Friday, 30 March 2012

Emergency Rosemary Part 2 (and other garden news)

If you've been here before, you may know that my garden is a constant experiment, trial and error.  Here's the progress of my latest experiments, plus a little dumb luck.

Good news!  My emergency rosemary isn't dead.  It's not established yet, either, but I was confident enough to plant it in a permanent pot.
You can read the start of the story of my rosemary here.
Yesterday, my new rosemary plant had its first full day outside.
 I nestled it safely into the loving arms of my tub of pineapple plants, if tubs had arms.
The sun was quite hot, so even shaded, the little peat pot dried out quickly.  I misted the plant with water in the afternoon.
This morning I checked to see how much of the little sprig was still alive.
The bottom half is still very much alive, and it doesn't look like that's changing any time soon, so a quick snip with some sharp scissors and...
Now the whole thing is alive (if you're wondering what those white bits are in the pot, they're egg shell, as the sprig was planted in compost).
I found a nice big pot to plant the rosemary into, as I wanted to sprinkle some pak choy seeds around it and see if they come up.  I chose pak choy as the leaves can be harvested and the roots left undisturbed, so the rosemary won't be disrupted.
A small sprinkle of fertiliser and a good watering in, and now all that's left is more watching and waiting.

Another experiment in my garden is with my sweet potatoes.  They have begun multiplying like mad, although they are, like all my plants, contained in a pot (an old garbage bin, actually).  I pulled up some of the new plants, and, with a very sharp kitchen knife, cut the very end of the tuber and planted the potato top back in the ground with the vine still attached.  I didn't think I should waste time taking pictures of something that needed to get back in the ground, but I took this picture of one of the sweet potatoes I harvested:
 I figure either that vine will die or it won't, much like most of my garden experiments (if you know this will end badly, please don't tell me, I'll get sad).
I moved all the vines over to one side of the pot, added some wonderful new, rich compost, and in the other half or the pot I've sprinkled some lettuce seeds, to see what happens, and also because yay!  Lettuce!

On to sheer dumb luck:
Remember my second lot of surprise potatoes? (If not, I started writing about them here and continued over here.)  It turns out the thing that grew up in the pot is a potato plant after all!  I took its picture for you.  It has a mild case of 28 spot ladybug, but is otherwise healthy.
And finally, plants that seemed to have really liked all this rain, onion family plants.  My spring onions have multiplied out of sight, and some of them have grown far beyond normal size.  I took this picture to show you a size comparison between the spring onions I normally grow, and one of the large ones.

 That's the toe of my spotty gumboots at the bottom of the frame there.  I was going to crop it out, but I decided I like it.

I think that's all I had to share today.  I'll probably think of something else after I hit publish...

Lots of love in all you do,
Cassandra Louise

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Emergency Rosemary

My rosemary plant is (from memory) seven years old.  It's contained in a pot, so it doesn't have much spread, but it often stands well over a metre tall.  My rosemary plant isn't liking all this rain too much, but it is nowhere near dead.  The plant has become a bit sparse and spindly, but that's nothing a good pruning won't fix.  Rosemary, like most plants, should be cut at an angle, as a "flat" cut stem usually won't resprout.  If a stem is growing in the wrong spot, that's when you would cut it straight across.
I ended up taking off these dry, woody stems.
Even though these stems are dead, they still have a wonderful rosemary fragrance.  I'm hoping I'll be able to use them for something arty or crafty later on, as I know from past experience that smell is not going to go away any time soon.

After I pruned away all the sad, dead parts, I thought it would probably be a good idea to sprout a second rosemary plant, for when I need rosemary but the plants are weather affected or otherwise sparse.
I was in luck, as there was more than one lovely green shoot on my rosemary plant.  You should never take the only greenery off a plant.  I'm honestly not clear as to why, I just know it's not good for them.  I took this little cutting, again, cut at an angle.
I planned to shoot my new rosemary plant in a peat pot, and set about gathering supplies.  I filled the peat pot with fresh ready compost from my own bin, but seed raising mix or any fine potting mix would be fine.  In my pile of reusable things (every gardener should have one) I found an ice cream container lid, perfect for sitting the little pot on.
I dipped the cut end of the rosemary sprig in honey, which is high in nutrients and will encourage good root formation.  The tiniest blob is enough.
And firmly stuck the sprig into the soil.
I gave it a good watering (it hasn't been flooded like the parent plant) and now I shall wait.  I will give it a second watering tonight with a seaweed solution.  I'll know if the shoot has sprouted very simply: in a week, it won't be dead.
Not every cutting takes, and even cuttings that do take root sometimes die when moved out to the garden.  I minimise risk to my cuttings by:
  • using peat pots, which can be planted directly to the spot where the plant will grow, eliminating transplant shock
  • keeping the soil damp but not saturated until the cutting is established
  • transitioning the cutting to outside slowly, a few hours a day at first, to eliminate climate shock
All very simple, really.  I'll let you know how my emergency rosemary gets along.

