Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hydroponic buckets of herbs at home.

Hydroponic basil

More and more food plants are being grown using water as a medium. It allows intensive growing, providing a lot of food in a small space.

What you'll need:
A large plastic pot
Chunky coconut fibre/mulch block (pref. no added nutrients)
A bucket or deep plant tray
Basil (or other herb) seedling
Coco specific hydroponic nutrients (hardware or hydroponics shop)

Soak the coconut fibre block in water. Once it is expanded it may be a good idea to rinse it a couple of times to remove some of the tannin. Don't let it drip on pale paving, it may stain for a while.
Simply pot the seedling into the coco mulch as you would any other plant, it will have lots of spaces in it but that's okay.
Give it a water in with the nutrients. Only make up how much nutrient you want to use.
Remember to give it a drink every couple of days, more often when it's hot and as the plant gets bigger. It's best not to let the plant sit in deep water for too long, but again, once it warms up, you may need extra watering anyway and it can use a bit up in a day.
It will need a few hours sun a day to keep it happy. We started ours a bit early this year but it should be okay once it warms up.

I also am trying out a little window box Roma tomato in a hydro bucket too and so far it looks good.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Molluscs..slimy slugs and snails.

At this time of year the garden starts to get seriously munched by snails. They take one night to destroy many hours worth of seedling growing and planting. My preferred method of ridding the garden of these greedy destroyers is by simply collecting them. Around dawn or dusk is when they are most likely to be out and about. I go out there with a container of soapy water and just drop them in it. The detergent breaks the surface tension and they can't get back out.
It may seem daunting but I have seriously knocked back the number of slimy beasts in my vegies in 2 years. There are more slugs this year because less were collected last year but I keep a spoon with the soapy water so now they are easy to get too.

I have become a little obsessive with it at times but it is kind of a satisfying feeling to know your vegetable growing efforts have a better chance of succeeding.
Oh, yeah, and the snails and their icky water can just go in the compost pile or a hole in the ground.

Happy hunting.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's been a sad week.

Coastal sword-sedge: Lepidosperma gladiatum.
On Sunday an old friend died. He wasn't old, I'd known him a long time. Not as well as I could have but he was a very kind and intelligent man who knew more than anyone about Perth's local species.
Greg was a former boss of mine at the revegetation nursery in North Fremantle. He was the friendlier face of the two managers, though still seemed a little intimidating at first meeting, tall and seemingly surly at times. He did however have a very dry sense of humour and had some interesting stories of growing up around Fremantle.

Making thousands of cutting of sticky Scaevola crassifolia was much more fun when Greg was in the room. Any question about local plants you could ask and he could tell you. Some of my favourite local species remind me of him because we made many many cuttings of them or he tested me on their names while out looking for cutting material. For a boss he was an excellent guy.

We'd been waiting for Verticordia season to come and were going to go and visit him and his family in the country where they moved to a few years ago. He'd told us that there were lots of different species and he knew a great spot to show them to us.
I'm glad he got to move out to the country for a while; to the heart of the beautiful wildflower country.

So many things remind me of him because I love so much of the vegetation he did. I'm going to be a complete blubbering mess at his funeral. I think there will be a lot of us there the same way. He will be missed by many people.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spring is coming. Plant some vegies.

The little vegie patch has been doing well. It's quite crowded and there are some candidates for removal and replacement by slightly warmer season crops. It is so much easier to grow food at this time of year. Watering is such a chore and is really my downfall with food gardening. It has been great to get enough greens for a couple of vege pies and there's been quite a few peas, though none have managed to get into the kitchen.
So far there's been no pests to speak of. I'm considering putting some Eco_oil on to see if it really does keep cabbage white butterflies off my garden.
Something I am a bit excited about is that the white shatoot mulberry has little fruit forming and so does the cherry guava.
The shatoot mulberry is possibly the tastiest fruit I know, it is sweet, like an apricot flavour. I managed to get one from Wandilla nursery in Maida Vale.

Now, back to homework.