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Friday, December 19th, 2008
8:36 pm - kikuyu grass and potato suitcases

Just about to re-launch into my vege garden which I let get a bit out of control because I thought I was moving.... Anyone had any luck fighting Kikuyu Grass? It is the most insidious thing I've ever had to contend with in a garden. The latest thing I've tried is digging the garden bed down to a foot below natural ground level and sifting out every tendril and root I could find. The stuff is still worming its way up around my veges!

And just so I'm not all about asking for advice without giving any..... has anyone tried growing potatoes in suitcases? There is a suitcase shop nearby my place that just dump huge numbers of suitcases out the back that haven't sold. I cut the back off them, put them down on top of the kikuyu lawn, fill it with good compost, chuck in all the potatoes I haven't eaten, and a few months later, I'll have 50 or more new potatoes in each suitcase. :D

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
11:35 am - Starting a garden?

For those starting out, the Sustainable Households website has a really good PDF here with lots of advise for beginners. Click on the "organic food" link.

current mood: creative

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11:29 am - Spring soon! (She says hopefully, looking at the snow...)

We've been away on holiday, but with all the rain here in Christchurch the garden took care of itself quite nicely. We came home to harvest-able lemons, rainbow chard, perpetual spinach, rocket, parsnip, celery and monster leeks, as well as broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, beetroot, celeriac and bulb fennel all well on the way. My garlic, spring onions and shallots are also up.

With the lovely sunny days on the weekend the raised beds were dry enough for a bit of attention, so we dug in the green manure crops on the tomato bed. I also weeded and tidied, and sowed some early carrots. Next job is to start potting up some seeds inside to get growing for October planting out: tomatoes, pumpkins and curcurbits and beans. This year I'm growing two sorts of runner beans and borlotti beans, which are a very good "meaty" bean for soups and stews. I also have seven varieties of pumpkins (only four of which I've grown before) and a rather ambitious eleven varieties of tomatoes (I went a bit mad with the stoopidly expensive "Niche" seeds, but it'll pay off in the long run since I'll save seed from them).

Until I get organized with that I've started my Urenika and Jersey Benne potatoes chitting. Last year I grew Rua as my late crop, which is always reliable and tastes good, but I might try something else this year for variety. I'm also chitting the runner beans - something I've not bothered with before but my partner saw it on a website so we decided to trial it. To chit runner beans you put them in a translucent plastic container on a moistened kitchen towel. Check daily and plant in pots (or out in the garden, depending when you do it) when the sprouts are about and inch long. It will be interesting to see if it makes any difference overall.

We've also bought some fruit trees - one dwarf peach tree, and two columnar apple trees of early and late varieties. Columnar apple trees are cool. I saw a well-grown one in England - it had a good crop on it and was pencil shaped, about ten feet tall, with branches and fruit starting about two feet off the ground. The tree was not more than about 70-80cm in diameter at any point. Looked great, and an excellent pick for a small garden like ours. I need to plant them, and the blackcurrants that have been sitting in pots.

And now it's snowing again. Poo. Oh well, keep thinking those positive springy thoughts! What're your garden plans this year?

current mood: hopeful

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Friday, January 18th, 2008
7:01 pm - Melbourne - free full size mandarin tree

Hi folks,

I read this on gumtree.com.au. Some bloke in Vermont South has a full grown, fruiting mandarin tree in his yard which he's digging up, and is offering it to anyone who can come and pick it up (and who, I guess, knows something about uprooting mandarin trees). His ad is here:
http://melbourne.gumtree.com.au/melbourne/44/18454744.html. I would love it but am renting.

Cross posted to http://community.livejournal.com/aussie_garden/ .

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Thursday, January 25th, 2007
5:33 pm

Any one have any ideas as to what might be wrong with my eggplant? After looking disgustingly healthy the leaves are turning yellow and then brown and I rather suspect it might be dying. It's been really dry here so I've been watering it daily (same as everything else in the garden) ... I'm wondering if I've been underwatering, overwatering, or if it has some disease. I've grown them before with no probs, so I'm thinking it might be disease.

photos hereCollapse )

Is there anything I can do to stop it from dying? I was looking forward to having some eggplants in a few weeks time :/

Oh, and I'm in the southern hemisphere (northern New Zealand) if that helps.

(x-posted a bit)

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Thursday, January 4th, 2007
12:02 pm - Grafted tomato question

Hi all, I'm having a problem with my grafted tomatoes this year, and I'm wondering if anyone else is experiencing the same thing, or can help me identify what's happening...

I've been growing grafted tomatoes for a few years with no problems, so this is a new thing (in my experience, anyway). I should also add that my non-grafted tomatoes are fine. This is also happening to most of my mother's grafted tomatoes up north, so it's not an isolated problem.

This is what happens: they start off growing fine, then the leaves begin to curl and form a tube lengthwise down the leaf. They are still fully hydrated and green, just curled up. They flower as usual and the tomatoes begin to form, but they fail to develop very far. They eventually go brown. The final stage seems to be the stems going brown and the plant beginning to die. By this point it will have spread to any nearby grafted tomatoes.

