Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 End Summer Harvest Finale

Summer ending for us here.
I am sure many gardeners living in Northern hemisphere are happy greeting spring.
Did not take many photo lately.
But here some what we had been harvesting at the end of summer.
Sorted some of our brown onions that are left curing in the shed, brought in some onion for the kitchen use which does not going to store well.
Pak choi grown in container and miraculously survive the extreme summer heat.
We harvested our first batch of kang kong/water spinach bamboo leaves, second summer broccoli and bonica eggplants.
Mice have been nibbling on the top of our root vegetables, so we harvested carrots and beetroots.
Beans, cherry tomatoes, brown onions and shallots.
Carrots and self-sowed amaranth (bayam).
We harvested our first banana capsicum that we grown from seeds this warm season. 
Pak choi, hon tsai tai, daikon, baby beetroot and cherry tomatoes.
The weather has cool down a bit now.
Hoping that our summer veggies will set fruit well now.
It was too hot before for them to set fruit, although they have blooms.
Wishing for more cucurbit and solanum family harvest at the moment.
Visit Daphne's Dandellion for harvest monday and see what other gardeners doing with their harvest.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Parsnip Life-Cycle

The white root vegetable parsnip seeds shape are different from other root vegetable such as carrot, radish and turnip. Parsnip seeds looks like a round flat brown disc. I was surprise when I first saw them. Parsnip seeds are much bigger and easier to handle compare to carrot seeds. 

Newly sprouted seeds. From right: a seedling still attached to the seed coat, a seedling free from the seed coat, and seedling with its first true leaves. 

More growth and bigger leaves.

Parsnips growing in rows with carrot and leek as companion.

If parsnips is grown over-winter, it will be better to harvest the root before mid-spring before the root becomes woody and start to flower. It will be good to left a few parsnip to flower as the flower attracts beneficial creatures into your garden. Parsnip roots takes a long time to grow compared with carrot. It will take at least 6 months before it is ready to be harvested depending on the climate.
Parsnip flowering.

Parsnip seeds developing stage.

Parsnip seeds ready to be harvested.

Are you planting any parsnip this year?
How long do you usually wait to harvest your parsnip?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hon tsai tai ~Purple Choy sum

We have been harvesting some Asian veggies hon tsai tai this month. Hon tsai tai is also known as purple choy sum. Its like choi sum twin but the stems and leave veins are purple. Usually its difficult to differentiate the leaf of some brassicas at the stage of newly sprouted seeds as they look similar. However, as it is clearly can be seen that the stem of hon tsai tai newly sprouted seedlings are purple.
The first true leave sets of hon tsai tai.
Look ready to be transplanted.
hontsaitai (3)
Ready to be pick Hon Tsai Tai.
They are also enjoyed harvested when flowering.
Flower part is also edible.
Hon tsai tai flower resemble choy sum flower closely.
Have to be aware that this plant will cross-pollinate with other Asian veggies.
On cooler weather, the purple part of hon tsai tai will turn darker.
Time fly so fast!
I have not been updating my blog regularly this year.
Hope to catch up with you and see what you are posting in your blog soon.
Water dragon year is sure a busy year for me.
Top 3 main things for me this year:
 (1) Complete my PhD before middle of this year.
(2) Rayyan has to undergo another surgery schedule in May.
(3) Hormonal changes and welcoming a water dragon child.
I am counting on the luck and blessing no. (3) to help with smooth (1) and (2) journey.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Till Valentine End Summer Harvest

The cherry tomatoes did much better than the other tomato varieties this summer season. We were lucky to  be able to harvested some round eggplants last week.
We harvested our first time home-grown potato onions. Should have reduced the watering when it was ready to be harvested. But I was relying on dear hubby with the watering so I let him do whatever he wants as long as the plants were watered during peak summer.
Brought in some garlic into the kitchen that we left curing in the shed.
Challenger tomato variety but it got scorched badly by the sun. 
I was cleaning up some part of the garden last weekend because it look so shabby after the scorching weather cause during mid-summer and I was surprised to find some cucumbers. It looks misshapen but I never expected to get any cucumbers this summer. First time we harvested a broccoli in end summer that was grown/sowed from last autumn. Another unexpected surprise that the broccoli plant manage to form a curd and not bolt in hot weather. Possibly the cool weather we had a few weeks helped. We also harvested a few root vegetables; carrots, turnip, beetroots and volunteer  potatoes. Some hot red sexy chillies for valentine were harvested as well. Will be making some sambal sauce stock this afternoon with mama after we buy some lemon/lime this afternoon.
With the love valentine theme, some red harvest; strawberries, chillies, tigerella tomato, challenger and cherry tomato.
Visit Daphne's Dandelions to share and enjoy together what other gardeners has been harvesting all over the world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nellie Kelly 'Sweetie' Strawberry

