Not much to report from the penultimate PDC class as we spent most of the day working on our final designs.
We did however, take a brief look at seed saving, propagation (sowing seed and taking cuttings) and an introduction to grafting.
During the week I found this great link at the Permaculture Research Institute site which features the permaculture garden at the property where we’ve been doing our PDC. Our teacher, Cam Wilson, has also started an informative blog which can be found here.
Meanwhile…….this is probably a good place to update what’s been happening around the home front while I’ve focussed on writing about the PDC.
I started planting out those tomatoes in the second week of September, because we’d had a few warm days and I thought, that’s it, spring’s here. But no, the weather turned cold again and the tomatoes began to look very sick. One died. I’d almost given up on them and was cursing my impatience, when finally, the weather began to turn around, and how! Ten days of over-30’s temperatures sure picked them up. They’ve been getting fortnightly doses of Seasol and potash (not tried the potash before, but doing so on Peter Cundall’s recommendation) and they’re now looking much better. I’ve put 4 varieties in wicking boxes to try—Roma, Black Russian, Green Grape and Green Zebra. I also bought 3 black recycled plastic tubs at Bunnings, billed as tomato tubs and have Black Zebra, Black Russian and Grosse Lisse in those, up on the deck, beside the house. So, after a bad start it might be a good tomato year after all.
The hot weather cured the first 2 batches of garlic so I picked those—60 nice bulbs in all—now hanging up under the house to dry. There’s still another 20 or so to pick, but they were planted later and haven’t started to cure yet.
A dozen capsicums have gone into 3 wicking boxes (4 to a box) and 3 more wicking boxes are planted up with butter beans. Another box was sown with golfball-sized carrots (Thumbelina variety from Edens) and they’re almost a pickable size. One day I’ll try long carrots in a wicking box.
I potted up 50 leek seedlings (this year I’ve tried the variety Blue Solaise from Phoenix Seeds in Tassie) and about a third have been planted out for next winter.
I’ve put out zucchini, cucumbers, button squash and pumpkins—2-3 varieties of each. Watermelons are still small; another couple of weeks till they’re ready.
Finally, I went to town with herbs and have dozens of seedlings still being planted out—sage, oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon.
I still need to get some shade structures in place in preparation for those 40 deg days we’re sure to be hit with later in the season. I’m copying Scarecrow’s poly pipe structures; they seem to work pretty well for her.
The unusually early hot weather we had has really coloured up the apricots. I’ve been watching to see if the rosellas find them. I don’t really want to go to all the trouble of netting the tree. So far, so good. I’ve picked a few to ripen inside, although I know tree-ripened is best.
Last day of November today and I picked the first zucchini of the season. It’s the Romanesco variety, one I haven’t grown before. Rather attractive—dark green skin with lighter green raised ribs (no photo, sorry—I cooked it for dinner!). As is usual with zucchinis, it grew from nothing to 20 cm long in (it seems) just a day.
November has been an odd month weatherwise. A week or two of 30-plus temperatures to begin with, then over 70 mm of rain at the end. Everything is lush and green. I wonder how long it’ll stay that way.