on the snow pea flower. It did not fly away as I came closer even though we were 30cm apart from each other. I don’t think his camouflage tactic is working if he thought he was fooling me. Hope you are not laying more eggs on our brassicas or has it just undergone metamorphosis. Larkspur and snow peas are having height competition now. So far snow pea is leading.


Grrr…who done this?And leaving your ****!!!print behind too. I am going to catch you.


Caught it. Leaving it shell behind for easy access.


In the local newspaper gardening section, caution has been given about snail and slug attack when the weather gets warmer and they will have voracious appetite.

Friday, August 27, 2010

‘Red Stem Welsh’ spring onions

RED WELSH (2)  Above picture, ‘Red Stem Welsh’ growing in July.

Since this variety is grown throughout winter the stem turns deep red compare grown during warm weather.


Spring onions thrive in full sun. DSC08316

I like fresh spring onions. You can hear the crispiness when you are slicing spring onion on the chopping board. Oh what nice music.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kai lan @ Chinese Broccoli – Life Cycle

Kai lan is one of my favourite leaf vegetables. Because I like kai lan masak ikan masin (kailan fried with dried salted fish) dish. Last autumn we had abundant crop with kai lan that comes a time I think I need to take a break with kai lan. But now I am missing them again.

Kai lan seedlings in recycled plastic container. When I sowed Kai lan seeds last autumn it was the optimum weather condition for kai lan and germination rate almost 100%.

early autumn 2010 (35)

Interplanting Kai lan with garlic to reduce pest attack and utilise space. Kai lan does not have long roots so it does not bother garlic that much.DSC07506 I thought at first that this is a wild flower because I have not seen kai lan flower before. This kai lan is hiding behind one of the broccoli no wonder it did not end up in the wok. We had some trouble when I interplanted kai lan with broccoli and cauliflower because when the young broccoli and cauliflower are the same size with kai lan they look similar its hard to differentiate them. So when Mik was helping me harvesting kai lan she had actually 2 or 3 times made a mistake harvesting broccoli and cauliflower which she thought it was kai lan. After few days when I had time in the garden that I noticed our cauliflower and broccoli plants are missing and realised that Mik had some confusion. But the interesting part is with kailan, broccoli and cauliflower cooked together they taste the same. We did not know that all was not kai lan.


I always thought that kai lan has yellow flower because the kai lan bud hints yellow colour. I was surprise when it blooms the flower is white. No wonder Kai lan is also known as chinese broccoli because of the shape of the bud clumping together looks like a broccoli about to bolt.kailan (3) Now this kai lan plant is beginnning to produce seed pods. Hopefully we could get many seeds from this plant.


For Adelaide gardeners who does not have a hot house, from my experience it is better to not sow kai lan seeds from June to September because it is cold for Kai lan. I wasted lots of seeds  last year sowing the seeds too early and germination was really bad. Sowing in June cause it to bolt prematurely and stunted growth during the cold period.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gardening on the other side of the fence

Adelaide had a very fine weather today. Early in the morning we start to garden outside on the other side of our backyard fence which I think is just a reserve land. I had to climb and jump the fence because we don’t have the key while Mik and Rayyan had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the back of our fence. One of the back neighbours are having construction building a warehouse I think and trucks like to park near our fence. Sometimes it could be very noisy with the music blasting loudly from the trucks and the kids can’t have their short nap during the day. So we are determined today to sow some home save sunflower evening sun seeds all along our fence.Finally we got lucky. The line were clear nobody at the back today after waiting patiently for about a week. Hopefully in future they won’t park near our fence side.

About a month ago, Ilhan and Mik planted some onion that has sprouted leaves at this area. After planting those onions, it has been neglected and they grow depending on rain water only. Amazingly, the onions are doing very well. So we planted some more sprouted onions today.

DSC08397Finally I have a place for this celery seedlings which I reckon it roots are suffocating due to growth space and water competition.DSC08399 We found at least 10 self-seed tomato seedlings in our veggie patch and transplant them to this area as well. Thank you for blogger friends for note of encouragement on keeping them.


This is how it looks now. But hopefully in 3 months the sunflower will start producing and provide a nice view for passerby.Mmmm…our wish for the moment.


