Monday, November 30, 2009

Copenhagen! I've been thinking

Should I or shouldn't I?
I've been debating with myself whether to write the following post or not. Wondering if it is too simplistic or whether it is something that 'should/could' be aspired to. In the end I've decided to put it up anyhow simply because I think it's a good idea and should be considered.

What am I banging on about?
Copenhagen! I've been thinking, or should I say, it has occurred to me while thinking about the Copenhagen climate summit that the whole thing is just a bit on the hypocritical side of things. Or maybe farcical even. Here is why I think this. First thing I'm thinking is how are all these leaders of the world and their support staff going to get there? In a plane right! A lot of great big fat pollution spewing CO2 emitting bloody jet planes. Then aside from all the polluting greenhouse gasses there is the money needed to do this. That's your money and mine!

So what do I think could/should be done.

Ok. On the pollution (why doesn't anyone call it pollution anymore?) side of things. We live in the 21st Century. I'll repeat that, we live in the 21st bloody century, can't this thing be done by video conferencing. I know that sounds simple (the 'Kiss Principle', keep it simple Sally) and probably comes with a whole stack of problems but this is the 21st Century, we can fly to the moon, we can do heart transplant surgery, we can separate conjoint twins, why not this. Three benefits I see here are , number one 'no pollution'. No great big fat pollution spewing CO2 emitting bloody jet planes.
The second is the money saved. How much money? I wish I new but I doubt not much change out of 5 mill and thinking, again, what that could be spent on. It would sure buy a lot of trees, taking some carbon out of the atmosphere rather than adding to it.. Maybe a whole heap of solar panels, imagine that, a politician actually doing something constructive by introducing an industry that is carbon free and paid for by not flying around the world in a dirty great big jet plane. Oh and to the coal industry, get over yourself and stop being so selfish. All your worried about is your life style and pay packet.
The third, these are supposed to be our leaders so why not lead by example and show the people of their respective countries they mean business by not adding to the problem themselves.
It's win, win, win all the way.

Back to the beginning.

Is this all just to simplistic, altruistic, romantic thinking on my part or could these "leaders" be more (or maybe just be) proactive! Or could it cynically be said they like to sit around in big rooms huff and puff and then get a good pat on their backs from each other while they telling themselves what a good job they have done?

How do you tell if a politician is a hypocrite? Easy, he's breathing!
Do I feel disappointed? Most of the time.
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Cheers from a disappointed Stewart

Thursday, November 26, 2009

All I want for Christmas

It's less than a month to Christmas and I'm finalizing my wish list to Santa. I've been a really good boy all year and have spent all year putting all the extra silver coins I get from my Taxi income into a Christmas club account and atm I have enough money for the pump (top of the list and a definite gunna get) and one other.

Either a nice stainless spade (nothing feels better than working in the garden with a good quality tool) or another compost bin (I can never make enough compost with just one bin). It'll probably come down to the toss of a coin in the end unless I get a rush of silver coins in the last month (it's a close call) to Christmas.

Here's hoping Santa's good to you!!



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Bean report! or Bean there done that!

I've bean going batty for beans this growing season.

Starting at the Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens I have planted yin yang beans, red kidney beans, butter beans, purple king bush beans and navy (that's the baked bean kinda beans) beans. At home I also have a small area of borlotti beans and more yin yang beans.

The yin yang beans I planted in September and are now flowering and setting beans. I also planted a row of yin yangs here at home last Monday and they are nearly all up as of today. I'll let these guys go straight through to seed so I can use them as a dried bean.

Red kidney beans (anyone up for chilli con carne?). I planted 5 x 10 mtr rows Wednesday week ago and apart from a bit of cut worm here and there I'd have had a 100% strike. They seem to be doing well in the heat though we have heaps of water to pour on them to keep them going.

Butter beans, I planted a two meter row 4/5 weeks ago and they are about to flower and set beans, so I'll have to plant a follow up row this Wednesday so I can be sure of a continuous supply of butter beans.

Purple king beans are nearly a ditto of the butter beans but about two weeks behind.

The Borlotti beans I planted here at home a week ago seem a bit hit and miss. Probably a low as a 50% strike, but it's been dreadfully hot so I would not be surprised if some of the seeds cooked in the ground. I was hoping for more from this planting of borlotti beans but I guess I'll just harvest what I can and plant again next year. The red kidney beans look like more than making up for any short fall in production though.

Well it's bean a long hot day here again so I'm off to the pub to relax and unwind before I start a new working week tomorrow.

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Cheers and happy bean growing


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot.

What else can I say!!!

Tired of watering, tired of watering, tired of watering.!!!

