November Garden Guide

The countdown to Christmas has started. The usual end-of-year round of social and family events, shopping, school celebrations, reports, awards, and expectations to have our homes, gardens, families and lives in perfect order to be showcased, and all the loose ends tied up at work before we take a break.

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View from the office (spiralling in clockwise from top left): grapevine, white peach, nectarine, mandarin, spring onions, snowpeas, broad beans, persimmon, cape gooseberry, white shahtoot mulberry, zucchini, assorted leafy greens.

I’m not going to make that target. Continue reading

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Posted in Family, fruit, hanging out in the garden, herbs, microclimates, resilient gardening, sustainable food, time management, vegetables | Leave a comment

October Garden Guide

Spring keeps on springing…
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I swear we have the calendar all back to front in this hemisphere. Surely when the chooks are munching on all the new leafy greens and laying as if their lives depended on it (fair enough, in some places that might really be the case!) it ought to be Easter. But instead, when the pumpkins are just germinating and are still six months off ripening, we get Halloween. But eggs are even more versatile than pumpkins, so who’s complaining? Continue reading

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September Garden Guide

Happy start to Spring! The last few days have offered some really warm sunshine to bring the bees to the blossoms and to accelerate growth. This winter was warmer than average, and although it started out unseasonably dry, we’ve now just about caught up on our quota of winter rainfall. Here at home, the tanks are full, the garden beds have had a good soaking and everything with roots already established is starting to get a wriggle on. It’s a different story for new plantings though – with the soil still cold, it will be a while yet until summer vegetables are ready to go in.

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Posted in fertiliser, Food, maintenance, pests, planting, propagating, seedlings, soil, spring, vegetables, water | 1 Comment

August Garden Guide

 

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Spring onion bottoms get a second life, planted in a new Asian veg patch.

Reflections… It’s been a week spent between home in the ‘burbs and visiting the hills… remembering my teens when the frost and fog of the Adelaide Hills were an essential part of winter, missing the lush landscape and wildlife, while simultaneously feeling relieved and grateful as a gardener to have flat ground, fewer pests and weeds and a much warmer winter down here on the plains. Funny how much difference a half-hour drive makes to our local climate.  Continue reading

Posted in Food, hanging out in the garden, herbs, manure, markets, native plants, planning, planting, propagating, raised garden beds, seedlings, seeds, soil, trees, vegetables, winter | Leave a comment

Not the July Garden Guide (or ‘The Ugly Fruit’)

We made it! We’re past the winter solstice and the days are getting longer again. But the good news pretty much ends there, because now the proper cold sets in and only the diehard gardeners are still at it. I’ll get to what you can still plant, but first, a short rant.

Being a lazy gardener – therefore one who is much more inclined towards perennials than annuals – I have a garden that produces a lot more fruit than vegetables. The same is true of my Mum’s garden and many others that I visit. But because most trees produce a lot of fruit all at once, it is all too easy for much of it to get wasted. The great thing about winter is that fruits don’t go off too quickly in the cold (perhaps not quickly enough, if you’re keen to ferment them!) – but they can just slowly turn ugly in the fruit bowl while you’re busy dipping toast in your soup.

So I just want to take a moment to appreciate the ugly fruit, and how well it supports our family.

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It’s not just my photography, these specimens truly are unattractive. Even worse if you had seen their skins all over. The grapefruit is spotty; the mandarin hiding up the back has a scungy top where it was ripped off the tree; the passionfruit has a blackening, gangrenous calyx; the persimmons are dull and crusty-headed (can anyone relate at this time of year?), the kiwi is wrinkling, and the guava, frankly, nearly went into the compost when I discovered its underside was mouldy. You wouldn’t buy fruit like that. Oh, and the pumpkin? It’s been stored on the laundry bench for months, and we’ve been chipping away at it for a couple of meals each week for the past three weeks as well as sharing it with friends – it was that big. (BTW, only two items here came from our own garden, although many others have been flowing out of it – because it’s much easier and friendlier to be cooperative than to be utterly self-sufficient.)

But here’s the silver lining – or should I say the rainbow lining. Continue reading

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June Garden Guide

What a frosty start to winter! Here’s hoping this means good fruit set for all the cool temperate fruit trees this year.
HARVESTING

All sorts of goodies have been turning up around here lately – some seasonal, some surprising – as we swap and share with family and friends. Treats have included quinces, late figs, silk bananas, a few stray passionfruit, astringent persimmons (I’m still waiting weeks later for these to ripen…) and delightfully tender young spinach. The chooks are laying well, so a kind of vego Eggs Benedict has been popular (poached eggs, steamed spinach and blender hollandaise on toast or English muffins). There are a few limes left, and we’re starting to pick mandarins and oranges, while the lemons go all year round.

It’s easy to forget that lettuces and coriander grow so well at this time of year, since we often associate them with summer eating, but throw a few seeds around and you might be surprised at what happens! Self-sown parsley is popping up everywhere between pavers.

PLANTING

The soil has been well watered and is starting to cool down. Here’s a reminder about planting bare-rooted deciduous fruit trees: prepare the hole wider than it is deep, loosen the soil below, and do a drainage test – especially if you’re on clay soil, and even more so if you’re planting trees that are sensitive to wet feet – add gypsum if poor drainage is a problem. Add good compost – but particularly to the backfill soil and around and beyond the drip-line of the tree, where most of the feeder roots will grow.

If you have deciduous trees to be transplanted, use a sharp spade to cut around the rootball, prune the top to keep the tree in balance, and feed with seaweed extract to stimulate new root growth, then transplant it in 6-8 weeks so that it will have its new feeder roots ready to grow in the new position.

Plant locally native trees, shrubs and ground covers, with mulch or weed matting around them, and protect from grazing animals if needed.

Veg to plant this month include artichoke suckers, asparagus crowns, broad beans, carrot seeds, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, kale, leeks, lettuce, peas, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, swede, turnip and watercress, seed potatoes, garlic cloves and strawberry runners.

MAINTENANCE

Compost autumn leaves and old mulch, or throw them to the chooks who can pick out the insects and mix their manure into the carbon-rich materials for faster composting.

Many perennial herbs need a good trim back as they have put on strong growth with the combination of warm soil and May rain. A great opportunity to make a batch of tasty stock to freeze for winter soups, to dry herbs for storage, or to share cuttings.

secateursWinter fruit tree pruning is starting – best when your trees are fully dormant and leafless. Winter pruning stimulates strong spring growth, so it’s great for shaping young trees and for renovating old trees. For mature, productive and modest sized home fruit trees though, I prefer summer pruning just after harvest. Either way, aim for the start of a long fine break so that the cuts can dry out well. Home pruning tutorials are available.

pet pics adelaide (1).pngNADJA’S GARDEN NEWS diego&mali

Custom Pet Portraits are now available to order – follow the Pet Pics Adelaide facebook page.

A great pruning morning was held in the sunshine at Brighton Primary School on June 3rd, with a small team sharing pruning knowledge and hands-on skills and getting stuck into the fruit trees in the produce garden. The fresh mandarins were delicious too!

Organic Corner Store market – our last market date before we take a July break… details below.

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Posted in courses, Food, fruit, hanging out in the garden, maintenance, markets, planning, planting, propagating, pruning, trees, vegetables, winter | Leave a comment

5-minute recipe: Passionfruit Coconut Muffins

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What do you do when your passionfruit finally ripen and the season for fruit salads and pavlovas is decidedly over? The only thing to do when you have five minutes for cooking: make muffins. This recipe is moist, tangy, moreish, and hypothetically lunchboxable if there are any left by tomorrow morning. Makes 12 small muffins. Continue reading

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