Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Harvest Monday (on a Tuesday)

I'm a day late on my harvest Monday post, but given the harvest in here covers a few weeks I didn't think it was a problem. Before I left for my trip I was harvesting a fair amount of produce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, corn and even an apple. For a while I was eating everything with lettuce, trying to use up the cos that all ripened at once.

I'd picked up the trick in vietnamese restaurants of eating spring rolls wrapped in mint and lettuce. I did that at home and it was delicious. Then started wrapping just about anything in lettuce and mint!

Even sausages.

Greek salads were a hit for using up the tomatoes and the cucumber. I also just ate them as is!

There were yellow zukes as well as cukes.

The apple - this was the first one - was lovely. Not quite ripe, not quite properly flavoured but darn it, it was the first apple I;ve ever grown so I thought it was great. I've eaten a few more since I got back and tastes/textures have varied wildly.

Then there was the amazing harvest from my birth dad's garden - delicious carrots, onions, beans and more. I barely had time to cook it all before I left but it was greatly appreciated.

Next Harvest Monday I promise more pics of the tomatoes, in particular the huge black russian which adorned my salad plate. Because I know that is all the northern hemisphere people want, just some lovely, juicy, ripe tomatoes ... well here's a peek ...

If you are after more harvest posts head on over to Daphne's Dandelions for the harvest Monday round up.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to Help a(an) Hibiscus Blossom

I promised hibiscus pictures a while back, and here they all are. Although this is usually a crisp white flower, for some reason it's gone dusty pink on the balcony garden. Seriosuly, that's not just the camera making them that colour. It is even more noticable on the one flower currently blooming on it. It's only ever had one bloom before (other than when I bought it) so to see not one, but 3 at one time was amazing.

For the record hibiscus plants are not really fans of living in a pot, because they have very deep roots. Make sure the pot is deeper than it is wide, and keep it relatively well watered. The plants can deal with a fair amount of heat, even slightly direct sun, but this one was suffering with my super strong Summer Westerly sun so it was moved a bit further back into semi shade. Lots of food and water and voila, you get at least some flowers.

There is so much more flowering, fruiting and feeding me in this garden, stay tuned for more posts on these lovelies.

But, in the meantime, if you want to read about lego cakes, Brisvegas and substituting alcohol with fairy bread head on over to my other blog.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Silence is Golden

Silence is golden. As golden as a nectarine's insides? Actually probably not, because silence at the moment is kind of painful given I have an ear infection in both ears and the only thing I can really hear is ringing. Things went a bit silent here in blogland again too - that's because I was off on my long-awaited driving holiday with my cousin. I'm going to post a few floral highlights here of our journey from Brisbane to Melbourne with the help of Betty Reg (our gender-confused Ford Fiesta) but most of the recap will be on my other blog, A Teetoal 2012, which highlights my year without alcohol. You will be able to enjoy reading about the good bits:

Katoomba's 1970s charm
The Jenolan Caves
Some great, little town accomodations (and hallucinations/reality of the nicest hotel owner ever)
Fish and Chips on a Beach
The Portrait Gallery of Canberra
Seeing friends while on the Road
Minigolf as a panacea

and the less good bits:

The fog that ate Katoomba and the Three Sisters
Male backpackers and the urge to be less than gentlemanly
Sinus/Ear/Chest infections that start on the first day of your trip and only get worse!

Indeed it is this last 'not good bit' that pretty much marred the whole trip and might keep me from promptly posting everything about the adventure. It is also why things are still a bit silent for me, the whole world is muffled! I'm very used to ear infections, having suffered them all my life, but this one is a doozy. Suffice to say I have learned the hard way that it is probably better to go to a dr while away, no matter what the hassle, than to wait a week until you get home and realise the ear infection has gone from annoying and singularly located, to severe and in both ears!

On this Balcony Garden blog I've also got plenty of posts planned as the garden has been just lovely in summer. Apples have been eaten, tomatoes have ripened and although the corn has not gone as planned it looks super pretty. It responded well to Mr M's balcony sitting. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Other Balcony Blooms

My last post extolled the virtues of the hardy portulaca - a colourful, forever-flowering little number. But what else is blooming in the garden these days? I keep missing Garden Blogger's Blooms Day each 15th, so I figured I'd just give you all a rundown of some of the blooms on the balcony over the last few months. There are three categories - general flowers, fruit flowers and veggie flowers (ok half the veggies are fruits but I'll keep them seperate.)

Fruits include the lime tree which flowers constantly, but has no fully-formed fruit yet.

And the lemon, apples, nectarine and currants all produced interesting blossoms this year.

What about veggies? Cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchinis all flower, though only three of the four bear any fruit (pumpkins were a loss this year)

Other Flowers?

My hardy red geranium which has been around for years in its tiny pot keeps on trucking

There are also many different coloured snapdragons

Marigolds are both beautiful and useful in the pest-remover category.

The new, lovely, fuschia

So there seems to be a lot blooming in the garden. Even the hibiscus is getting into the swing of things - I'll post a pic once it finally opens its petals.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Portulaca for Three

What's not to love about this lovely little plant. One pot, bought as part of a 5 for $10 potted colour deal, and low and behold there are three colours in there!




It doesn't need much water, and flowers and flowers and flowers. The only downside is that the petals are a bit papery and don't stand up well in the rain. But overall this is one little lovely that has a definite place in the balcony garden.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Harvest Monday (the first for 2012)

It's been a while since I managed one of these - so here are some pics of what I've harvested over Christmas.

Corn (about ten ears all up from this first batch)

Tomatoes (a few green zebras and lots of lemon drops and red tumblers), Cucumber (just one so far, but more to come), Basil (lots of basil)

I've also picked lots of mint of various kinds.

Ands nectarines, three of them, all tasting slightly different.

Gotta love a good harvest.

Welcome 2012

What a scorching start to the New Year! I hope everyone had a good New Years Eve and is ready for a great year ahead. I am having a bit of a different year and I am doing something I've barely done in decades. I am having a Teetotal 2012! That's right, the champagne swilling, cider downing doozy of a boozehound is going alco-free for a year. Some people laughed at me, others put in full support, some looked completely confused as to why a grown woman would contemplate such a farce.

I will most certainly continue to blog about the balcony garden here, but if you would like to follow my Alcohol Free 2012 Journey then pop on over to this blog and sign up:

A Teetotal 2012

Also, remember I am technologically retarded at the best of times, so I apologise in advance for any accidental cross posting.

Happy New Year Everyone, now I'm off to celebrate with a lemonade.