Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blossom End Rot, bugger

What gives, you do everything you can for your tomato's and this is how they repay you.

Blossom End Rot(sounds like a good name for a punk rock band) has got something to do with not enough calcium being available when setting fruit.
Calcium deficiency in toms can be caused by to acid a soil or in my case poor watering as will be revealed.

I planted my Roma Tomato's in soil following a crop of peas for which the soil was limed,
therefore there should be plenty of calcium and a corrected soil acidity.

The soil in this particular part of the garden also maintains a fairly good moisture content so I thought I had all my bases covered, but, you hear me say, but, and I new this, but, and I thought I had it covered, I used that fine sugarcane mulch that comes compressed in plastic bags to mulch around my toms.
How is this a problem I here you ask, well let me tell you.
It has to be the most hydrophobic substance on the planet. I can stand there with 2 watering cans, that's 18l of water, and it manages to shed all the water away from where you mulch with it.

So the cause of my Blossom end rot is poor and infrequent watering because the bloody sugarcane mulch wont let any water through. Which in the end makes it my fault because I already new this but persisted in using the stuff anyway.

All is not lost though, I have scratched the mulch away and am now getting water to the base of the plants and they are now setting a good crop of fruit.

I should have done this a few weeks ago but I'll also be adding a side dressing a potash to help with with flowering and setting fruit.

By coincidence I see Aussie Organic Gardening has a post up today about this very topic and you might get more insight into blossom end rot from there.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post Christmas Post. Final

Boxing Day Dinner

OK the last Post Christmas Post.
The return of the Pink Eyes.
The Pink Eye potato's planted in September offered themselves (with a little help from a digging fork)up for the yummiest potato salad I've ever tasted.
My lovely wife put it together and after 17 years of marriage I think she's been holding out on me because this was really good, just hope I don't have to wait another 17 years for the next potato salad sensation

Being Christmas there is always to much ham so with another salad my step daughter put together and with the yummiest potato salad ever dinner was just delicious.

Next post will be some real gardening news all about the dreaded blossom end rot on tomato's.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas Post. 2.

Boxing Day
Mid morning munchies don't come any better than freshly picked and cooked corn.

Just out of the husk

Just out of the pot. Was hoping to capture the steam coming off the corn but it's nice and hot just ready for the butter.

These are just a collection of tomato's I'm picking atm.
The yellow is the Beams Yellow I planted way back in Sepetember and is still growing and producing.

The medium red cherry toms are the Tiny Toms planted about the same time and if you are stuck for space then I highly recommend these guys. They would definitely do well as a potted plant.

The teeny weeny little red toms are just a self sown cherry tom but taste just as great.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Post. 1.

Hi all, I've just got my Five colour Silverbeet, Listada Di Gandia Eggplant, Rouge D'Hiver Cos Lettuce(red brown var.) and Red Iceberg planted out from their punnets so now I can do so post posting.

Christmas Day

Starting with my new camera that I got from Santa(aka me) so all photos from here on will be taken with my new da da Samsung S860. Except this one because I couldn't work out how to take a photo of the camera.

Once I worked out how to use it I've found it to be a good little camera.

Just staying with the veggie theme, here is a rundown of what the vg supplied for Christmas.

First was Christmas lunch which was a roast cooked by my lovely wife using the King Edward potato's I planted in September.

Now I've never grown these guys before and had no idea what to expect.
So when I dug the first few I was surprised to find they were coloured and lumpy or deep set eyes (see below).
Anyhow we just cleaned them up and roasted them skin and all and I've got to say that they were the best baked spuds I eaten for eons. (patting self on back again)

Carrots, say no more yummm.
Roasted of course.

The next best vg surprise for me was the Lazy Housewife Beans which again are a first for me. I didn't particularly like them fresh off the vine when I tried them, but had hoped hey would cook up into a nice tasty bean, which, thankfully they did.

Here's the spoils before going into the kitchen.

More to come on the festive vg season then back to some more down to earth gardening.

New banner

Hey, I got a new banner for Christmas.
What do you think?
My fabulous photography sister from Wild Honey Photography put it together for me.
Cool huh?

Btw, that's me in the middle, poking holes in the air.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas everyone

This is it.

