Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Carpobrotus glaucescens

About a year ago we were at the beach in St Kilda and we found this guy. We liberated a few 'samples' and I've been growing them in a seedling tray and convincing Sam it wasn't a litter tray. I was lucky enough to catch it today when it produced its first magnificent flower. Can anyone remind me what this plant is called? I searched on Google for "Pigs Feet Succulent" and all I got was Succulent Pigs Feet!
Edit: Found it! Carpobrotus glaucescens (Pigface)

Friday, October 22, 2010


After a spectacular performance last year, my potted lime did something a bit weird at the start of Spring. It started to look distinctly ill with yellowing leaves dropping off all over the place. You would think that it was a sign that the tree was lacking in nutrients but now its gone ahead sprouting healthy new leaves and flowering profusely. Its almost like it was getting rid of old leaves it didn't like in anticipation of the new growth. On the other hand sometimes they flower like mad when they're really unwell and close to death, citrus trees... sigh.

Dead leaves around the trunk and a significant weed I probably should have removed before taking the photo.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Broad Bean Green Manure Process.

Years ago I saw an episode of Gardening Australia about green manure. It was before I found out I had green thumbs but still I found the concept interesting. The idea that you could grow something which would give more to the soil than it took and improve the soil structure in the process just seems really smart. So the time finally arrived to process the broad beans the other day and the size of this entry is testament to how much work the whole process was!

Here's the mountain of plants extracted from the bed. Luckily despite their unearthly size, Broad Beans are a pushover when it comes to up-rooting as they have a small shallow root structure.

I stripped the plants back as I pulled them out primarily to reduce the amount of seeds that might end up in the manure and so we could freeze them and spend ages wondering what to do with them.

In the absence of having a suitable petrol powered tree mulcher, I resorted to the tried and tested technique of running over the beans with the lawn mover. Its unsurprisingly effective and probably means i'll never need to buy a mulcher.

The only thing the mover wasn't particularly happy with were the woody nobly bits at the base of the plants.

The end product was this lush green mulch with a distinctly beany odour.

Three wheelbarrows of the stuff!

I had to decide whether or not to turn the mulch into the soil where it would break down quicker or to leave it on the surface. I decided to leave it on the top as it will still break down over time but it will also act as an excellent mulch for the soon to be sewn crop of corn which will go in shortly.

While I was reading up on green manure I came across this guy.
He uses crop rotation and green manure on an industrial scale and grows some mean tomatos as well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Broad Bean update.

Intense wind and hail last night took its toll on the broad beans. We went around the plants today and collected an absolute ton of beans. I think in a few days when the weather improves I will finally get to pull them out and dig them into the soil so they can fulfill their purpose as green manure.


Mr Bean

Thursday, October 14, 2010

El Grapadura!

Now we're getting somewhere! The grapes have just started flowering which is a surprise I was not expecting. It will be a new experience to have grapes this summer, not to mention photogenic.

Cherries are progressing nicely.

I thought a photo showing the full extent of the broad beans would be appreciated by anyone who has recieved a consignment of beans from me lately.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A taxi drive asked Jo the other day if we were Greek, I can't imagine why. Vigerous new growth on the Waltham Cross grape.

The blood orange doesn't do things in halves. It will end up dropping all but one or two of these flowers but the ones that remain will create the sacred fruit.

Chilli!!! Very excited too see the first Cayenne Pepper germinating. Chillis are hard to grow from seed as they need higher soil temps than other seeds.

These were the Cayennes from '07 which I grew before I started putting chilli on almost everything I eat. Back then I was shocked when Matt ate a whole one these in front of me, I was the learner back then now I am the master.

Plenty of cherries on the Starkrimson, maybe 10 to 15, enough for a small bowl I should think. In a couple of weeks there will be a net going up round this tree to deter birds/neighbours.

Last years crop of 1!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ITS WAR! (against snails)

While out at 2am putting seasol on the garden as on does, I couldn't help but notice the alarming amount of snails on the loose at the moment! Literally too many for my boot to keep up with. Must be something about the weather at the moment that makes for ideal snailing. Unfortunately I can't put down any snail bait in the cat run and giving snails beer is effective but expensive and unusual. So all I can do is stomp about the place and rationalise that snails are mearly part of the living biomass of the planet Earth and just as much use to it squashed as they are whole.

When I pruned the grape vines for the first time during winter I struck all the offcuts and 100% have taken. They are all table grapes, mainly black muscat and waltham cross and a couple of cardinal's. They'll spend a year in pots before I have to find homes for them.

Likewise the brown turkey fig cuttings are looking really good. They were from a tree in an undisclosed location in the local area which we managed to procure some fruit off last season and it was superb. There's about ten trees here, none of which we've got room for. Its a bit like having kittens really.

As much as I absolutely hate these trees which the council put on our nature strip and I subsequently removed and replaced with more productive and concrete disturbing alternatives (figs). And as much as i'm seriously considering founding a League Against Ornamental Gardening, these now potted ornamental pears looked really nice caught in the light of the shed window. Perhaps I won't use them as bicycle jousting poles after all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Massive gardening day

The hardest part of this years tomato production is finally over. Over the last few nights i've been turning over this area of the cat run by hand which was far more exercise than I was expecting damn it!

Only three flowers on the Morello cherry for its first year but its better than none. If they turn into three sour cherries I will protect them with my life!

Kitty's fern is getting down to producing some amazing spring growth with 4 fronds on the way.