Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gardening IS Political

Many of the garden bloggers I read have firm opinions about native plants, global warming, pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, which they express in their gardening and their blogging. But it's not every day that your favourite garden expert is arrested at a Gunn's pulp mill protest.

Onya Pete!

Apparently most of the people arrested were over 50 years of age. The police must have felt pretty silly. And it's an even worse look for Gunn's than usual.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Summer Vegies

The erratic heat and cold of September delayed my summer plantings by nearly a month, but now, there are four 'Brandywine' and four 'Principe Borghese' tomato plants growing happily in the vegie patch. They are just starting to put out flowers, with the 'Brandywine' buds looking decidedly larger than the usual tomato flower. Various fast-growing plants that I planted between the tomatoes, such as basil, pak choy and lettuces, have been badly chewed by snails. I think it's time to open the snail pub.

The first sowing of beans are about to flower; they were planted about three weeks ago next to the Brandywines, as you can see above. The second sowing will be up in a few days.

My cherry varieties,'Broad Ripple Yellow Currant' and 'Tommy Toe', are also in and flowering. But I have a little problem. Where do I put my other tomatoes, the mixed heirlooms?

A more serious problem is the mysterious white leaf that has appeared on one Brandywine:

It looks worryingly like iron deficiency, and I've given the plant some seaweed tea. There isn't much you can do for iron deficiency, I understand, as tomato plants don't like lime much. I might be driven to adding lime if the problem continues.

The boys were unimpressed to see me planting lots of squash seeds, but the seeds were in fact out of date. If I get any squash plants, that will be nice -- if not, that's fine. The boys have also planted some 'World's Largest' pumpkin seeds, so we'll have to see how they go -- they aren't up yet. They are segregated under the lemon tree. I'm hoping my 'Turk's Turban' pumpkins, under the quince, will produce as they are so beautiful. To my astonishment, I discovered that my rhubarb there has resprouted. I thought the chooks had scratched it out!

A single cucumber plant has survived to grow up a trellis and flower. I can see teeny-weeny cucumbers on it.

Now I just have to figure out where to put all the seedlings I'm nurturing: more silverbeet, some salad onions, leeks, mini capsicums, eggplant, and ground-cherries. It is annoying that so many summer crops are Solanaceae; it's inadvisable to plant them in the same place each year, but I really don't have much choice (except to expand the vegetable garden...).

Friday, November 6, 2009

There's Loving Plants, and There's Loving Plants...

We all know that it's OK to talk to your plants. Prince Charles does it, and he's all right (apart from his taste in women). It's OK to fuss over plants, think about them, and generally behave like they are your children. But how many people sing a song to their favourite plant?

Only in opera...

Only Handel's opera-comedy-of-manners Serse.

Translation below. Enjoy Andreas Scholl's wonderful voice, especially that first note.

Tender and beautiful fronds
of my beloved plane tree,
Let Fate smile upon you.
May thunder, lightning, and storms
never bother your dear peace,
Nor may you be profaned by blowing winds.

Never was made
the shade of a plant,
dear and loving,
or more gentle.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Awakening of Less Cheerful Feelings on Arrival Home

Such pretty flowers. They start as cerise buds, turn to purple flowers and fade to blue.

The problem is that it's Paterson's Curse, one of the worst pasture weeds west of the ranges! So what on earth is it doing in my back yard? My guess is that it came with the chook feed.

The native blue-banded bee likes the flowers, as did another smaller bee that moved too fast for me to photograph. Beekeepers refer to the plant as Salvation Jane, since it provides forage for bees during drought and produces a delicious honey.

This plant was only 30cm high (they grow to about 120cm), but the tap root was already 1cm thick when the Geek pulled it out on Saturday. We hope it will not resprout. I've never seen Paterson's Curse in Sydney -- it's an echium, and prefers a Mediterranean climate. There is a distant view of Paterson's Curse in a previous post.

I hadn't found a reason to cook this lovely beetroot before we left, but just had to pull it on the weekend as it was getting a bit too big. That's a four-cup teapot behind for scale. Still haven't worked out what to do with the beetroot!