Friday, February 12, 2010

Omlette, Curry and Minnie Take Residence

Even before I was not allowed to have them as a little girl, I've wanted to have a farm; to toil the land and create life from the soil!

Now in a little patch nestled amongst the outskirts of suburbia, two Isa Brown hens and later arrival in the form of a Bantam Brown have found a place to call home.

The girls have found their pace with a daily egg each. Here's the first one; it was so exciting! I even dated and photographed it (many times!) to mark the occasion, thinking that they'd be quite irregular until they'd settled and adjusted to their new home, but with eggs now flowing I'm not wasting my time. Just like a mother who with her second child is a lot less uptight about every little thing!

They're such funny little personalities. Top of the pecking order is Omlette, followed by Curry, and little mini chick will probably be right at the bottom, once she's put in with them. They've gradually had more interaction and it's up to the stage where I've released them all together during garden roam-time. But I need to wait until Minnie's fully grown before I house them all together.

Already I think Minnie's voice is beginning to change, but her comb and wattle aren't really growing. Maybe Bantam types are slower developers. She's absolutely comical, particularly the way she throttles along the ground like a road runner. It reminds me of when cats are in a mood, racing around maniacally.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Spontaneous Generosity!

Visiting North Rocks Greenery  on their second last sale day for pots and giftware, I picked up some great stuff...kid in a lolly shop kinda sensation, plus the Chinese element of me was satisfied with the 50% off!!!
  • 4 wide, shallow terracotta planters perfect for strawberries and herbs 
  • A special ceramic herb planter (4 circular sub-compartments, with one of them on top of the others)
  • 2 large cafe-style glazed terracotta pots - their creamy colour and angular form will be a beautiful contrast to tulips
  • A number of other cool pots, tools and seeds

Am looking to do proper seed saving and start a bank/co-op (have the fantastic book from Seed Savers) but haven't yet got started! I also bought all the posters for use in the classroom, but I have to think of a proper program that could be viable at my school before launching into such a significant, ongoing and labour-intensive project. 

Anyway, besides wanting to note my appreciation of the nursery's great service, a huge thanks to Genevieve for spontaneously offering the floral displays for use at my school. I'll definitely keep you updated on how we've been able to use them!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Training Time for Baby Strawberry Plants

For the last half year I have been highly neglectful of a small strawberry plant I got at Christmas. Over summer it had a few fruit (pinched out the majority) and sent out runners.

I'd secured some of the resulting new plants in pots but the runners continued! I'd wanted a few more from the parent and had about 8 but then it started going crazy and looking too Medusa-esque. Thinking it too massive a task, I kept putting off sorting it out.

So the air-borne leap-frogging clumps had to cope as best as they could on fresh air and water via the main parent. Two weeks ago I finally attacked the whole thing and the plants from the primary runners are doing really well (flowering already). The others are a little weaker (having a lot more trauma through neglect to recover from), plus I was a little scatty when planting them and have had an additional battle with their crowns below soil level!

Anyway, I'll pinch out all the buds once again and keep on caterpillar patrol. Speaking of which, there are these awful "fast" caterpillars - like the regular bright green ones that love basil and tomatoes, only a little darker, sometimes a bit of brown/yellow bits and possibly with small hairs. They look and behave like misbehaving, dirty versions of their bright green cousins. Any ideas on what they are? These renegades also create a webbing and stick leaves together.
Didn't receive the Five Colour Silverbeet as desired but instead I have Borghese tomatoes.
I can't wait to plant them out! And while on tomatoes, I found a packet of mixed heirloom tomato seeds in my bible case this evening. Mmmmmm, tomatoes!

I might start hothousing some seedlings from mid-winter onwards to extend the fruiting season. Much work to be done until then! 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Choosing Four Packets of Free Seeds

It's that wonderful time of year when the Digger's Gardening Club (based at two sites in Victoria) put out their Autumn catalogue and I get to pick 4 free packets of seeds! The problem is though, that with 15 varieties to choose from I can't make up my mind.

Which of the following should I pick?

1. Pea Greenfeast
2. Turnip Mini
3. Lettuce Australian Yellow Leaf
4. Kohhlrabi
5. Coriander
6. Gambler's Choice Broccoli
7. Five Colour Silverbeet
8. Red Pak Choy F1
9. Onion Barletta
10. Spinach Bloomsdale
11. Poppy Flanders
12. Parsley Continental
13. Nasturtium Scarlet Emperor
14. Radish Round Red
15. Gambler's Choice Sweet Peas

We get to choose 8 preferences and so far I'm set on:

** Five Colour Silverbeet (for the novelty - the stalk colourings include BRIGHT yellow, fuchsia and orange (not on the same plant, though. Now that would be something!)

** Peas Greenfeast (easy peasey!)

** Poppy Flanders (Been meaning to get a large area coverage quantity of these seeds to give to GK band members but I've never gotten round to it, so I might as well get a packet and trial them)

I'll probably use the free seed offer as an opportunity to try the things like Kohlrabi. May have to do a bit of research first!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Horror of Caterpillars

There have been some horrid kinds of caterpillars on my tomatos (grosse lisse and sweetbite).....but who ever found a caterpillar that appealed to them?

So I'm in no position to scoff at others' superficialities when reading re: the green zebra tomato...."people were apprehensive because it was green."

It could just as easily be written re: me and the caterpillars:

"she was apprehensive because it had stripes"
"she was apprehensive because it vainly tried to camouflage but the finding of droppings alerted her to the presence of her quarry"
"she was apprehensive because of the vulgar holes it had left in the unripe flesh of her labours"

Without knowing, is it possible to tell that the object of fear is a caterpillar?

Thursday, July 12, 2007



Cookie Monster personally attests to the fact that playing music to your lithops can enhance their growth and colouring!

Not that it's the time for it really. Too cold!!! If only we had a similar dormant state that we could sink into and wake up from when the mercury hauls itself over 28 and stays there consistently...if only!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fascinating Lithops (Living Stones)

I can't wait until I have the time to plant my little lithop seeds and sing to make them grow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Summer summer times of heat, growing warming heat and scorching withering heat. Oh cute cute little lithops!!!! Grow and bloom your little leaves!!!!!!
Opticus Rubra!

The seeds weren't easy to source. They're not readily available in Australia and you have to go hunting. In addition, we (thankfully) have very stringent quarantine restrictions. I can't believe the mess some plants have caused here, including prickly pear, privet, lantana, elodea and more. Insidious rubbish (in this context)!!!!!