Sunday, August 14, 2016

Nothing to see.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Christmas in July


http://lambley.com.au/

He's making a (seed) list and checking it twice.

Everything below in 'italics' is used from the Lambley Nursery Vegetable seed catalogue.

Carrot 'Mokum' F1:- Experimenting with a few new carrot varieties.

'One of the quickest carrots to produce 36 days for baby and 54 days for full size. The slender roots have a very good sweet flavour and a crisp texture. Performs well even during hot weather.'


Carrot 'Sweetheart'

 '‘Sweetheart’ is very sweet, flavoursome and productive bunching carrot for year round production. It takes about 90 days from seed sowing to harvest and maintains its flavour at a larger size.'

Bean, Bush ‘Simba’ I grew this variety last Spring/Summer and was very pleased with the results. Easy to grow and tasty to boot.

 'A round dark green bush bean with terrific flavour. It is a heavy cropper and has good disease resistance. Its heavy frame keeps the beans straight and clean as they are held well off the soil.'

 Beetroot ‘Red Ace’ F1 Also grew this one last season, same as above.

'This is the best beetroot I’ve grown. Fast growing, good as a baby beet as well as full size. It lasts well in the garden and is tender even when it makes a large size. As it is slow to bolt we plant it from August through to early March.'

 Leek ‘King Richard’ (Organic) What can I say, I like leeks.

'I sell the true strain of this very early leek. From an early November planting I was digging decent leeks by March. In fact Criss and I served fifty people with Leeks a la Grecque at a charity lunch here one March a couple of years ago. As it is slow to bolt it is happy well into winter too.'

Lettuce, Baby Leaf 'Encore' Another experiment. Just looking for a lettuce I really like.

'A mix of stunning colours, textures and shapes. Includes green and red oakleaf, green and red cos, Lolo Rossa. Can be grown year round and cut several times.'

Lettuce, Adrianna Same as above.

 A new butter-head with great flavour and disease resistance. It is especially good during the heat of summer as it is strong against tip burn. It can be sown from August until may for year round production.

Radish ‘Pink Beauty’ (Organic) I like radish, I'm just looking for one I like even more and this one looks appealing.

'Quick to grow and beautiful to look at this pink radish has a mild, sweet, delicious flavour. It is resistant to pithiness. It takes 26 days to mature.'

Baby Leaf Mustard Greens 'Scarlet Frills'  Don't know what I'm doing here. Trying something new maybe?

'21 days baby 40 days full size. A sweetly flavoured mustard green with finely cut, dark red, ruffled leaves which will add a beautiful spicy touch to a mixed leaf salad. Sow from August until April.'

Brussels Sprouts Diablo F1
I've tried growing Brussels Sprouts on and off over the years without much commitment and little success. Possibly due to planting too late. So I'll get some good seed and plant at a more appropriate time of the year and see how we go.

'The best Brussels Sprouts strain I’ve ever grown and I’ve tried twenty or so. Diablo produces crops over a long period from late autumn through most of the winter if seeds are planted no later than November.'

Pumpkin, Buttercup 'Bonbon F1' And this one is just for fun, simple as that.

'An All American Selection winner ‘Bonbon’ is a classic looking buttercup pumpkin with deep green smooth skin and a prominent grey button on the blossom end. Deep orange fibreless flesh has a good sweet flavour. Fruit weighs 2-2.5kg and each vine produces an average of 4 pumpkins.'

So there you have it Spring, Summer and Autumn all sorted. I'll buy the odd packet of seed from here and there. I'll need to get some seed potatoes from somewhere as well but the year ahead is looking interesting to say the least.

Cheers and happy seed planting

Stewart.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Another good week, sort off.

Another good week, sort off. There was the case of mild food poisoning overnight Tuesday with a two day recovery before I'd bounced back enough to get back to work.

On top of that the weather has been very, 'traditional Toowoomba Winter' weather. On top of 36mm of rain on Tuesday the rest of the week was cold, overcast and windy.

Therefore the pea seedlings I planted Monday after work expecting rain was a good plan. Also some variegated Iris I'd ordered arrived on Friday and then the weather fined up for the events of all events, the Queensland Garden Expo.

They're held at the Nambour showgrounds each year and I made a promise to myself to go back after last year and pick up a Burgon and Ball Digging Fork that I've had my eye on. Which I did.

Fair dinkum, without a word of a lie and without a shadow of doubt. Like a hot knife through butter.

It doesn't look much just standing there by itself but, this is the best $100 I've spent on a garden tool, hands down, ever.

It's a Burgon and Ball hand crafted stainless steel digging fork.

And after using it all afternoon digging up all sorts of garden, I'd have happily payed $200 for it.

