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Usefull Websites

Seed Companies

  • Royston-Petrie Seeds P.O. Box 1152 Ph: (61) 2 6372 7800
  • Cornucopia Seed Cornucopia Seeds and Plants Ph (03) 5457 1230
  • Select Organic M.S 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 Organic Seeds
  • GreenHarvest 52 Crystal Waters, M.S. 16, MALENY 4552 Ph: (07) 5494 4676
  • Greenpatch PO Box 1285, TAREE, NSW 2430 (02) 6551 4240
  • The Italian Gardener Allsun Farm, PO Box 8050, Gundaroo, New South Wales, 2620 (02) 6236 8173 Italian vegetable seeds
  • Kings Seeds PO Box 2785, Bundaberg, QLD 4670, Australia Tel: 07 4159 4882
  • Phoenix Seeds PO Box 207 , Snug, TAS, Australia 03) 6267 9663 Only postal Very unusual seeds
  • Diggers Fantastic company become a member and help them in their work, they have two sites, St Erith (nr Daylesford) and Heronswood (Mornington Peninsula) and when you become a member you get sent out a free magazine / newsletter
  • Eden Seed M.S. 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 (07) 5533 1107 Lots of information botanical and taste
  • The Lost Seed The Lost Seed PO Box 321 SHEFFIELD TAS 7306 ph: 03 6491 1000 Has a selection of very rare vegetables, and a great free download of sow what when chart

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vegetables in the Philipines

Vegetable Markets

I had a wonderful time in the Philipines, took lots of photos of vegetable gardens and the market. Will hopefully have another trip in about a year and see some more. The picture below was a chicken stall in the local market in San Fernando, I especially liked the coloured boxes for carrying the chooks. My sisiter told me that at easter you could buy coloured chicks. Not too sure about that, but maybe they are punk chickens and like the colours.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Beginings Geelong West Community Garden

Oh the excitement, a while ago, I put my name down for a plot at Geelong West Community Garden, because one cannot grow enough vegetables, and being a renter I often have to re-start my garden, and can miss out on a season. I moved house last February and had to dig up all of my tomatoes, so sad. So my name came up, well there were people ahead of me, but they all declined????

So I got a plot. Unfortunately I am off to the Philippines for a couple of weeks, expect lots of photos of exotic food plants. However when I return, work will start. I think my garden will be fairly conventional. I am going to divide the bed into 6 areas, with a brick or paver path (depending what turns up on free cycle). The it will be a 6 bed rotation system, growing everything from potatoes to cabbages... Watch this space

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thats the front and at the back

Behind the house, the garden is starting to grow too. The GIANT Allium, is Russian Garlic, given to me by a lady that I met on an Introduction to Permaculture course. It is enormous, each clove is the size of a normal garlic bulb. It has a milder flavour and roasted and eaten like an oniion. It is has been in her family for four generations, amazing. There are lots of varieties of heritage vegetables like this in australia, some of them have even become extinct in their original country. One of the many reasons why seeed saving is so important. The poatoes in their cages are doing well with all this rain.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My, My My, things are starting to take shape

Well it has been a strange old year, we have had so much rain in the last two months, the old timers at my work have been commenting that it is like the old days. Everything is jumping out of the ground. It has been a bit colder then normal, maybe because of the rain. The broad beans have only just started to pod up, and this time last year, they were harvested, and pulled out ready for the tomatoes. Made some falafel out of last years dried ones. Got some bricks off freecycle and as you can see the front gardens no dig beds are starting to take shape. Under the straw and chook litter is a layer of wet newspaper. Sunday night is my watering night so, will water everything in. Been eating lots of food out of the garden and we have only been here since march, and I work full time. Seems like a lot can be done in a short amount of time if you use organic and permaculture principles. Got those old terracotta pots from work, they were throwing them out, they make a nice edging.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Dig Beds

Wire or Potato Cage Method with help from Diggers. Make a cylinder of chicken wire about 1m in diameter and support with 3-4 star pickets or strong garden stakes. Garden stakes were the cheaper option, as star pickets were $14 each and the hardware store didnt have them any how
. Prepare the soil at the base by digging it over well and adding compost or well rotted cow manure. As this is a no dig method, I put old carpet or newspaper or cardboard on the bottom and then a layer of well rotted garden compost. This has been mixed with chiken manure and sheep manure, so the potatos should go off!

