Slugs and snails and puppy dog tales

For anyone suffering from slugs or snails eating your garden, I suggest trying to mulch it with straw. My bok choy was being absolutely slaughtered by the slimy little buggers and now that I have used straw to mulch them they are looking almost pristine. I don’t know why, but it’s working.

This is the worst plant. The rest is hole-free.

My dogs keep exploring my vegetable beds. I yell at them to get off and they stop, look at me and wag their tails. Then they go and explore the vegetable beds some more, crushing cabbages as they go. Perhaps they are munching on slugs and snails.

XX Brooke

The blight of the naughty gardener

Warning – I may use a couple of curse words in this post.

Rain, rain, go away.

All this rain has given me downy mildew and tomato blight. Not me personally, but my garden.

I yelled at the plants, I shook my fist at them, I pleaded with them, then I took to them all with a pair of scissors. I removed all the damaged leaves and told them if they don’t get their shit together I may kill them (violently) before the fungi does. I sprayed them with a home-made fungal remedy and walked away. They are looking better. I may post the recipe later if it saves them.

The good news is I planted new seeds today. Always fun. I planted nasturtiums, sparkler radishes, english spinach, chives, dill, pickling cucumbers, and kholrhabi. I also purchased a stevia plant, some rhubarb plants and some chamomile.

I planted out my spring onion starts and some garlic plants. Oh, and some more eggplants. You can never have enough eggplants. Mainly because my eggplants only tend to develop one or two fruit. I got some liquid potash that I hope may help with this.

There are a lot of little tomato plants springing up where I had another tomato plant. I am wondering if they will produce decent fruit since this particular plant’s fruits rotted from the inside out and smelled really foul. I will leave them and see what happens since all my other tomatoes are situated far away from them. Does anyone know what this is? It’s not blossom end rot. The fruit was kind of leathery and a weird colour all over. Whatever happens with them doesn’t really matter since I wont be planting tomatoes there again. I suppose there is no reason to let them go to waste. I am curious about what this is though.

So, that’s it!

XX Brooke

 

Babies emerge

I’ve been busy doing my first aid course in Brisbane for 2 days and then I slept all day today so I haven’t done much in the garden. Getting up at 5am just doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve also been really sick, which doesn’t help for gardening motivation.

Tomorrow after work I might plant out some chillies and capsicums in the bed in the front yard.

In other news I found some more of my seeds have emerged. Always exciting. I’ve never seen okra plants before but apparently they look like hibiscus? Excellent!

My silverbeet, beetroots, tomatoes, onions and sage have also germinated. Happy days.

That’s all, hope you are all having a lovely day.

XX Brooke

What the heck is going on here?

Look at it! It’s enormous! It looks like it’s EATING ANOTHER FLOWER! Why have all my Rouge De Marmande tomatoes got one enormous flower like this? Does this mean I will get huge tomatoes that eat other tomatoes? Who knows? If you do, let me know. Then we can be in the know together.

In other news, my chilli and capsicum plants are almost ready to go into the ground. This is exciting as it’s taken at least 6 weeks for them to get to this stage. Slightly cold weather means they aren’t growing super fast. Also, I grew them from seeds I nabbed from a capsicum and chilli that I bought at the grocery store so I have no idea what they’ll turn out like. It’s kind of exciting really.

And finally, lookit them, all two of them! My little tigerella tomatoes. OH LOOK AT HOW PRECIOUS THEY ARE!!! Oh joy and rapture! I am going to eat them in a caprese salad. Not right now obviously. They’re only babies, silly.

What veggies have you got to harvest from your garden?

Take care, all.

XX Brooke

Night time creatures

It’s midnight, it’s raining, I have a torch and a camera. Deep within my heart lives a ten-year old tomboy who loves hunting for frogs. So off I went in pursuit of the elusive green tree frog. I did not find him but I found some other creatures along the way.

This is Mr Toad, there are a hundred just like him in my garden. I only took this picture because I have never seen a toad eating before. Gross! If he wasn’t toxic and had bright green skin he’d be kind of cute.

I love this photo. These little snails are on everything apart from my vegetables.. Palm trees must be tastier? I don’t know, funny little guys though. I love them. I hate it when I accidentally step on them. My heart plummets when I hear the tell-tale *Crunch*. Oh the guilt, the shame, the horror.

What kind of night time creatures do you have in your garden?!

XX Brooke

The only good thing about weekend rain

Sparkly raindrops!

*Sigh*

I don’t mind the rain, I suppose. It means I don’t have to water the garden. It also means I get to do things like make seed mats… I made carrot seed mats today. For carrots. Carrots to grow.

I also cleaned my house, which I don’t do very often.

But best of all I discovered my Green Mignonette lettuces have germinated! Hooray!

