Category Archives: Seedling nursery

Seedlings emerging

Some of the seedlings planted at the end of August are starting to sprout. The snow peas are going great guns, while it looks like success might have been achieved on germinating the oregano where past attempts have failed.

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Snow pea seedlings emerging
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Oregano sprouting from seed heads just planted whole. It will take some separating to get them apart, but at least they’re growing!

We also saved the tops of two oregano stalks from one of our dinners, poked them in some dirt and left them inside for a while before taking them out to the seedling table. Looks like that’s worked, too.

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Literally just cut the end off with scissors and poked them in some dirt. Too easy!

Propagation update

Raspberries have taken well. Not all the hydrangeas are happy though.

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Also got two broccoli coming up, and the hollyhocks are starting to emerge.

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Down in Rohan’s vege patch, the onions are emerging and the coriander is germinating.

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Seeds and vege patch

Vege patch: renewed! Garlic, onions, parsley, coriander, kale, basil, tomatoes, potatoes and a rogue avocado found in the old parsley patch. Parsley is just recovering after being transplanted from the old patch.

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Seed table: restocked! Mostly onions and lettuce. Some pumpkins, and R’s norfolk island pines from seeds collected at Sorrento. The little oaks in the back corner look like they’ve shrugged off last year’s leaf powdery mildew and are ready to re-sprout. If we spot it again we’ll try the 1:10 milk to water thing sprayed on the leaves.

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Garden update

All the strawberries are starting to ripen up. With more fruit coming on, it looks like the bugs are too busy to get all of them, and we get some to eat for ourselves. They can hide, though, and each day we can have a rummage in the strawberry bushes to find 4 or 5 nice juicy ones.

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This strange plant has resurrected! We got it more than a year ago from the nursery. It’s exotic-looking, with a funny dappled stem, and quite expensive. At the time it lasted only a couple of weeks before dying off, and we felt pretty ripped off. But now here it is, sprouting up and looking dead healthy. Can’t remember what it was called now, though.

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This little plant is definitely in the wrong spot. It got planted the same time as the hydrangea next to it. It’s hardly grown, while the hydrangea has flourished, and now it’s almost invisible. Oh well, at least we know now what it looks like in flower, and can find a suitable spot for it.

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We’ve talked about this theory about plants, and pests, and diversity, and how a good diversity of plants can effectively control pests. I think this is borne out by the tale of these two gerberas. They were both planted at the same time in the little garden by the meadow steps. One is on the edge of that garden by the apple tree, and one is about 2m away.

The one at the edge of the garden has been attacked by pests, most probably snails, holidaying in from the long grass to the left. It’s surviving, but really struggling.

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The one further up the hill is surrounded by other plants. It’s got fuchsias, strawberries, nasturtium, hydrangeas, cyclamen, violets and bearded irises all within half a metre. The weeds in this location have been almost completely eradicated. It’s doing much better.

As we extend this bit of garden out towards the road and the letter box, we’re hoping that it will get easier and easier to keep the plants from being eaten alive.

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The fuchsias are starting to get little fruit. Cool! Maybe we can start propagating them from seed.

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The seedling table is starting to be put to use. We’ve found some plants spontaneously growing in the garden, and potted them to give them a good start before putting them in their final spot. We’ve planted some jalapeño chilies to see if they’ll make plants straight from the fruit, and some dutch cream potatoes from the organic supermarket.

Amidst it all we’ve found a use for all our ants. They tend to bring fairly uniform chunks of dirt up to the surface as they dig their nests, and it makes a pretty good loose potting mix which is great for making new roots. Sort my dirt Mr Ant!

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Got a jalapeño harvest. They were all green on the bush; one of them turned red over the course of a couple of days in the bowl. Looks like it’s pepperoni and chilli pizza time!

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Seedling table done

It feels good to finish a job, instead of just tidying up bark, twigs and weeds all the time.

