Friday, October 31, 2014

Garden Share

I'm not sure how it got to be the end of October so quickly but, it has and I am here posting my Garden Share. How can that be?

This month has been overwhelmingly hot. I know there have been cooler days but I can't seem to remember them. The maximum temperature (measured on my veranda) has been 38.7 degC and the minimum 5.5 degC. We have had 20mm of rain this month but you wouldn't know it looking at the paddocks and our 'lawn'. I've been watering the garden almost everyday.

  • loquats...yum
  • asparagus
  • spring onions
  •  cauliflower
  • strawberries
  • broad beans
  •  peas
  • sugar snap peas
  • snow peas
  • radish
  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • leeks
  • garlic
  • herbs
Tomato Jaunne flamme

 The tomatoes are all at various stages. The self-sown are coming along in leaps and bounds and the seeds I planted are growing well and should give me a long harvest window. I will direct sow some more seeds this week. I think they are hardier that way than the greenhouse sown ones.

 The asparagus is almost finished for the season. There are a couple of plants that aren't rushing straight to fronds as  the days lengthen. The asparagus bed really needs a tidy, they don't like competing with the weeds but most of those weeds are larkspur plants so I don't like to pull them out. I'll have to compromise, the asparagus won't.

I've been planting in earnest this month. Seeds, seedlings and some plants from the garden centre too. I loosely base my planting guide on the list on Gardenate but I do find I have to modify it for my climate which in the winter is cool/mountainous and in the summer it is more like temperate with a bit of arid thrown in for good measure (like most of Australia really)

Here's my list of seeds I've sown
  • beans (7 varieties)
  • beetroot- red globe, albino white
  • carrots (6 types)
  • gourds
  • cucumbers
  • luffa
  • okra
  • squash
  • soybeans
  • radish
  • rosella
  • rockmelon
  • watermelon
  • zucchini

My poor cauliflowers have given up. I think they have been putting out some sort of mercy call because if the sun and wind didn't finish them off, the cabbage moths have finally descended after being absent all winter (which was a pleasant change). I've pulled them up, spruced up the empty beds with compost and deep watering in readiness for something that doesn't mind following on after brassicas. The chooks have enjoyed the leaves and we have been enjoying eating our last caulies until next year.
I'm also pulling out all of my peas. I left them in long enough to dry out the seeds for saving and sharing. I'll be using the dried foliage as mulch because affordable mulch is hard to come by around here at the moment. Hay that would normally be relegated to the mulch stack is sought after now as fodder for the less discerning animals. It's not cheap either.
To do in my vegetable garden in November
  • weed
  • water
  • composting
  • keep planting
  • the usual stuff
Now here's all the information the Garden Share.

"The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably." taken straight from Lizzie's blog.

If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of then write a post about your vegetable garden and head on over to Strayed from the Table at 9am on Monday and share it with the other members. It's easy, even I can do it. There's a Facebook group too if that's more your thing.


Thursday, October 30, 2014


Hot weather is not my favourite kind. No way! Coupled with the lack of precipitation and it's a double dose of yuck and of course this heatwave that we've been having this week is just the start of it. So there's nothing for it but to carry on,  think cool and be grateful that we have solar electricity installed now to make the most of the copious sunshine.

The sweet peas are still looking fine but the edible peas are ready to be consigned to the compost heap. I've let them go longer than necessary so I can save seeds for next year. It has been a good year for the winter vegetables which I hope in turn means it will be equally good for the summer crops.

The English lavenders are just starting to flower (no pictures yet) but all the other types are ready for cutting back/ dead  heading. That's seventy plus lavender plants that need a hair cut. Obviously I wasn't thinking any further ahead than the flowers when I was planting. 

Wind battered foxgloves
The heat itself ( high 30s degC) isn't really too bad for the garden in fact some plants relish the heat. The zucchini plants and the corn for instance. The wind on the other hand causes a bit of drama. I have been madly picking and dealing with the broadbeans because the wind knocks them over and dries them out and hastens their demise. The poor bed of foxgloves above are sad and sorry and would gladly take a day or two of just gentle breeze rather than be buffeted by dry gusty winds.
I hope it's not too hot or too cold where you are.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lamb and Eggs

We do have more than a few lambs now. It is always nice when there are baby animals about. Lambs in particular seem to find such joy in just being alive. They bounce! Late afternoon is their favourite time because it is just too hot to do much more than loll around during the day. I completely understand. Yesterday I wanted to loll around too, it was too hot for me and is set to be as hot as 39degC 102 degF by next weekend.