It's about as close as I'll get to a computer between now and Chrissy Day' so Merry Christmas and if the video I've included doesn't make your eyes a bit weepy then check for pulse, you might be dead.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Hi all,
there's nothing I like more than a good garden analogy, like, It's a hard row to hoe or tall poppy syndrome. Also it's no secret I like a good affirmation or quote, like, be yourself everyone else is taken or "Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners."-James Stewart (Jimmy Stewart).

So when you put the two together and make a song out of it, it doesn't get any better.

So it is, with great pleasure, I present to you the Roses of Success.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot.

I guess the scarlet flowers give it away.
Scarlet runner bean @ 3.30pm desperately needing a drink in hot, dry, westerly wind 35 degree heat.

Which it has now received.

Clicking on the photo will give you the big picture.

More heat, more wilting, more watering, where did all the rain go.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Climate Change

Renewable target no replacement for strong carbon cuts

Date: 17-Dec-2008

The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed today’s release of details of the federal target for renewable energy, but said the Government was failing the climate if it did not improve on the weak carbon reduction target proposed this week.

"ACF welcomes this first, essential step in building the renewable energy industry, but unless it is accompanied by strong emissions cuts in the range of 25-40 per cent by 2020, the Government won’t be doing what’s necessary to play our part to avoid dangerous climate change," said ACF executive director Don Henry.

"The proposed renewable energy target (RET) is a start, but the scheme outlined today kicks in too slowly and will only tap into a fraction of Australia’s very large solar, wind and geothermal energy resources."

"The scheme, as it is outlined, will encourage slow growth in renewable energy for the first five years, with faster growth occurring only after 2015. We urge the Government to ramp up the scheme much earlier."

Mr Henry said ACF was concerned by the Government’s reference to "RET affected trade-exposed industries" and would seek assurances that this does not signal more payouts to big polluters from the public purse.

"Australians would be outraged if still more public money ends up in the bank accounts of the big polluters under the cover of a renewable energy scheme," he said.

"The Government should revisit the weak carbon reduction target announced this week and replace it with one that will position Australia to play its part to save the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Australian Alps from climate change devastation."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MEDIA RELEASE Organic Food Benefits

Some light reading while I water my garden.

Organic Federation of Australia
March 25 2007
Organic Food Benefits
‘Numerous studies show that on balance organic foods have higher levels of nutrients and significantly lower levels of pesticides’ Andre Leu, Chair of the Organic Federation of Australia (OFA), stated.

‘A scientific study published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition in 1993 clearly showed that organic food is more nutritious than conventional food. Organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes, pears, wheat, and sweet corn were purchased in the western suburbs of Chicago, over two years, and analysed for mineral content. The organically grown food averaged 63% higher in calcium, 73% higher in iron, 118% higher in magnesium, 178% higher in molybdenum, 91% higher in phosphorus, 125% higher in potassium and 60% higher in zinc. The organic food averaged 29% lower in mercury than the conventionally raised food. ‘
‘A recently publish review of scientific research by Charles Benbrook, Ph.D. reveals that on average organic foods contain about one-third higher in antioxidants than comparable conventional produce.’

‘These phyto-nutrients have been shown to have major roles in preventing and reversing diseases such as heart disease and arterial diseases. They are important for preventing and reducing inflammatory and auto-immune diseases such as asthma and arthritis. Most significantly they are shown to have anti cancer and other protective properties for our health and well being.’ Mr Leu said

‘A study by the Danish Institute of Agricultural Research and the University of Newcastle's showed that cows raised on an organic diet produce milk with 50% more Vitamin E and 75% more beta carotene than conventionally farmed cows. The organic milk has two to three times more zeaxanthine and lutein, which are powerful antioxidants. Higher levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids, that provide protection from heart and other diseases, are also found in organic milk.’
‘A scientific article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry stated that organically grown corn, strawberries and marionberries have significantly higher levels of cancer fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods.’

‘The European Journal of Nutrition published a study by Dr John Paterson from the University of Strathclyde, UK. The study found that organic vegetable soups contain almost six times as much salicylic acid as non-organic vegetable soups. Salicylic acid is produced naturally in plants as a protective compound against stress and disease. It is responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of aspirin, and helps combat hardening of the arteries, heart disease and bowel cancer.’ Andre Leu stated.

