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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!