Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose
Photo: Journey Worker Productions, CC SA 3.0 (C)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Broad beans

I put in broad beans for the first time, after taking the advice that those are what people do over winter, they are nitrogen fixers etc. And I wanted something low maintenance that wouldn´t require picking or maintenance while I was away.

So I planted them in May and left them. And they did not seem to produce any seed pods, until the last few weeks. I had thought them a failure, as they are about half the size of other broad beans plants around here.

But they have been in a state of bloom for a few months, but seemed not to be doing anything.

And now they seem to be budding and fruiting.

So I thought I would take some pictures:

The point is that they start really small and grow from the ground up. It is not like sweet peas at all in that it isnt anywhere near as obvious. This is an example of one that is mabye 70% grown, but quite stumpy:

And the same pod, with other higher pods in the picture so the variable states of development are recognisable:

So with a bit of patience, they should be ready probably at the start of November, which is roughly what the guides say (harvest through November).

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Foggy morning

A thick fog blanket was hanging over Melbourne when I woke up at 5.30AM or so.

Wonderous peals of fog, bounding within and upon one another to make an inscrutable mist.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Soil Erosion link

In recent weeks, I've been burning the candle at both ends, compulsively (but not always productively) researching and doing various admin tasks and projects at work. My conscience actually let up today, when I was riding into work, and thought Id stop and pick up some veggies at the local enroute, and there was a full table of prima half price produce. (I cannot fathom the discounting policy at this particular organic place; it seems either slowly suicidal to the enterprise or people´s tastes in the area really are so perfectionist that that discounting is what they have to do or it does make sense at the margings - I do not want to believe either alternative but...).

Multiple broccolis, parsnips, a cauliflower, some youngish toscana kale leaves and a few other odds and sods - a basketfull for 18 dollars.

So I turned around, and spent a few hours cooking soups and things and reading the new Quarterly Essay on Bill Shorten. The essay was well enough written, and actually pretty ho hum, but enjoyable to read something weighter than a newspaper or a webpage that wasn´t work.

I came across this which is a March 2015 Monbiot column. 60 harvests left because of depletion of soil and soil erosion! Knuckle-biting!

This is what this post was meant to be about.

I will do something more on how the spring replanting of the garden is going very soon. I did some clearing and planting on the sunny weekend of 18/19 Sept 2015, but have now retreated inside, faced with 13 deg again.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

And another winter thing...

Over winter I had occasion to make pea and ham soups, but on one day found that I had bought a hock too large to fit in the pot once I got it home. But then I realised I had a solution at hand - a cutting blade I had bought at the heritage tool sale. It is an old surgical blade that has become worn out and useless. It is probably 50-70 years old, but still in fine condition.

It really did cut through the bone in about 5 strokes, or 10 seconds. What a well-made tool, and a good second life for a retired medical instrument! (and yes, I sterilised it by steaming and by torching the blade when I bought it. There´s a small liability of surviving prions or something, but frankly thats enough risk mitigation for someone whose allocation of health-risk-mitigation in the rest of his life is a bit average - e.g. only exercises doing practical things like cycling to work and gardening, and who loves junk food. Proportion, people!). The knife was among a few $2 usefuls I also got at the sale.

Garden update - what happened in winter 2015

This is more of an update post. I went away from late May to late June, and returned to a garden that had some good breadbeans in it, lots of edible weeds and a bit  of nettles. But slowly I have been eating through a bit of it, but otherwise waiting for the turn of spring.

That seems to have happened. The rocket and the celeriac have bloomed, as have various daikons that have popped up.

So here´s a few snaps. It shows you a well planned garden can endure about 3 or four months of winter negligence and still be ok.

First of all, I spent the winter working and sitting in front of fires staying warm. Not much gardening:

While it rained and rained outside...

On the night I returned from my travels in late June, I came home to some very healthy Kale at 2am:

And a potato plant that had appeared and bloomed out of nowhere:

By a long shot the most successful plant was the celeriac, although the actual bulbs were quite poor, they were quite hardy and grew through winter:

Lots of weed soups, and one (only one, because there weren´t enough for more) nettle soups:

And then, about a week ago, the bees seemed to have come back - !!

There were enough flowers, with rocket, celeriac, and broad bean flowers for them to eat:

I have cleared out some patches ready to plant in late-ish September, but am really doing it in bit and pieces. The thing Im trying to figure out is what has happened to the broad beans, why havent they produced any pods yet? I have grown them mostly to try and fix the soil, and as a no-care winter thing that can grow without maintenance. Will post pics soon.