XX Brookie

Beautiful Basil

I love basil. I love the way it looks and smells and tastes and grows and I love that it comes in so many wonderful varieties and that you can use it in so many different recipes and styles of cooking..

I like to grow my basil from seed in 4 week intervals, and have been growing much more than a normal person probably should, but I have realised that if I had enough basil I would use it in every single meal.  I start my seeds inside because there are some grumpy looking brown caterpillars outside that love to devour my tiny basil seedlings.

I have five different kinds of basil seeds growing at the moment – Thai, lemon, cinnamon, purple and sweet basil.

When they get to the stage where the first true leaves are the same size as the baby leaves I re-pot them into 20cm pots with two per pot. I use a mixture of vermiculite, compost and potting mix.

I like to keep my basil plants with my tomato plants and marigolds. When it rains the smell is incredible. I fertilise them with dynamic lifter and I also add about a teaspoon of coffee grounds and a teaspoon of powdered eggshells once a fortnight. My tomatoes and roses also love this. They also get a liquid fertiliser once a month.

I use pine bark chips as mulch around the base of my pots to keep the soil slightly acidic. If I see any signs of flowers developing I pick them out with my finger and thumb nails. I am lucky enough to live in a climate where I can grow basil all year round to satisfy my hunger for it.

That is all for today.. maybe not. It is raining and I haven’t got anything to do. I am going to go and stare at my seed trays and urge them to grow. Take care, everyone!

XX Brooke

Identity crisis

My garden has broad beans in it.. they are growing well. They are growing fast and they are green and bushy and lovely. But they only get about 2 hours of direct sunlight a day. Should I transplant them into a sunnier position or leave them where they seem quite chipper? I don’t know! It’s all too much. I would like to take to these damn pine trees with a chainsaw and be done with it. Never have to worry about sunlight again. But I can’t. Stupid rental house.

Look! My first eggplant flower. I think it’s one of those purple and white stripey ones.. or it could be a white one. Or a black one. I don’t know. I should have labelled it but I can see that it is an eggplant..plant. So I didn’t think it necessary. Now I am confused. But thrilled. It’s beautiful!

What a sweet little sweetheart.

The only thing that is producing foods is my chilli. I don’t know what kind it is. Some form of wild chilli I believe. I found it in the garden. The chillies are very soft, tiny and EXTREMELY hot. But the flowers are pretty. It doesn’t seem to exist on the internet, any how.

Another thing, can anyone identify this chive? My mum had it for at least 10 years before she gave it to me. It has flat, strappy leaves rather than the straw leaves that I find in nurseries and people’s homes. It’s got a nice oniony, chivey, non-garlicy flavour.

Here are it’s flowers

I really must get some of those chives with the purple clusters of flowers. They are so so so so pretty… Anyway, I have to go hunt down the news papers my partner hid so I can go and weed-proof the leaf vegetables. Take care.

XX Brooke

Seeds, glorious seeds!

So today I planted a large variety of seeds. I made a seed raising mix from compost, cheap potting mix, vermiculite, and dynamic lifter.

I put the mixture minus the vermiculite in the food processor (I’m odd, but I am the naughty gardener after all) to make it a bit finer since the potting mix was quite chunky and so was the compost. This method has served me well in germination rate but I wouldn’t recommend it for any neat freaks or germophobes out there. A time-consuming task that results in dirt all over my kitchen and a cranky partner but a nice mix that will make me some happy little plants.

I planted the following

Lettuce – Green Mignonette

Tomato – Grosse Lisse

Beetroot – Crimson Globe

Onion – Red Rossa

Silverbeet – Fordhook Giant

Okra – Lady’s Fingers

No pictures because who wants to see a photo of a bucket full of dirt? Not I.

Next week I will be taking a visit to the demolition yard to find some materials to make a nice big container for planting carrots and other root vegetables, because I’m cheap and don’t want to spend a fortune on some fancy container from Bunnings. Oh the excitement! I love thrift stores and tip shops and demolition yards.

That’s all for today.

Take care!

XX Brookie

Pomegranate Problems

Today was not a pleasant day at all. I have been getting tests for whooping-cough, including blood tests and a rather nasty swab test where they stick a pointy q-tip up your nose until it feels like your eyeball is about to pop out and wriggle it about. One of the worst tests I’ve ever had. Keep in mind I’m a total wuss when it comes to doctors. 

Anyway, I want your help. Why wont my pomegranate tree produce fruit? It gets masses of lovely crimson flowers, then the petals drop away and I am left with this.

Then it drops off and I am left with nothing but bitter disappointment.

The plant is at least three years old and is a grafted dwarf variety. I have tried self-pollinating to no avail. If anyone could be so kind as to give me any suggestions as to why I am not devouring enormous, juicy pomegranates, please do!

Ciao for now

XX Brooke