Mum says she's seen a similar thing happen to tomatoes in her area (which has a humid climate making things prone to fungal infections etc) at the end of the growing season, but not this early. It's very interesting that it only seems to be happening to the grafted ones: I know little about these things, but since there's only a couple of companies producing grafted tomatoes in NZ, I'm wondering if someone got careless at the grafting stage and introduced an infection into the grafts? Either that or our sunless, damp "summer" is taking its toll, and the grafted ones are just more vulnerable? If anyone else has had this problem I'd be interested to hear from you. Thanks!

current mood: pensive

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Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
9:53 am - Dreaming about House Plants?!?

Right, so last night I dreamed about walking into a room in my house that was filled with exotic houseplants. Not sure what that means. I know one of them was what they call in NZ a Lipstick plant. The flowers look like tiny tubes of red lipstick. Now, up until now I have resisted the urge to buy one of these plants, but I think the dream is telling me something.

Does anyone know of any other exotic house plants that I could maybe purchase to fulfill my crazy dream???

X-posted to gardening

current mood: rejuvenated

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Sunday, April 30th, 2006
8:06 pm

This is cross-posted from my journal - I thought I'd do a "State of the Garden" post. I'd love to hear how other people's patches are doing, too... :-)

Gods and goddesses, it was so nice to get out in the garden today! I puttered, planted, weeded and pruned, and got lots of dirt under my nails.

The garden in our current place has quite a few dahlias, plants I've not had much to do with before. Christchurch is not cold enough for it to be necessary to lift the bulbs in winter, but it is definitely time to cut them back down for winter. The climate here means that they start to look very mildewy by this time of year, so they got the chop, revealing a great many more sprouting bulbs (type as yet unidentified) than I thought were in those beds. It's always rather exciting discovering what's in a new garden. :-)

I also planted out all the iceplants I've been collecting and sprouting. I noticed when I moved in here that this bit of Christchurch has quite sandy, free-draining soil and iceplants do really well (the gardens around here are full of them). So I'm filling a few corners with a variety of them, as well as getting some established in my hanging baskets. The baskets hang under the eves and in summer dry out far too much for anything other than really hardy plants to do well. Hence they are full of iceplants and geraniums, as well as the ubiquitous alyssum.

I'm nursing along my tomatoes, bringing in anything that starts to ripen to redden up on the kitchen windowsill. I don't have much on the veggie front this year, owing to moving flats in the middle of summer, but the previous tenants here had planted a few herbs, silverbeet and tomatoes. The tomatoes were planted on the south side of the house and far too late in the season, so they've only produced a little and late, but it's nice to have a few anyway. Next summer there shall be more veggies... :-)

My little patch of natives that I planted down the back is doing well. The grapevines are almost done. The lemon is lemon-ing impressively. The compost is smelling wonderfully, busily, clean-rotten. The kitchen smells of vinegar and beetroot. The cat is exhausted after assiduously supervising my weeding.

Gardening is good for the soul. After all the hectic-ness of the past couple of weeks, I finally feel calm and grounded again. I love my garden, wherever or whatever it happens to be.

current mood: chipper

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Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
10:09 am - Dividing iris rhizomes

Now that it's autumn proper here in Christchurch, I'm in the process of digging up all my dwarf irises and replanting them. I've never moved irises, much less divided them, but they're in a part of the garden that my three-year-old runs over regularly and they're getting beaten up. So I dug them all up yesterday (they actually have some new growth coming up as we've had a mild autumn thus far, and I'm googling up how to divide the rhizomes.

So if you have irises that have been in the ground for three years or more, now is the time to split them to encourage more flowers next season. The tricky part is working out which are the new pieces and which are the old (for discarding), but it looks like it should be obvious. I may take photos of the process for future reference, if anyone is interested.

Our garden is looking very sparse since I lost my lacebark to gall mites. I'm looking for a shrub or small tree to fill the gap. Plus I've just cut back all the paeonies and hellebores to make room for new growth, and there's a whole lot of bare dirt. Time to come up with a new plan!

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Tuesday, February 21st, 2006
1:24 pm

Hi, saw this community on zenandtheart's profile and thought I should come along.

I'm an apartment-dweller in Brisbane, Australia, so my gardening efforts are a bit limited. I have a small patch of dirt where I grow herbs, chillis and some flowering annuals. I'm also experienced with pot gardening, composting and interested in water gardens. I can't wait until I get a house and have a decent amount of room.

I'm big on mixed planting and edible gardens, organic growing and garden design. I'm thinking of buying "Plot" and "Dig" by Meredith Kirton (http://www.dymocks.com.au/Search/Search.asp?Author=Meredith%20%20Kirton), but they're very expensive books. I was wondering if any of you have seen them?

Toni =o)

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Saturday, February 4th, 2006
9:53 pm - Transplanting roses

I want to dig up about ten different varieties of rose bushes and give them away. When is the best time to do this, what special accommodations do roses need, how well do they transplant in general?

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Tuesday, November 8th, 2005
9:37 pm

Hey:) I'm a novice gardener living in Melbourne and I'm looking for advice on vegetable gardening. I notice there's only a couple of people in this community so far, where in the antipodes do you live? And what kind of things do you grow?

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