Saturday, December 25, 2010

I See Blue

My Russell Lupins are flowering at the moment and from my Pink flowered plants I have a ring-in with soft Blue flowers, not that I mind though as it is a change to having about 4 shades of Pink.

Here is a Pink and a Blue flower.

Tall Tomato Plants This Season

With the milder wetter Spring and Summer to date, my tomato plants have grown so big, they are 10cm (4") from the roof of my bird net enclosure which is 2.4m (8ft) high. On a couple of the plants, I have fitted blossom bags that are 2.1m (7ft) off the ground.

One of the main culprits is Rosado de ademuz.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Zucchini's This Year

Here's the Zucchini varieties we're growing this season. Black Jack, Genovese & Gold Bullion. The Gold Bullion are a prolific producer of fruits, with as many as 30+ showing on the bush at one time, in different stages of maturity.

"Hotlips" or Rocoto Tree Chilli

I met a fellow stall holder at a Market last week and he was telling me about his "Hotlips" or Rocoto Tree Chilli that he has growing and loaded with fruit all year, so I needed some tubes from him, so visited him this morning. This is an amazing plant, it grows through a Melbourne Winter and is currently loaded in flowers and fruit in all sizes to almost fully ripe. The plant in the photos is approx 1.5 x 1.5m and doing well in wet clay soil, but can grow up to 3.0m high.

I came home with two tiny seedlings that I'll grow in pots for a while to get some size. I can see these will be a good seller in the future. Without even tasting them I could tell they were very hot, as when I was rinsing the seeds, I could feel my throat burning from the fumes coming from the seeds.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Peas

We over planted our Snow Peas this season, so one lot have been left to mature on the bushes/vines for seed for next year.This variety is Mammoth, which will hopefully fill out and give us plenty of seed.

Why not come visit.

Interested in gardening and want to see how we do it here in Australia, then why not come for a visit -

Bagging Tomato Blossoms

Anyone that knows me, will also know that I am committed to saving the purest tomato seeds that I possibly can, as I hate growing a plant for 6 months only to find it is from 'crossed' seed.

I'm re-posting this useful topic from my Garden Forum, ( so that it is available to all who read my Blog who grow Tomatoes or Chillies, as it is suitable for both.

As an aid to the new growers who want to collect their own tomato seed, I'll try and give a brief run down on how I bag my tomato blossom to get the 'pure' fruit for seed saving, as doing it and writing about doing is not easy to explain in full. Assuming you have already got the organza bags, ribbon and tomato plants that are starting to flower, you're ready to start.

Working close to your plant, it is best to select the flower truss you want to fit the bag to.

Taking your marking ribbon, tie a running loop so it can be fitted to the stem of the truss. If you take each end of the ribbon, cross over and pass through 'twice', like the first part of doing a bow (as photo). Then slip over the truss and pull the ends until a loose fit on the stem. The idea with the running loop is, that when pulled to a loose fit around the stem, as the truss enlarges, the loop will slip open without strangling the truss and not come undone in the long process.

Take your organza bag and fold the top part back, so that everything above the pull string is back over the bag, this will give you a better fit on the stem when the bag is fitted.

Now the tricky part of the bagging process, to fit the bag over the unopened flowers, so that the bag fits onto the stem and the flowers are actually inside that part of the bag when the strings get pulled. Once the bag is pulled tight, grab each side of the bag and pull apart to give a more open area within the bag.

Now it's just a waiting game for the flower to set fruit, which will be noticeable when small tomatoes start forming inside the bag. When all the flowers have fruit, remove the bag. Here's a bag with fruit showing on some of the flower stems. Hopefully from your bag you'll get quite a few fruit to use for your seed. Just remember when the time comes that the fruit with the ribbon are the ones you are saving for seed.

After the bag comes off your truss should look similar to this.

Washing Instructions.

Remember if reusing the bags, that they actually hold quite a lot of pollen in the fibres and need to be washed to remove it. A tip for washing your bags is to use some Nappy San in a half bucket of warm/hot water, then add a squirt of Domestos to the water and it will assist with the Pollen release from the Organza. Don't soak the bags with any bleach as it will make them deteriorate. Rinse well then hang to dry.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Striving for Purer Seed

In an effort to collect a purer strain of seed from my Chillies this season, I've decided to glue rather than bag flowers, to stop them getting cross pollinated. The idea is that using a PVA Glue will actually hold the flower petals together allowing self pollination to occur, before the new emerging fruit splits the flower as it grows, making the seeds as pure as they'd be if a bag was tied over it.

Today I put the idea to practice and glued some flowers on my Rocoto Jaune Chilli plant.

For the sake of this experiment, I'm using a PVA Craft Glue.

Ready to dip.

Just dipped.

Glue now dry.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Flower

As a follow up to my previous post on Russell Lupins, here is my first flower from those planted in the garden.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New from Old

Have you been saving your laterals from your tomato plants??

This is a very simple way to increase the amount of tomato plants you grow in your garden, with very minimal effort, but the reward is huge.

You may ask if this is the same as taking a cutting from a shrub, the answer is yes, all you need do is to cut the lateral with a knife, lessen the head growth a little, then plant it. I prefer to grow in soil rather than potting mix and usually find somewhere where the sun won't stress it too much. You can use a hormone powder to treat it, but it will work without just as well. A cutting of about 150mm long is ideal, then use a stick or similar to make a hole, then plant and water - then wait.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sowing Seeds - Flowers would you believe.

