Thursday, September 30, 2010

Container gardening ~ September

Oh my its already end of September.


Radish and brown onion grown from seeds. Self-seed viola I transplanted from one of the vegetable patch overshadowed with celery.


2 days ago we harvested our first Bloomsdale spinach. Heated up some butter, saute garlic and then spinach. That is why not much leaves on the spinach plant. We have to wait the new leaves to grow from this cut and come again spinach.


Carrots are hiding brown onions.


Inter-planting brown onions with fast crop choy sum.


Garlic with friends~ red onions and carrots.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Future offspring the product of reproduction preparation this spring

 Alpine strawberry producing many white flower that will give sweet fruit which Ilhan love so much. Strawberry is unique the seeds are outside on the skin rather than inside which is more common. The one we grow on the veggie bed have to share with other creatures, found many of them has already been eaten this month.

Apline strawberries

Coriander flowers that will give seeds that can be useful in the kitchen. Fresh dried coriander seeds can be one of the ingredient to marinade beef satay. I still have plenty of coriander seeds from my first batch of home save seed coriander. Friends visiting during Raya happy to take home coriander seedlings from us. I had too many seedlings glad that my seedlings had someone else to take care of them.coriander (1)

Telephone peas just enough for Ilhan. I did daydream of freezing them if I had too many.  However it seems not enough maybe plant more next year since Ilhan is a fan of peas.The seeds  are very easy to collect because of the seed pod size. Just leave them dry and collect later.


Asian leaf vegetable also produce seed pods similar like peas but smaller version. Choy sum seed pods for another collection of choy sum seeds.DSC08923 

Chinese broccoli (@kailan) also in the process of developing seed pods.DSC08937

Hon tsai tai (@purple flowered choy sum) producing purple colour seed pod. DSC08954 

Our first batch of tomato fruit from “Stupice” variety that died due to last year heatwave and start regrowth in winter. This tomato plant type actually is not suitable for Adelaide summer from last year trial. It is not heat tolerant. It is early variety type produce many nice fruit for us in the beginning of summer. However, later cannot withstand the summer heat in Adelaide.I think it is more suitable for cooler region in Australia. “Stupice” variety is from Chezkozlavakia. Two plants survived but did not produce fruit until now from last summer. I will let them fruit and collect the seeds. Maybe this type I can grow well in autumn  here when the weather is much cooler in full sun.DSC08899

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vertically growing in spring

 Nasturtium in front of our kitchen window is conquering all the space. What a dilemma it has given me ;(1) Oh how many type of vegetable I can grow there, (2) The nasturtium is just starting to give us a show of beautiful flowers.  Should I leave the nasturtium alone or pull it out to make way for warm loving vegetables.


Early this week when I came home from school, I was surprised to see the nasturtium is climbing the kitchen wall. Mik, my cousin had made a trellis and carefully tie the nasturtium  up towards the rope she  made along the kitchen wall. Mik said now she can have something to see whenever she washes the dishes.  Meanwhile I can grow something new on the kitchen vegetable patch.  Today the new member of this kitchen patch that I introduce was Australia brown onions, Early Long Purple eggplant, cherry type tomatoes and komatsuna. They are at least 10 type of plants growing in this kitchen patch now ~Musselburgh leeks, Topweight carrots, celeries, viola, pepper, polyanthus, cineraria, coriander,ect.


I hope nasturtium bright colours will attract important pollinators to the garden.


Telephone peas trellis upper part broken due to strong wind earlier this month. The peas has been helpful producing lots of bribe for Ilhan to quickly finish his meal. I have trouble convincing Ilhan to eat meat nowadays. He is like half-vegetarian. Since Ilhan likes peas very much, I mix the peas with chicken or meat so he have a balance diet for kids his age. My friends have been asking me how did I made my boys eats their vegetable. Well, it started when I start to grow vegetable organically. It is a wonder how Ilhan can differentiate the vegetable that we grow and supermarket ones.  Maybe because young children has more sensitive taste bud. Adults have many died cells I reckon. We are thinking to replace the peas with one of cucurbit family next month. Must repair the trellis first.


This pea plants growing vertically in this trellis has start to produce one flower this morning.So don’t worry Ilhan we still have some pea for you before summer comes and its too hot to grow peas.


