This year we have grown some raspberries! Yes, we are still surprised that we get any fruit as our canes are growing in a very large pot and even being next to the tap they don’t get sufficient water to produce a mass of fruit.

However this year Mother Nature has taken a hand by providing above average rainfall in November which has kicked along the fruit production. The November rainfall in our part of Canberra was double our monthly average!

We still only get a tiny amount of fruit compared to those whose plants are in the ground, but we plan to enjoy our harvest anyway.


Pick for productivity!

This morning’s harvest of Alderman peas, front; and broad beans, at the back.

A quick reminder to all of us that picking the pods from our peas and beans on a regular basis encourages more flowering and more productivity.

If you don’t need to eat them straight away then pod, blanch and freeze your produce as you go. Smaller amounts are handy for one or two serves and you will be relieved that you didn’t need to spend all day processing those kilos of beans!

SOS = Single Origin Sourdough

I’ve drunk ‘single origin’ coffee and indulged in ‘single origin’ chocolate, but I have to say that ‘single origin sourdough’ was a new one for me. We’d decided to indulge ourselves and have breakfast out at the markets this morning so headed off to Bean & Grain for some Eggs Benedict.10Nov2017

I was startled to see the SOS sign, but intrigued when I read further. It turns out that the single origin flour is an idea of farmers in northern New South Wales, trying to improve their returns by moving out of the bulk grains commodity markets. Looks like they are gaining some traction both in Canberra and Sydney. You can find out more here. If you are a keen baker you can also buy the flour to have a try yourself.

Turns out the extremely yummy toast we had with our breakfast, along with all the current batches of bread, was made from the single origin Lancer flour (a wheat strain introduced in 2011). I was forced to buy some multigrain bread to bring home.

** Just in case you want to know I have no connection with the growers or the sellers of this product. All the views expressed here are my own.

Return of the gardeners

It’s always with a degree of trepidation that I return to our garden after being away. While three weeks absence isn’t much, it did coincide with the first big flush of spring so the weeds are rampant and the vegetables are hard to find.

On a more positive note our two new chickens have started laying, so the daily egg count is growing nicely. A friend was looking after our tomato seedlings and they have flourished under their care.

I braved the front veggie patch this afternoon. Brave being the operative word. After half an hour of weeding I had scarcely managed to clear a metre of ground. What was more disappointing was that after that work it turned out that the purple podded peas were so spent that it actually wasn’t worth the effort to free them from the weeds.

Thankfully the shallots that I planted at either end of the bed are growing away reasonably well. I have now mulched them with sugar cane waste to see it I can slow down the ever ready weed population.

A further word on these beds that I planted out so hopefully a few months ago. You might remember that I tried out Tino Carnavale’s method of placing the seedlings near strings so the plants could readily climb to the top of their support. Sadly I have to report that for one of my beds this was almost a complete failure. Not Tino’s fault but my first qualification is don’t try this method where the plants will be effected by strong wind.

My purple Podded peas were growing away quite nicely when our spring gale force winds hit. The plants were clinging so tightly that almost all of one bed were immediately snapped off at the base. A second row of peas, planted in the shelter of the first row managed to survive somewhat better and they are starting to produce quite well. The bush peas planted nearby have just about disappeared under the weeds. However my Alderman climbing peas and my snow peas, planted in the more sheltered back garden, are podding quite well.

Probably best of all is that we are still harvesting some asparagus. Just enough to remind us what we missed out on during our holiday.

Spring at last,

Today is warm and blustery, typical for spring in Canberra. Before the expected cold change hits this afternoon I took the opportunity to plant some cold tolerant seeds out. This included beetroot, lettuce, kailaan (a brassica) and snowball turnips.

I have tucked them away in a plastic bag, to make a mini-greenhouse for them.

A quick update on the chicken greens – as you can see below they are growing away nicely. Time to plant out some new trays.

And a final picture from my spring garden. Daffodils and jonquils against a backdrop of wattle.

New Shoots

I am playing around with growing some edible greens for my chickens. We already give the ‘girls’ leafy greens from the veggie garden and one chicken flies over the fence regularly to help herself, but they would still love even more.

My minor brainstorm turned out to be bird seed. I remembered how quickly the seed cleaned out from our budgie’s cage grew (this was when I was quite young). So armed with some bird seed, some trays and a heater pad, this is what has grown in just over two days!

The tray is now outside for the day getting some sunshine and hardening off. It will be a few days before the chickens get given it to eat. Of course the shoots will all be demolished in a few minutes so I will have to get a production line happening.

Sleeping disorder

A change of location is always a bit unsettling, but our new chickens are having some unexpected problems – “just where are we supposed to sleep?”

I assumed, incorrectly as it turned out, that they would prefer to sleep in their straw filled carry box. No. This is where we found them the first night.

New girls1
Sitting on top of the nesting box

Obviously our girls are of an age where they prefer to roost. So today we spent some time re-arranging the pen and adding a special roosting area. Cue this evening.

I was running late shutting the chooks away for the evening. So they decided for themselves. If in doubt, sit on the roof of your pen!

New girls2
What? this looks good to us

So finally having managed to persuade them to go inside their safe house for the night we have our fingers crossed that the chooks will finally get onto the right perch.

New girls3