Posts Tagged ‘in the garden’

Cherries, 2015

I have made the mistake of counting my cherries before they hatched.

Cherries 2015

I didn’t bother with the ice this year; we had some frosts right at the start of May. It seems to have worked – I counted 28 cherries before they split from all this rain, and the ants got in and started nibbling.

I got one cherry from the low chill double graft minnie royal/royal lee that I got in late winter.

Harvest Monday August and Winter/Spring garden update

I’ve already written a post about my 2015 winter garden. I guess this is part 2 (in Australia, Winter is classified as June/July/August).

Snow peas. I’ve harvested three times, about a handful each time. Tonight’s harvest I counted 11 snow peas. I have no idea about weight.

Winter harvest

The broccoli didn’t form a cohesive head, it started getting taller and the florette components got more coarse rather than small and compact which is what I prefer. So I chopped it into broccolini-like shoots, and ate it. It was delicious.

La Orange:

La orange

About 4 skinny minnie asparagus spears.

And that’s kind of it for my lazy persons harvest from the lazy person garden.

I was really inspired by my friend Ashlee’s garden, and I was rather jealous of all the lovely growing things they had. And I thought of my winter plot, which took two days worth of hard work to move; which I subsequently ignored after the frost which killed the pumpkin.


From seed: rocket, carrot, dwarf peas, xing gua. Some parsnips too, because I saw a recipe for parsnip wine, and wanted to make some.

I also purchased, after much dithering (a month’s worth), a double graft low chill cherry tree – Minnie Royal and Royal Lee. This one is a guaranteed low chill. This “bare root tree” was already in bud and flower when I picked it up from the Dural area: compare this to my starkrimson tree, which is still dormant.

What does the garden look like?

Honestly, it looks much the same as it did last month.

Oh, here is a picture of the anonymous citrus flowers, now dubbed the orange tree:

Orange blossoms

I wish I had smell-o-vision, it really smells that glorious. I am surprised that the bees aren’t foraging on the orange tree, but they like to travel kilometres, not metres.

The bees are bringing in plenty of pollen, which makes me very happy. I feel blessed that I live in the Sydney basin, with a temperature climate that allows for year round foraging. Times were a bit tough early in the year – due to the monsoonal weather that we experienced from October to February, a lot of colonies that got started late in the season have not survived winter. I know of three colonies that did not survive winter because they had already eaten all of their stores during what was supposed to be “the good months” (Jan/Feb), but really were the tough months. Some bees were even observed to be harvesting rust spores from the underside of weeds. My bees are suffering a bit from chalkbrood as a result of condensation – every morning I visit them, they’re “skating” on the bottom board – I’m not sure if they’re “sweeping” the floor, or just unable to move properly because of the amount of condensation that has built up overnight.


Winter Bees

I was trying to capture a shot of the beehive’s “rush hour” in this photo. It’s like all the bees decided to return at a specific time in order to have a bit of a gossip and a coffee. It’s probably because they’re all flying the same distance away, it takes the same amount of time to stuff your saddlebags, and then the same amount of time to fly back.

What’s that in the background? I hear you ask.

Well, it’s a bee colony that moved into a sugar glider box over summer, and I collected in Autumn. I call it the “bat box” because it is easier to say. I have rescued the bat box bees, but I can’t move them out until spring. *How* am I going to move them out? I’m not quite sure yet …

Garlic in a pot:

Container garlic

I don’t think I showed you a picture last time.


I have already saved some capsicum seeds (store bought capsicum), and papaya seeds to see if I can get them to grow. Papaya from seed says that the papaya seeds will work.
My kipfler seed potatoes have already started to sprout roots – so although the tag says to plant in late spring/early summer, I think they need to go in now. This year I’m going to try a tomato grow bag. I’m a bit doubtful over the use of stacking tyres for the growing of potatoes.
I still need to dig out the grapevine. It may just go into a pot (the ground is as hard as a rock, since we haven’t had any rain for 24 days).
Move the bat box bees out of the bat box.
Plant the frangipani already.

Monday’s Garden & Harvest – a few days late


Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. The combination of both bees to the garden, and relocation of one garden bed to a sunnier spot have meant I have had about 200g of tomatoes per day for at least two weeks. You can’t see the grape vine underneath for the masses of tomatoes.


Corn. My neighbour grabbed the first harvest, because I was away. The second harvest I don’t think got successfully pollinated because the male pollen has already been distributed, but the female silks (and resulting head of corn) doesn’t look fat enough.