 This is Babette and her mother Butter. Babette is being bottle fed because one of Butter's teats were inflamed and swollen and too sensitive. She is still mothering her little lamb but not feeding her. It happens and we have more than enough volunteers to feed her a bottle.


Tiny chicken eggs

 Our little pet chook, Hawkie, has started laying again. If her eggs were anything to go by, I wouldn't be certain that she was a chicken at all. They are tiny and of no use at all weighing in at a huge 6 grams  (1/4 ounce).

Here is one compared to one of our regular chicken eggs.  Hawkie used to lay larger eggs, regular bantam sized ones anyway but she is getting a little older now at five years of age. I'm surprised she is laying at all and regularly every second day too. She's a good egg.

Now I've done what needs to be done today and it's letter-writing this afternoon. Oh and thinking about what cake to make for Grace's birthday tomorrow. Very last minute and disorganised which is not like this list-maker at all.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Baby Fruit

If you have been reading here long enough then you will know that I love gardening. I don't even think I could stop gardening if I tried, I'm addicted to it. Edibles in particular are my passion and I'm forever boring enlightening people with vegetable garden posts. Today I thought I might talk about the orchard. It's a nice place to be, the orchard. The bees like it. The birds like it just a little too much.
This week I have been mulching and mowing and weeding around the trees and giving them all a good deep water. The weather is definitely hotting up and as fruit is made up of a high percentage of water, the quality of the fruit can suffer in dry times. Even more mature trees need a drink now and then to keep them happy. The citrus trees really show signs of heat stress during the summer months, turning up their leaves and dropping them in protest sometimes. 
It's not that bad right now. In fact, it might be just right for the orchard at the moment. There are plenty of baby fruit on the trees and bushes and we are even picking  mulberries and strawberries (if the birds let us). The white mulberry once again disappointed but it is such a nice tree that it can stay. 
Macadamia flowers
 I'm not really in the best climate for growing macadamia nuts but I always like to experiment and see how far I can push the gardening boundaries. I'm not expecting to have any nuts but day maybe.
Cherry- Stella

Tiny pear.

Tiny peaches- Anzac

White currants

Mulberries. Hope's favourite.

And because the orchard is looking healthy and manageable and I was doing some shopping for Grace's birthday which is coming up on Monday, I bought a new raspberry plant today too. You can't have too many.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Things I like

In reality the list of things I like is never-ending. There's something to new to like and love every single day. That's how I am. Some of the things that have pleased me today are.
Alpine strawberry

Alpine strawberries. Both  the alpine and the regular strawberries are fruiting now but these tiny little gems are super sweet and lovely for a snack on the hop.

 Flowers in general and the foxgloves in particular are just starting to look lovely.

Fabric covered journal.
Christmas bunting for a gift
 A few finished craft projects always brighten me up. It means I've had some time to sit and create and explore one of the other facets of what makes me who I am.

Animals! Not a day goes by that I don't deal with animals. I'll admit that sometimes they can cause some stress. Animal illness in particular is worrisome. But all of my animal friends- pets, livestock and the native wildlife bring me joy on a daily basis.

And lastly, twins. We are half way through lambing and so far there has only been one singleton. If one lamb is cute, twins are (in my opinion) more that double the cuteness. The ewes may very well have a different opinion on twins but I don't listen to those types of complaints.

Friday, October 17, 2014


I am as a rule an animal lover. Flies and rats are the exceptions that prove the rule in this case. I even like snakes. Like, not love, mind. Foxes are no exception even after one took a little lamb last night before it even had a chance to take its first steps. I like foxes in their rightful place which is not here in Australia. It was such a big mistake made in the past bringing them here after the colony was settled.

We are vigilant with watching for predators and doing what should be done to keep them at bay but sometimes it happens. Foxes are crafty. It's not the  fault of the fox, he is only doing what he must to survive. If I could, I'd tell the foxes there are plenty of rabbits which he is more than welcome to.

When I first stared farming a loss like this would have maybe brought on a tear or two but I'm harder now. You become accustomed to these sorts of losses. Even the girls don't cry as much and they are fairly sooky. It  doesn't mean that you aren't affected, just that you can take more in your stride.

I am glad that this ewe like most of the others had twins so she still has one lamb because when they lose both that is sad.

No pictures today.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The herb garden

You have to go with the flow as far as weather is concerned especially when it is so different from one day to the next. In the single figures yesterday and very chilly the last few nights and back to the spring sunshine today. I'm not complaining, there's no use in that. The only time I'll really complain about the weather is when it is HOT and even more so when there has not been enough rain.