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The fly screen on top is the metal version, to give it some strength so that hopefully wire isn’t needed. There were plans to turn the front face into a door for easy access, but it’s not really necessary. The screen bit levers up quite easily for popping in new plants.

Seedling table part 2

The seedling table was built over Christmas, and was brought to a point where it would protect the little plants from rabbits, possums, and anything else on the ground.

Most of the issues here are to do with airborne creatures, however, so we need a cover for the table to keep out the butterflies and moths, caterpillars, sawflies, and birds.

A frame was constructed that would hold some flywire. Here it is getting a coat of linseed oil for outdoors protection.

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Once the oil has soaked in, it’s just a matter of stapling some fly screen to the frame. The stubby little legs slot into the top of the table and make a nice solid fit.

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Still, there are two mistakes that need to be corrected. The wire mesh is 900mm wide, as is the fly screen. It didn’t occur to me that that wouldn’t leave enough on the edge to staple on the top bit of wire. A wider piece is required. Also as I was admiring my handiwork a parrot came and landed on top of the frame. It’s likely the top will need to have proper wire to stop birds and falling twigs and the like from ripping the fly screen.

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Also, it’s not particularly good for working with, as it stands. The top frame slots in and out OK, and though it’s not heavy per se, it is quite cumbersome to get up and down when working alone. Having the front screen lever up out of the way would make much more sense.

Anyway, for the moment the plants are protected from the wind – one of the major causes of death for anything in a pot around here – which means that there’s somewhere to put new plants while they’re waiting to be planted in the ground.

Seedling table

So the 168 spinach plant experiment went poorly. Those little plants popped up some leaves and were eaten straight away. Don’t know what it was that got them, but must be airborne because there’s nothing with legs that could get up on to the top of the wood hut.

So it’s time to go into lock-down. We’ll be building a seed raising table that brings the little babies up off the ground and surrounds them with an insect and heavy rain-protecting mesh screen.

Step 1 is the table bit. We got a nice cypress post for legs, and a bit of tassie oak to complete the framework. Christmas day and Boxing day provided an opportunity to do some sawing, drilling and linseed-oiling. We got 3 bits of 900mm x 600mm mesh to sit the plants on.

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168 spinach plants

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a random seeder by nature. The philosophy of just throwing handfuls of seeds into a patch and seeing what grows is certainly quick, but the results can be … patchy.

So this time we’re going to do it the scientific way. We got some seed trays, and we’re going to put 1 seed down per little box and see how many grow into yummy food.

Step 1 is a little seed raising mix. A while back Mary mentioned that Anita used to have her veggie patch down the bottom of the garden. It’s never looked like much. Here it is on the day we first checked out the house for a potential buy:

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Doesn’t look like a veggie patch. Looks like dirt.

But then it occurred to me that they might have been dumping their grass clippings down there for god knows how long, and that that dirt might actually be pretty good.

Turns out it was. So some was hoisted up the hill in a big bucket, and the seeding began.

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Actually that dirt looks a bit crusty for seeds. Some of the lumps are pretty big. Time to get the sieve out and make some seed-raising mix.

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That sieve was one of those purchases I just wasn’t sure about at the time. The only use for it I could think of was for sifting the bits out of R’s sand pit. But it’s been really great for all sorts of jobs. It makes perfect seed-raising mix:

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With 1 seed in each spot, a packet of organic spinach seeds gives us 168 potential plants.

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Let’s see how many survive the birds, bugs, rabbits, snails, slugs and moths to make it to harvest.

R’s herb patch

The other veggie patch near the slide also started to look like it was ready to get some plants. R planted this one up using the highly scientific method of throwing packets of seeds, and seed collected from earlier plants, all over into the space.

We’ve got coriander, beetroot, basil, parsley, carrots, canterbury bells, and some dill. We’ll thin them out and spread them around a bit more evenly when they get a bit bigger. The flowers will go up to the meadow when we know which ones they are!

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