Wet stuff at last

The rain god must have read my last post and has sent down 40 mm of the wet stuff in the first 7 days of this month. So all the tanks are full (18,000 litres in 3 tanks) and so are the bins, baths, fishponds and sundry other water storage bits and pieces around the property.

I bought a couple of packs of shallot bulbs and some Desiree potatoes and have planted same. I had no success with shallot bulbs previously bought from the greengrocer (they grew, but didn’t form new side bulbs,  just got larger) so I hope these will be better. I have a feeling, though, that they might need the same treatment as garlic, i.e. should be planted in autumn in order to take advantage of the longer growing season. I’ll do that next year.

All the tomato seeds sown at the winter solstice have germinated and I’ve now sown basil on the heat mat. I always plant basil amongst the tomatoes. I may also try growing it in a wicking box.

I’ve filled seven of the nine new wicking boxes with the compost I had prepared; unfortunately the last two will have to wait till the next lot of compost is ready.  I sowed radish into some of them and it has germinated, even though covered with a layer of sugar cane mulch.

I love browsing through seed catalogues and they’re starting to arrive for the season ahead. The first came from Edens and I’ve sent off an order.

Next came one from Phoenix Seeds in Tasmania. I bought seeds there for the first time last year and was pleased with the results. Although a fairly small grower he seems to have a good variety of unusual food plants. He doesn’t have a website but his address is:  PO Box 207 SNUG Tas 7054  and his email is : phnxseed at ozemail dot com dot au  (substitute for ‘at’ and the dots). He’ll send a catalogue if you email him a request. I like the way he includes a little printed sheet of cultivation information inside each packet of seed.

Diggers catalogue came in next, but I don’t order from them, since they’re only a 30 min drive from me. It’s more convenient to drive down and maybe also buy some plants from their nursery as well as seed.

Finally came the catalogue from Green Harvest.  They don’t have a huge variety of seeds, but make up for it with other things—books, organic pest management, tools, propagation equipment and organic fertilisers.

So I’m busy filling in seed lists and sending off cheques. Soon be spring!

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4 Responses to “Wet stuff at last”

  1. Brian Says:

    Must be very rewarding growing from seeds, tend to just buy plants myself.

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  2. foodnstuff Says:

    Hi Brian, thanks for the comments.

    Yes, it is rewarding growing from seed. One of the main reasons I do it (apart from saving money) is that our local nurseries have such a limited range of varieties available and certainly none of the heirloom varieties that are so good to grow and keep in circulation.

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  3. david hicks Says:

    A helpful article Ms/Mr foodnstuff . Thank you for reminding me about this years seedy catalogues. One question : Re, your, “I’ve now sown basil on the heat mat.” I give up! WHAT is a heat mat? I was going to ask, ‘why your anonymity?’ But I won’t. Unless you choose to answer it of course 😉
    signed : david hicks….

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  4. foodnstuff Says:

    Hi David,

    A heat mat is a thermostatically-heated tray on which you place your punnets of seed so that the bottom heat facilitates germination. See this link: http://www.heatngrow.com.au/products.htm. Very useful things to have.

    For your other question: I’m a Mrs Foodnstuff. Anonymity? Just prefer to hide my light under a bushel, I guess. But also: when industrial agriculture starts to collapse (due to climate change and peak oil), it might be wise not to advertise to the unprepared masses, that you have a productive food garden.

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