Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New pop poppies & busy bees

I found this poppy just bloomed a few minutes before I took out my camera and snapped pictures of it while bees are busy buzzing around it to sip fresh juicy nectars. From observation, bees this year in our garden is much fatter compared to last year. Maybe because we planted more flowers this year than last year. I think we pampered the bees this year with hope that pollination is better this year.

Is there any room for two?
This two bees managed to balance themselves on this single poppy.
More ruby colours on Mary blog.
This is my current favourite flower that I am submitting for Fer carnival blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sun-burned potato plant

I promised my cousin Lenay before she visit her mother that I will harvest the potato that had died (or burned) due to the sudden increasing temperature that we had earlier this week. I chose today because my sisters are staying with me starting from today and like to give them an experience with potato harvesting and its weekend free from school.









My sister had a fun time harvesting potato early this morning from containers and veggie patch like shown in the picture above. I would like to sow some gardening interest in my sisters so that my mama won’t have a difficult time to ask help around her garden. We harvested “Nicola” potato variety all of them that has been sun-burned. I did not expect to get much maybe only a few of baby potatoes because the plants were less than 3 months grown from tubers. We were surprised and happy that we actually harvested more than we thought and some are bigger than what is usually an average size of "Nicola“ variety.

DSC00023 Luckily I did plant some more potato tubers in September at the veggie patch in partial shade and it was not effected by this earlier week increased temperatures. The potato plant foliage is green and have not been disturbed by pests that much.

DSC00056 The day temperature is increasing and soon we will have days with above 30 degree Celcius everyday.It won’t be suitable to plant potato as it will be difficult for it to withstand the heat. So I am switching to sweet potato for this summer and grow them from tuber cutting and shoots.  Picture shown young shoots sprouted from a sweet potato section tuber. The young sweet potato plant did very well to withstand the blazing heat from earlier this week.

DSC00101 Note for growing potato this time around:

1) Avoid growing Nicola variety near to summer as they won’t stand a chance with the end spring~summer blazing sun. Preferably grow them in Autumn. Reliable variety even in short growing period still produce some spuds.

2) For spring planting, red coloured spud is more heat hardy to grow.

3) November a good time to start planting sweet potatoes.

I will try to grow different variety next time to see which suit the weather here best.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waiting for mama

Dear Hollyhock when will you bloom for us. It has been seven months since you were born. Many buds have you developed and you are much taller than the fence now. You were all alone a few months ago after all the winter vegetable were harvested but now the sunflower, corn and tomatoes are following your footstep growing taller and taller each day. Lenay give you plenty of water everyday and she is going away for a while. Will you show your blooms for her before she leave? Moreover mama is arriving tomorrow morning will your bloom greet her?
It seems my dear Hollyhock you have almost made up your mind this afternoon. When morning come we shall see whether you will grace us with your pretty flower.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Drying seed pods

Now in November there is so much task to do outside. Not just trying to get everything transplanted or sowed on the veggie patch before it become too warm here in just a few weeks more. But those spent-bloom also need deadheading to continue blooming profusely. It so wonderful to see them blooming but as the temperature in the day increasing its not easy to do that deadheading task done. Never in my whole life, how painful my skin felt standing in the sun just a few minutes here in Adelaide compared with places that I have been. At first when I live here I always wonder why I can’t get used to summer here in Adelaide when I spent two-third of my life in tropical country and I am an outdoor person. I think it is because the ozone layer here is becoming so thin. So while deadheading we also collected some seeds or seed pods to dry and add to our collection of home-saved seed. We collect pansy seeds for next year autumn sowing. There are many bloom pansy colours. My husband favourite pansy colour is this blue one here with the seed pod on top of the flower. When the seed mature it will become more fatter and then the seed pod will burst by itself like in the right picture.










Stock flower seed pods left drying outside. I forgot what colour the flower was.

DSC00012 Nasturtiums seeds drying in the net. When the seeds dried it shrunk so much from it original size that some of it drop through the net.

DSC00081 Lakspur seed pods. Lakspur seed is about the same size as onion seed. If you tried to open the seed pods and it is difficult to peel it means the seed is not ready and immature. DSC00085 Aquilegia (Columbine) seed pods. I was surprised to see how many seeds contain in one seed pods. At least 50 seeds perpod I reckon. When the seeds are ready the seed pod will burst open by itself.

