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Gardening

Arrivals after rain

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Just a short update today…

We have had a few new arrivals show themselves after the last lot of rain. An abundance of mushrooms (I’m not game to test my luck), but some plants I think are Rock Lily (Bulbine glauca). I hope they are because that would be really exciting. Not just because they have beautiful flowers, but because they have edible seeds (that apparently taste like sweet shallot/leek) but also have onion tasting edible bulbs (known as native leek). Many books write about the wiradjrui tending to fields of native leek, so to have some appear on the block is exciting for me… I’ll keep you posted.

New seed/plant order

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None of my orders arrived before the weekend, and, it has been a long time between sunny days so there was no way I was going to be cooped up indoors again. Both me an my two and a half year old son have been going stir crazy being inside for so long due to the cold… It was time to get grubby. No matter how much mud there is laying around, I needed to dig in it, get messy, plant something damn it! Since nothing arrived before the weekend from my last two posts (1) (2) about gardening, I had to go in to town (an hour trip) to get some supplies.

The vege patch has been a few weeks overdue getting a layer of pea straw put down. There are four important reasons to mulch. The first, and probably the most important, is for water conservation. Mulch stops the top of the soil drying out, keeps the soil moist, and can reduce watering by about 60 per cent. Mulching also prevents weeds and weed seed germination, which compete with plants for moisture and nutrients. Mulching also keeps the soil temperature constant, and using an organic mulch means you’re adding extra organic matter to the soil. After two (or near enough to) weeks of rain, the weeds were taking a bit of a hold, so, out with the digging tools and on with a layer of mulch. I used sugarcane mulch as the most cost effective option at Bunnings.

Anyway, I took the boy in to town and we bought the following;

  • 2 x Blueberry bushes (sunshine blue)
    • Putting these in a spot where a lot of leaf matter has rotted. Much of it made up of pine needles (so perfect for making the soil acid enough). They should fruit in their second year, and by year 4-5 produce 2-7kg of fruit each per year.
  • 3 x Midyim Berry bushes (Austromyrtus dulcis)
    • So now I have 5 all up, and currently have 20 cuttings rooting.
  • 1 x River Mint (Mentha australis)
    • You haven’t tasted mint until you have tasted the Australian native mint!

I also bought country value seeds from bunnings. I have heard their germination rate is not as high as others, but at half the price, and as a quick something-to-do I am happy enough to take that risk. The seed I got was for winter planting and spring fruiting;

  • Beetroot (Perfect)
  • Carrot (Every Season)
  • Pea (Greenfeast)
  • Pea (Sugar snap)

I am interested in using the peas to make a pea-teepee. Seriously. It is a thing, a living teepee. It think I might make mine giant… big enough for adults. Sweet peas occasionally, regular peas the rest of the year… It will smell good, and taste good. Stay tuned for photographs! I have had loads of luck with beetroot before, so happy to keep growing, loads of luck with carrots too, so no surprises there I hope. I have plenty of snow peas on already, so hoping the others don’t give me grief.

As a side note, I have noticed my asparagus have spears coming through! Wrong time of year (it should happen with spring rain I am told), but hey, exciting. I wont get anything good enough this year as they are only 12 months old, but in the future…. yum!

I also spent time checking in on my cuttings, which all look healthy, and taking some more cuttings (this time of rosemary) which I may use later as hedging (or just give to mates).

New seed/plant order

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It has been almost ten solid days of rain now, and I am itching to get outside. I think my 2 and a half year old is as well… he loves the garden (and Dirt Girl). I thought about getting some more flowers in and have been looking at Fothergills and Diggers at their options. I am particularly interested in what can be done through Diggers in bulk. I know the bulk packs are great since I ordered a bulk pack of Flanders poppies for a ANZAC exhibition last year. The problem is with Diggers that unlike Fothergills they have no bulk packs of native wildflowers, and I really would prefer a native wildflower meadow, than a poppy/cornflower mix that diggers has.

I ended up ordering (Fothergills);

  • 5 Packets Native Wildflower Mix (link)
  • 4 Packets Wilflower seed starter (link)
  • 2 Packets ‘Rockery’ Mix (link)

The wildflower mix includes: Billy Button (Craspedia globosus), Clawflower (Calothamnus quadrifidus), Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Everlasting Dwarf Mix (Rhodanthe), Featherflower (Verticordens nitens), Golden Everlasting (Xerochrysum bracteathum), Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthamanglesii), Pink Everlasting (Schoenia cassiniana), Purple Flag (Patersonia occidentalis), Swan River Daisy (Brachycombe iberidifolia) and Teatree (Leptospermum). Each pack is 2000 seeds so, 10,000 seeds should cover 30 square metres, at first, but thinned out once some of the larger plants grow up.

