Sunday, August 8, 2010

Seedling progress

I am amazed at the difference putting my seeds under the bathroom heat light has made! You can look at the seeds at say 6pm and go back at 10pm and see things have popped up that werent there before... I had 7 leeks at about 7:30pm, and went back and had another look at about 10:30 and there were 12, it boggles the mind! You can see that the beans are unfolding over a matter of an hour or 2!

If you look at the 2 pictures you can kinda see how much progress has been made over 24 hours. The darker one is from saturday night, and the lighter one, sunday night... In the top left going across is: purple beans, heirloom tomatoes, rocket and beans again. On the bottom left going across is spring onion, sage, leeks and spring onions again...

You can see that on saturday there were only a couple of beans coming up but sunday, nearly all of them! Sunday there was I think one maybe two leeks - now there are THIRTEEN! A tomato has come up, so have a few spring onions, and the beans have just gone nuts!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Strawberries, farm fresh!

Today I stopped by the Berry Sweet strawberry farm in Bullsbrook to grab some "seconds" strawberries from their farm shop. For $5 you get a pretty big punnet of their top strawberries, which is cheaper than in the shops already... However for between $8-$10 (depending on the size of the box you end up with) you get a massive box of strawberries which are their second rate quality, not fit for the supermarkets... the picture on the right is of my $10 box of "not fit for supermarket" berries... some look a little bit old, but I've gotten berries like that in the punnet you get from the supermarket, so Im not complaining at all!!
When I went to take the photos of the berries, I sat on the kitchen floor, taking pics... eat a strawberry, take a photo... strawberry, photo, berry, photo... They're so nice and sweet and so juicy!
But what am I going to do with them?? Ideas Ive had, or been given that are very viable, are margaritas, jam, and cheesecake... Strawberries and cointreau seem to be a popular combination, I might try a strawberry and orange cheesecake tomorrow - since I have a few oranges to get rid of too, after visiting a work colleagues farm, and her offloading a number of oranges, a huge broccoli, cabbage, and 6 free range eggs!
Life in the Chittering Valley is pretty good :)


2 weeks ago, in 8 little black plastic punnets (that I bought for $1.30) I planted 6 different kinds of seeds in special seed potting mix... Rocket, purple climbing beans, heirloom tomatoes, leeks, sage and spring onions have been planted, and waited upon by one fairly impatient gardener!

The rocket took about a week to show signs of life, and the little dicots are about 2cm tall now! I took those seeds straight to school for the kids to plant, in the hope that something they've sown will germinate quickly and spark their interest! So Im looking forward to being able to add rocket to my meals in the near future, in the knowledge that when it looks like they're going to run out, they germinate quickly and Ill be back on my way!

Tonight I went and had another look, in the vain hope SOMETHING will have sprouted... Upon having a look I think I acted like a child at christmas when I saw a bean had sprouted! I had a little poke around and found that more were starting to come up!! Without digging too far in and disturbing the little seeds, I found that quite a few had germinated so I think its pretty safe to say, that I'm going to have at most, 16 purple bean plants! I also noticed something else coming up, much smaller, just poking its little head out, but I cant remember what it is... I think its either leek or sage, I cant remember... Either way, its on the up!

I think things may have gone faster if I had've chosen a better spot for them, because they didnt get as much sunlight as they should have, I think... So I've decided that, if I remember, Im going to have the seeds outside in the sun during the day, and for part of the night, in the bathroom under the heat light... I dont know how that will go, but I worked on a flower farm in Queensland for a month when I was backpacking around, and in order to get the Chrysanthemums nice and tall, so they had long stems for good bunches, they were under lights all night, and obviously, sun all day. Im hoping this same idea will work for the germination of seeds - they need sunlight to grow, and Im assuming the grow upwards in the search for sunlight, so if theres light on more often, Im thinking they're going to grow a bit faster? Looking at the picture, it doesnt look very impressive... But there are bean shoots coming up in the top left and right punnets, and I honestly think, in the last hour, after I gave them more water and lots of light, a few others that might have needed another day before I saw them, have started to come up! More to come, but I think the light idea is a good one!

I suppose this means Im going to have to get busy on getting the garden ready?! There are ALOT of weeds out there, still! I actually may have teed up a sheep or 2 to get rid of them! Ahhh the country life :)