Ruffian

It's springtime...

60 posts in this topic

AAAAARGHHH I am so JEALOUS at the sound of these gardens. I do miss having a plot of earth :-( I have a small pot garden on my balcony and I have a jasmine which is going great guns. Ditto a dwarf nectarine tree (no fruit but it's cute), an English box and a miniture rose.

This year I planted capsicums, tomatoes, basil, mint and parsley seeds and only ONE tomato has sprouted. wtf? Not sure what I do wrong - they get lots of TLC, water, etc, and an all-round fertiliser thingy especially for pots. Last year I had climbing beans, leeks and spring onion and they weren't overly successful either but my parsley went completely nuts.

It's a south facing balcony on the 3rd floor so does get a bit hot and wind-swept at the height of summer, but we haven't had many hot days yet so I don't know what's going on... :-(

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Don't think it would count as organic but you can get tomatoes that have a grafted on root stock that fruit like they are on roids. Actually I guess grafting is still organic as long as neither is a genetically modified plant?

Same with capsicums.

We grow them for the kids in pots and because we really want them to see it produce we go for the most robust we can get. The main pest they suffer from is the kids pulling the fruit off when they are green...

Only trouble is they are over $5.00 a throw at nuseries around here so much more expensive than starting with seeds.

The old man's vegie patch when I was a kid used to turn to a tomato patch on its own. All he did was leave the best fruit to rot in the ground and they would reshoot. Passionfruit will do the same but the more times they propogate they seem to lose their fruiting ability progressively compared to the store bought ones.

I reckon passionfruit is good value because it is so darn expensive to buy at the shops. A creek near me as a kid had the vines growing up in the tops of the smaller trees near the creek and so the ground was littered with fruit. Me and a friend would go down their with a shopping bag each and fill them up and take them home. This makes it difficult for me to now pay $1.00 per fruit.

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Picked my first tomato this season, a good sized Pink Cherokee. A so called heirloom variety, but mostly I think they are sold for the novelty factor rather than any actual advantage in disease resistance, production or flavour, which are the only criteria that I give a damn about.

Fortunately my garden has a large number of self-seeded tomatoes like Tom's old man's did - I like these as they are naturally adapted to the conditions and tend to do pretty well as plants, although yields can be variable.

The ruthless solution there is just to pull out anything that doesn't fruit well, regardless of how healthy the plant is. My (probably futile) dream is that one day I will have a locally adapted, tasty tomato through this do-it-yourself selective breeding. Bring on the Ruffian Red...Red Ruffian...Hmm, could be I need some marketing input.

Gen Gen, maybe you are killing your seeds with kindness? If you plant them no deeper than the size of the seed itself, and keep the soil just moist (not wet) - often this means no extra water at all apart from the post-planting drink. No fertiliser at all until they are up and have two pairs of leaves, and not much then, either. Seedlings are easily killed by fertiliser salts, and by fungal infections brought on by too-wet conditions.

Parsley can take a long time to germinate. The folk story is that parsley seed has to go three times to the devil and back before it can sprout. You have to wonder who thought some of this stuff up - and why...

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Don't think it would count as organic but you can get tomatoes that have a grafted on root stock that fruit like they are on roids. Actually I guess grafting is still organic as long as neither is a genetically modified plant?

Same with capsicums.

We grow them for the kids in pots and because we really want them to see it produce we go for the most robust we can get. The main pest they suffer from is the kids pulling the fruit off when they are green...

Only trouble is they are over $5.00 a throw at nuseries around here so much more expensive than starting with seeds.

The old man's vegie patch when I was a kid used to turn to a tomato patch on its own. All he did was leave the best fruit to rot in the ground and they would reshoot. Passionfruit will do the same but the more times they propogate they seem to lose their fruiting ability progressively compared to the store bought ones.

I reckon passionfruit is good value because it is so darn expensive to buy at the shops. A creek near me as a kid had the vines growing up in the tops of the smaller trees near the creek and so the ground was littered with fruit. Me and a friend would go down their with a shopping bag each and fill them up and take them home. This makes it difficult for me to now pay $1.00 per fruit.

you really need to buy grafted passionfruit. the types with good roots fruit poorly and the types with good fruit have poor roots. unless you have a lot of bees in the area you also need to rape them (my term for hand pollination).

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Gen Gen, maybe you are killing your seeds with kindness? If you plant them no deeper than the size of the seed itself, and keep the soil just moist (not wet) - often this means no extra water at all apart from the post-planting drink. No fertiliser at all until they are up and have two pairs of leaves, and not much then, either. Seedlings are easily killed by fertiliser salts, and by fungal infections brought on by too-wet conditions.

