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.

Advertisements

Weather

Another day of icy Antarctic blasts after that tempting warm spell late last week. Today we had 37 mms of rain in the gauge so that at least is a positive. The long term forecast is for an El Nino this year so we can expect above average temperatures and a lot less rain. So any soil moisture we can get now, along with run-off into the dams is welcome. On the negative side – the strong winds have torn several holes in the polyhouse roof which will need fixing quite quickly.

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in ...
Fixing a hole where the rain gets in …

Luckily the only seedlings I have in there are tough old brassicas, Kailan (sometimes spelled kailaan), or Chinese Broccoli, which will be able to stand the cold for a while.

Small but tough Kailan seedlings
Small but tough Kailan seedlings

Walking around the garden after the rain I spot some self sown seedlings. Two brassicas, one Red Russian Kale and this Red Mustard – a favourite in salads.

Self sown Red Mustard
Self sown Red Mustard

Saving the best until last, another one of the hen’s started laying today. Which just puts the pressure on the last one to get a move on. Hooray fresh eggs again!

Going to Goulburn

My friend M and I decided to have a bit of a girl’s day in Goulburn yesterday. While we specifically went to see an exhibition at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery we also managed a nice lunch and a stroll around some of the streets, looking at the interesting buildings.

One of our stops was the Argyle Book Emporium, on Sloane Street, just about 100 metres from the train station, where we spent some time and some money. I decided to focus on the garden section where I found two interesting books. The Seedsavers’ Handbook, by Michel and Jude Fantin, which will hopefully contribute to a more successful approach to propagating seed from our vegetables. The book includes descriptions, propagation, seed saving and storage information for a good range of garden veggies, as well as an “on the lookout” section highlighting particularly interesting varieties of plants.

A serendipitous find was a 1965 Garden Club Edition of A Flower for Every Day, by English cottage garden promoter Margery Fish. I’d guess from it’s excellent condition that the book has never been read. I was immediately taken by the delightful cover. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a credit for the artist responsible for the cover anywhere in the book. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this book while curled up next to the heater.

Does anyone know who the artist is?
Does anyone know who the artist is?

An added bonus inside the book was this entertaining ad for a bookcase, which could be bought from the book’s Australian distributor.

An offer too good to miss!
An offer too good to miss!

I wonder if there are any of these marvels of modernist design still around?

Our last stop of the day was a visit to Gehls nursery, out on the road to Crookwell. It was a pleasure to see a nursery with a range of shrubs, many of which I recalled from my grandparent’s garden. There was also a large range of trees on offer and some lovely HUGE pots. My favourite pot was a mere snip at $990! I did need a pair of secateurs as the last ones disappeared several months ago when we had a garden blitz at a friends place, so I splurged on a pair of stainless steel, Sophie Conran secateurs, made by Burgan and Ball. We are uncertain whether the old secateurs were dropped on the ground or accidentally thrown away at the garden waste centre. All I can say is that these secateurs are not going on any excursions to other gardens!

A happy haul.
A happy haul.

A final felicty was the arrival this morning of our latest seed order from Green Harvest. It includes three herbs, mitsuba (Japanese Parsley), perilla (shiso) and Zaatar (a Middle-eastern relative of oregano) and two veggies Japanese Burdock (gobo) and Kailaan (Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli). It’s a bit too soon to be planting any of these so now I just need to put them somewhere where we won’t forget them.