Well, I've bitten the bullet this season and completely moved away from propagating cuttings and have now taken up 'trying' to grow flowers from seed instead. It's a bit early to say one way or another, but I do have a few things to show for my time to date. First up I grew Russell Lupins, which are doing really well for me at the moment.

Then came seeds for the likes of the Snapdragons, Petunia's, Alyssum, Carnation, Cosmos, Lavatera, Nasturtium's, Gazania's, Marigolds etc, etc. some bought and some given to me by my sister in law Pam. Then I've ordered three special lots of pelleted forms of Petunia seeds, so I can see another sowing as soon as the parcel arrives from Sydney.

In The Garden After The Rain

We've had 40mm of lovely rain here over the weekend and the garden is looking a treat at the moment, so I thought I'd post a few photo's of what's growing at the moment.

Bounty Peas

Peas in their pods.

Coloured Silverbeet

Miel du Mexique Tomato (Honey of Mexico)

Tomato plants in the garden.

Bathtub Strawberries.

Jostaberry plants in pots.

Parsnip & Carrots

Baby Beetroot.

Black Jack Zucchini.

Jostaberry bush.

Last but not least, here is one for my Canadian and UK friends, Kirsti & Leslie as these are my Burnside's Yellow Romeo
and Japanese Onion Tomato plants.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bush Beans & Snow Peas

I've finally got something to show from my bush bean seeds that I planted 'ages' ago, but maybe it was too cold for them, or as I've been told 'too deep'. Either way most of the row has germinated and should now grow like they should.

Close by is a row of Snow Peas which are just starting to hold the trellis with their tendrils.

Left Overs

Some left over plants from my stall at the Sunday Market. These are mostly Tomato and Sweet Peppers....

Planting Started

I planted a few tomato plants in the garden yesterday and just to be different I planted two plants per hole on some of the rarer European varieties, like this one from Spain.

Merciano Amarillo

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Single Seed

Amongst the tomato seeds this year, was a single seed for a tomato variety with the name Malakhitovaya Shkatulka which was sent to me from Scotland, which I managed to germinate successfully and actually planted it in the ground today (4/10).

The start of a new growing season

We'll, lots have been happening here in the past few months with me and not the garden, so I have neglected to update the blog, so now for some catch up. July 28 saw the tomato seeds sown, which include plants for my October Sale.

Here's a couple of photos of some that were germinated.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chillies almost Done

I've almost pricked out and potted up the 300+ Chilli seedlings I'm growing this season. They'll manage another week or so in the hothouse before taking residence in the Cold Frames as the Tomato seedlings are a little over a week away from being pricked out and will take the place of the Chillies.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Four (4) days to go before I sow my tomato seeds for the season. I can hardly wait. :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010


I lost several Eggplant seedlings last night and could find no sign of the culprit, so decided to check again tonight and found this snail on the tray next to the Eggplants. A small snail with a big appetite - until tonight.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Sight for Sore Eyes

The start of another season and it's always nice to see the new seedlings emerge in the seed trays, like those in the photo below. These are mostly sweet Peppers and Capsicums, with a few Long Cayenne Chillies amongst them. This is one of four trays in use this season, the rest are mainly hotter varieties.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eggplants and Chillies 2010

Well I'm off and running with my Chillies/Capsicum/Eggplants as I've sowed the seed for my Sale stock, with the following varieties done.

Thailand White
Chinese Pickling
Striped Toga
Listada de Gandia

Californian Wonder Capsicum
Ariane Hybrid Capsicum
Turkish Cappia Pepper
Long Cayenne Chilli
Corno di Toro
Jimmy Nardello Pepper
Giant Aconcagua
Gogosari Pepper
Red Romanian Chilli
Little Red Devil Chilli
Pepperone Cayenna
Green Ball Chilli
Thai Birdseye Chilli
Aji Amarillo Chilli
Takanotsume Chilli
Gindungo Cahombo

Today, I have my first baby, lets hope the rest aren't far behind..

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Seed Saving - Vittoria Eggplant/Aubergine

Well, third time lucky and my 'Vittoria' Eggplants have given me mature seeds. I left the fruit on the plant until the snails decided they were tasty before seed saving.

After posting the above, I happened on an article on how to save seeds from Eggplants/Aubergines, making the task easier, so I went and tried it on another Eggplant. The result is the lot of seeds on the right, using the new method. This method uses a large container of water and after cutting the fruit into chunks, simply sift through the flesh with your fingers and extract the seeds while immersed in the water, so simple I could hardly believe it. Just a matter of getting the seeds from the bottom of the container and onto a filter paper to dry.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

At Last - An Un-named Variety Ripens

Here's some Peppers from seven tiny seedlings I had given to me after Xmas last year. They are very mild on the end, but can get hot towards the seed end and come in the oddest array of shapes and sizes. I haven't been able to name them yet.

Edit** - I've been asked to explain the ribbons on some of the above fruit. The ribbon denotes a flower blossom that was bagged for seed saving purposes giving fruit with 'pure' seeds.