.Add 4- 8 potatoes in the prepared soil and cover with pea straw and manure and a sprinkling of blood and bone

. As the plants grow add more straw, manure or compost so the tips of the potatoed are still visable. Repeat through season as the potatoes grow to however high the chicken wire is. I have lined my cages with plastic, cardboard old carpet to help reduce the light, the soil falling out the side and keep in the moisture.

Harvesting the potatoes
When the plant has flowered and the leaves begin to yellow you can 'bandicoot' under your potato plants and harvest new potatoes. These have a very thin skin and do not store well, but taste delicous
The main crop is harvested when the plant dies off. Dont water your potatoes any more. Leave the crop in the ground for 2-3 weeks when the plant has died off to let the skins thicken. You can then dig up your crop and store in a well ventilated but dark place. Save some potatoes for 'seed' for your next crop
Another No-Dig bed being started in the corner, I will plant potatoes in here this year but something else next year, probably another fruit tree

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July in the Garden

Well I have been doing quite a bit in the back garden. I got some compost delivered, it is made from Council Green Waste. That filled the potato boxes and then some left over. I have a terrible problem with oxalis, so I mulched with newspaper and then topped with the compost. So far it seems to be working, the paper will break down in about a year by then the oxalis will have hopefully given up!

Gailan or Chinese Brocoli, should eat it soon
Sowed a few seeds direct, mostly raddish, mizuna, lettuce and spring onion.

Still waiting for my strawberry and potatos from diggers, one day they will get here. The flower pots are the edging for a new bed. No dig of course.

Preserving the Harvest, Pumpkin Cake

This was an adapted recipe from the vegitarian recipie website. My chooks have stopped layed as it is cold and wet outside and everyone needs a break from work now and again. So eggless, but with a giant turks head pumpkin to use up (grown at GBG) I made this cake and pumpkin fritters too. I ate the fritters as the cake was cooking and can definatly recomend this variety, beautiful yellow texture and creamy flavour and my friend remarked it was starchy, solid, not watery and tastes like pumpkin should. Anyhow here is the recipe

Pumpkin Cake

3 cups of wholemeal flour
1/4 cup cocco powder (I used Dutch cocco as it has an intense choclatey taste)
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla essance
1 cup sugar
2 cups of grated pumpkin
1 cup of yogurt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Pour into greased lined 8inch cake tin. Cook in a moderate oven, until a skewer can be inserted in middle and pulled out clean. Leave to cool, then ice, or not.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coles Park Allotments, Isleworth

Whilst visiting the UK I thought I would pay a visit to some local allotments, to tie in with my general obsession with all things edible. In the UK, allotments are small parcels of land rented to individuals usually for the purpose of growing food crops. There is no set standard size but the most common plot is 10 rods, an ancient measurement equivalent to 302 square yards or 253 square metres.

Allotments and Cottage Gardens Compensation for Crops Act 1887 obliged local authorities to provide allotments if there was a demand for them. The local authorities resisted complying with the act and revision was required to strengthen the act. Having spoken to a few people on my trip about their allotments it appears that most of them were aware of this act. Only two people have to apply to the council, if there are no allotments, the council has to purchase land for the purpose.

The Victorians set them up as
‘a productive use of time keeping the poor away from the evils of drink and providing wholesome food for a workforce housed in tenements and high density terraced housing without gardens to speak of.’

During the First and Second World War Germanys blockade of the UK caused food shortages and allotments were vital in growing food for the population

I arrange for someone to show me around, a member of the association called Patrick and his Jack Russell. My memories of allotments are of them always being behind locked gates, to prevent people from stealing the precious harvest.
Coles Park Allotments are on a piece of land that was donated to the people of Isleworth by the Duke of Northumberland. Part of the Duke’s estate consists of a fantastic house and garden nearby, Syon House. The gardens were laid out by the famous Capability Brown. The house also has a fantastic garden centre within the grounds.
The land was originally an orchard, as was most of Isleworth. This means the soil is extremely fertile.
Walking around the allotment, it was fascinating to see all the different varieties of vegetables being grown and how moist and green it was compared to the gardens back in Geelong.

Also the size of the plots, however I must admit that my garden at home is probably the size of three allotments, the amount of space we have is a luxury.
For many people in London the allotment is their garden, some of the members grow ornamentals mixed in with the vegetables.