It has great balance, the tines are at just the right angle, the handle is just the right length, the stainless steel tines just guide through the soil.

I bought it thinking it was a bit extravagant but after using it for an afternoon I can't wait to get back out in the garden and start digging again.

If you want one just look up The Garden Tool Shop.

My apoligies for the sound quality on the video but I trusted the GoPro would be up to the task. It sounds horrible and I hope I can fix it in time for my next video.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's been a good week.

Hi guys, busyish week for me. Feeling energized now the winter solstice has been and gone.

Beginning to plan ahead to Spring veggie gardening but still planting some Winter veggies.

Today though, around these parts, was an absolutely fabulous Winters day.

Started with a good frost and by 9:00 am it was warm enough to head outside into the garden.

I spent the morning pruning back a renegade climbing rose. And three full wheelie bins later it was back under control.

After a short break for lunch, it was veggie time.

I'd purchased three punnets of seedlings yesterday, mini cabbage, broccoli and some "heritage' lettuce.

I'd had the bed turned over a few weeks ago and just needed to add some fertiliser, give it a rake over and I was ready to plant.

Earlier in the week I wanted/needed to transplant a raspberry that I'd planted last year at my work veggie garden. Once I'd finished I found had a half dozen small raspberry suckers that need a new home so I was happy to oblige.

Anyhow, back today. After planting the seedlings I set about preparing for this seasons Corn patch.


I've got about 2/3 of it ready. I've got plenty of time though as the Corn bed is in shade all Winter long thanks to a massive northern wall. It's about the end of September before I can get enough sun to plant up the bed. I've got a couple of bags of cow manure in the shed that I'll add near the end of August and give it a dig over once again before I plant.

After that it was a bit of weeding and by then the day was starting to cool off again and I still need to run  over the lawn with the mower before the lights went out.






Also the Broad Beans I'd planted a while back have been loving the cold and rainy conditions we've had lately. They look very happy and healthy.
And one last thing. I've had one of these Burgon and Ball digging forks on my veggie bucket list for a while and this coming weekend is the Queensland Garden Expo weekend at Nambour and I'm hoping the same guy is there this year as last year and I can finally pick one up for myself.


Cheers

Stewart.




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

An Onion a Day won't keep Tony away.

I won't profess here to know everything about onions, actually I find a lot of it rather confusing.

Late season, early season, onion sets, plant before the shortest day, plant after the shortest day and on and on it seems to go.

So I just do what works for me in a few simple steps.


  • I tend to plant somewhere around the shortest day of the year. A bit before or a bit after.
  • Soil preparation is a good dig over with the digging fork.
  • Add blood and bone. I use Yates, Professional Blood and Bone.
    An organic based fertiliser suitable for all garden plants, including Australian natives. Provides nitrogen for healthy leaf growth and phosphorus for strong root development.
  • Give the bed a good rake over.
  • Grab a punnet of seedlings from my local plant nursery. I grabbed these about three weeks ago but today was the first chance I've had to bung them in.
  • Separate the seedlings fairly carefully into individual little onion plants.
  • Just dig a small hole with your first two fingers or a small trowel, place the seedling in the hole and back fill. Make sure you plant as close as possible to same depth as the seedling was in the punnet.
  • Plant around six inches apart with around ten inches between rows. You can plant closer but you'll get smaller onions.
  • From one, seedling punnet, I get on average around eighty onions. Great value.
  • Water in well.
  • I will apply a weekly liquid feed until I can see a bulb begin to form and from there they're on their own.

Some fun facts re the health benefits from onions. (from the Onions Australia website).
  • Japanese women rarely get heart disease. This may be because (recent study) that 83 per cent of Japanese women obtain quercetin from onions.
  • Quercetin in onions helps by stopping LDL cholesterol becoming oxidised - oxidised LDL carries cholesterol to the artery walls more quickly.
  • According to Dutch research; half an onion a day keeps stomach cancer away.
  • University of Hawaii found similar results in a study of lung cancer. Those who ate more onions were half as likely to get lung cancer.
  • A French study has even indicated that onions and garlic may be helpful in guarding both men and women from breast cancer.
  • The sulphur content of onions may also inhibit tumours.
  • Onions can help to kill bacteria
  • A Japanese study found by adding onions to ground beef helped neutralise Salmonella.
  • Applied to the skin onions may have healing powers. People have used onions to kill funguses, yeast and parasites.
  • Onions can also soothe the sting of insect bites
Cheers

Stewart.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Maleny Botanical Gardens visit.

I've just returned from a three day visit to see my Sister on the Sunshine Coast and learn from her photographical expertise and extensive knowledge (aka; pick her brains).

Part of the visit also included a trip to the Maleny Botanical Gardens.

Here's her take on our visit. You can see who the photographer is in the family.

