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Tag Archives: brisbane gardens

Regrow Spring Onions in a Jar of Water

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It’s true. You can regrow shallots in a glass of water. Here’s the results of a couple of days, actually it could be a week or more as I forget when I actually ‘planted’ this bunch. Since then I have simply been changing the water each day. You can see where they were cut and the fresh green regrowth.

I only recently read about this technique on a number of websites and thought that I would try it out for myself. As you can see, the results speak for themselves. If you already have a vegetable garden planted, or a spare pot lying around, plant them in the soil and apparently they’ll grow back indefinitely (ApartmentTherapy).

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Garden Update for February

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So here’s the vegetable garden as it stands today. A little different to the no-dig garden I installed only a month ago…

The plants have been madly growing up and out with the help of chook poo and sugarcane mulch. I can hardly recognise that these two photos are of the same plants in the same garden.

As you can see, I have also extended this garden and added a new garden bed below it. The extension was installed down in front of the verandah but the plants were getting too much sun there and were so stressed out they started dying after two days, so  I dragged the extension up and placed it next to the orginal garden. The plants that survived are doing much better, but not nearly so well as the rest of the patch. The chook poo in that part of the garden was also sourced from Bunnings rather than the Northey Street City Farm and I’m wondering that has something to do with it as well.

There have been a few little surprises in the past week:

One of the strawberry plants (Euroka) is covered in little white flowers.. fruit is on its way 🙂

The rosellas are budding…

… and so is the pumpkin.

It’s not all goodness though as the pumpkin and zucchini are covered in this mould or mildew…

Some quick research suggests that these plants are not getting enough sunlight during the day or have been planted too close together for the air to circulate well enough. It could simply be that the humid Brisbane summer is to blame. After the last two rainy wet seasons we’ve had fungus seems to flourish on anything. I’m not sure what to do about this to stop the plant dying or affecting the crop. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know in the comments section.

To everything its place

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To everything its place

Beside the back door, right next to the kitchen sits this little pot of Aloe Vera patiently waiting to be useful.

How to Manage Madeira Vine

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This rather lovely and innocuous looking vine is actually an invasive pest with a particularly aggressive streak. Madeira Vine originates from South America and grows particularly well in sub-tropical climates so well in fact that council advice is to attempt to contain outbreaks rather than eradicate it all together.

The Madeira Vine was introduced to Australia in the 1950s and planted next to the outdoor toilet as the leaves were said to have a laxative effect, it was also a common sight under the Christmas tree.

There are basically two methods for getting rid of Madeira Vine:

  1. Poison it
  2. Pull it out by hand

When removing the vine be careful to pick up any dropped tubers as these can sprout. If you can, lay down a plastic sheet before you remove the vine to catch and contain any tubers. NEVER add Madeira Vine to your compost or green waste rubbish as this will simply spread the vine.

Given that I want to turn the backyard into an edible paradise poisoning it is out of the question. In fact, for the past week I have been removing the vine by hand and wrapping in plastic rubbish bins, then adding these to the general waste rubbish. Despite the fact that this is the official advice, I have visions of the vine spreading out over the Rubbish Tip and engulfing rusting bicycles, dented fridges, piles of plastic bags enshrouded by virile greenery.

I have recently read about liquid fertilizing and wondered whether this method would be a safe, environmentally-friendly, chemical-free method for reducing any further threat. I have found two websites which recommend this method: Wilsons Creek Landcare & Vera Street Community Garden. The thing is that the tubers can stay dormant for over 5 years so I need to make sure that the tubers are completely decomposed before I add them back into the garden ecology. Thus, I am concerned whether this might work at all.

Making compost

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Just over a week ago I created a no-dig vegetable garden in our backyard. We’ve since installed a compost bin to handle the kitchen waste and lawn clippings. You see, I had been using a cardboard box for a couple of weeks but we needed something that would contain the smells and keep out the flies and a cardboard box just didn’t cut it. The solution was to purchase a black plastic bin for aboutAU $30. While not the cheapest option it’s certainly affordable.

So now that we’ve got a compost bin (not possible in an apartment building) I thought it would be simple, throw everything in and leave it alone.

There are however, a few things from the kitchen that can’t be composted. No meat. No dairy. No greasy fats and oils. Definitely no seafood. You also shouldn’t add dog or cat manure as they are carnivores.

In fact there’s a certain special recipe for compost making to ensure that the compost decomposes into rich fertile black soil.

Ingredients:

  1. Nitrogen – fruit & vegie scraps, lawn clippings, tea leaves, coffee grounds, manure, egg shells
  2. Carbon – dried leaves, small twigs & sticks, paper, cardboard, straw
  3. Air
  4. Water

Mix regularly and you should have compost in a few months.

The magic is happening…

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There’s fairies in my garden. I swear to you it’s absolutely true. On my morning wander I discovered a few signs that our teeny tiny friends have dropped by. They left a couple of ladybirds in the back corner behind the vegetable garden…

They must have had their breakfast very early, probably at this little dining setting…

In fact I think I see one now…

How to Create a No Fuss No-dig Vegetable Garden

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In Jackie French’s ‘Backyard Self Sufficiency’ she describes a garden full of life. Masses of healthy plants dripping with heirloom fruit and vegetables.  Free-range chickens scratching in the earth for grubs and insects. Clumps of lavender growing beneath the clothesline. Native birds flitting amongst the trees. A compost heap in the back corner supplying rich black soil for the garden and reducing household waste. Native bees pollinating the fruit and vegetable crops and providing honey. In short, a complete ecology in your own backyard. Jackie French also describes a minimum work no-dig garden as an easy way to get a vegetable garden up and running.

I found another description of a no-dig garden in Leonie Norrington’s ‘Tropical Food Gardens’ which looked surprisingly quick and easy to establish.

What you will need:

  • fertilizer
  • cardboard or newspaper
  • straw
  • manure
  • potting mix
  • seedlings
Step One: select a sunny site with exposure to the morning sun and preferably sheltered from the harsh afternoon sun.

Step Two: fertilise.

Step Three: lay down a layer of cardboard and wet throroughly.

Step Four: lay down a layer of straw and wet thoroughly.

Step Five: lay down a layer of manure and wet thoroughly.

Step Six: lay down another layer of straw and wet thoroughly.

Step Seven: lay out your seedlings.

Step Eight: divide parts of the straw and sit the seedlings in the gap. use the potting mix to stabilise the plants.

Step Nine: cover the potting mix with straw being sure to leave some space around the base of the plant.

Voila!