  • Billy Buttons are fantastic cut flowers to liven up the home (but also lovely in the garden).
  • Clawflower (also sometimes called ‘one-sided bottle brush’) will bring many beneficial insects to the garden.
  • Bottle Brush (Callistemon) flowers and leaves make a beautiful sweet tea when boiled. Leaves can also be used dry as a herb/spice. The taste is somewhat a of a slightly pine-citrus. Which also makes the flowers/leaves great to use as an adjunct to your homebrew (particularly those that call for lots of hops, I’m looking at you American IPA’s. Meanwhile the sweetness of the flowers if you make a tea taste great in a Belgian style witbier.
  • Rhodanthe is a beautiful garden edging flower, will make nice cut flowers too.
  • Featherflower (also: Christmas Morrison) makes a great cut flower, it is also known as a brilliant flower for drying and preserving, often holding its perfume for longer than 12 months!
  • Golden & Pink Everlasting: makes a great cut flower.
  • Kangaroo Paw: is just a stunning flower… again probably make a great cut flower for arranging.
  • Purple flag (also: native iris) great rockery and edging plant!
  • Swan River Daisy: make great cut flowers.
  • Teatree: The common name tea tree for the Leptospermum species derives from the practice of early Australian settlers who soaked the leaves of several species in boiling water to make an herbal tea rich in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). It makes a nice adjunct to an Australian style bitter or lager.

The seed starter is used since: many Australian native species have evolved over time to deal with a regular fire regime, they have developed a reliance on some of the chemicals in smoke to germinate the seeds. This product improves the rate and vigour of native seed germination by providing the smoke in an easy to use form. Simply sow the seeds as directed on the packet and lightly apply the granules over the top before the first watering. Then lightly water the granules to initiate germination.

The rockery mix includes: Californian poppy, lobelia, viola, nemophila and several colours of alyssum (Gypsophila elegans, Eschscholzia californica, Nemophila menziesii, Lobelia erinus, Lobularia maritima, Viola cornuta, Malcolmia maritima). Each pack has 1000 seeds so it is useful as a test.

I’ll show results once things start to come up… but would also like to get one of these native wildflower packs from diggers later on and mix in.

New seed/plant order

By | Gardening, Projects, Wagga Flora | No Comments

I have, for the better part of 12 months started getting stuck in to gardening. I have always loved being outside (I go stir crazy all cooped up indoors for longer than a half-a-day). Since we moved to Marrar, bought a block of land, and built a house two and a half years ago I haven’t gotten as much done as I would have liked (two kids will do that for you). I have built some garden beds, grown a few things over the few seasons I have been able to, but now I really want to get stuck in…

I am not much of a ‘flower’ gardener. I am definitely of the cut it, dig it, pick it and eat it type of gardener. I need to get more flower savvy however; as I note that mixing ‘fruit & veg’ in with the ‘flowers’ is likely to produce better results from more pollinators and beneficial insects. We learn by doing I suppose. Anyway… Just itemized below is my latest seed orders with what I intend to do with them;

Diggers (Australia)https://www.diggers.com.au/

I am expecting to build the vegetable patch up with a bit of color. Also to mix flowers and vegetables together a bit more. Many of these plants above will not just be vege-patch plants, but also give year round color to flower beds.

Australian Seedhttps://australianseed.com/

Outback Chefhttps://www.outbackchef.com.au/

I just love Australian ‘native’ bushfoods, these will join what is already in my garden. I currently have Native Currant, Lily Pily (Dwarf Creek & Rain Cherry), Midyim Berry, Silver wattle, Macadamia bush nut, Davidson plum, Fingerlime and Burdekin plum in the garden (all sourced from Daleys).

Whitehouse Nurseryhttp://www.whitehousenursery.com.au

  • Vienna Gold Hops
  • Tettnanger Hops
  • Golden Cluster Hops
  • Hallertauer Hops

Citrus Menhttp://www.citrusmen.com.au

It will take a few years yet, but it will be a fabulous array of native, indigenous and anglicized food coming from the garden. This season I managed to grow hops for my beer thanks to white house nursery (previously only had Pride of Ringwood in, now expanding) and many heirloom veges thanks to the lost seed.