 For the life of me I cannot take a decent picture of these lavender bushes. They are really lovely at the moment. If you could visit then you would know. Covered in flowers and bees too. In there amongst them somewhere is a mandarin tree that would probably definitely benefit from moving. One day maybe I'll shift it or maybe it will pluck up some gumption and get growing where it is.

I had some visitors today (my parents) just in time to give me a rest from figuring out where to plant the last of my dahlia tubers. They came bearing gifts of tomato plants of which I don't think you can have too many. I gave them a cup of tea and after a quick visit sent them on there way with a load of wood, a dozen eggs and some sunflower deeds. Then I whizzed around and planted those tubers using the notion of where would I like to see a dahlia flower as my guide. I hope that works.

Our tiniest lamb so far this year is this little girl. She's a cutie and I would call her that if we didn't already have a Cutie.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Of course

 It's raining and it's turned cold so the lambs are being born. Of course. Nothing so civilised as having babies in fair weather here.

The local birdlife (not the chickens) are loving the wet weather and truth be told, so am I.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Finding Time

This past month I haven't seemed to have enough hours in the day. I certainly haven't had enough time to blog much but I have been busy. Playing catch-up some of the time and working through my to-do list which is ever lengthening.
I can't say I took much time out to 'smell the roses', but I did weed, water and mulch the rose gardens so they are in good shape for the hot weather.
I pruned the roses hard this past winter so I'm hoping that they respond well to that. I can say they all survived their haircuts whether they are happy about it or not remains to be seen. There are flowers on some plants and just buds on others and aphids on many but that's a story for another day.
Climbing Iceberg

Graham Thomas

I have squeezed in some sewing too but that's top secret for now.

Hopefully I can find that extra time soon.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wicked Plants

Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart is one of the books I'm currently reading. It does make for interesting reading. A wee bit scary at times too. It's amazing how many innocent and pretty looking common plants can  dangerous. Plants of course aren't really wicked (except maybe stinging nettles) but it does make a good book title.

You can read more about poisonous plants here if they interest you like they do me.

And now some flower pictures just because it's a nice day outside and the flowers are looking good and in some cases even threatening.





Sunday, October 5, 2014

Garden Share Collective

These words are from Lizzie's blog telling all there is to know about the garden Share Collective.
"The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably.
The Garden Share Collective runs on the first Monday of each Month"

I've just returned from a couple of days away so I'm a little more in love with my garden ( I'm a little tired too). I miss it when I'm away. I even bought  a few gifts for the garden, chilli plants, capsicums and a tomato plant. You can't have too many...  not really.

This month I've been sowing and sowing. All of those frost tender plants that love the summertime. Usually I just sow my pumpkins directly but I thought I would try starting some in the greenhouse too. The direct sown plants will most likely perform better than the greenhouse sown and the volunteer/ self sown pumpkins will be best of all. That's just how it goes.

The hungry gap in the garden doesn't really apply here because we can grow all winter long. If there was a hungry gap like cold climate gardeners have, then it would well and truly be over now. Everyday I have plenty to feed us and the chickens and guests too. It's a nice feeling when your efforts are rewarded in such a tasty and healthy way.

The star of the vegetable garden for early spring is always asparagus. It is coming in thick and fast. On the menu every night and sometimes on the breakfast menu too. It is so nice steamed and served with a poached egg.

To do in October
  • it's lambing time so focus is on farm jobs
  • mowing
  • mulching
  • weeding (they love the warmer weather)
  • planting out seedlings
  • sowing more seeds
  • composting
  • and lots more but I have post-holiday brain drain

Friday Night with Friends

 I'm a little behind in my catch up for Friday Night with Friends. I have been away at the coast for a couple of days. A nice break but as always, I'm glad to be home. Thanks to Cheryll for organising this fun virtual get together.

Even though I was far from home, I spent part of Friday afternoon and evening stitching and knitting. This month it was at the beach instead of by the fire like it has been for the past few months. I took some cotton and knitting pins and got a start on a bright dishcloth in between paddling in the waves. The water was a little cold but as they say, nice once you get used to it.

I also made up this tiny cross stitch kit that one of my British penfriends sent me for my birthday. It is sweet and as I have a few of these little cross stitches, I've decided to display them altogether in a bunting type of arrangement. I hope it looks as good in reality as it does in my mind. We'll see!