**Well everyone has been sick at our place, finally though we are all over our illnesses. Today I got stuck into the garden, I have been that sick for the last week that I did nothing but lay on the couch and read and look out the window, so I had been planning my return to the garden in great detail
This is the list of things I did today:
*Dug hole and plant my purple eating grape. I planted this quite close to my green grape to cover up our fence.
*Pulled up dead tomato plants and pruned back those that are still alive. The Aunty Ruby Green tomatoes seem to be surviving the best now that it has cooled down. Most of the Amish Paste tomatoes are nearly dead. I planted Snowpeas in their place
*Mulched where needed - until I ran out of sugarcane mulch
*Pulled up any mustard that was flowering to place down over the snowpea seeds I planted. Green garden matter is high in nitrogen and peas LOVE nitrogen.
*Planted out some herbs I got as a Christmas present into the herb garden. My sage plant didn't make it, but I planted out parsley, 2 types of basil, garlic chives, rosemary and thyme.
*Planted my chilli plant. I picked this up when Bi-Lo was closing down, it had been reduced from $12.99 to $4.00. I planted it in the herb garden as there is still a lot of dark leaf matter from last Autumn and dark mulch is warmer than light mulch. Chillis and Capsicums will survive Winters in Melbourne, they just don't look like they do. The frost will knock off all the leaves, but come Spring it should resprout.
*Planted a blueberry in with my pineapple as well as planting another pineapple top as well. *Moved the Moon and Stars watermelon next to the hothouse (still on the North facing wall) and covered it with my umbrella hothouse. I'm not too sure if it will make it, ditto the Blacktail Mountain watermelon I surrounded with plastic (at the base of the plant) and dark mulch. *Cleaned out the hothouse in preperation for winter seedlings
On top of all this I noticed that the potatoes are starting to re-grow finally after the chickens had got in and dug them all up. Now the frost will knock them back until Spring. Speaking of Frost, I thought I smelt the first frost of the season the other night, but I was mistaken, I don't think it will be long away though, the nights are getting so cool so quickly now.
At 3.30am last night the chooks woke us up, I raced out there and low and behold something ran away. My cat stayed out to supervise. At 4.40am, they woke me again, I rushed out to find my cat not chasing away what ever was going up over the fence. We're not sure if it was a fox (can they jump fences??) or a cat. Tonight we will wheel the lawnmower up against the coop as extra protection.
We have been eating Scarlet Runner beans for the last couple of weeks now. I had read that you could eat them both like french beans and as shelling beans. No one told me though that if you eat them whole, the outside remains furry even after cooking! They still taste nice though, and it hasn't detered the littlies from eating them! I found some dry pods on the vines and shelled them for seed for next year, the beans start off as pink and black and then dry to purple and black. Eventually I imagine they will end up as a rusty red and black bean like the ones I planted in Spring.
Today I attemped for the first time to save tomato seeds.
This what I did:
*Cut the tops off my Amish Paste tomatoes. Cut in half down the middle and then cut out the harder bit in the middle to expost the seeds
*Scooped out seeds into a sieve and let drin for half and hour or so
*Rinsed seeds and put into a cup with some water to fement off the remaining tomato pulp - this should take a day or two...hopefully...
I totally forgot about these seeds fermenting on the windowsill. They got left there for over a week! They had fermented beautifully though and I was able to pour off the water and what little was left of the pulp. I placed the seeds on paper towel to dry expecting them to stick fast. They didn't though and they easily scraped off and are now snug away in an envelope waiting for Spring
The seed planting bug has hit me!
Today I planted out the following into the hothouse:
20 Pak Choi
20 Sugarsnap Peas
Lots of Hollyhock, Canterbury Bells and Aquilegia (These my daughter insisted on planting, so I'm not really sure how much went where )
We were given a homegrown pumpkin (Kent I think) and today I made pumpkin soup from it. It was so large that I spent the day simmering it down so I could fit more of it in the pot (Mental Note: I really, REALLY need a bigger cooking pot), not to mention the two bacon bones and three giant leeks I also added. In true me-style, when scooping out the seed from the pumpkin, I just had to save a handful. Some of the seeds sound hollow though, so I suspect I will not get a good germination rate next Spring.
One of our chooks was killed last night. Another one was nearly killed. Both had been sneaking under the coop to sleep of a night time, and once they are under there, it's impossible to get them out again. I was awoken in the middle of the night to White Milo clucking madly at something. I go tearing out there to find her standing in the middle of the yard freaking out. I go up to her to catch her and she streaks off like a mad thing across the yard. I start calling to her and she freezes then and lets me pick her up. I pop her safely back into the coop for the night. In the morning I found Oranges feathers and realised that she had been taken. I was so upset as she was our only 'homegrown' hen from the rooster we had and she was so lovely. I couldn't believe how many MORE feathers of White Milos were everywhere though. I have no idea how she survived as it appears she was dragged right across the yard before she escaped!