Taller than the fence now this pea plants near the cinerarias peeking over the neighbour backyard.

peas trellisChili harvested during winter left hanging to dry. Calendula flowers left to dry to collect seeds.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

A patch with cineraria as border

 We have an empty patch with cineraria as a natural border at both sides that has been prepared with horse manure and gypsum. It use to be heavy clay soil. We added gypsum and organic matter into the soil so it retain more moisture and good air circulation for the beneficial creature in the soil. This is the result after a year of working on this patch to make it more fertile.
In autumn/winter 2010 we planted broccoli  and cabbage in this patch.
So for spring/summer 2010 with our available seedling stocks that we have now, we plan to grow in this patch:
  1. Cardamon
  2. Carrot
  3. Nastartium
  4. Cabbage ‘Red Choi’
  5. Mix lettuces
  6. Wong Bok
  7. Musselburgh Leek
  8. African Marigold (Crackerjack)
  9. Earliball cabbage
Seedlings in recycled containers from milk and donuts.
After transplanting the seedlings (except carrots direct sowing), the patch transformation ~
This patch is in part shade. My neighbour has kindly cut some of their palm tree leaves that has been shading this patch from receiving direct sunlight. Now the plants in this veggie patch will received more light. Cineraria does not mind to be in the shaded area. African marigold will be the front border for this patch and keep the nematodes away from attacking the brassicas. Another different view of this patch.
Stay away slug and snail from those seedlings!!!
Have a nice weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bawang merah bawang putih

In Malay language onion is ‘bawang’. Moreover, in Malay language we differentiate the allium family by colour or shape. Garlic because it is commonly white in colour is known as white onion~ bawang putih (putih means white). Shallot or red onion is known as ~bawang merah (merah means red). Brown onions are known as bawang besar (besar means big). Malaysia has a famous folk tale similar like Cinderella which is ‘Bawang merah bawang putih’. Here is the short version of the folk tale copied from Pos Malaysia webpage:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Bawang Merah who lived with her stepmother and stepsister named Bawang Putih who always abused her. One day, she heard the call of a carp fish from the well who wanted to help her. Unfortunately, her stepmother and stepsister found out. They caught the fish and cooked it. Bawang Merah's mother appeared in her dreams and told her about the fish. She told Bawang Merah to bury the fish bones. Bawang Merah buried them and amazingly, a tree attached with a golden swing grew before her eyes. One day while happily swinging on her golden swing, her melodious voice attracted the attention of a prince who eventually married her and they lived happily ever after.

Garlic growing in polystyrene containers. We plant many cloves this year compare last year but after some heavy rain now 1/3 has died. Hopefully the remaining will give us some garlic produce.


Whose flower is this?









Bawang merah’s.

Red onion odourless planted in autumn has bolted.Funny though I never have luck growing vegetable seedlings bought from nursery. Lucky seeds sympathise me.


Spring onions growing near sweet alyssum and viola.DSC08825  Leek waiting patiently for pansy to start flowering.DSC08849

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Almost 0% of calories but made of almost 100% of water

We hope next month, October will be celery month for us seeing how well they are growing now. August has been cauliflower month for us. September too has seen many of cauliflower produce from our patch but we do have leeks and peas to harvest as well. I reckon the celery plants from our patch has grown at least 50cm now. 


Celery growing beside leeks, calendulas and peas near the car porch. We can start harvest the celery stalk from the most outer part but I simply want to see how fat it can be.DSC08822

Celeries growing in polystyrene container. They really need big and wide space for their root growth. When they are still young, I found that they have more root then leaves!!! Several time when I grow them in containers, I can take the celery out from the container with the soil still intact because it was full of roots.DSC08773

3 Celery plants growing in the middle of cauliflower vegetable bed. At the back row near the fence are corianders which we plan to let them produce seed and attract beneficial insect later important for pollination. Front row, poppy as a natural border. This is our first time growing poppy, we can’t wait how the poppy flower will look like. We grow them from seeds.DSC08812

Near the kitchen window veggie patch, the nastartium are taking up all the space and covering the celeries.celery (3)

We had too much celery seedling sowed in autumn maybe because I thought the celery seeds stock we had is not good and sowed too many to increase germination. The celery seed stock that we had the supplier has written the expiry date was in August 2009. However, the seed germination was still good almost 100%. Ended up with lots of celery seedlings. So, with lack of space I transplanted the seedlings to a place that received only maximum of 1 hour direct sunlight on very sunny day and no direct sunlight during cloudy and day. This is how they look like a month ago just few weeks after transplanting  them, the same size as the primula flower plant.celery (1)  Now a month later and growing well. The celery plant has grown double the previous size, look at how small the primula flower plant now compare to celery. Celery grows well in shade area (part shade) too.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Bonus token


















Our local newspaper ‘The Advertiser’ has printed bonus token that we can exchange the bonus token and a $1 coin for one packet of vegetable seeds from Yates company at certain outlets. Usually a packet of seeds cost about $3.00. I exchanged the bonus token for watermelon ‘Candy Red’. This summer I plan to grow ‘Cream of Saskatchewan’ watermelon that I bought from Phoenix seeds and here information written inside the packet:

Cream of Saskatchewan is originally a Russian variety that has undergone further development in Canada. It is capable of producing fruit in shorter season than is possible with standard varieties. Fruit weigh around 2~4kg with suitable cultivation. Sweet, juicy, creamy-white flesh.