DSC00054 Red onion seeds.


Coriander seeds left drying under the shed. Looking at that drying coriander seeds still attach to the plant, I think it will take quite some time to collect all the seeds so I am assigning this to my unsuspecting sisters that will be staying at my place from this Saturday till New year. That coriander plant was more than 5 feet in height. We still have more bolted coriander plants growing in the patch. Last year with only 2 plants we had half a bottle of coriander seeds. This year I cannot estimate how many bottles we need to keep coriander seeds.

It is a very educational year of learning how to collect seeds. Apart from coriander, all other plant seeds in this post is our first time collecting them. It has been fun guessing on when the seeds are mature to collect or how it looks like.

Do you have the chance to collect any seeds this month or a story to share?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Am I in the tropics now?

The last 2 days the weather were so warm many of our plants had "sunburn".  It was close to 40 degree Celcius. The plants must have quite a shock from the sudden increased of the temperature. Some of our potato plant got cooked with the sun, they wilted and died. However today it was raining heavily (well according to Adelaide standard, one of the most driest city in Australia). So hopefully it refreshes the plant and help to recover from the heat shock. But in the heat came sweet surprises, the turmeric rhizome we planted more than 2 months ago has sprouted and in my eyes develop beautiful leaf in just a few days. Turmeric plant surrounded by melon seedlings, well I thought you never going to sprout so I sow in other seeds.
Galangal don't want to be left behind as well and have grown a leaf.
The self-sowned curry plant that a friend dig out for me under the curry tree from our fruits & vegetables swap event host garden is growing so fast. It was only 3 young leave shoots back then. But I don't know why instead of stannding tall, our curry plant is sprawling.
Bitter gourd (Malay language-peria, Japanese~goya) is one of the most hardy cucurbit in our garden to withstand these few days heat where other cucurbit family leaves are wilting, bitter gourd still hold it stand.
Looking on this plant make it feel closer back at home. In South East Asia this plants are 'almost a must' for gardener or cook to have in the house backyard (or frontyand).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mostly root veggie harvest

Today harvest were mostly root vegetables. Some of the carrots grown over winter is about to bolt so I quickly harvest carrots that have leaves that suspiciously look like it want to produce flowers. Day temperature forecast for next week is above 30 degree Celcius so I harvested the 2 of our fattest leek from the garden. I had to borrow some muscles from my hubby to pull it out. This is our second harvested turnip sown in spring. I did not sow much of it just a few. I think it is better to grow turnip in autumn here in Adelaide. A black bird that is visiting in our garden is causing lots of problem. Most of the potato patch have been mulched and it likes to scrap mulch and soil around the garden especially near our potato patch causing some potato to be severed from the plant. The black bird is bandicooting potatoes for us! This is the crime scene picture of today.

We harvested some garlics and leave it drying under the shade.
Here is our little assistant, he has been gardening since in my tummy. We start growing vegetables together.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New colour and bloom in the garden today

From six Aquilegia or Columbine plant that I planted near the entrance front door 2 plants has yellow colours and this is another plant that has just started to flower, a mix of yellow and red.










This is definitely my favourite colour among other larkspur blooming in the garden. Other larkspur have started flowering for a few months now. But this one has started last week and climbing the trellis that was prepared for the bitter gourd. I am not sure how long the larkspur will continue to bloom but it will be nice to see it side by side with the beautiful foliage of bitter gourd later.










My white gazania has started to bloom now after I said to it don’t you envy the purple gazania over there that display so many flowers? Gazania is a perennial and this want has been growing here for more than a year now. As long as it is provided with full sun it will continue to bloom and bloom.


If you like yellow gazania visit Stephanie at Steph’s Green Space. This portulaca “mango sundial” is dedicated to Stephanie who wants to see what the colour looks like. It just starting to warm up here in Adelaide, day is warm but the night is still cold. So the portulaca has decided to bloom this week but just a bud for each plant.










My dahlia plant is less than 20cm tall and I did not realised it was already producing flower because it was living under the shadow of our pyrethrum.

DSC00025 Poppies oh poppies with different shade or combination of white , pink and red.


