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I have a little garden in Rozelle about 5km from the centre of Sydney. I love to grow as much organic food as I can in a tiny space. The garden calms and excites me, and is a wonderful little green space in a big city. This blog is a record plotting the changes over seasons and years.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Flower power

Mostly growing edibles means that I sometimes forget how wonderful flowers are. They attract bees and other insects, and most of all are lovely. This afternoon I wandered around my tiny patch and took a few photos of the flowers I have growing. Nothing you will see here will be incredible or unusual....just pretty little patches amongst my edibles. I am keen to add more bee attracting flowers, and am very open to ideas.
Eggplant

Not sure - does anyone know what this is?

Cucumber

Lavender. I've tried to add a few lavender plants as they are great bee attracting flowers.
Macadamia flowers - first time the tree has flowered!

Kale flowers

Kale....just about to flower

My favourite - a new addition. Chocolate cosmos. I hope that it does well because it is so beautiful.

African Marigolds. I don't adore these to be honest, but they self seeded and are adding a bright patch to an otherwise dull part of the garden bed.


This Star Jasmine was just uncovered when I removed the rosemary hedge. It had survived for years amongst the overgrown, woody shrubs. Although it is quite common, I love it.

Lemon Thyme flowers. Look pretty and taste great.

African Daisy

Alyssum

My favourite type of Nasturtium

The Cosmos (again)

First tomato flower of the season

Garlic chives

The surprisingly lovely flower of Thai Basil

Thursday, October 16, 2014

8 shade tolerant veggies, and a few tips

I did a post a couple of years ago about shade tolerant veggies, but this included a huge list of possibilities. Since that time, I have experimented a lot and read up a bit more. Trial and error is always a big part of gardening and I have had plenty of failures and a few successes.

My 8 veggie successes in semi-shade have been:

1. beetroot
2. potatoes
3. silverbeet
4. lettuce & rocket
5. spring onions
6. leeks
7. lemongrass
8. kale

TIPS

* Shade really means 2 hrs of sun a day
 When everyone talks about shade tolerant edibles, they aren't really talking about complete shade. These vegetables all need either: (a) at least 2 hrs of direct sun a day OR (b) dappled sun for most the the day. They are unlikely to grow in dense shade, although I'd love to hear about anyone who has managed this!

* Plant seedlings rather than seeds
Either plant in warmer weather or start from seedlings. I have not had success growing any of these veggies in my shady spots if I direct plant seeds in the cooler months. The soil just doesn't get warm enough to germinate the seeds. I plant decent sized seedlings (any time of year) that I have either raised in a warm spot or purchased from the nursery. The exceptions are of course, potatoes.

* Make sure the soils is perfect
In my shadier spots, I try to pay closer attention to good soil. These areas get copious amounts of my best compost, worm castings and liquid feeds at least fortnightly. I also tend to do a pH test on these areas before planting and adjust accordinly. My reasoning is that since they don't have ideal light/sun conditions, everything else needs to be ideal. Since I have been doing this, I have had far more success in the shady spots.

* Don't over-water
I think I have killed a few plants by being so concerned that they needed special care because of their dodgy position in the garden, that they died of root rot. I am a bit more aware now of feeling the soil and only watering when it feels a bit dry.