Please let it rain, please let it rain, please let it rain!!!

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Stewart 'Feeling hot, hot, hot'.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All those years ago!

What got you going in the garden? For me it was mint!

I was out in the veggie garden on Monday evening collecting a few herbs (parsley, chives, mint, etc) for dinner. Then it happened as it has for the past 38 or so years. I grabbed the mint and as soon as the aroma of the bruised leaves hit the old nose I was immediately transported back to where, as a 10 year old boy, some, 38 years ago to and small, old farm we lived on where there was a wild strand of mint growing on the shady moist southern side of the house.

It got me thinking though how much that mint has influenced my life because without it I don’t think I would have embarked on my plant and veggie gardening adventure which has been with me ever since.

Now mint may have been the catalyst but aromatic plants in general have been the cause of my adventure continuing. Moving from mint onto the sweet smell of mass planted sweet alyssum here (Toowoomba) at carnival of flowers time. From there to discovering the lemon scented leaves of our native species of trees and shrubs with the majestic lemon scented gum being amongst my all time favourite plants. And how can I go past garlic and onions and the king of the veggie patch the Tomato bush. I swear if it didn’t destroy the bush I’d just roll around in a Tomato patch all day.

I’ve probably forgotten more smelly plants than I can remember but the few I have mentioned are the ones that put that little extra life into my gardening day. How about you? What got you started in gardening?



Weather report.

32c, fine, hot and dry, dry, dry! Thanks to the people who did all the necessary work to get the largest water tank they could for the Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens or else I'd have next to nothing growing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Far out Brussels Sprout!

Brussels Sprouts
In addition to containing a rich concentration of vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting sulfur compounds, Brussels sprouts also provide the powerful phytonutrient antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. Members of the carotenoid family, these two phytonutrients help defend your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and have been shown to protect your eyes from developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

All about Brussels Sprouts (This bloke sure does his homework)


While the origins of Brussels sprouts are unknown, the first mention of them can be traced to the late 16th century. They are thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near its capital, Brussels, after which they are named. They remained a local crop in this area until their use spread across Europe during World War I. Brussels sprouts are now cultivated throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., almost all Brussels sprouts are grown in California.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Garlic Harvest

My garlic was ready to harvest so today seemed as good a time as any.

Somewhere in amongst all those weeds is garlic ready to be harvested. Pretty easy really. Just stick a digging fork under the bulb to loosen it a bit then lift it out of the soil and knock off the excess soil.

(If you click on the photos it will take you to the bigger picture. But please come back!)

I was more than surprised at the size and quality of my crop. This is the haul from a 9m/sq area and I probably could have planted the rows closer and increased the size of my crop further. And the smell while knocking off the soil was delicious.

When the leafy part of the garlic has dried I going to have a go at a Garlic braid. If I can manage a half decent job I'll post some photos.

There was some massive bulbs in amongst the crop and these ones here I have put aside for planting next year. I put the dutch hoe in the photo to give you some idea of the size of the bulbs.

Beans, Borlotti and Ying Yang.

Straight after I harvested the garlic I did the lazy gardener thing. As I had stuck the digging fork into most of the bed to lift the garlic I just raked the bed out shaped up a few rows and planted, firstly, a row of ying yang beans around the out side (because they are a semi-climber) of the bed.
I then planted six rows of borlotti beans in the rest of the bed.

To make up for the lack of soil preparation I'll hill the beans when they are about six inches high with a blood and bone enriched compost then follow that up with some chook pen straw for mulch. Then when they just start about to flower I'll run around with some sulphate of potash to help with flowering and pod set.

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Well that's it for today

Cheers and happy gardening


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spelt (Triticum spelta) is a hexaploid species of wheat.

Hi all, hope this post finds you all well and up to your neck in veggie gardening matters.

The photo is of a 100m/sq ish patch of future potential Spelt (Triticum spelta) growing area the Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens. are going to let me use. I'm developing a curiosity into the growing Spelt and this is my first step.

I'm interested to hear from anyone who has any thoughts on Spelt, either growing it or eating it, so if you'd like to leave a comment I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Link to Wikipedia on Spelt

Photo of Spelt

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Food for thought.

Hi, I pinched this from the Warm Earth Organic Gardening newsletter and thought it might provoke some deep thinking.

