Saturday, May 29, 2010

May's Harvest

While I've been busy, the garden has been quietly plodding along. I even have a harvest to show! My peppers are still going, surprisingly. The fruits have been ripe and awaiting to be picked these last few weeks hence the "size-able" collection from my small garden. Also, in amongst my beans, beets and carrots, my spinach and pak choi has enjoyed the cooler weather. The pak choi in particular has grown so well, I would highly recommend it! It takes up little space and has been enthusiastically sprouting leaves which (so far ;) ) are healthy and lush.

As for using up my harvest, I thought I'd put those baking skills to the test! I should reveal, one of the reasons I have neglected my blog (sorry guys) is because I started studying part-time this year (amongst work, another (online) course, an ill bird, my gardening and well, life..). I'm doing a baking/pastry chef course, something I've wanted to do for years. We're currently studying the pastry module and so, in go the greens for my first (home) attempt at quiche.

As for the peppers, they're still sitting on the kitchen bench =P I'm thinking at trying my hand at drying them as we are soooo chilli'd out! That's a technical term there. That one plant is overloading me with more fresh chillis than I can use. So much so, I have been banned from cooking with them until further notice.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Polly want a cracker?

What do you do when you can't have pretty flower boxes on your window sills? Why you decorate it with some cockatoos of course!

It will cost you a few biccies though...

Hello Autumn

and goodbye to a not so productive summer for my little garden. Between the humidity, bugs and my (not by choice) neglect, there was not much to speak about.

I spent some time clearing up the balcony plants today, ripping up what is on the way out and came to the conclusion, I probably shouldn't grow cucurbits. I don't know if its because we seemed to have so many downpours this summer or if its the lack of air movement on the balcony but I just can not get on top of the mold. The plants germinate beautifully and grow voraciously until the mold appears. And yes I have been careful with my tools, spraying the mold inhibitor spray, etc. So while everyone else blogs about zucchini glutteny, I said goodbye to 7 zucchini, 3 pumpkin and 2 cucumber plants this summer. Without tasting any fruits. So sad.

On a happier note, I seem to do well with the nightshade family. I still have a couple of tomatoes from my surviving plant but my chilli has taken over as my best producer in recent times.

I don't remember the type of chilli it is but its lovely and hot, and produces more than we need. Definitely a winner for a small balcony. And is it just me that thinks the flowers are so pretty?

I've also got some capsicums that I have been watching with baited breath for weeks and finally, Finally! The first few have ripened to a beautiful yellow orange.

They're minature, and oh so cute!

Lastly from the nightshade family, my eggplants were growing well, the plants that is, no fruit to speak of but... the bane of my balcony this summer seems to have a taste for them. Oh how I hate red spider mites. I have now culled all my plants that were overrun by this tiny scourge, even my basil (Damn you spider mites! Damn you). All except for my last lonely eggplant, flowering and all.

It'll have to go too. Just as soon as I can bring myself to do it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet! or is it Sour?

Hi there and welcome back. It's been quiet here I know! and its been quiet on the gardening front despite it being summer here in Oz. I haven't had much time for myself recently and while things have been changing on my balcony garden, most of that hasn't been noteworthy -or positive if I'll admit it. We lost some good men out there. Including my precious strawberries. Sob. But you live you learn, and we grow from our mistakes. I hope.

But.. one thing that is noteworthy, I bought a meyer lemon tree! Its a wee thing in terms of trees but that's a good thing because frankly, I don't have much space. I'd been pondering on a dwarf/ fruit tree for a while and reading up on it, was considering citrus as my best bet for the balcony climate. Then right before Christmas, shopping in Bunnings, there she was.. I was like a kid in a candy store begging my husband "Can I have it?? Oh pleeeeeease!?" his sensible reply was "We live in a unit. What are you going to do with a tree?". Drawing from my extensive citrus growing experience, ahem, I promised she would grow slow and would bear lots of sweet fruit which I would bake into all sorts of treats. Its at this point I will mention my husband's Greek heritage and for those of you in the know, you realise I didn't have to press my point any further. Lemons, can be used for everything and my meyer came home.