DSC00020 (2)











DSC00062 The carnation that we grow from stem cuts has also start to bloom this week.










The gerbera that I grow from division in early spring is also blooming. but I don’t know why one of the flowers has only half petals forming around the flower.


If you like to see more flowers visit Ewa blog and more pink colours visit How Sweet the Sound blog.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Anticipation, then jubilation

I did a little spying game with Ilhan this morning on which vegetables are almost ready to be picked. Ilhan has language disorder so it takes a lot of repetition teaching him new words. He has more vocabulary now but mostly nouns not action words or verb it is still difficult for him to understand. He can only combine 2 or 3 noun words at the moment. I try to add more words for him while both of us spy on the plants.

I spy a loop shape bush bean in the polystyrene box. But why is it loop shape instead of straight.


I spy a few bush bean dangling near the viola and spinach.Soon see you in the kitchen.Bush bean

I spy a few ‘tigerella’ tomato plant fruits. I wonder will it has more define stripe like the tiger as the fruit ripen.DSC09974 I spy the white turnip root pushing out from the soil.  Our second grown turnip what are we going to do with it?


I spy the yellow button squash has produce flowers. I wonder are all squash female? DSC00043

I spy Romanesco Zucchini has flower about to bloom. But unlike the squash this is male flower. Will it taste good if I cook deep-fried tempura with it? We never eat zucchini flower before because this is the first time we grow one. I first know the Zucchini flower can be eaten while watching Masterchef this year.


I spy there is still many peas and Ilhan is waiting beside me hoping that I find some for him.  He anticipates lunch because he knows the peas will be together with his lunch meal..

DSC00032 I can’t wait to harvest them.

What are you anticipating from your garden?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Those self-seed tomatoes

On the other side of my backyard fence there is a reserve land. Sometime trucks or cars like to park beside our side of the fence and switch on loud music that my babies cannot take a good nap in the afternoon. I decided to plant something on the other side of the fence so no vehicles will park so close at our side. So here is the update on how the plants is growing with almost total neglect and no watering from us but the rain from the previous post about this public patch of ours. Last end of winter and early spring I found so many self-seed tomatoes ( I still found a few popping up recently) and not sure what I should do with them. Well I might have to ask Lenay help to collect them and transplant them at the other side of the fence. Back then, I doubt it will bear us any fruit or even survive after transplanting and negligence.  Words of encouragement from Autumn Belle and Kitchen flavours made me decided to keep this self-seed tomatoes and transplanted them at the other side of our backyard fence as at that time I don’t have any space to plant them at all.  I did not believe it at first when Lenay told me that the self-seed tomatoes are fruiting now because it is still officially end of Spring here. What a wonderful surprise these self-seed tomatoes gave me, I counted there is at least 4 different type of tomatoes variety.


















It takes about 10 minutes walk to harvest the side shoots of Italian Sprouting Broccoli from this “public patch”. The reason why all plants have produce flowers or seed pods. Looks like I won’t need to buy this broccoli seeds variety for several year as the 2 years ago bought seed packet I don’t even finish it up yet. Do you think we have good pollination for the tomatoes because the bees are attracted to the broccoli flowers? A bit confuse now with my theory, let see isn’t tomato self-pollinate.













Our natural "Don't park cars here” signboard as takaeko from small vege garden in a suburb named it are growing taller and taller.  I hope these Evening sun sunflower will grow taller than the fence so we can see them greeting us from the other side of the fence.

DSC00042 Propagation:

  1. Basil Thai (Mr. Forthergill’s)
  2. Sweet corn ‘Max” (Green Harvest)
  3. Cabbage ‘Bok choy’ ( Green Harvest)
  4. Snake bean (Phoenix seeds)
  5. Spring Onion (Phoenix seeds)
  6. Lemon Basil (Phoenix seeds)
  7. Apple cucumber (Phoenix seeds)
  8. Sunflower mammoth (Eden seeds)
  9. Zinnia Lilliput Mix (Eden seeds)
  10. Rockmelon-banana shapes (Eden seeds)
  11. Portulaca sunnybank double-flowered mixed (Eden seeds)
  12. Choy sum (Eden seeds)
  13. Leaf Amaranth (Eden seeds)

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