Feeding the world

wheat.jpegThe head of Australia's national science organisation says climate change poses extraordinary challenges to global food production in the future. CSIRO chief executive Megan Clark has warned higher prices on water and agricultural carbon emissions will make it difficult to sustain the world's growing urban population. Dr Clark told the National Press Club in Canberra that the amount of food needed over the next 50 years is equal to the total amount of food ever produced by humans. "That means in the working life of my children as much grain as has ever been harvested since the Egyptian time," she said. "As much fish as we've ever eaten, as much milk as we've ever taken from reluctant cows on frosty mornings, every frosty morning that we've ever known." She says the challenge will be made even more difficult because climate change will put a higher price on water and on agricultural carbon emissions. "One area where we will have to adapt very quickly is in food production," she said. "It is really hard for me to comprehend that in the next 50 years we'll have to produce as much food as we have ever produced in human history." (ABC News)

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I don't know how we can do it!!


This is embarrassing for a Queenslander but good news all the same.

MEDIA RELEASE: NSW shows way to build strong solar industry

The NSW Government's decision to introduce a gross feed-in tariff for rooftop solar systems is a step forward on tackling climate change and making our homes more energy efficient, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

Read more

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cloudy with showers

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

Issued at 4:40am EST on Monday the 9th of November 2009
for Monday

Cloudy with showers and possible light rain about the escarpment and the Granite
Belts in the morning, becoming more frequent in the afternoon. Fine elsewhere at
first but with showers and isolated thunderstorms developing throughout in the
afternoon. Moderate to fresh easterly winds.

Well I'll be a monkeys uncle!!! As today is my only day off so to speak, so therefore had big plans for the garden today and now it looks like it's going to shower/rain all day. Oh well, I know what I'd prefer :)

I might have to try some bread and scone making instead. I hope damp weather doesn't effect it too much. Anyone got any tips on bread making on a damp day?

I found this recipe yesterday, Classic Sandwich Bread, from the King Arthur Flour web site. What do you think? It seems to have some good reviews!!

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Cheers and happy Monday to you,


Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Sunday song of praise.

I just loved this song when it was doing the rounds and still find it inspirational when I hear it. Hope you do too.

The song does not seem to have a dedicated film clip and this is the best of a bad lot.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good news week!!!

Well I suppose I should post some good news after my initial disappointment on Thursday of missing out on some good storm rain.

That evening on Thursday it did eventually turn into some thundery overnight rain, leaving 10mls of rain behind in the gauge. Then on Friday after a brief storm mid afternoon we received some more overnight rain, again in total 10mls.

So for the two days we received a total of 20mls of good soaking rain. It still leaves the sub soil a bit dry so we still need a lot more but at least my tank is full and I can get a few days off from watering!

I haven't been down to the community garden yet to see what has sprouted from my seed sowing frenzy but I plan to drop by just after I start work in the Taxi this afternoon. I only planted on Wednesday so I don't expect anything, but then you never know!!

Cheers and happy gardening

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Thursday, November 5, 2009


Click on photo for larger view

How exquisite is this?
I've been so busy with the veggie garden that I nearly let this one slip by without noticing it. It is a member from the Iris family and grows well in the shade but that is about all I know about it, having lifted it from someone elses garden!

Also damn, damn and double damn again. We just had a storm run past Toowoomba about 6 k's to the SW of us, arrrggguuuuhhhhh. What have we got to do? Next one maybe, huh!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

34 bloody degrees

Well now, what can I say, it's 34 bloody degrees I just got home from the Toga and once again I have planted seeds (direct sown) on the strength of the weather forecast for showers and storms for the rest of the week. The last rain event Monday week ago netted 42 mls of rain but the ground was so dry and the rain fell so fast that it is all but dry again, all be it a bit greener.

From the last lot of sowing I now have baby corn, bok choy, beans, beetroot, kolhrabi, rock melon and a few drunken women lettuce. The fennel is not up and the carrots are about five strong from a five foot row.

Planted today was some more lettuce (great lakes), carrots (fingers crossed), more fennel, baby watermelon, rock melon, violet bush beans, bok choy. I also have some squash and zucchini seedlings I planted after the rain that have come up as well. Some lemon cucumber seeds I planted seems to have failed, that's my third go now so it looks like my seed is stuffed.

Potatoes are flourishing and I've started to harvest zucchini from two bushes I planted earlier on.

That's about it for the community gardens. I have made plans with one of the other gardeners down there to plant 'baked beans', bean seeds so I'll keep you posted on how that goes.


Cheers Stewart

Monday, November 2, 2009

steering wheel

From the Qweekend Magazine as reported by Trent Dalton by Tony Mitchell, "This bloke hopped in my cab the other day saying he needed to go to hospital. He had a steering wheel sticking out of his fly. I said, 'Gee, mate, that must be uncomfortable.' He said, 'Yeah! It's driving me nuts!'"

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Have a nice day