Honey. I reckon that falls into the harvested/picked category. I’ll tell you more about it in a later post.


Spring onions, from a batch purchased at the local shops. I chopped the green bits off, then soaked the roots in a glass of water until new sprouts came up from the top. There’s a bit of a pong from the water that it stews in… you are supposed to change the water over every day, but sometimes I forget. I like the spring onions skinny, so I plant them close together.

I tried several times to plant hot chilli seeds and seedlings. Every time I have been foiled by the snails, slugs and cockroaches (sorry, it’s true, I’ve seen them), who will walk over coffee grounds (which they are supposed to be adverse to) just to get to the chilli plants. I wonder. If you ate a garden snail ala French style, who had been feasting on chillis, would it be all tingly and hot?

Many times tried to plant some form of pumpkin/squash for autumn/winter picking. No luck. The seeds just never took for me.

Lemon Thyme.

Root herbs

Tumeric & ginger. Both roots I had bought at the shops, and they had sprouted small green shoots. I planted them with a shallow covering of soil, and about a month of humid weather later, I now have green shoots popping up. Since we’re talking rootstock, the galangal that I thought I had killed over winter has resprouted. Hurray!

To Do:

Either transplant or repot my lavender. It’s been in the pot for 5+ years, so it needs a bit of a refresh.

Update on the ballerina apple:


Three fruits on one branch has been reduced to two, compare to November last year.


Look at the size of the dwarf banana, compared to October last year. Things are very confused in my garden with tropical plants in the same garden bed as cold climate plants.

Suspected Orange:

Possibly an orange

I had many suspected orange pups. This is the only one that set, and it’s grown a lot larger than any of the other potential fruits that I’ve ever had. It’s probably 7cm in diameter. Fingers crossed that it survives.

My neighbour’s tree got a serious attack of the orange stink bugs (a plastic shopping bag full), and a windy day in spring meant that all the young fruit buds fell off.

Monday’s Garden and Harvest

I’m trying so very hard not to count my apples before they hatch:


is one of my twelve (count them!) starkrimson cherries.

I have nibbled on some strawberries (when I can beat the snails/slubs/cockroaches/ants) to them, planted some rhubarb crowns donated by a friend, and watched the comings and goings of the ladiez:

Bearding bees
When it gets hot, they sit on their front porch and fan their wings, directing the breeze inside the hive. This kind of behaviour is called ‘bearding’. It’s similar to how a swarm looks when they’re out looking for a new home, and also how the bees cluster together inside the hive during winter to keep warm.

I’ve also discovered that if you let your radishes go to seed, you can eat the little seed pods. They taste hot and peppery, like a radish, but with less commitment:

Radish seed pods

One day, this head of butter lettuce just popped up:

Butter lettuce

the seeds must’ve just felt the right conditions had come along and started to sprout.

I think summer started two weeks ago. We’ve had record breaking temperatures, and top temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius almost every day.

Spring has sprung, the plants have riz

Spring in Australia is scheduled to start right on 1 September. Like clockwork. This post covers September/October 2014. It has not been like clockwork.


Spring asparagus (in September), about 20 spears
Strawberries. Yup, I didn’t get rid of the 4 year old strawberry plants. Sorry.
One overcooked radish. I was supposed to harvest in August and I got it in September. The inside went a bit fragmented and soggy. I’ve taken to writing on the plant ID tags the anticipated harvest date.
Parsley, coriander, thyme, oregano, rosemary, nasturtium flowers and rocket.

Snowpeas – you turn your back, and they come from nowhere. They’re like triffids.

Spring snowpeas
Sweet potato – this one I harvested in Winter. It was a 1kg monster. No wonder it’s so cheap in the shops.

Monster sweet potato

Planted & Achieved:
Finally planted my columnar apple nearby to the other columnar apple that I planted last year.
Planted corn and tomato plants. I didn’t have time to grow from seed, so I planted seedlings.

South facing garden bed

What does the garden look like?
Cherry tree:

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry tree did not spring into blossom until much later in September than all the others in the neighbourhood. So there is hope for Operation Chill after all…Hopefully now that I’ve got the bees, I’ll get some cherries this year. I have to tell you though, I’ve only seen one bee hanging around the cherry flowers. There seem to be better pickings further afield.

Banana plant:

Banana and apples

I managed not to kill this one over winter, although I’ve had a red hot go. You can see the newly planted companion columnar apple in front of it.