Two comprehensive studies have been published that compared the differences between organic and conventional foods. Both studies analysed around 40 previously published studies, each independently of the other. One study was conducted in the UK by nutritionist Shane Heaton and the other in the USA by Virginia Worthington as a peer reviewed university graduate thesis. Both studies came up with similar conclusions showing that there is overwhelming evidence that organic food is more nutritious than conventional food. Heaton stated: ‘On average our research found higher vitamin C, higher mineral levels and higher phytonutrients – plant compounds which can be effective against cancer.’

Many studies show that conventionally farmed foods have pesticide and other chemical residues. Repeated tests show that many of these foods can carry a cocktail of synthetic poisons. Studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found a cocktail of many toxic chemicals in the blood and urine of most Americans that they tested.

Reduced Exposure to Residues
A detailed scientific analysis of organic fruits and vegetables in the USA, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Additives and Contaminants, showed that organic foods have significantly less pesticide residues than conventionally grown foods.
A similar study in Australia by Ruth McGowan for the Victorian Department of Primary Industries conducted 14000 tests on 300 hundred samples of certified organic produce. The study concluded that: “The results demonstrate that Victorian organic produce is virtually ‘chemical free’.”

‘Both of these studies showed that vast majority of organic foods have no residues. Where residues were found these were due to the widespread contamination caused by several pesticides used in conventional farming. Even then, these residues were substantially lower in organic foods than in conventionally produced food.’ Mr Leu stated
‘Most importantly scientific studies are beginning to show that that eating organic food results in lower levels of these pervasive chemicals in humans.’ Andre Leu said.

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that children who eat organic foods have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies. The University of Washington researchers who conducted the study concluded ‘The dose estimates suggest that consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, and juice can reduce children's exposure levels from above to below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's current guidelines, thereby shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk. Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure...’

The United Nations FAO states the case very succinctly. ‘It has been demonstrated that organically produced foods have lower levels of pesticide and veterinary drug residues and, in many cases, lower nitrate contents. Animal feeding practices followed in organic livestock production, also lead to a reduction in contamination of food products of animal origin.’
‘The facts show that organic foods have health benefits because of higher nutritional values. They excel in the antioxidants that prevent heart disease, cancers, anti-inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.’ Mr Leu stated

For Interviews:
Andre Leu Chair 07 40987610

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas, CHRISTMAS, did somebody say christmas

Hi all,
for a billion years, it seems, I always thought they were singing 'on a one horse slope and sleigh'.
I suppose living in our hot climate as a kid I'd have no idea what an open sleigh was.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seeds of redemption

After the embarrassment of So, ya wanna' sow some seed do ya!!, I've been busy redeeming myself by getting it right for a while.
So it is that I can report some pretty successful seed raising results.

First cab off the rank is some of Mr. Fothergill's, Evesham Special, Brussels Sprouts. And how many did get to strike I hear you ask, well only 100% I say(patting myself on the back).

The Brussels Sprouts are flanked by the tomato's I planted at the same time as I did my So, ya wanna' sow some seed do ya!!
Just a note on Brussels Sprouts. I'm no expert on growing these and as of now I am still to produce a viable crop, but I keep planting these things earlier and earlier. My trusty, 'fruit & vegetable GARDENING in Australia', by The Royal Horticultural Society advises me to sow late Summer early Autumn, but I'm getting in ahead of recommended time. What I hoping is that planting seed now will mean the Brussels are forming in the coldest part of winter and not bolting or over producing leaf as they have in the past. So, watch this space.

Now as reported in So, ya wanna' sow some seed do ya!! update. #1 I had planted my digger's seeds into punnets, some Five colour Silverbeet, Listada Di Gandia Eggplant, Rouge D'Hiver Cos Lettuce(red brown var.) and Red Iceberg.

Apart from the Red Cos(3 from 5) I also had 100% strike(so far so good eh!)

Of the remaining seeds planted everything went very well also.

The first carrots to arrive were the Early Chantenay which after 10 days from sowing are doing exceedingly well.