My note for today ;

Seed sown> Evening sun sunflower, Honeydew melon, pumpkin, soy bean, radish, carrot.

Seedling transplanted> Viola, tomato, celery, onion.

No direct sunlight for me

This veggie patch does not received any direct sunlight (very shady area) but I want to make it useful for growing food for our kitchen or make it pretty than leaving it bare.  Previously I had success growing celery, Chinese celery, parsley and believe or not honeydew melon (growing vertically) in this area in summer. In the picture there is the sad looking galangal that has been dormant through the cold weather. Hopefully it pick up growth again when it gets warmer here. Chinese celery and a year old parsley look well there.














Ahem…so with limited choice of seedlings in my stock for spring planting, I decided to grow coriander, viola, Chinese celery and komatsuna in this shade area. Hopefully they will like their new place.












This Chinese celery seedlings should had been transplanted at least 2 months ago because I sow them last May but I did not have any space to transplant them. Now it is full of roots. They had to compete each other for water I think. I had trouble separating them to keep the root as intact as possible. While I am completing my task here , Mik and Ilhan were making trellis? tall fence? for cucurbit to grow vertically to utilise space.

















In the picture background, the peas are producing many flowers now and the trellis is not visible anymore. Ilhan favourite at the moment eating peas straight from the garden.

Happy gardening in the weekend!

Friday, August 20, 2010

King William Road

The weather is a bit strange today it keep on changing between sunny and shower. On the way back from the hospital we saw a flock of parrots picking on the bud that is about to bloom indicating spring is just around the corner. We were very happy looking at them its like God has just answered our prayers.


Why? While Rayyan had his appointment with the nutritionists, we had his nasal tube changed. Rayyan was not happy with that and what determination he showed us to resist the tube going through his nose to his stomach crying the whole time. I tried to make him stop struggling and crying by promising we will see big bird outside.

Voila! We saw not one but four beautiful parrots. This put a smile back on Rayyan so  serious face.



Walking on King William Road to the nearest tram station we also saw one of Adelaide icon which is the Black Swan eating grass ignoring buses or cars which passed them.

DSC08349 Before going home we did some shopping at Adelaide Central Market. One of the organic shops.

DSC08354 It was drizzling when we reached home TADAIMA…. Our bird friend was cold and wet when it came to greet us…OKAERI.

DSC08361 Reading Cath blog made me crave for young mango so luckily in one of the chinese shop in Adelaide Central Market has some. We made kerabu mangga for buka puasa.

DSC08365 Quickly harvested some chilies, broccoli shoot and a cauliflower when it was drizzling for hot tom yum.


No beginner luck with Wong Bok (白菜)

I sowed Wong Bok seeds in March, April and May (autumn). Germination was near 100% and grow very fast. So I thought that it was a suitable time to grow wong bok. After 3 months our wong bok did not show any sign of leaves developing firm compact head but the leaves were  lying flat towards the ground. We even tie the leaves together to make it shape like a barrel. All of them bolted. We have about 5 plants left growing in the patch which has not flower yet but I reckon it will bolt too.

DSC08334This one the flower parts has even turn white in colour. Ilhan insist he carry that one for me and could see that Wong bok has grown very big.Wong Bok not into the wok but for compost.

DSC08340 This is one busy caterpillar found hiding in Wong Bok. It is difficult to detect any pest among the Wong Bok leaves.

DSC08331 This chili plant has survive Adelaide winter and produce fruit through the whole cold season as well. This chili plant is snuggle between broccoli plant that protected it from the cold harsh wind and growing in the patch that received the most sunlight in the day.


Will try again this spring with wong bok….

Any tips growing them?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gardening in 1.5m X 1.5m space

After returning from the hospital, fed Rayyan & put him to sleep. Ilhan accompany me outside to do a little bit of gardening as a therapy of making me calm and release some stress. Less than 5 minutes, he goes and find something to do beside me and forget those just borrowed books from the local library.

