Archive for May, 2008

Wicking box update 1

May 20, 2008

I wrote about creating water wicking boxes here:

They’re going very well. I’ve now got 3 down the back and 3 up on the house deck. Apart from keeping the seeds damp until they germinated, no extra water has been added to the boxes, although the 3 down the back have had some rain on them. So far I’m pretty happy with the idea, but as I said in the original post, summer will be the real test.

Wicking box with Bok Choy

 

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Indestructible seeds

May 17, 2008

I make compost by cutting and mulching up the foliage of soft-leaved plants, including vegetable crops which have finished producing and which may, or may not, have been allowed to run to seed.

This method of making compost (of which more at another time), obviously doesn’t produce temperatures high enough to kill seeds. I’ve decided that on the whole, this is a Good Thing, provided I don’t compost anything containing seeds of plants I don’t want (aka weeds).

When I prepare an area for planting new seedlings I generally put a few inches of fresh compost on the top of the soil. This often results in an interesting crop of volunteer seedlings which can then be harvested or transplanted somewhere else. The only thing I have to do is make sure the planted seedlings don’t get totally swamped by the ‘invaders’. Sometimes I think all I need to do to get an edible crop of something is to spread the compost, water and wait.

For example, this year’s crop of garlic cloves (deliberately planted) are now surrounded by seedlings of carrot, lettuce and bok choi (chinese cabbage), which are providing a useful harvest. When they’re all gone, the garlic can claim it’s rightful place as the sole occupant of the bed.  

 

Seedlings which came up in the compost. The garlic’s in there….somewhere

Tamarillo time

May 16, 2008

The tamarillos are ripening. They look unusually attractive dangling from the strange-looking large-leaved shrubs. Because of our parrot problem, I’ve had them enclosed in bags, but they have very thick skins so maybe they’d be OK without protection. I’m not taking any chances though.

A friend gave me a couple of fruits 2 years ago and I grew a number of plants from the seed. They flowered 18 months after being planted out and this is the result.

They’re said to be short-lived so I’m going to put more seed in and plant several more.

Later edit:

It’s early June and for the last couple of weeks we’ve been enjoying the fruits atop our breakfast muesli. The skins are tough and bitter and not recommended to be eaten. I cut off the stem end, slice in half lengthways, scoop out the pulp with a spoon, sprinkle some sugar over and leave overnight in the fridge. They have a tropical, passionfruity taste which makes our usual stewed apples look decidedly ordinary.