Very happy Jan

Also doing well after a good strike rate are the Beetroot Chioggia which I'm dying to try.

And last but not least the carrot Top Weight were a little sporadic but all came up and are a little slow compared to the Early Chantenay. The proof is in da eating as they say.

anyhow I hope these successes have helped me redeem myself and for now I'll just let myself feel fairly pleased with myself.

Just a photo of a happy lilium. A yellow one of course

Friday, December 12, 2008

Patron Saint for Gardeners

Hi all.
For starters I'm about as catholic as the beetroot I grow, but I've always liked their idea of Patron Saints.

So it was that my daughter and I were discussing various Patron Saints and who did what. It was at this stage I remembered having read something about a Patron Saint for Gardeners which I've always felt pretty chuffed about that gardeners could be significant enough to attract their own saint.

Anyhow after some reliable internet research I discovered, to my surprise our (gardeners) Patron Saint for Gardeners is also the Patron Saint for Cabbies, well I'll be blowed, you could have knocked me down with a feather.

And who is this Saint, well let me introduce to you St. Fiacre

Now from what I can gather, from the reliable information available on the internet is that St. Fiacre started out life in Ireland in the seventh century.

He was raised in a Irish monastery which were known for their learning, including the use of healing herbs, as stuided by Fiacre. He lived here to avoid people so he could devote himself to God, but bolted for France after becoming to sought out as a herbalist, healer and a holy man.

I can't find out when or how he became a Saint if anyone has any knowledge of this process I sure like to know.

Apparently it was in France he did all his good work. You can find out more here, here and here.
They all say pretty much the same thing.

Now for the cabbie bit. This all came about because the Hotel de Saint Fiacre in Paris, France rented carriages. People who had no idea who Fiacre was referred to the cabs as "Fiacre cabs", and eventually as "fiacres".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Mad Gnomes Strike Again!: Blue Peas!

The Mad Gnomes Strike Again!: Blue Peas!


72% of Consumers want one Organic Symbol
72% of organic food buyers say they would prefer to have one, new certification symbol used by all organisations, compared with only 14% who prefer to continue with different certification symbols.
The research conducted by Newspoll found that changing to one, new certification symbol is generally viewed as easier, clearer and less confusing. Having one symbol is also viewed as being easier to recognise and remember, and as having a clearer and stronger meaning. Some also saw it as providing confirmation of uniformity in certification procedures by certification organisations.
The Newspoll was commissioned by the Organic Federation of Australia, the peak body for the organic sector and was conducted nationally among main grocery buyers.
Regular organic food buyers were asked to rate the current system of having eight different certification symbols on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is "very confusing and hard to identify organic foods" and 10 is "very clear and simple to identify organic foods".
Their average rating was only 3.1 out of 10, which shows that the current system is seen as confusing.
‘The research showed very poor awareness of most of the certification symbols and that the words
"Certified Organic" were important in guiding consumer awareness about genuine organic products.’ Andre Leu, Chair of the Organic Federation stated
‘The experience from around the world shows that having one symbol to identify organic products generates a huge increase in sales.’ Andre said
The survey was conducted among 966 main grocery buyers nationally aged 18 years and over.

The Organic Federation of Australia is the peak body and the largest representative organic organisation in Australia. For further information please visit

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All I want for Christmas is a

Da da. A Cottage digging fork for all those in between jobs.

I've wanted one of these since I can remember so this year I Santa fails to surprise me I'm off to get me one the very next day.

A small lightweight fork designed for digging and cultivating. Easy to handle size makes this fork great for working around crowded planting beds. Short handle for close work.

  • Fully forged head made from high carbon Australian steel
  • Tines roll forged from a single piece of steel, ensuring a stronger steel structure
  • Tang and ferrule construction with polished, squared socket for additional strength
  • Tapered square tines with 40mm spacing
  • Factory-sharpened, diamond-shaped points
  • Lacquer-sealed, premium Australian hardwood handle prevents splintering
  • Polypropylene dee grip for comfort

Cyclone Garden Tools

Perfect gardens start with Cyclone

Puppy power

Da dada dup da da Puppy power.