We entered end summer season now. The weather changed drastically when February came, the weather really cools down. Instead of summer, somehow felt like autumn weather. Wishing that some of the plants will bounce back. I was hoping eggplants and peppers will be able to flower and set proper fruit in the end summer season as it usually does since mid-summer they spent more energy to survive. We will just have to wait and see. Due to the heat this year, more than 90% loss of strawberry plants for us this year. This is the first year we actually loss any strawberry plants. The only variety of strawberry that survived are Nellie Kelly (the first strawberry plant we bought from Bunnings 3 years ago and provided many runners) and alpine strawberry. These are the varieties that produce well for us in our micro-climate here in Adelaide plain. I am sure in other areas, other gardeners have their own strawberry variety that does well in their garden.
Nellie Kelly strawberry growing in container at the end of December.

Last end winter transplanted some of Nellie Kelly strawberry runners in this polystyrene container. Now after mid-summer only one left in this container.

We tried growing pansy and Nellie Kelly strawberry plant together.

Pansy and strawberry flowers blooming together. Rayyan did managed to enjoy several strawberry fruits from this container before the 40 degree Celsius came. I was aiming for natural mulch after the pansy wilted and died beside the strawberry plants during summer which it did. Mulching with straw will just attract birds to uproot strawberry plants.

So far, Nellie Kelly strawberry has been the most prolific and heat-tolerent variety apart of alpine strawberry that we grow here in our small garden.
What is your favourite variety of strawberry?
Which strawberry variety does well in your garden?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cineraria Life Cycle

Want something cheerful and colourful at one of the unused part shade corner?
Cineraria blooming season in our garden is much longer grown in part shade.
It does not mind of receiving only an hour or so direct-sunlight.
Not much of a problem growing cineraria on our hard clay soil.
Does not really mind of growing on less fertile soil.
Did grow well on soil that is not fertile.
Easy to grow and self-sowed easily.
But pest love this plant.
Snails and slugs like to munch on our cineraria plants leaves.
Here in Adelaide plain, I usually sow cineraria seeds in autumn and transplanted the seedlings when they have more than 3 or 4 true leaves.
Newly sprouted seeds.
Cineraria starts to bloom in late winter here in our garden. If the weather warms quickly, it can bloom much earlier than that. Depending on the year (heat level), it can continue to bloom until early summer.
Two years in a row we tried several combination of cineraria growing together with different vegetables. My favourite combination so far is growing cineraria together with Nero Black Kale.
Cineraria spent blooms.
To prolong blooming season, spent flowers have to be deadheaded.
Where is the location of the cineraria seeds?
Can you see two red insects in the photo? (P.S. pest name?)
That is the seeds location.
Cineraria seeds.
Have a lovely weekend!
This was a drafted post from last November.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jalan Gajah 4 Postcards

I took some random pictures of my mother garden.
The front yard and back yard is much in contrast.
More than half of my plants were gone this mid-summer.
At the moment our kebun (garden) here in Adelaide is unsightly.
So let me give a tour of some part of my mother garden.
While I wait for some green sceneries coming back in our garden here.
This is the front yard. On the right side is a bottlebrush tree that attracts many birds when it is blooming. The bottlebrush branches is full with orchids plants naturally hanging by its own root strength. It is a favourite spot of my father to take photos of my siblings during festival season. Those palms trees were there since we moved in. On the pergola are passionfruit veins rambling all over it and laden with fruit.

Goose and ducks are given permission to enter the frontyard in the late afternoon. There is a medium size mangosteen tree at the back of the slide. My record so far of the time to complete mowing the front lawn when I was a teenager was more than 2 hours. It was tricky to maneuver the mower around the trees and other things.

It was just the end fruit season of rambutan when I came back for a visit. Not much left on the tree, they were over ripe. Those ducks don't even bother with the fallen rambutan fruit anymore.

I never realised before that we have a tamarind tree at the back yard in my parents small orchard. Tamarind is commonly use in South-East Asia cuisine. Sometime we use the tamarind juice combine with chilli and shallots for grill fish dipping sauce. I don't think it will easy to pluck them as it is a very tall tree and none of the fruit is within my reach. If nobody helps mama harvesting them, I think it will just be left hanging there.

Papaya trees at the back yard is really tall that it is not easy to harvest the fruit. The yellow flower is luffa bloom. My mama's luffa bloom is triple the bloom size of the luffa that I grow here in Adelaide. In the photo, a luffa fruit resting on top of the old wooden shed. Mama did not need to erect a proper trellis of that luffa plant, it climbs up on other local fruit trees.

Uncontrollable sweet potatoes plants that even climb onto that citrus plant tree as it please.

One corner of mama backyard photo that I took on a ladder. It is going to be rather challenging and time-consuming to make it more organise when I come back for good. It is not harvest-friendly at the moment. 

Ilhan and Rayyan is helping grandmama to clean up the backyard now.