Parsley can take a long time to germinate. The folk story is that parsley seed has to go three times to the devil and back before it can sprout. You have to wonder who thought some of this stuff up - and why...

Hmmm you may well be right! You've inspired me to have another go anyway so I'm headed outside right now to plant a few more seeds.

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Don't think it would count as organic but you can get tomatoes that have a grafted on root stock that fruit like they are on roids. Actually I guess grafting is still organic as long as neither is a genetically modified plant?

Same with capsicums.

We grow them for the kids in pots and because we really want them to see it produce we go for the most robust we can get. The main pest they suffer from is the kids pulling the fruit off when they are green...

Only trouble is they are over $5.00 a throw at nuseries around here so much more expensive than starting with seeds.

The old man's vegie patch when I was a kid used to turn to a tomato patch on its own. All he did was leave the best fruit to rot in the ground and they would reshoot. Passionfruit will do the same but the more times they propogate they seem to lose their fruiting ability progressively compared to the store bought ones.

I reckon passionfruit is good value because it is so darn expensive to buy at the shops. A creek near me as a kid had the vines growing up in the tops of the smaller trees near the creek and so the ground was littered with fruit. Me and a friend would go down their with a shopping bag each and fill them up and take them home. This makes it difficult for me to now pay $1.00 per fruit.

We have tried growing passionfruit twice now from the grafted big leaf fruity variety and both times the root stock has taken off and not the fruity nice bit. The root stock has nice flowers though so we've kept it this year. It may also serve as a wind break.

I heard a good organic tip about growing tomatoes the other day. I'm told if you place a banana peel under each plant then that provides an excellent slow release phosphate source for the life of the plant. I haven't tried it though as I planted before I heard the tip. It sounds plausible though.

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We have tried growing passionfruit twice now from the grafted big leaf fruity variety and both times the root stock has taken off and not the fruity nice bit. The root stock has nice flowers though so we've kept it this year. It may also serve as a wind break.

I heard a good organic tip about growing tomatoes the other day. I'm told if you place a banana peel under each plant then that provides an excellent slow release phosphate source for the life of the plant. I haven't tried it though as I planted before I heard the tip. It sounds plausible though.

see

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Behold! The possibilities when renting... :)

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you really need to buy grafted passionfruit. the types with good roots fruit poorly and the types with good fruit have poor roots. unless you have a lot of bees in the area you also need to rape them (my term for hand pollination).

Something like a passionfruit is more like an investment too because it can keep on going and going.

I will give them a go.

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I heard a good organic tip about growing tomatoes the other day. I'm told if you place a banana peel under each plant then that provides an excellent slow release phosphate source for the life of the plant. I haven't tried it though as I planted before I heard the tip. It sounds plausible though.

It's potassium, I think, that is being supplied this way. Makes sense as potassium is great for fruiting/flowering plants. It would get used up fairly fast, though, as tomatoes are natural gluttons.

As a rule it is a better bet to compost all your table scraps (except the fatty bits) and use that, once it has broken down. It is more rapidly and more readily available and hopefully any pathogens will have died off.

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It's potassium, I think, that is being supplied this way. Makes sense as potassium is great for fruiting/flowering plants. It would get used up fairly fast, though, as tomatoes are natural gluttons.

As a rule it is a better bet to compost all your table scraps (except the fatty bits) and use that, once it has broken down. It is more rapidly and more readily available and hopefully any pathogens will have died off.

Yes of course. I knew it started with 'P' :P

We've a worm farm as I've never had a functioning compost heap. It always ends up an indescribable anaerobic stinking mass. And seems attracts mice.

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Yes of course. I knew it started with 'P' :P

We've a worm farm as I've never had a functioning compost heap. It always ends up an indescribable anaerobic stinking mass. And seems attracts mice.

Compost needs more dry stuff than people think. Shredded paper will do in a pinch. Or dry leaves, or bits off your neighbours brush fence, or anything dry and organic, really.

Keep rats and mice out by building the bin on fine gauge netting (aviary netting), and not putting anything too tasty in it.

I have a covered bin for tastier scraps that is approximately vermin proof, and the rabbits eat the dry bread crusts etc that might otherwise attract rodents. Edit - other rodents.

Ordinary garden waste is fundamentally less stinky to begin with and doesn't attract rats or mice, so it might be a better way to start. Believe it or not there are books written on the 'right' way to compost, but it is like a lot of gardening - it seems to depend on local conditions.