Don’t go to a garden with a gardener.

I’ve been wanting to go to Maleny Botanic Gardens for ages. They’ve been around since 2012 so it’s taken me 4 years to get there. Owned by a multi-millionaire South African who, according to articles on the site, has aspirations to make the best Botanic Gardens in the world. I went with my brother who is an experienced gardener and an amateur critic. He raised his eyebrow at the $16 entry fee (each) and we set off on the path the friendly lady at the entry directed us to. We didn’t pay the extra to go in the Aviary. With 16 acres of garden to investigate I figured that would be enough for one day. I had my 100mm macro lens on and it was a nice bright overcast day. Pretty good for flower photos. 
Keep in mind that winter, even on the Sunshine Coast, is not the ideal time if you want to see a garden at its best. As a long time resident of the Sunny Coast I was pretty impressed with the views of the glasshouse mountains. Stew pointed out we could get the views for free just up the road.  
I busied myself taking photos and when I poked my head out from behind the camera I could see Stew screwing up his nose and frowning and shaking his head and muttering to himself.
“What?” I asked.
“Look at this” he says, pointing a toe toward a patch of dirt. 
“What?” I say again, looking around. 
“This” he says with emphasis as I shrug and look like the ignorant gardener I am. 
And then he starts. 
“If you’re gonna charge people to enter and make claims aiming for the best botanic garden in the world, you don’t have dead patches left in the garden. You don’t leave branches and fronds and shit lying around. It’s untidy, poorly maintained and there are diseased plants.”
“Oh”, I say, looking around me. 
"There’s no design”, he goes on. “I had high expectations and I’m completely underwhelmed”.
“Oh” I say again, casting a more critical eye around. It still looks pretty impressive to me. I can see what he’s saying but I’m far more forgiving. The gardens are huge. It would be a massive job to keep everything in order. There are lots of grassy areas, ponds, waterfalls, statues, sculptures, strategically placed seats and plenty of picnic tables. I grin and keep taking photos. Plenty to keep me busy.
We meander up paths and over bridges. Discover a quaint little fairy garden. Stew finds some cactus he likes. 
The garden is designed in stages and we must have entered a different section as Stew suddenly gives a half approving nod. 
“This looks better,” he says, "There’s more cohesion in the design and the plantings."
It appears we’re in the oriental inspired garden. He did concede that perhaps it was just a style difference but he was still critical of what he considered the poor maintenance in the earlier section. 
We discovered a mass planting of Tibouchina that was like a pink version of a Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant. 
We disagreed on the arched walk. Stew thinks it should have been one long tunnel of the same plant. I quite liked going from one to the next. 
I’m more of a patch work style and Stew is clearly a mass plantings kind of guy. 
He argues when you have this much space you could have a whole row of each kind. 
More paths, ponds, waterfalls and picnic tables. 
I’m having a lovely time. Stew says it’s nice, just didn’t live up to his expectations.
We wander up to one of many gazebos and are spoilt with a bloody lovely Devonshire Tea for $11ea. For the number of people who have now turned up I think it would be good if they could offer a bit more variety on the menu for lunch. 
We didn't pay to go in the Aviary but it looks like it would be worth the investment. There were birds at the reception and a few chooks scratching around. The kookaburras were eager to join in the conversation too.
Stew goes to see if he can buy any plants. Apparently they sometimes have a table with plants on it (but not today), but obviously not a fully stocked nursery like Stew was hoping for. (He hadn’t considered how he was going to get any plants back to Toowoomba on his motorbike).
We head off in another direction, past the Aviary and animal enclosure toward the Monet Pond and gazebo. I’m guessing this section is still evolving or I don’t know much about Monet, but it didn’t inspire me and we kept walking. There’s a cute Monet bridge but the surroundings don’t lend themselves to making great photos of it. Hopefully that will come in a future stage. 
I’m delighted by the grounds. I’d have no hesitation going back or recommending it for a visit. I have my house on AirBnB and will be leaving brochures there for guests.
We headed back up through what was most likely the first stage of the garden. Stew is impressed by the (mass planting!) white Tibouchinas. He concedes that the gardens are getting to him and his earlier judgement of 4 out of 10 may have been a bit harsh. He upgrades it to a 6. (Just between you and me, I think there may be just a little bit of garden envy going on.) He still has a lot of gripes but I think the garden has won him over. It turns out there is a plant identification system, although it's not obvious. He can't find the names of the plants he wants anyway so resorts to good ol' facebook for help. 
I’m happy to give it an 8.5. I’ll be bringing my mum here to check it out. Fortunately, there are golf buggies available for hire to get around. There’s no way she’d make it otherwise. The grounds are huge. It’s awesome. I loved it. Can’t wait to go back in Spring.