Others just dispensed with the vegetables altogether.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May in the Garden

Well I am off to the UK for a couple of weeks and leaving the garden in the capable hands of Chris. He denies having anything to do with the garden, but he collects water, eats the produce and looks after the ladies. Today was just generally tiding up before my trip. I cut grass at front and back in the process collecting up the leaves, when I get back I will turn the compost in to the back one and start again a fresh bin.
I weeded the oxalis under carpet roses and will plant some sort of herb out there, and lay newspaper down before the next lots of mulch. I weeded the irises by the fence. In several of the boxes I planted coriander and parsley seedlings grown at work.

I also sowed broad beans, peas, radish, s.onion and turnip.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Green Tomato Chutney

Well this recipe is adapted from the site above, but I put in less onions 500g to 1kg of tomatoes is just ridiculous.

1kg Green Tomatoes
200g Onions
200g apples
2 cloves garlic
1tbsp fresh ginger
1tbsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1tsp black pepper
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1tsp chili flakes
1tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
1tsp cumin ground
300ml cider vinegar
225g brown sugar

1.Put all ingredients except sugar and half the vinegar in saucepan bring to boil and simmer for one hour.
2.Leave overnight
3.Bring back to the boil, add sugar and remaining vinegar and simmer for 90 mins
Put in sterilised jars

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Dis a lot of work in the garden the other week, and also cut the grass and turned the compost heap. Chris is still putting his urine on the heap which id helping add more nitrogen to it. Cleared the side bed of rubbish and large weeds. Still need to finish off the potato boxes, monday I will do it, have an RDO. Will plant broad beans as a green manure crop down the side. The brassicas are in and more is waiting to be planted, just need the beds. Need to prune the dead wood off the fruit trees, clear the grass from their base and make a bed around the base. Growing herbs and perenial edible plants makes, the fruit tree happier and free from pests and diseases. Need rocks newspaper and a mountain of compost. I am trying not to buy it this time, just make my own, also add worm 'poo' from the worm farm which has expanded.
I added this to a bed of really crap sandy soil, kinda of like grey dust and the salvia fruitcosa,

garlic chives, comfrey and cardamon are doing really well. Wish things would speed up still we havnt been here that long since late feb, so only two months. Plan to get water tanks, small ones that we can move with.
Potatoes planting in june, the no dig method that I use at work because it takes up small space and is relitively idiot proof??? Although I heard one of the guides questioning the method...foolish woman...I am the guru of all things edible well mostly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reverted Artichokes

The trouble with growing artichokes from seed, is sometimes they revert back to their less productive and wild type. I think this one has done so as it has a lot more spikes on the leaf tips and resembles the wild one (they are all over Altona and are edible but you need to prepare them with riggers gloves as they are very spiky). I will let it grow and compare it to the others. All these 3 were grown at work and over the summer were neglected in their watering or suffered on the 40 degree plus days, but due to their tuberous root came back, so they haven't actually flowered yet. Hpefully should get a big crop next year, and some suckers that I can plant at the back. Although to hide the neighbours I am thinking of planting Salvia karwinskii as it grows to 2-3m and has spectacular flowers, and can survive on little water. But we shall see.

Xena takes on the dog

Well we had an eventfull easter sunday, the next door neighbours dog got out and tried to eat Xena, one of the baby chooks so named because she stood up to Big Ears (Big Black Chook) when she was only 4 weeks old. The chooks ran out into the street and onto the road and the little dog pounced on Xena, I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and asked the guys over hte road to hold him while i ushed the others home. I couldn't find Xena anywhere and spied the next door neighbours cat going under the house so I assumed the worst. However later when weeding the garden she appeared, and I have no idea where she went or how she escapes, but the screams she made as the dog attacked her have made me go vegerarian.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Chook Palace
The girls hardly know themselves with this old shade house having been turned into the palace. Big Ears survived from the old house, and the two new chooks Beaker and Xena.

This bed already contains the golden shallots and I will also be planting it with garlic.

The new garden beds made from old potato boxes, very cheap, I will cover the bottom with newspaper and then fill them using the no dig method, but this time I am going to try using top soil as oppoised to compost as it is a quarter of the price $10 a metre

There already was an exsisting hazel tree in the garden but although they produce male and female flowers, they are self incompatible, so need a second tree the fertalize the flowers, I bought a second one a Global Greening in Batesford and put it in the ground. Behind it I will plant globe artichokes.

Apricot tree under a peach tree.

Well things have calmed down a bit so I have started work on the garden. The other weekend I planted my trees in the ground.