Not mine just a nice puppy photo.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I didn't know that!

A ripened ovary of a seed plant, the tomato is by definition a fruit, but in 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court over-ruled Mother Nature declaring that tomato's were not fruits, but vegetables.

Nix v. Hedden, How a fruit became a vegetable.

I love a rainy night

It's been raining here on and off all night and I have always thought of this song when it's raining so I am going to share with you.
I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Year of the spud

There's nothing to say here just have a giggle.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pink eyes

Now I know why they call them Pink Eye potatoes. "Thems all got pink eyes, who woodda thought it"! (Voice in my head when I read this is like the warden from Cool Hand Luke my second fav movie)

I'm not harvesting yet but one of my plants had died back so I lifted it to see what I had or hadn't and this is what I have. Yeah for me, steamed spuds for lunch.
God I love gardening.

Clicking the photo will give you a better look!

Pouring oil into refrigerators

The following article was made available to me from the October edition of Warm Earth Magazines e-mail newsletter.
If you ever need a reason to justify why you grow veggies or how much time you spend growing veggies or maybe even something to inspire you to get started on growing veggies then this might help.


Pouring oil into refrigerators
Former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson once said: "We're pouring as much oil into refrigerators as we are into our cars". This sounds an odd thing to say, but he's right. Our industrialised food system requires the equivalent of 8 barrels of oil to feed each Australian every year, while our personal transport accounts for 4.5 barrels. So, the store-bought food we buy requires nearly twice as much oil as our cars.
This also squares with an Australian Conservation Foundation study, which found that food consumption is responsible for 28% of the average Australian's greenhouse gas pollution, whereas personal and public transport accounts for only 10.5%. So, growing even some of our own food can make as great a contribution to reducing our carbon footprint as buying a bicycle.

Until next month, happy organic gardening to you all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So, ya wanna' sow some seed do ya!! update. #1

Link for the Original So, ya wanna' sow some seed do ya!!

Hi all,
I been avoiding this update due to the unmitigated failure of the seed to germinate.

It's not very clear in the photo(far left punnet) but I only had two out of six Cos lettuce seeds germinate.
Now I'm not going to blame myself because at the same time I planted up three punnets of three different Tomatoes with varying success, ie six from six, five from six and one from six.

So at this stage I'm going to blame the viability of the seed.

Now while I'm on the topic of seeds and planting I had a very productive day of seed planting yesterday.
First off was carrots of which I have not been that satisfied with the flavour of.
The current variety of carrot I've been growing is named 'All year round', so I planted two different variety's named Topweight and Early Chantenay to see if I can find a more flavorsome carrot.
If anyone has any suggestions for a more flavorsome carrot or a personal favorite, please let me know.

Also my digger's seeds arrived last week so I planted into punnets some Five colour Silverbeet, Listada Di Gandia Eggplant, Rouge D'Hiver Cos Lettuce(red brown var.) and Red Iceberg.

I also planted another couple of small rows of Beetroot Chioggia.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elephants with wings

I call them elephants with wings others call them "Scotch Grey" the boffins call them Aedes vittiger.

Call them what you like after a month of rainy weather we have them in bucket fulls.

The following was copied from a Brisbane City Council Doc

Aedes vittiger: This is a large pale coloured mosquito which is sometimes mistakenly called
the "Scotch Grey". It is smaller than Ae. alternans and has four obvious dark stripes on its
thorax. This is a broad spectrum feeder which can occur in troublesome waves after rain fills
shallow grassy depressions where the eggs are laid and hatch after flooding. It is a vicious
and persistent mosquito which will bite through clothes.

Baby carrot thinings

Just picked(pulled, lifted, thinned? whatever)!!

My carrots were overdue for thinning, but now I'm thinking steamed baby carrots for dinner.
I just need to work a meal around them.

I haven't had chicken for a while and I've got fresh beans, cabbage, beetroot and baby carrots of course.
ummmmh sounds good to me.
God I love gardening.

Holy Jack and the Beanstalk Batman

I planted two rows of Violet Queen Bush Beans from Digger,s and this is the result after just SIX DAYS.
Sow there little beggars are really keen to go:-)

If you click on the photo you'll get a better idea of their growth.