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.