BTW - I have never been able to keep worm farms successfully... Lots in the soil, but in a farm? Nope!

Edited by Ruffian

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Compost needs more dry stuff than people think. Shredded paper will do in a pinch. Or dry leaves, or bits off your neighbours brush fence, or anything dry and organic, really.

Keep rats and mice out by building the bin on fine gauge netting (aviary netting), and not putting anything too tasty in it.

I have a covered bin for tastier scraps that is approximately vermin proof, and the rabbits eat the dry bread crusts etc that might otherwise attract rodents. Edit - other rodents.

Ordinary garden waste is fundamentally less stinky to begin with and doesn't attract rats or mice, so it might be a better way to start. Believe it or not there are books written on the 'right' way to compost, but it is like a lot of gardening - it seems to depend on local conditions.

BTW - I have never been able to keep worm farms successfully... Lots in the soil, but in a farm? Nope!

Yeah i think it's too cold here for compost. Nothing even decomposes during the winter. Ends up looking like the early stages of peat formation. The worms do better. They yield a nice tea which we use for watering every couple of weeks. Supplemented with seasol.

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At the moment at our place, we've got citrus fruits growing from a small tree. They're little orange-type fruits. Very sweet once they're ripe

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Ordinary garden waste is fundamentally less stinky to begin with and doesn't attract rats or mice, so it might be a better way to start.

My compost has been going for about 4 years, with only fruit and vegetable from the kitchen and any softer garden waste. The compost is big pile and one of those tall black compost bins with the open bottom. I find that wetting it every month or so and stirring it up every few weeks gets good results. I have never seen a rat although there is evidence that possums have a poke around, I think if you never put any meat, seafood, eggs, pasta or dairy product you will never see rodents (looks like no protein).

I am currently growing tomato's for the first time, but a former market gardener said I'd be better off selling a wheelbarrow load of compost and buying my tomatoes as the returns would be much better.

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Whoop! We have germination! A few more tiny little tomatoes have poked their heads up - so thanks for the 'killing them with kindness' Ruffian. Now I'll just gently nurture them along and hope they survive childhood at least.

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Whoop! We have germination! A few more tiny little tomatoes have poked their heads up - so thanks for the 'killing them with kindness' Ruffian. Now I'll just gently nurture them along and hope they survive childhood at least.

Nice one! :)

No ripe tomatoes as the summer has so far continued wet and humid. Plenty of young fruit.

I have extracted:

3 bunches of shallots ~ $9

2 bunches thyme $4

1 bunch of sage $2

1 parsley $2

1 bunch mint $2

1 bunch vietnamese mint $3 (Hard to get in shops so I'm charging myself a premium) $3

20 fresh bay leaves $2

4 zucchini flowers (hard to find and expensive when you do find) $1 each damn my insatiable organic farming greed! :P $4

$28 worth of gear minus $191 = still $164 in the hole.

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Nice one! :)

No ripe tomatoes as the summer has so far continued wet and humid. Plenty of young fruit.

I have extracted:

3 bunches of shallots ~ $9

2 bunches thyme $4

1 bunch of sage $2

1 parsley $2

1 bunch mint $2

1 bunch vietnamese mint $3 (Hard to get in shops so I'm charging myself a premium) $3

20 fresh bay leaves $2

4 zucchini flowers (hard to find and expensive when you do find) $1 each damn my insatiable organic farming greed! :P $4

$28 worth of gear minus $191 = still $164 in the hole.

Keep in mind that for many of these (unless you are being crazy wild with herbs) you would often buy a bunch of herbs and then only use half of it. So that bunch of sage might actually be $6 for example.

Parsley, spring onions can be excluded from this argument as they keep pretty well.

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Keep in mind that for many of these (unless you are being crazy wild with herbs) you would often buy a bunch of herbs and then only use half of it. So that bunch of sage might actually be $6 for example.

Parsley, spring onions can be excluded from this argument as they keep pretty well.

Yes often half is wasted. :blush: And you go buy more. If you are interested in cooking you need to either grow your own 'erb or be rich.

I'm counting spring onions because they are a zombie plant. You can trim the whites off and replant them. They are the gift which keeps on giving. They keep longer in the garden than the fridge. B)

And as a keen asian food cook I use a lot of them.

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One utter fail is that I seem to have grown a fair amount of railway fennel. It didn't bulb up. It's now four foot high and looks in rude health. Great green fronds of the stuff. Are there two types or is it me?

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One utter fail is that I seem to have grown a fair amount of railway fennel. It didn't bulb up. It's now four foot high and looks in rude health. Great green fronds of the stuff. Are there two types or is it me?