My faithful Umbrella Trees got replanted in the common garden area and hey presto, plenty of space. I was nervous potting my meyer, I've never grown a tree before! I've not really transplanted anything before either and certainly not as big, as most of my plants have been grown from seeds. I kept a loving eye over her corner, making sure everything was just so and....


I take it she's settling in just fine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

*wave*... I'm still here

Greetings fellow bloggers. Despite the apparent misworkings of my post button I have still been around and I have noticed your continuing visits, thank you. In short, I have a new job which requires lengthy travel times on my part and my weekends have been taken up with a multitude of celebrations finally culminating in the nuptials of our dearest friends. My garden has not been receiving the tlc it had grown accustomed to but I'm doing what I can to rectify that. In the meanwhile, I thought it best to dust off the keyboard and let you all know whats growing! And what's not.

Let's start off to the left...

So far so green... My herbs have been picking up for which I'm grateful. I am thrilled my basil is thriving! Its my favourite herb and I've been twiddling my thumbs waiting for it to grow. Needless to say its had a lot of use in the past few weeks. I have some purple 0pal basil seedlings coming up and I hope they do well. The only disappointment with my herbs was the death of my thyme.. I've sown some seeds and I'm hoping they come up soon... Its my most used herb and I'm missing it.

My solitary remaining zucchini is outwardly healthy. So healthy its taken up the entire pot which I wouldn't begrudge it bar the fact I'm getting no zucchinis from it! Oh there are plenty of babies/female buds which is admittedly a step further than my last attempt, which is great.. but I'm at a loss of how to fertilise them. Now you're all going to rush to comment about the process and I know what I'm supposed to do, but the fact is the female flowers never open. I am now experimenting with tearing them open when I have a male flower and trying to pollinate them that way. I feel like I'm violating them! I'm not expecting good results... but why do they die before the flowers open? I'm missing some mineral or something aren't I? Anyway.. here are all my non-pollinated baby zukes in all their glory.

They're a round variety of zucchini btw, if you're wondering at their odd shape, and even not-matured, quite beautiful imho.

Speaking of fertilising... I had no problem with my fruiting... Strawberries!
I picked my second (yes... I've had a whole 2!) ripe stawberry this morning. I am happy to report there are many more coming =) They are alpine strawberries and most are quite ugly, odd-shaped looking things but my mum swears they were the best tasting variety they had in Poland and so far I'm convinced. They are tiny though.

Now bypassing cacti and umbrella trees, in the middle of the balcony we have my happy purple/green, white striped plant (for which I have no name) that is absolutely thriving; my undecided echinacea which has finally looks like it will keep growing and another happy little vegemite, my glowing aloe vera. All good here.. lets move on.

Now we come to the sad end of my little oasis. A withered, moldy end... I had managed to turn the tomatoes around with the miracle spray Daphne recommended but sadly we had a couple of miserable flood enducing rainy days (or weeks might I add) that helped the mold come back with avengence. I have been pruning all the withered and moldy branches until now theres not much left. The prince has vanished leaving me with the toads of the tomato world. But I do have tomatoes.

For the moment. All the up-coming buds have withered to dried out skeletons of what they were supposed to be so I think we are coming to the end of my first brave little tomato plants. But they are sending me off with an abudant harvest on their way out. I picked 46 tomatoes this morning!

And here is my favourite of the lot of them.

And why was I snapping away at some odd inanimate little balls while there was a gorgeous, colourful (and blissfully noisy =)) parrot playing topsy-turvey peekaboo? Well I just had to take a snap of her too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Staking Stakes

Talk about getting out of hand. My tomatoes were wild and out of control! I took matters into hand this weekend and put up some stakes. Boy does it look better! I'm sure they appreciate it, some of the branches had looked ready to snap. It was a little awkward to set to set up in the pot mind you. This is one of those times I envy other gardeners with proper space ;) Never mind, I think I'm doing pretty well regardless. Will post some pics soon.