Thursday, May 26, 2011
Well what can I say...I have been a little busy of late and have had no time for blogging, the boys have been keeping me on my toes and I have had very little time to stop and smell the roses. Winter is fast approaching and I have been exceptionally slow to get the veggie garden prepped and ready for planting, but this week I have managed to get one bed organised and this is my root vegetables. I have sowed carrots, beets, radishes and parsnips. A month ago I made a small start on my Winter Brassicas as we had some unseasonably warm weather, all was looking good, little cabbage seedlings were standing tall and proud for a few days and then overnight they all disappeared! After some careful investigative work I found out that it is the local resident bush turkey who has been helping himself to my seedlings! So my latest bed of root veggies now has a fence around it, I will not be sharing my bounty with the local fauna. Saying that the boys just love spotting the bush turkey when he is visiting our garden, and my gorgeous Leo thought that the fence was a trap to catch the bush turkey and then he was going to take him to preschool for "Show and Tell". If only that bush turkey new what was in store for him!
Posted by Sarah McGrath at 4:29 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2011
This has been my first year of tomato success! Last year was dismal, I can't say I had any decent tomatoes to eat. So what did I do different? Firstly I Googled "growing tomatoes" and took lots of notes, I think it is great that everyone can share tips via the net. After raising healthy seedlings I planted out eight plants in two rows with a good sprinkle of tomato dynamic lifter, I then staked each plant with a bamboo stake, after that I hammered in very tall tomato stakes on each side of the plant in rows I drilled holes and then threaded wire in lines from end to end, this allowed the tomatoes to branch out without breaking and it gave extra support to the main trunk. This year I paid special attention to pinching out new growth between the stem and new branch. The biggest decision was to use a herbicide, I used Yates Success and it kept away the caterpillars. So this year I had so many tomatoes I was able to make tomato stock, tomato chutney and semi sun dried tomatoes. My deep freezer is filled to the brim with tomato stock this is great for soups or making a good old spaghetti bolognaise. This year I grew Mini Romas, Green zebras, Cherry and Tommy Toe tomatoes, they were all a success! Happy Gardening!
Posted by Sarah McGrath at 11:55 PM
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Cucumbers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, they grow just about anywhere, & as long as you have a fence or something for them to climb on you can be assured of a bumper crop! This year I decided to grow Mini Munchers and Parisian Pickling Cucumbers, and I have not been disappointed (oh and there is a rogue Lebanese Cucumber growing amongst the mint and parsley). Last year I had 6 cucumber vines and I had too many, so this year I have again 6 cucumber vines and still have far too many. So this year I have decided to pickle my excess cucumbers as well as give them away to neighbours and friends. Here is a simple pickling recipe.
750 g of small cucumbers sliced finely
2/3 cup of fresh dill leaves chopped finely
2 tsp black peppercorns
750 ml water
125 ml white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbs coarse salt
- Wash cucumbers, dry well and thinly slice, then layer evenly in a clean jar with the dill and peppercorns.
- Combine water, vinegar and salt in a saucepan, bring to the boil over a medium heat, carefully pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers and seal jar and set aside in the fridge for one week to pickle before serving.
There is nothing quite like a freshly picked cucumber, the difference between the ones in the store and the ones picked fresh of the vine is in the proof of the tasting and they are so good I often pick one and eat it like an apple it is so crisp and juicy on a hot Summer's day. So if you have a fence and a patch of dirt I recommend popping in some cucumber seeds and you won't be disappointed. Happy Gardening!
Posted by Sarah McGrath at 1:03 PM
Monday, January 31, 2011
When planting pumpkins I followed the general rule of planting good quality seeds in a heaped mound of well composted soil, I planted 2 seeds for every mound and once they were a decent size I would remove the weakest plant and leave the strongest to grow. A lot of gardeners "play bee" by taking a soft brush and hand pollinating flowers, I didn't have too many problems with pollination as we had an abundance of bees. The only problem I encountered was fruit yellowing and then dropping off the vine, this also seemed to happen with my zucchini's. I only watered them a few times a week and and a little extra on the days that were extremely hot, I have found pumpkins to be quite drought tolerant. Next year I will try Butternuts (they are considered a squash, but in Australia they are often referred to as pumpkins) and maybe something more exotic like Turks Turban. Happy Gardening!
Posted by Sarah McGrath at 4:53 PM