It's two types of fennel.

I hate them both equally, but less opinionated eaters tell me the railway fennel is still good as a bed for fish to be baked or cooked in a foil packet. The tiny new end fronds can apparently be put in a salad, and the old stems used as BBQ seasoning (like woodchips but more flammable), but it will never bulb up.

The nonnas around our place like it a lot, and I occasionally see them coming home from their constitutionals at dusk, clutching handfuls of the stuff.

The bulb fennel is a tender garden plant and needs to be grown in the correct season (winter I think) otherwise it bolts and doesn't produce a proper bulb - that could have happened to yours, perhaps - certainly other plants do bolt around this time of year as the days warm up. But I can't give you any details as I have never grown it.

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Whoop! We have germination! A few more tiny little tomatoes have poked their heads up - so thanks for the 'killing them with kindness' Ruffian. Now I'll just gently nurture them along and hope they survive childhood at least.

Great news! Remember, with tomatoes you grow them up tough.

Treat the seedlings reasonably well so they keep growing, but once they reach flowering size (20-30cm high)cut right back on the food and water to lightly stress them, until you see the first flower buds. After that you can slowly start feeding them more and more.

If you feed them too well right from the start you get a huge healthy plant and no fruit. So, stress them into flowering, and once they are safely on that track then feed them well so they can support a good crop. They benefit from being evenly moist, too, once the induced drought is over.

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Treat the seedlings reasonably well so they keep growing, but once they reach flowering size (20-30cm high)cut right back on the food and water to lightly stress them, until you see the first flower buds. After that you can slowly start feeding them more and more.

Another tip for tomatoes, snip off the shoots between the main stem and branches. It promotes better growth and more energy to the fruits.

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Have just come in from outside, hot and sweaty & slightly pissed off that my back hurt after picking just a kilo of beans (amongst various other chores)... When I was a kid I picked buckets and buckets of the little bastards and suffered nothing worse than a strong aversion to beans. Now I love fresh beans but lordy, next time I get the kids to pick them!

Anyway, tomorrow my contribution to the festive table will be -

- about a kilo of butter beans (like green beans but yellow & sweeter)

- enough cherry tomatoes and leb cucumbers for a big salad

- more zucchini than anyone actually wants to eat (they only seem to have two modes, either over-production or utter failure)

- two kinds of quail eggs for those in a decadent mood - the eggs are small but tasty, and quail are very reliable layers (again get the kids to shell them!)

plus enough spring onions, basil, thyme, chives etc to season everything else.

Pumpkin and corn are on the way but it will be a while before they are ready.

Watermelon are growing like mad but nothing has set yet, ditto eggplants.

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Have just come in from outside, hot and sweaty & slightly pissed off that my back hurt after picking just a kilo of beans (amongst various other chores)... When I was a kid I picked buckets and buckets of the little bastards and suffered nothing worse than a strong aversion to beans. Now I love fresh beans but lordy, next time I get the kids to pick them!

Anyway, tomorrow my contribution to the festive table will be -

- about a kilo of butter beans (like green beans but yellow & sweeter)

- enough cherry tomatoes and leb cucumbers for a big salad

- more zucchini than anyone actually wants to eat (they only seem to have two modes, either over-production or utter failure)

- two kinds of quail eggs for those in a decadent mood - the eggs are small but tasty, and quail are very reliable layers (again get the kids to shell them!)

plus enough spring onions, basil, thyme, chives etc to season everything else.

Pumpkin and corn are on the way but it will be a while before they are ready.

Watermelon are growing like mad but nothing has set yet, ditto eggplants.

Nice haul. Do you grow your own quail?

It's two types of fennel.

Doh! :blush:

Man I spent all day cooking and cleaning. And running around. Next year I'm going to have the week before Xmas off. My feet are sore.

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Nice haul. Do you grow your own quail?

Well we breed them, but grow them?

Not so much, as the kids tame them all, thereby rendering the quail ineligible for dinner. However in theory we certainly could. The big ones (a sub-species of Japanese quail almost the size of bantam, but with the piercing intellect of a turnip) look downright tasty...

Generally we sell them to the aviary trade, and they quite successfully subsidise their own costs and the feed costs of the other birds as well.

Man I spent all day cooking and cleaning. And running around. Next year I'm going to have the week before Xmas off. My feet are sore.

And I thought it was just me... Now add a couple of hours of midnight present wrapping, ensuring each offspring (and in-law) gets a mathematically equal share of whatever may be on offer.

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