**We ate our first spuds last night!! I thought I had enough potatoes to make potato salad yesterday, and then when I went to the bag there were only two little ones left. So I trotted on outside and squeezed between the Zucchinis and the Josterberry tree (I am covered in scratches now. Mental Note: Move potato patch) and uncovered the neglected potato patch. I had planted a while back, but over the summer, I have only watered it a couple of times due to lack of water. Well the patch was still damp due to the fact that it is a raised bed made entirely of compost and straw. The potatoes had turned most of it (except for the very top layer) into delicious black dirt. Inside I found LOADS of tiny little marble sized potatoes, but as I dug deeper, I found half a dozen big spuds! They were GLORIOUS! I am just upset now that I used them in potato salad. I wish now I had just steamed them in their skins and lightly salted them so I could appreciate their flavour all by themselves. After peeling them, I threw the skins back onto the patch in hope that they will prout and produce more spuds.
My MIL advised me that potatoes can only be eaten after being left to dry in the sun for a couple of days. I have also been told potatoes are poisonous unless they are picked after the flowers on the plant die back. Both are gardening urban legends. Potatoes do not have to be havested all at once either. Bandicooting a potato patch involves layering the potatoes on either compost, mulch or dirt (or a combination of all three) and covering them over. As the potatoes start to grow, you then add another layer of seed potatoes and and another layer of mulch etc on top. You keep going until you run out of seed potatoes. This is also a good way to start poatoes early without the frost killing them as you are constantly covering the new growth. When potatoes are needed, you simply scrounge around in the pile until the poatoes are found and take only as many as you need. This way, a smaller patch is needed for the same amount of potatoes.
**Well it's Autumn now. Not because the calender says so, but because I went nuts in the garden this weekend. I am now desperately looking for Autumn leaves on the trees, but to no avail. I have noticed some trees covered entirely in yellow leaves, but I fear this is lack of water rather than autumn leaves So what did I get up to in the garden? Well, I weeded a LOT!! In the process I accidently pulled up my one and only Borlotti bean, complete with a bean, they are so pretty with their white and pink speckled skins. I planted it back in amongst the corn and hoped for the best. My Scarlet Runner beans are FINALLY starting to form beans, with all the heat they had been forming flowers but then dropping them before they set fruit. I have a couple of beans so far, but not enough for a meal yet. I pulled up a row of corn after my hubby tried one in eager anticipation - they had not been watered enough (or perhaps it was lack of pollination) and only half the kernels had formed, the rest tasted chalky. I laid the entire plants down in the bottom vegie garden - perhaps some kernels will sprout next year? If not, they may be tough enough to keep the couch back - yes I am desperate enough to try anything against the bloody couch grass ;-p I placed a polystyrene box against a chicken wire fence which had my one and only Luffa plant in it. I am hoping the box will insulate the plant for long enough for it to produce Luffas.
My daughter watched a show called 'Gardening with Madi' on Nick Jnr yesterday and insisted on planting seeds from a packet today. This is all good and well, except with all the seed saving going on, finding some seeds in a 'packet' was pretty tough going. I finally found some Sugarsnap Peas and she happily planted them - hopefully they sprout now as they were quite a bit out of their use-by-date
Yesterday I saw my first real Autumn leaves while walking my daughter to Ballet. I was so excited! YAY! Finally we might get some rain!
Anyway, after Ballet I got into the garden and did the following:
*Planted a Bay Tree along the fence that has the block of units along it. Bay Trees can grow up to 10 metres tall, so eventually we won't have the neighbours looking into our yard all the time (although sometimes that's a good thing :-p )
*Planted a Rose Apple next to my Tamarillo
*Moved the Moon and Stars Watermelon from the West side of the house to the North side where it can happily grown into my hothouse and (maybe) keep producing - well we might get our first watermelon with any luck
*Potted up the Luffa from the polystyrene box box and moved it into the hot house
*Broadcast chook grain around the Nectarine tree and covered with sugarcane mulch. I tried to add extra wheat and lupin seeds (since it's their growing time), but Bob the hen kept jumping up onto my knee and pinching the grain as I was seperating it
*Pruned the Hazelnuts - I'm not sure if they made it through the heat, but hopefully they reshoot over winter
*Picked all the flowering mustard from the bottom garden and fed it to the chooks - they LOVE it!
*Discovered some of my tomatoes have black marks all over them - I don't know what it is, so I picked the marked ones and threw them also to the chooks
Today we also went to the market. We came home with an Imperial Mandarin, a Tangelo Minneola and a variety of purple eating grapes. Yummo!