Thursday, March 29, 2012

Verona Purple Savoy Cabbage

I like purple colour very much. So when I was making decision to try a new variety for winter last year the verona purple savoy cabbage caught my interest. The first time I saw a savoy cabbage was here in Adelaide. Found very fascinating that there are cabbage with wrinkle leaves (Savoy~ A cabbage of hardy variety with densely wrinkled leaves). I like the sweetness of savoy cabbage. This is the first savoy cabbage variety  we grown and it was an interesting experience with trial and error. The first error I made was the sowing time. The first batch that I transplanted bolted. Sometime you just have to try your own sowing time instead of following the instruction. Followed the instruction at first did not get favourable result with the first sowing batch in winter bolted. Because I can be very stubborn at times, I sowed some seeds in winter~early spring which was not recommended in the seed packet instruction which at the end gave us some harvest.
Verona Purple Savoy Cabbage Seedlings.

Purple veins on the cabbage leaves.
Inter-planted with radish for productivity.

This is how 100% organic and neglected growing cabbage look like.

Amazingly, a well-established verona purple savoy cabbage can withstand more than 40 degree Celsius and our extreme hot summer here in Adelaide. There were also few days when it did not get any water during mid-summer. We were lucky to harvest several of this cabbage during summer. A heat-tolerant variety cabbage.

One of the cabbages that we harvest last mid-summer.

Aduh sakit pinggang belakang minggu ni nak berkebun pun tak boleh. Gara-gara lama sangat duduk depan mikroskop dari minggu lepas nak pulun habis kerja.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Early Autumn Fresh Veggies Picking

What's available in March for the kitchen from Kebun (garden) Malay-Kadazan Girls?
Not much but these are some that filled our tummy this month.
I lost my patience with the mice because they were digging holes in the newly prepared containers. So I cleared one of the sweet potato container so they don' have much place to hide and I don't think I will get any decent size of tubers because the mice were eating them as well. As I thought many of the tubers were badly eaten and thrown them in the compost. Tubers that were not touch were growing under the container  in the ground soil. It is still early to harvest them. Since I cleared this one container, the digging has lessen so I am leaving the rest of sweet potatoes to grow.

Sweet potato new vein shoots.

Baby beets, beans, carrots and pak chois.
I need to remember to sow some beans or peas this weekend.

Harvested several cucumber this month but did not took photos of it because we were too excited and sliced quickly for meals. I pull out a chard grown from last fall in shade. It took a long time to grow but good emergency food. Rather than leaving the shade unproductive, sometime we grow excess seedlings there.  In summer, did not received direct light from the sun but still have indirect light for its growth.

Onions are still in curing stage but we been taking some for cooking.

This basket feels closer to home~brinjal (eggplants/aubergine), lady's fingers (okra), bitter gourd, angled luffa and beans.

Kangkung (water spinach) loves the March weather. They have quick growth after we cut them. We have at least one bunch of kangkung to harvest each week for this month. Its been a long time since we had dragon carrot harvest and finally a few made an appearance in the kitchen.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

First Quarter 2012 Harvested Seeds (Jual-jual benih)

The first 3 months of year 2012, we did managed to harvest some seeds for future planting. Collecting our own seeds has able us to buy different variety of seeds and each year we have chance to add new varieties in the garden. For example, for peppers the first year we only have one variety and the second year we have 3-4 varieties growing, then the 3rd year maybe 7-8 varieties. The number of pepper varieties in our collection each year keep adding up. Its fun to harvest these different variety of fruit from the same family growing with different shape, colour and flavour.
Like human, seeds need to adapt to a new environment as well. The process of saving seeds with each new generation will make the variety or genetic strain you are growing more and more suitable and easier to grow in your garden. When I bought seeds, some seeds can be a challenge to germinate it. But when I collect the seeds later generation after generation, the seeds germination rate gets better and better while the plants become hardier in our own garden environment. 
We collected some 'Clemson spineless' okra seeds this month. It was main priority in the seed list to stock up because I finished the seeds last year. Lucky we managed to stock up more this year than last year.

From the capsicum family, so far we managed to save sweet cherrytime and banana capsicum seeds. The other varieties has just started to bloom and fruit. Hopefully, I will remember to save some seeds for the other type.

Our new collection of sunflower seed this year ~ Giant Russian Sunflower.

This is the first time we are collecting Rainbow Chard seeds.
At the moment many volunteers are popping out.
We probably don't need to sow the seeds, they did the job for us voluntarily.
All we need to do is transplanting.
For fun I did sow some of them, and germination was fast.

Several tomato seeds varieties has also been safely collected. For example, yellow pear cherry tomato, tigerella tomato and joy's yellow cherry. But I have not achieved my target for them yet. 

