Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Planting beetroot you need to soak them first

One of the keys to growing beetroot from seed is to soak the seeds in warm water first. Warm not boiling.
If you want to know which beets are which you'll need to keep track of your soaking seeds.  I put a few seeds in small bowls and tuck the seed packet underneath until I am ready to plant.  Stagger your plantings and your harvest by planting every two weeks.

How to transplant onions the easy waay

I used to find transplanting onion seedlings back breaking and tedious.
But, ah, here is the easy solution.

Dig a trench and push the soil taken out to the right.

Place one seedling at a time along the trench, roots at the bottom ,leaves lying against the soil on the left.

As you push the soil from the right into the trench use your trowel to gently squeeze against the wall of the trench, at the same time you will create a new trench.

Don't worry about trying to stand the seedlings upright, over the next week they will stand up by themselves.

Vegetable gardening on a clear autumn day under the falling leaves

A mid week flex day is a wonderful luxury - I wish I could drop to 4 days work and make this permanent. The bonus was that despite yesterday being a wet, dreary day, today was clear and fresh. A perfect late autumn day. So I spent it in the garden.

Last weekend I planted two beds full of garlic.  Today I planted some winter vegetables.

In this area of New South Wales, Australia we plant the following seeds in May:
Broad beans
Pak choy

And seedlings:

June is the same.
When I topped up all the garden beds with compost last weekend I covered them in lucerne mulch. Now its easy enough to poke seedlings down through mulch. Seedlings don't always germinate and push up through all those layers however.

This is the solution I came up,  I pushed the mulch back to provide a barrier between different seeds, it will still keep the moisture in.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mushroom foraging and a 50s experience

We went mushroom foraging in Belangelo State Forest today. It took a little while but we collected a whole basketful of lovely fresh saffron milkcap mushrooms. Ah yum, so yum. We learnt how to collect these fabulous mushrooms this time last year with Diego, he has great information on his website or follow on instagram on @theweedyone,  . Diego was there today, I noticed it wasn't just me saying hello, he has introduced a whole lot of people to the fine art of mushroom hunting. Sadly no one in my family has had this skill to hand down.

Tonight I have cleaned and cooked most of the mushrooms - some sauteed in olive oil with chilli and rock salt, others dipped in egg and breadcrumbs - check my recipe for schnitzels.

We have been happy to pass the skill on to other friends - today we were out there with a group. Diego is a good teacher - we are confident in collecting saffron milkcaps or pine mushrooms, but don't touch anything else. You know the saying - there are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hutners but no old, bold mushroom hunters.

After our foraging adventure we stopped off in Moss Vale for a treat at Bernies, a great American style Diner.  At the recommendation of a friend I had a ginger beer float or spider.  Yum so so good.

There is a new vintage clothing shop in Moss Vale - Viva MossVale seems to be a burgeoning vintage scene happening.  Here's a cute Holden wagon - I love the pop of colour.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Planting garlic

I have planted my garlic at last. I have been trying to get it in for a few weeks but it kept raining. During my five week break I only had a few days when i could get out into the vegetable garden. I concentrated on weeding.

I have been back at work two weeks already! Last Saturday was warm and sunny and I could - should - have gardened. But it was such a nice day!  I voted for a last kayak as I knew we'd have to put the boats away for winter after that.

So today was the day for the garlic.

First I emptied my two compost bins.  All that lovely goodness that used to be kitty litter (rice bran), wood ash, food scraps, chicken and horse poo, leaves and more had turned into lovely dark soil.   I sprinkled the beds with a handful or two of blood and bone then every garden bed got at least half a wheelbarrow of compost. The beds with a lower soil level got a little more. The everything got a layer of lucerne mulch.
 The garlic I ordered from the Diggers Club has taken up two beds - no problem as there isn't that much to grow over winter anyway.

I got all new varieties this year. In fact its probably three years since I planted any garlic.

I am growing the following:

Fino de Chincko (harvest Oct - Nov)
Argentine Purple Stripe (harvest Oct - Nov)
Russian (harvest Oct - Nov)
Rose du Var organic (harvest Nov-Dec)

 I need to thin out some kale that has self seeded and plant brassicas and greens. Then there's a wild and wooly area of the veg garden where there aren't any beds - I need to weed (de-grass) and mulch to lay dormant until spring when planting season goes mad again.

I am going to leave you with an image of my neighbour's cows who I upset very much when I spread the lucerne over my garden beds. I was tempted but I didn't give them any.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Last kayak until next Spring as Winter settles in, Werri Lagoon Gerringong

We went for a kayak this weekend on a stunning sunny day. The wind as picking up making the water choppy near the ocean entrance but was calmer around the bend in more protected water.  
 Werri Lagoon, Gerringong is a gorgeous spot to kayak and allows dogs on leash on part of the beach.

Howard and Benny paddling down the river.

Harvey looking very windswept in my kayak. I think he just tolerates it, not convinced he is terribly keen on paddling.

The lovely small coastal town of Gerringong, looking down onto Werri Beach.

When we got home we put the kayaks away.  Don't let this crisp clear sky fool you the temperature is dropping and winter is well on its way. Sadly we won't paddle now until around October.

Monday, May 4, 2015

My first mandarin growing quietly in the garden

I have a little mandarin tree that has been quietly, and slowly growing in my vegetable garden for years.

Last year the blossoms turned into tiny fruit but they all blew off.

Imagine my delight when I ventured into the garden and found a  crop of little mandarins.  
I am very excited and hope they survive the autumn wind and rain to ripen. 


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