After reading this information there was an alarm bell ringing in my head...I don’t think this variety will suit well with Adelaide summer. We have sometimes a week of heat wave continuously above 40 degree Celsius. A big possibility more than 50% I wager it is not suitable for our summer. But we try anyway and see how it will cope.

‘Candy Red’ watermelon will be our back up plan because it is said to be heat tolerant. So we are growing two variety of watermelon this spring.

Last year was fun growing watermelon from supermarket bought watermelon seed. The seed germination was no trouble at all and we got different shapes of watermelon fruit in one plant.

I have to search for other bonus token that I might skip and forget to cut from ‘The Advertiser’ last August editions. I suddenly remember one of last month edition there was a bonus token for free rocket seeds. Must find those bonus tokens.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pokok ubi kentang (ジャガイモ)

I was not planning to grow potato this year because of space. We did not get much last year just one or two spud per plant and only enough for Rayyan puree. We did not have good drainage soil last year, most of it were clay and heavy soil. So after a year now the soil I think became easily dig because of gypsum and many compostable things were dig into the soil. In addition this summer, all the patch we going to add free horse manure into the soil as well. Suddenly I had 1 X 1 metre square space that I can plant something with in early August. Previously 6 cauliflower plant were grown here, only one left in the picture. My eyes does not like to see bare earth and no patience too. It was very cold back then and no seedling stock in our hand. I decided to just dig in some seed potatoes in this patch and see how it goes (Not in the plan at first hmmm…for potato, thought to plan capsicum here in end spring was the plan).  The potato plant growth are  very fast at the moment. Maybe because of the soil were prepared with horse manure or the temperature range here is now favourable for potato?


5 days later after the above picture taken. So now we have a 1X1 metre area dedicated for potatoes.


Potato growing in 3 black container with different stages of growth. 


Left picture: Potato leave pushing itself out from the soil (above picture left pot close up picture)

Right picture: Above middle pot close up picture.









Potato plant growing together with pot marigold in polystyrene box. The potato leaves has been under attack from what insect I do not know. Makes me wonder though how much pesticide were sprayed on potato bought in supermarket.


I hope we have a decent harvest with potatoes this coming summer or autumn.

Dear friends, please advice on how to know when the potatoes are ready to harvest? Or some growing tip :).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spring cleaning

This is the first Gaillardia flower about to bloom in our garden in Spring 2010. I am glad that I kept one plant of gaillardia from last year instead of chucking them all into compost when the weather gets cold and the gaillardia had stop flowering and looks like they won’t survive. Surprised me this morning when I saw this flower blooming between cauliflower leaves.


Gaillardia seedling from seeds sowed end August has popped out from the soil.


I have been busy with my studies this few days and feeling a bit depress because I was so busy that I went to lab very early in the morning and go back late that for a few days I have not able to see Rayyan smile because he is asleep whenever I am at home. I have been missing a lot on his growing development, according to Mik he have start to call Ilhan by name. Ilhan and Mik have helped to prepare same space to sow sweet corn seeds this weekend. This patch look like this early last month.

calendula (3) It was a hard decision to pull out the broccolli plant from this patch because it was still producing many sprouting broccoli. But thinking of fresh sweet corn in summer, sorry my broccoli plants I have to replace you with sweet corn. Well we can still eat broccoli fresh from garden because there are other place in our garden growing and producing side shoots. However, this was the biggest one in the garden. Ilhan helped Mik carried the broccoli to the compost heap. We thought as the broccoli plant were big that it will have a very deep root but it was only about 25cm or so.


Calendula has been pruned and is still flowering at the front patch as a border. Moreover will play its role beckoning more bees into our garden. There is still other plant still left growing as well ~ carrots, lemon grass (dormant in winter and has been over harvested), hollyhocks. Horse and chicken manure has been added into this garden patch. DSC08824 All we need to do is pop in sweet corn, sunflower and honeydew seeds into the soil and hope it will give us many produce end of this year or next new year.