We also have new pumpkin/squash seeds variety in our home-grown seeds collection like Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Pumpkin. 

We grow bush bean 'Redland Pioneer' for two years already, but this is the first time we collected the seeds. This bean suits really well in our garden, a reliable crop. We usually planted them in Spring and Autumn to fill in the gap as they produce really fast.

What seeds have you been collecting recently?

Saya telah menerima banyak perminataan semenjak saya menulis blog ini mengenai benih-benih yang saya kumpul seperti adakah boleh saya menjual benih-benih ini. Saya minta maaf kadang-kadang tidak dapat memenuhi permintaan atas kesibukan atau bilangan benih yang saya kumpul kekadang terhad untuk keperluan sendiri. Tetapi mulai minggu ini sampai hujung bulan ini sahaja saya akan cuba membuat senarai benih-benih apa yang boleh saya jual di ebay tanahairku jika ada luangan masa. Sebagai penjual di laman itu, saya pakai nama penjual tukangkebunkmg (link disertakan) kepada siapa yang sudi melawat laman tersebut. Saya juga ada sertakan barangan keperluan bayi atau ibu mengandung. Setiap pembeli akan menerima percuma 10 biji mammoth hybrid sunflower apabila meninggalkan mesej nama blog kami 'Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girl'.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Early Fall Container Garden

I have not posted about our container garden at our small backyard since last year. Well nothing really nice to see last summer. The plants were struggling to survive back then and not much growth. It still not very nice to look at even now. The mild weather has made some of the plants grow crazy and now they grow wild. The plants have a mind of their own now. For example this spot, I have to scratch my head trying to remember what is growing here~watermelon, capsicum, parsnip, lemon basil, purple sweet potato, okra, kailan and jicama. Can you tell which is which? If you have a small place or even garden on a balcony, this kind of gardening is still possible. This is about 1 metre X 1 metre. Suits for a location that received at least 6 hours of direct sun.

What is growing in this 30 cm X 40 cm polystyrene container?
Cucumber plants climbing on the trellis, banana capsicum and carrots.
Not supposed to be there beetroot also wants to grow there.

Half of our backyard receive morning sun and the other half received afternoon sun.Took the photo in the morning and you can see the clear line light and shadow separation.This is the spaggetthi squash that I sowed last January in container to replace the ones that died due to the extreme heat. Very happy with the attempt because we already have squash in March, did not expected that it will give us fruit so fast. Its actually 2 plants in the same container and each plant has fruit on it. One is hiding somewhere in the long grass. Hopefully this weekend, I have time to spend in the garden to cut the grass and sow some seeds.

The different length of the trellis? We pick them up from hard waste during spring cleaning week in our suburb. At the back, I have cleared some of the containers and sow some seeds for cool season vegetable here. There is one long dangling angled luffa can be seen at the background. Sweet potato harassing lemon grass plant. Sweet potato are becoming invasive as they start to sprout in many different places in containers and on the ground. Lemon basil also growing as they please.

It might be hard to believe but these sweet potato plants are actually growing from containers. There are a row of 4 containers. Now they entered other plants territories. This section has given me much headache and cause the biggest problem for other section of the container garden. Because of this, we have trouble with mice. The mice took shelter here from the heat. They come out during night and dug up holes all around the container garden which have cause many young seedling uprooted and direct-sowed seeds failed to germinate or possibly lost. I don't think I have much to harvest here since the mice might enjoyed some of the sweet potato tubers. But I will wait perhaps until May before I clear up this place for good.

Let me think what plants are growing here ( 1.5 metre X 1 metre) ~ okra, jicama, capsicum, bush bean, parsnip, purple sweet potato, water spinach (kangkung), carrots and bitter gourd. The jicama seems to like the mild weather now. But I must remember to harvest them next month because the edible root will rot when the weather drops below 15 degree Celsius in consecutive days. The jicama tuber won't be big cause they don't have enough sufficient growing time and those plants are just starting to produce flower bud. Last year the bud did not managed to bloom but let see will it bloom this year or not.

Hope one day we see many green balcony from tall buildings.
What's growing in your container garden?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Granny's Bonnet Life Cycle

This spring flower has several known names such as aquilegia or columbine. The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because the shape of the flower petals are said to resemble an eagle's claw."Columbine" is derived from the Latin word for pigeon (columba) (resource: wikipedia).The blooming season here at the Adelaide plain is usually from October to November. I found that it does not survive well in dry soil and needs to be in semi-shade during summer for long longevity. But it does need sun to bloom profusely.It can be perennial if it is grown in a right location. 

This plants can self-sow easily and you get many volunteers for give-away if left them to seed.

Usually propagated by seeds. However, division from well-established plant during dormant season can also be a success. I found that the seeds germinate better at the end of fall~ early winter. The seedlings might flower in next spring or have to wait for next year spring (makes it 1 1/2 year in this case).