Asparagus patch:

Asparagus patch in spring

I found out this year that I was supposed to let the spears go to ferns for the first two years. Also that I was supposed to fertilise in autumn. Ooops.

Anonymous Citrus
Anonymous citrus

Still riddled with citrus leaf miner. Now I have the bees, I can’t spray anything to try and get rid of it. Should’ve done something over winter, except that citrus leaf miner is dormant then and it wouldn’t have worked. The more I think about it, I think it’s an orange. It smells like my neighbour’s orange blossoms, and it’s just gone mad with the flowers.

Next season?

Hopefully now that I’ve got the bees, I’ll get better pollination of the fruit and veg. I should also STOP planting tomatoes. Sigh. There’s just so many plants in that family that I like to eat, but crop rotation just no worky for me. I have been planting peas/beans in winter, but it’s probably not enough.

I had meant to plant the frangipani pot plant – I still haven’t. Can’t do it in summer. So I have to wait another year.

So, dear reader, what have you been up to in your garden?

The danger of leaping before you look

A picture tells 1000 words. Here’s my 5000 word essay. If only uni was that easy.


Before 1








Vital stats:
– 1/2 tonne of gravel,
– 1.5 tonne soil mixture,
– 48bolt/washer/wingnut combos (would’ve been more if I hadn’t decided to retain the same bed shape)
– 2 stupidly designed cross braces
– 3 very tired people.
– In the southern hemisphere, don’t place a garden bed up against a north facing solid fence, even if it makes the garden look neat.

May in the Garden


Lilly pillies and onion weed

Lilly pillies, an Australian native fruit, but from H’s neighbour’s garden. Why? Because they were there. I then made a simple sugar syrup with them. It doesn’t really taste like much, but it is a pretty pink colour.

Lilly pilly sugar syrup

Onion weed – a unkillable pest that just multiplies and takes over the garden. You just can spray with glysophosphate, but I’m trying not to do that, so I just behead the seed heads and eat the flowers. They taste sweet and peppery.

One tiny yellow capsicum. The neighbour planted that for me.

Basil, thyme, kaffir lime leaf, mint, perilla.

Planted & Achieved:
I bagged the guava fruits which are developing, with as many bags as I have. Unfortunately, they may be fruit fly proof, but they don’t stop the lorrikeets/fruit bats from trying to eat the fruit from the outside. Their strong beaks are destroying the fruit bags.

Sprouting garlic. This year I will dig up the bulbs in spring, and see what I have. Last year I left the bulbs in the ground thinking that they would grow again this year. Then I found out later that this was bad and the garlic would’ve rotted in the ground. Whoops.

The capsicum that I thought was a chilli plant last year is still going, and has about 6 capsicum fruit.

One snow pea plant. It’s in the shadiest part of the garden. I don’t expect much from it – I’ve killed everything else off or the snails have eaten all the other plants.

What does the garden look like?
I am proudest of this:

Kaffir lime - May 2014

kaffir lime! I’m growing three fruits! I was fretting a bit about the unstoppable citrus leaf miner, when I spotted these beauties. Aren’t they handsome? Yes, I know, my clay filled soil has some kind of vitamin deficiency. That would be why the leaves have yellow bits.

Banana plant:

Banana tree - May 2014

Getting bigger, it’s probably about 1m tall now, and taking over the patch. The summer heat, although it has crisped the leaves, doesn’t seem to have down it much harm. In the back, behind the mad daisy bush, you can just see one of the columnar apples.

Asparagus patch:
Asparagus patch - may 2014

This is probably where I’ll move both columnar apples to. I have been a little hesitant about planting anything here, because cucumbers and geraniums have suffered from powdery mildew in this location. The rosebush also suffers from black spot. The asparagus is lovely, and I have yet to harvest from the rhubarb. I think this crown was planted last winter, so I need to wait another year before harvest.

Next season?

Since the banana plant is taking over, I think I’m going to have to move the columnar apple tree that I planted last season, so I can plant the other columnar right next to it.

I’m going to plant the frangipani pot plant – I’ve decided to put the *hopefully* apricot coloured one in the ground.

Cutback the asparagus patch.

Harvest Guavas – they’re getting pretty close. I haven’t quite decided what to do with them this year, I’m tossing up between making a fruit leather (dried fruit roll up), and a juice. I’m after something with the least amount of processing and work.