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Monday, December 24, 2012

What's growing?

Have been a while since I last updated this blog.  This update will be longer than usual.

The soil at the back of our backyard is really poor.  So I planted some potatoes last year to try to improve the soil - the idea is that the potatoes will break up the soil.  Due to my poor harvesting skill, there were quite a few of them left in the ground.  This season, we put mushroom compost and chicken manure before planting the beans and snow peas.  What a surprise when I see the potatoes 'ambushing' my beans and snow peas.  It turned out to be a good 'idea' - the potatoes were protecting the beans and snow peas from the scorching sun (we had a few days of reaching high 30s here in Melbourne).  The potatoes were ready for harvest first, so the beans and snow peas now have all the nutrient of the soil for themselves.  This photo was taken 3 days before Christmas.

The bean just sprouted in early Nov.  The following photos were taken on 2 Nov.

ready for harvest soon - taken on 22 Dec
More beans!
I gave up growing chives as they never seem to germinate.  This year, I can't remember planting them,  well they are sprouting out when I least expect them.

This year I am obsessed with rockmelon!  I have a rockmelon that sprouted out from my compost once, we loved it so much that I decided to grow them this year.  To play it safe (safety by numbers), I have planted them among the beans, the strawberries and the vegetables.  One of those places got to be the right place to grow rockmelon.
Rockmelon among the beans
rockmelon among the vegetables

Strawberries - you can't see the rockmelon yet, but it's right in the middle of the patch
Here is the rockmelon - taken on 22/12/2012


Lettuce - before harvest

Another view of the lettuce after harvest

After harvest, you can now see the carrot and tomatoes growing

closeup of the carrot
Again, this wasn't cleverly designed by me.  I planted some carrot seeds and they didn't seem to germinate.  So lettuce were planted instead, otherwise weeds will grow in its place.  Tomato were not planted intentionally, they sprouted from last season seeds.  I tend to let some plants run to seed and collect the seeds for next season, some of them will inevitably left in the ground and sprout when the condition is right.

This is the first time I grow Chinese cabbage - the pests get to them before I do.  I should be so thankful that they left a few leaves for me to eat.
Chinese cabbage

another batch of beans next to the fence
4 weeks later

Carrot flowers
 I do grow in pots and containers.  Coriander is a good candidate.  We haven't had any success growing lemongrass in the past.  I bought some lemongrass seeds and they are sprouting out.  That tomato seedling in the same pot as lemongrass wasn't meant to be there.  I have no idea why there are so many tomato seeds in my backyard.  The taller plant in the back pot is chickpea.
pots of coriander, lemongrass, chickpea
2/11/2012 container
Carrot, coriander growing at the back of the container 22/12/2012

tomato in the strawberries patch

2/11/2012 - cucumber hasn't germinated, neither has zucchini

2/12/2012 - how they have grown!
22/12/2012 - cucumber flowering

The chickpea were originally planted as green manure, but they looked so cute, one pea per pod.  To use as green manure, one is supposed to slash the plant before they fruit.
known as kang kong (Malaysia)
The only fertiliser I used is the worm juice from my worm farm.  They really are doing a great job, in fact, I can't get enough of them.  Next step is setting up another worm farm, one is just not enough!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First garlic

(If this is the first time you are reading my blog on vege patch - rest assure that I don't have green fingers and have no formal qualification in agricultural science.  This is really a hobby.  As most gardeners will tell you, we get to consume the plant we grow twice - first the satisfaction of watching them grow, and the final consumption of the plant.)

As an experiment, I planted garlic in autumn, using the garlic bought from the shop that has started shooting.  Here is my first harvest of ONE garlic.
My first garlic harvest
Rock melon and tomato seedlings are coming along nicely, I planted them a few weeks ago.  The rock melon seed was collected from one I bought from the shop, which was so tasty and juicy, I decided to save the seed and try my luck in planting.  The tomota seeds were collected from last season.

Rock melon

 My new toy in the garden - a worm farm.  Just bought it last Friday with 2000 worms. I counted all of them!  This is the project I have been thinking about for 2 years.  It takes me that long before I make the move. Worm juice is collected from the bottom tray (it's hard to see, but there is a tap there) and make great fertilizer.  The worm cast also makes great compost for the garden.
worm farm
The strawberries are here, I just transferred these to the containers.
 But wait, there is more!  I need to transfer these and add some mulch and compost.

 New chook house was built in September.  You can see the chooks looking after the nectarine tree.  The nectarine tree came out of the compost and we haven't harvested any fruit.  This could be the first year.

Close-up of nectarine


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Capsicum, silverbeet

The kids don't really like the silverbeet, we planted them mainly for the chicken.
 We planted this capsicum last summer and have a really good harvest in April.  Quite surprised to see it fruiting again.

On the other hand, this capsicum plant is 3 years old.  The yield wasn't as good as the new plant mentioned above, but there are lots of capsicum ready for harvesting soon.
Close-up photo of the same plant, will get a meal or two out of it this winter.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How much land do you need to grow vegies?

An overview of 'size of my garden'.

This is a very narrow strip of land on our driveway.  We managed to plant climbing beans, tomatoes, 3 chilli plants, some Asian greens and mint.  Now that tomato season is over, I will be planting some green vegies over autumn.  The beans climb along the fence, tomatoes grow upwards, we have asian greens growing at ground level.
This is a small patch in the backyard, used to have the tomato plants growing here.  We now have green vegies.

A different view of the same patch. We also grow vegies in containers.

This is another patch.  We have luffa climbing along the fence and over the top. This is a much bigger patch than the one above.  There are 3 chilli plants close to the fence, also some strawberries. Red russian and lettuce self-seeding most of the time.  Almost have constant supply of lettuce all year round.

We still have more land that are being used for compost, ready for spring planting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This makes my day - Watermelon

After the heat that killed many of my baby water melon, I am pleased to see this one that survives.

I am hiding this one from the direct sun as well.

This capsicum plant from last season started to produce again.

I have 6 new capsicum plants from the compost this year.

Planted some Asian greens in container.  (Aim to grow a continuous supply of vegetables.)

This gourd is planted from the seeds I saved from last season.
 It has started to flower.  Depending on the weather, might get to harvest one of two.  We have a good harvest last season.

Batch 3 of tomato is coming along nicely.  I didn't plant these, they came out of compost, so I decided to give them a go. Though it was a bit late in season (Nov last year), looks like we will get to harvest some.