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Trying to Grow Kang Kong

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Kang Kong & Broccolini

Kang Kong & Broccolini

Eat more green leafy vegetables. That’s what all the health experts tell us. Sometimes it’s not easy when you pay so much and then they wilt so quickly in the fridge.

Greeny leafy vegetables are something I really want to be able to grow successfully in my garden. However, I haven’t had much luck so far. Bright lime green Caterpillars ate most of my last attempts at growing salad vegetables last winter. There’s also the fact that many traditional green leafies are not exactly suitable for subtropical weather.

Then I stumbled upon Asian greens, in particular Kang Kong, or water spinach as it is also known. This green leafy is a semi-aquatic plant from the Morning Glory family and is well suited to the sub-tropical climate here in Brisbane.

After watching Phil Dudman’s Growing Kang Kong video I thought I would give it a try and went out to buy some.

The photo above shows a rather large bunch of Kang Kong which was bought from a local Asian grocery store for $1.20 AU. The small bunch of broccolini was bought on the same day from the local supermarket for $3.00 AU. I am still confounded how there can be such a price/volume difference.

My growing attempts were thwarted though as I watched the Kang Kong miserably shrivel up and wilt in the vase of water I attempted to grow it in. This is obviously not going to be quite so simple as growing spring onions in water.

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How to Grow Ginger

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ginger bulb

This bulb of ginger has been left out in the kitchen bench for a few weeks.

If you want to enjoy homegrown ginger, it really isn’t hard to do. This piece of ginger was bought at the local weekend markets and then after a few weeks in the fridge (when I didn’t use it for cooking) I left it out on the kitchen bench for about two weeks. You can see the light green sprouts starting on several bumps. All I need to do now is pop this in the garden, or a large pot, water frequently and soon it will start popping out shoots and growing like this one I posted yesterday. If you live in a cooler climate you can try growing it indoors, just remember to give in plenty of humidity – you might like to try keeping it in the bathroom.

Growing Seedlings at Home

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The front verandah which is southward facing (in the southern hemisphere) has also become the seedling nursery. It’s an ideal situation to protect the delicate shoots from the severe summer heat we’ve been experiencing. They get morning sun but are protected from the blistering midday and afternoon heat.

In case you aren’t aware, Australia has been experiencing a record-breaking heat-wave recently. The Bureau of Meteorology even had to add a new colour to their temperature maps as central Australia experienced temperatures over 50 degrees celsius! This weekend saw that heat-wave broken by torrential rain, flooding and strong winds along most of the eastern coast of Australia. This was good for my seedlings which have thrived with the sudden drop in temperatures and generous rainfall. Not so good for many people who have been evacuated or left stranded by raging floodwaters.

new seedlings

New Seedlings – 19th January 2013

And the seedlings today after this weekend’s torrential rainfall and cooler temperatures…

sprouting seedlings

The seedlings have sprouted!

ginger shoot

Ginger shoot, Galangal & Dwarf Mulberry Tree

These seedlings are potted in plain, organic compost (no fancy mixes for me) and the ones in pots have newspaper lining the bottom to prevent the compost from washing out of the drainage holes. They get watered once per day – after this weekend I’m thinking it might be better to try and water them twice a day while they are so young as they all really thrived with the extra water they received.

Most of the seedlings were planted roughly two weeks ago. Some were quite fast to shoot – silverbeet, zucchini & nasturiums. And others I thought would never sprout – sunflowers, broccoli, corn & sugarsnap peas. They all seem to be doing pretty well now though. Now I just have to keep them alive!

A New Relaxing Spot to Start the New Year

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front verandah

Front verandah

Since the dog has taken over the backyard (and made a mess of my gardening attempts in the process) I’ve decided to concentrate on the front yard until our puppy settles down.

First things first, we bought a new outdoor setting for the front verandah and celebrated with a mini-date while our toddler slept.

Highlights of 2012

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Bellis, May & August

We visited Jerry Coleby-Williams‘ garden Bellis twice this year for the open days. It was inspiring to see the possibilities of what can be achieved in a suburban backyard garden.  In May the Rosella’s had matured and the garden was full to the brim of other delights like Pidgeon Peas, amaranth, marigolds and greens of every sort.

Jane Street Community Garden Blitz,  May

In May I spent the day at the Jane Street Community Garden for a Permablitz shovelling mulch and planting seedlings, oh and taking lots of photos of the day. There was plenty happening over the course of the day with new garden beds installed, weeding and mulching of the adjacent slope, disposal of rubbish leftover from last years’ flood, installation of an aquatic garden,  clean up of the orchard, among other things. By the end of the day the place was barely recognisable.

Before

After

Kitchen Gardening with Young Children with Morag Gamble, September

In September I attended this workshop at the Fairfield Public library. Brisbane Public Libraries offer sustainability workshops throughout the year if you’re interested in learning more about composting, fruit & vegetable gardening, backyard pests and pets, keeping chickens, etc. Some of the cuttings from the workshop have been flourishing and others died in the first few days. Morag Gamble is a director of SEED International and a permaculture & transition town advocate.

Latest Edition to Our Little Family

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There’s been a recent addition to our family:

White German Shepherd

white german shepherd

Zara is a white german shepherd. She loves nothing better than a good cuddle and playing chasie around the yard 🙂

Garden Update

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It’s been a while but I thought I might update on what’s happening in our garden… 

There’s a new garden bed on 14th October: 

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Here’s what it looks like today: 

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