Lots of love to you,
Cassandra Louise

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday Selections- Mist Edition

Today I am linking up with Kim from Frog Ponds Rock for Sunday Selections, to share some photographs that would otherwise be locked away in my camera for all time.
I love mist and fog.  Love them.  Not all the time, but early on a Summer morning, when the air is thin and moist, when there's a soft white glow that seems to creep in on silent feet, and sneak away just as silently and suddenly.  I usually try to take photographs of Summer mist.  I feel it deserves pictures, as the conditions have to be just right for mist to be born.  These pictures were taken of the horse paddocks near my home, at about 4:30am Queensland time, in late January or early February (not exactly sure when, but that's not the important part).
 This top picture was taken as I eagerly ran down the stairs, making sure I got at least one shot of it before it ran away.
At the bottom or the stairs, and no longer running, I took this one.

Having crossed the road, this was taken standing at the fence.
Running to the corner of the paddock to catch a shot of the mist through the trees.
The not-running version of the trees.
Closer to the river.
Newly planted trees by the river.
Horse paddock fence and frost on the ground.  This is the only picture taken with a flash.
Morning dew in a broken spider web, as close as I could get.

As I ran about, crossing two rocky, empty "country" roads, I realised my feet were very cold, and wondered why.  it was then I spied my own wet footprints on the road and realised...
In my excitement, I'd forgotten shoes.
Then I looked at my cold, wet feet, and never mind the state of them!

I hope you enjoy these pictures of my misty Summer morning.  I really did enjoy taking them.

Signed with love,
Cassandra Louise.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Thankful Thursday- Quite enough rain!

Today I am linking up with Thankful Thursday at Kate Says Stuff because even though I've been a bit down lately, I have a lot to be thankful for, and I need to remind myself of that.
This is essentially a post about seeing the good that comes with the bad, even when they hit at the same time.
So at the moment, my garden is a little damp.
(yes, those are my pyjama pants)
I was so happy when it started to rain, as my garden had been getting very dry in the heat, I wasn't able to keep water up to it.  I watched a few of my plants wither and die, I watched a few wither and was able to bring them back, which is always a good feeling.
Then the rain set in.
It started pouring.
It didn't stop.
I became very worried about my garden, and this morning went out to survey the damage.  The first few things I saw made me feel very sad.
This tub had held five newly-sprouted bean plants, from heirloom beans which had been a gift from a friend.  I have more I can plant, but for now I'm sad for those I have lost, and that's ok.
My strawberry plant.  This is all that remains.  This plant was three years old, and had never been flooded like that in its life.  This season was my first major crop of strawberries (you may know, a strawberry plant makes more fruit than last season every year)
Thyme.  It wasn't the rain that killed it exactly, it was going from so dry to so wet very quickly.  Thyme is very hardy.

Then I went into the main part of my garden, where I saw this:
At first what I really noticed was my "miniature garden" in the pink tub was completely wiped out, save for the chives, which I'm not sure you can kill even if you try, but then I noticed not only is my basil alive, but it's in flower!
This basil self-seeded from plants that grew from seeds I got from a discount bin for 15 cents.

And my favourite post-deluge find of all?  This:
One of my purple king bean plants which I thought was dead from the heat, obviously not!  Brought back from the brink by wonderful, life-giving rain.

So today I am thankful for my garden, I am thankful for the plants that have survived (roughly half, many more than are seen here), and I'm thankful for the rain, but I think we've had quite enough for a little while!

What do you choose to be thankful for?

Lots of love,
Cassandra Louise.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A little plug for people who aren't me (and me a bit)

Just a short post today, because I've gotten myself all excited about something and I need to share it.
A few days ago I was doing some blog-hopping, and, following a link to a link to a link, I happened upon A Fresh Legacy.  I loved what I was reading and found a lot of good ideas.  Continuing to blog-hop, I scrolled down to see what was in the sidebar and found a button that leads to Sustainable Suburbia wonderful linky list.
Now, I'm not trying to paint a picture of God, but I'm pretty sure that's what Heaven looks like.  Yes, Heaven is a list of eco-blogs, except with more ponies.
I've added the Sustainable Suburbia blog list button to my own sidebar.  It's certainly worth taking the time to have a look through, you never know what you might learn or whom you may meet.

Lots of love in all you do,
Cassandra Louise.