Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tip of The Day #6

Picture curtsey of www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/
To attract more bees to your garden for pollination of your plants, sow sunflowers, marigolds, and lemon balm.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sun Burnt Plants

Hydrangea after 3 days of 41 degrees C heat.

It's hot in Australia in summer. It is so hot that many of our plants suffer from sunburn. However, being burnt does not mean that a plant will die. From the 'ashes' tomatoes keep fruiting, and hydrangeas start to reshoot with green around the lower stem.

It is very important to not remove all the dead foliage during summer as they assist the plant in shade.

Garden Shade Cloth



This week, I headed to my local hardware and garden center to find out a bit more about the type of shade cloth that would be suitable for my garden.

Myth #1:  Plants won't grow properly under shade cloth.
Truth: They will and do; often flourishing in locations that suffer extreme temperatures.

Myth #2: I can use our left-over green shade cloth we used on the house.
Truth: There are specific GARDEN shade cloths that let through the correct level of light, which are a different level to common household shade cloth. You can kill a plant by using the wrong level of shade cloth.

Myth #3: Shade cloth is only for hot climates.
Truth: Shade cloth also reduces the likelihood of frost burn during the cooler months. Use all year round.

Myth #4: Shade cloth has to go all the way down to the ground.
Truth: Only if you are trying to keep out the pesky Cabbage Moth/caterpillars or heavy frosts. But really, it is not necessary on every plant. Just take note of when the sun does the most damage in your garden and adjust the shade cloth accordingly to screen the worst time of day.

Tips for Shade Cloth Shopping
  • Measure your intended area before heading out to the shops. Take plant height into consideration.
  • Make sure you explain what type of vegetation you need to cover with shade cloth.
  • Shade cloth is cut by the meter.
  • On average, a good shade cloth will cost $7 per/m.
  • Buy thick wooden stakes and twisty-ties for the shade construction, or use a frame.

;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tip of The Day #5

Plant root vegetables with plenty of space.
The larger the space in between plants, the larger they grow.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pruning Tomato Plants

You may be a little reluctant to cut your beautiful new, strong tomato plants, but trust me, a light pruning just as the first flowers appear will improve your plant's disease resistance and overall performance which will channel a lot more energy into making tomatoes.

I found this wonderful tutorial on Tomato Pruning on VegetableGardener.com


My other tip for increasing your tomato yield is to tie your tomato stem a little tighter to the stake that helps to hold it up. The plant has a survival instinct to ensure that it fruits as quickly as it can under a little stress.

Be careful not to cut into the stem with your choice of tie. Avoid exposed wire, opting for shoelace, old pieces of panty hose, etc. If you use plastic coated  twisty tie wire, be sure to check on it every couple of weeks to see if it may need to be adjusted.

Happy tomato season!
;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Watermelon and Strawberry Sorbet

Too many strawberries in your garden this summer?
Kids not eating the watermelon in the fridge quick enough?

Here is the perfect recipe solution, and it's so easy...


Ingredients

1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Water
1.2kg Seedless Watermelon
250g Strawberries (1 punnet)
1 Egg White

Method
  1. Dissolve sugar and water in a saucepan (approx. 5 minutes). Boil to syrup.
  2. Cool syrup for 1 hour in a bowl.
  3. Process fruit until smooth.
  4. Stir in syrup.
  5. Pour into an empty ice cream container - lid on. Freeze for 3 hours.
  6. Scoop out the frozen fruit and put back into mixer - until smooth. Not melted.
  7. Using an electric beater, beat egg white to soft peak.
  8. Fold in egg white, gently and put back into container - lid on.
  9. Freeze overnight before serving.
So easy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vintage War Garden JigSaw

Here's today fabulous distraction . . .
Click on the image below to play your online jigsaw.

Summer Cut Back

Chillies love Summer!
I am constantly amazed at what will survive in an Australian garden in summer, and most especially here in Adelaide, due to our severe heatwaves.

The best performers in that have blessed my garden have been the herbs, chilli, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsnips, beetroot, strawberries and capsicums. Not to mention the stone fruit trees that hang over from my wonderful neighbours.

No doubt there will be many Aussie gardeners with a great crop of sweetcorn ripening now, but on the flip side there will be many cursing their corn crop wandering what has gone wrong. It's all to do with the level of watering.  Sweetcorns are a thirsty bunch. The basic rule is to water three times as much compared to any other plant in the garden, or to use drip irrigation to ensure a deep watering.

Sweetcorns have not featured in my garden this year, for the first time in years, so that I could try a few new crops and better the rotation cycle in my small garden area.

Right now, my garden is starting to look a little more bare as many crops have been harvested, gone to seed and/or died back.

So now is the time for the summer cut back.

Cut back Dill after going to seed for a new crop
Cutting back Broad Beans adds nitrogen to the soil


What can be cut back? (my garden)
  • Broad Bean stalks - allow roots to die down to put nitrogen back into the soil
  • Dill - will re-shoot for a new harvest
  • Lettuces - those which have gone to seed need to be either removed to the compost or seed harvested
  • Broccoli - stems can be left to die naturally to put nutrients back into the soil
 What should not be cut back?
  • Tomatoes - leave even the dry broken branches as they act as protection against sun burnt fruit
  • Cucumbers - their leaves are designed to hide their fruit from the harsh sun and balance the plants' moisture needs

If you have any questions about other vegetable and fruit types, leave me a comment and I will endevour to answer your gardening questions.

Nicola Summer Potato Harvest

Half the harvest of Nicola Potatoes
The first of my potato crop has been harvested, which began before Christmas.

The first potatoes for harvesting were the Nicola variety.


The Review

  • There was quite a mixture of medium and small sized potatoes.
  • Their fresh was very thick and slightly more cream coloured than white in colour.
  • When mashing, adding a lot of milk was essential. I couldn't believe how thick the mash was.
  • No rotting or diseases at all. Very healthy crop.
  • Flavour: Excellent.
  • Would I grow it again?: Yes.

Next harvest is due within the next fortnight of the Charlotte potato variety.

If you have been growing potatoes, too, tell us about your harvest or how your crop has progressed. I would love to hear from you♥