The foliage of this plant look fern-like.

The flowers of various species of Colombine were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet, and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plant's seeds and roots are highly poisonous however, and contain cardiogenic toxins which cause both severe gastroenteritis and heart palpitations if consumed as food. Native Americans used very small amounts of Aquilegia root as an effective treatment for ulcers. However, the medical use of this plant is better avoided due to its high toxicity; columbine poisonings may be fatal (resource: wikipedia). 

Continue dead-heading if you want to prolong this plant blooming season.
The seed pods.

One seed pods contain a lot of seeds.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cucurbits Catching Up

The cucurbit in our garden~cucumber, squash, melon, bitter gourd and angled luffa could not produce proper fruit during summer as it was too hot for the flower to set fruit properly and lack of pollinators. Did my best to hand-pollinate them. But the fruit just shrivel under the hot hot hot sun. The plants growth were also stunted, they were struggling as best as they could to just survive until the milder weather comes. Now came March and some rain, we see that the cucurbit are now promising us some reward. 
The green gem cucumber plants starting to bear some fruits.

Hoping for our first watermelon harvest this year.
Hope the temperature and sun is enough until it is ready to be harvested.
About a hand size now.

Other cucumber varieties that are still growing in the garden and waiting for them to produce are lemon cucumber, white spine cucumber and bavi cucumber (pic below). Last week, I sowed some lemon cucumber and suyo long cucumber, and the seeds has geminated this week. It is trial to see whether it will grow quickly and make it up to harvest stage before the weather is too cold for them. Since many of our cucumbers died in summer.

Our second year of growing banana rockmelon. Last year was a failure, it was cooler last year and maybe the location I chose for them to grow was not suitable. Now we grow them at the spot where we had big success with honeydew melon 2 years ago. Three plants are growing in partial shade. Some fruits are growing and already more than 10cm long. Inter-planting them with pepper plants. The banana rockmelon foliage that sprawled on the ground help to prevent the loss of water from the soil which benefits the rockmelon and pepper.

In January I tried direct-sowing for spaggetthi squash and watermelon to replace the plants that died due to the extreme heat we had. Lucky that they grow well in containers and this week I have spied some female flowers on the plants. Hopefully next week, we have our first 2012 official angled luffa and bitter gourd harvest. Hoping that this month, we finally have some cucurbit harvest. We only had a few odd-looking cucumber shape harvested in summer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First Fall Harvest 2012

Pak choi helps to fill in the gap at the moment while waiting for the warm loving vegetables to bounce back after the summer heat. Some chillies were available to pick frequently came fall. Surprisingly cabbage verona purple savoy has been doing amazingly well through out summer as we have been able to pick it fortnightly from late spring. Those cabbages were planted in winter. Hubby also cheated sometime not watering them frequently. Once established, this variety is a very heat tolerant plant. The ones we planted in fall, many of them bolted in winter.

Pull out some carrots (Topweight/New Kuroda?) as the mice has their eye on them. Nibbling on it sometime. Some ripe peppers were also harvested.

Second batch of kangkung/water spinach for 2012 made its way to the kitchen. First fall cucumber. I think we used up many fresh onions this month, mama using them a lot. Probably she like the fresh onion sweet flavour. Some beans and cherry tomatoes.

Cut some rainbow chard/swiss chard from a flowering plant. It is a part that grows from the bottom of the plants that look like a separate plant. I was curious whether it will taste bitter or it usual taste. It tasted ok not bitter.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Potato Onion

Growing potato onion for beginner is easy.
It does very well in mild weather.
Just push in the onion bulb into the soil and wait for some leaves to sprout.
We grew potato onion for the first time last year.
We did not pampered them at all.
Just some watering and leave them to grow on their own.
I think we planted them around April~May.
Perhaps can be planted earlier in March, but we usually don't have space in that month.
This is our note of potato onion growing stages.
We grew 3 bulbs of potato onion last year.
The leaves look like spring onions, tempting to cut.
Starting to form separate stalk for new bulbs formation.
More potato onion bulbs forming from a plant.
You can harvest a bulb and let others grow.
The plants will keep multiply bulbs.
Don't need to harvest all the plants, just harvest what you need and let them grow more for you.
Maybe this is a good onion for gardeners with limited space.
We wanted to let our potato onion plant to keep on growing.
But alas the summer weather here did not permit us.
So harvest them all I have to.
Most of the leaves have dried out, by the time we pull out the plants.
Another thing I have to learn and gain more experience of growing onion is the watering part.
How to control the amount water so we have some good number of skin layers.
So that the onions can be stored well.
From those 3 potato onion plants, we got more than 25 bulbs.
Have a nice weekend!
Happy Gardening!