Space 1>

I manured this veggie patch of us (about 1.5m X 1.5m) and planted some seed potatoes (nicola). We already harvested 3 curds of cauliflowers from this patch & there is still 3 cauliflower plant left which I reckon by end of this month will be harvested. In the front, parsley has been grown for almost a year now and we won’t be surprise as the day becomes longer, those parsley may start to flower. Near the wall 3 hollyhocks grown from seed. Hopefully by December those hollyhocks display some flowers.


I am thinking of planting some sunflower seeds near that parsley so that they provide shade from summer scorching sun because in summer this patch will received full sunlight after noon. In addidtion, I will sow maybe climbing beans or soy beans close to sunflower for support. To utilise this space, I will plant fast crop vegetable such as asian greens (maybe komatsuna I already have seedlings).

Space 2>

~Snow peas growing vertically to save space ~galangal~5 celeries ~2 cauliflowers~3 calendulas ~ 3 Chili plants~ 3 rows of leeks~ 2 rows of carrots~some pansies and violas ~ and some pyrethrum plants.

I never follow the rules for distance between each plant in those gardening books. Just using my own judgement and experience from trial and error. So far this space looks they all are doing fine.

DSC08313 Collecting more calendula seeds.

DSC08310 Harvest baby leeks. Mik remark that our baby leeks are much smaller than baby leeks sold in Central Market. I wanted to taste them so much it takes forever to wait for leek to grow big.

Carrots from thinning carrots thats why they look baby.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Bird nest?

Rayyan health is deteriorating. I am so worried it has been since last Saturday I have not been to lab. During the weekend I got to see his condition worsening made up my mind to be with him until I could bring him to the cardiologist to ascertain how long he has to cope until they plan for his next surgery. He is having many episode in a day when he has trouble breathing and he turns blue in his face. He has to throw up before he starts to breath normally again, well almost normally. I don’t think my brain could function normally if I am doing experiment in the lab- the body is there, but the mind and heart is with Rayyan at home. At the moment, my first priority is Rayyan and tomorrow I will bring him to Women and Children Hospital for the cardiologist to examine him. I hope surgery will be in the near future. We don’t mind celebrate Eid Mubarak in Melbourne Royal Children Hospital as long as baby Rayyan won’t have to go through a lot of this episode. I feel hopeless when I watch him suffering but there is nothing I could do to lessen the pain. A small heart that need to be fixed so it will function properly, like any other machines. Rayyan has 4 major defects in his heart and in medical term is known as ‘Tetralogy of Fallot’ a complex congenital heart defect condition.

Rayyan like to watch bird from the window they make him happy. If it is not that cold, I will take him outside to watch the birds. Our next door neighbour has many big tall trees in his backyard and many birds are flocking on them as the weather gets warmer. Mik found this interesting big shape nest like a pot without its handle (picture top right). From where we were standing it looks bigger than a coconut fruit sitting precariously on top of that branch. We wonder how can it stand not fall down from the strong wind without any shelter or protection and very high place.


We found another similar looking nest on a different tree. It looks like it is not made of small twig or stick. We don’t know what type of bird live in that kind of nest.

DSC08281This bird has become very tame with us (Manja!!!) since Mik has been feeding this bird since last year. It follows us around the house when we are outside. Sometimes observing what we are doing inside the house too, Just looking at any window facing the front of the house and the bird will be near. Took this picture from inside the house with Rayyan looking at his favourite bird sunbathing near those calendulas.


Pray for us for tomorrow Rayyan check up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Free Horse Manure

Robbe whom we met last week at the community fruit & veggie swap told us that we could get free horse manure in one of Adelaide racecourses. I decided to google and  find more information. Interestingly I found the information on where to get those free horse manure in Wikipedia. You can get free horse manure from nearby stable at Morphettville racecourse and it has already prepared in bags. You don’t have to scoop it yourself. Although we did bring same sack in case we have to do it ourselves.

We went there yesterday and took 3 bags because the car has no more space. We will definitely go there again when our horse manure supply run low. At first we thought that it will smell really bad on the way home but it was really not bad at all. In comparison, durian or fish smell much stronger.

horse manure (3)

Golden manure. Looks like mulch. Looks different from cow,sheep and chicken manure. This horse manure look promising with lots of nutrient. Race horse eat very high quality food.

horse manure (1)