Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day

Unless you are a Japanese Lantern, a zuke, a cuke, a pumpkin, or a lemon tree then you aren't blooming in my garden this month. Things go a bit greeny brown this time of year with tomatoes wilting early and the corn following suit. Blossom is long gone and the pansies, primroses and other annuals have given up finally after a valiant battle. The only things giving a spot of colour to the balcony garden are the amazing japanese lantern. (I really should invest in another one.)

The cukes, zukes and pumpkins are still flowering, though not a lot of fruiting is going on. It is hard to hand pollinate when they are only producing one sex of flower! Come on plants, coordinate yourselves.

And the lemon tree as usual is putting out blooms, with a few turning into possibly viable fruit.

Are you having more success with blooms in your garden this month? For more Garden Bloggers Blooms Day head on over to May Dreams Gardens and join in the fun.

Christmas Succulent 2010

Long ago I had a housemate who wouldn't let me put up a Christmas tree. So instead, I navigated this command by erecting a Christmas succulent instead. That ginch hasn't lived here in a long time but the Christmas succulent tradition has stayed and I even gave away some little succulents last year so everyone could one day have a Christmas succulent. This year it is a little one, which was destined for pastures elsewhere but has stayed on to give us all some Christmas cheer. The usual ornaments have returned

Along with the requisite black star

And voila, one lovely Christmas succulent, that wont drop pine needles and needs no care, attention or water!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Harvest Monday - tomato porn

Harvest Monday is brought to you today by gratuitous shots of tomatoes and the spring awakening of the corn. The week itself began with a corn, a baby corn just busting out of its little husk. I just wanted to see how it looked, how it grew, so I ripped it off way too early.

When I removed its clothing here is what I found ...

One tasty little broken baby corn. Mmmmmm so good. Then the week descended into an orgy of produce, from greens to zukes to basil to tomatoes to carrots and more, all vying for a position on my salad plate.

Then, ok, you waited for it, here is the tomato porn. The first big harvest, complete with garlic in a martini glass.

They went on top of a yummy lasagne I cooked tonight (using my BBQ no less because my oven is still on the fritz) And what started the week with a sizzle took it out with a bang. Another corn

Another undressing

But this time the star was fully grown, fully formed, and extra tasty.

I didn't even need to cook it, just dived on in and at the whole thing raw.

What will next week's harvest bring? If you want to see more harvest head on over to Daphne'sDandelions for the full show.

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Garden Madness - the case of the Golden Nugget Pumpkins

The other month I dyed a white dress for a friend's wedding. It was meant to go a pastel yellow, but it ended up pumpkin orange. Still a lovely colour but in the end I opted for a different dress for the wedding. However, the pumpkin colour is a bit ironic at the moment, given pumpkins are the veg du jour in the balcony garden. If you thought growing corn in containers was crazy, wait till you see these golden beauties. It was only this year that I decided pumpkins would also be a delight to grow. I opted to grow a single golden nugget pumpkin, which has a bush habit and is ideal for pots.

I only wanted one and I wanted to put it in a large white box with some lettuce around it. Problem was these little gems came in a four pack. As it cost as much as a single seedling I thought no problems, I'll just use one and give the others away. Pumpkin pot number one was born (as you can see it has progressed a little since then.)

But then I thought maybe I could continue the zucchini experiment and try growing a pumpkin in a smaller container, and this container was already pumpkin coloured so it seemed perfect. There we had container number two.

But then I decided maybe I could try growing one up in the slightly shady bit with some beans and some silverbeet. So another pumpkin seedling went it. But then I decided that maybe this container could fit two pumpkin seedlings in it, along with the rest and that it might be better suited down near the airconditioning unit (that never gets turned on when plants are near it) next to the other single pumpkin.

So now I have 4 pumpkin bushes in my balcony garden! And they are in different stages of development. The pot with two in it, as you can see in the above photo, is running behind the others. Stunted by the lack of adequate light and late planting it has a long way to go. The single one has one pumpkin so far, and tonnes of male flowers (not enough female flowers though)

The first one planted has two pumpkins on it! See the development as they grow and grow.

I'll be happy if the harvest is just this size though given they keep growing at such a pace I wont be surprised if I get a few more. I can't wait till they are ripe, but I know it is a long time coming. I love pumpkin so I'll be interested to see what the golden nuggets taste like. Ever grown pumpkin in pots before? Any tips? Tricks?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bush Fig, Tree Fig, Hipster Fig, Fig Twig

Remember Mr Fig Twig? I introduced him way back when, when he was a pressie from the delightful Dr M-ski for my 30th birthday. He was called mr fig twig because, well, he was a fig tree but he was still a just a weeny little twig. Here is a shot of then of him in his figgy, twiggy glory. Skinny little guy, bit of a hipster really.

Well here he is now, complete with proto-figs between his leafy branches. No more mr hipster fig twig.

I love that with figs, the bit we eat is just an inside out flower. Awesome! He is starting to grow extra bits out the bottom, which I will let him do and make him more of a bush fig than a tree fig. He isn't grafted so I am not worried. Not sure if these tiny baby figs will fall off as he is still very little but if they reach maturity I think I will be having one of these.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Carry on Corny Corn

Some said I was completely mental and most just muttered I was mildly deranged, but this year I decided to grow corn! In pots, on the balcony. Two pots to be precise, 4 stalks to a pot. Crowded ... well yes. This meant lots of watering and constant fertilising, particularly as they grew bigger. I followed their progress eagerly. They grew and grew.

and as a consequence provided some nice shade and privacy to my otherwise overly visible study.

Then the pollon bits on top formed.

and the jusky bits of goodness put out their tendrilly silks for pollination.

Even with the windy days and even with their intentionally close proximity, I thought I'd help out and hand pollinate too. Group pollination ... Ok I wont go there. :) But here is a pic for interests sake.

Now we are nearing the end stages, will I have a cob of tasty corn in the next few days? How long does it take from pollination to eatability? The silks are already starting to brown.

How fat do I need to let them get (they seem a little skinny at present?) How brown do the silks have to get? Anyone still think I am mad now? (I still think I am a bit potty, but in the harmless way.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Harvest Monday

The harvests have been coming in thick and fast. They consist of quite a few things, zucchini, snowpeas, tomatoes, eggplants and more. Garlic is all out of the ground and drying on the window sill.

For fruits there are the last of the red currants and some strawberries, both wild strawberries and Kurawase strawberries.

and best of all the first tomatoes!

Zucchinis are a constant harvest and in two different colours. Eggplants are small but tasty and just as constant. Four different days, four different combos.

Snowpeas are at their end, as you can see these two got left on the bush a little too long.

For more harvests pop on over to Daphne's Dandelions for harvest Monday