Thursday, 11 May 2017

Ornamental Gourds

Cold nights have arrived at Yackandandah Community Garden. That means the end of all the frost tender summer growing crops, including our ornamental gourds.




Many visitors have marvelled at the arch over the path into the garden as these have grown, flowered and developed fruit but the leaves are now showing signs of the cold so it is time to harvest the fruit and remove the vines so we can use this area for another crop.




Our mature gourds will be put aside to dry then they can be used in many different ways.


There are plenty of ways you can condition your gourds.
The simplest, if you have space, is to cut the stems and stack the fruit in a shed, under cover, while they slowly dry out.


If you have limited space try tying them on a string and hanging vertically.


For those with plenty of garden space you can even leave them on the vines and they will dry out a bit slower over winter.


As the gourds dry they develop mould on the surface. This is quite normal so don't throw them out at this stage. In fact, it leaves the gourds with an attractive, mottled pattern on the outside of the shell.
You'll probably find that the skin on some of the less developed gourds will be paper thin and won't be much use. Best to just keep the fully mature ones.
It will take several months for the gourds to dry fully. They are ready when the seeds inside rattle when you shake the gourds.
After that you can let your creativity run riot to produce all manner of interesting, useful or artistic things from the shells.


Just make sure you keep some seeds so you can grow another crop next season.




Neil

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Sweet potatoes

Yackandandah Community garden has had the first frosts for 2017 this week. That means the sweet potatoes have now stopped growing and it is time to find out what we've grown this year. At today's Garden Gathering we pulled up the vines and dug up the tubers. We noticed that the ones that were put in late had much smaller tubers so it looks like it is important to get these growing early and into the garden as soon as possible in spring if you want to get good yields. Everyone took home cuttings of the 3 different sweet potatoes to grow some plants for next year. You can grow sweet potato plants several different ways but we've had good results from cuttings which are very easy to do.






Just take a piece of stem
and cut into sections with 4-8 nodes (nodes are where the leaves grow,
cut off the lower leaves
and put the pieces into a jar of water.


































If you are lucky you might even find a stem where roots have already started to grow. You can pop these into a jar of water or into potting mix.

Keep your cuttings inside where it is warm and keep topping up the water as it evaporates. You may need to change the water every now and again if it starts to go green.


The cuttings should produce roots in the water and will grow slowly through winter. When the ground has warmed up in spring your new sweet potato plants will be ready to plant into the garden.



Sunday, 9 April 2017

Garden Gathering - April 8th 2017


Hi gardeners,
4 hardy helpers attended Saturday's Garden gathering this week.




We planted lots of winter seedlings - spinach,
















 and silver beet, both in the lower level of bed 1.














Broccoli, cabbage and khol rabi in the top level of bed 3 (which Vicki and Lee-Anne topped up with topsoil during the week - thank you both. That bed should retain moisture much better next summer and was much easier to plant into)






















Purple broccoli went into the top level of bed 6




























and the lower level of bed 4 is now planted out with onion seedlings which means we should have a very productive garden right through winter.














Yackandandah Community Garden is still producing good crops. The tomatoes have slowed down but you can still pick beans from the arch as well as edible pod peas and leafy greens in bed 5.
The carrots in that bed are not quite ready to pick yet so please leave those for another month or 2.







The sweet corn in bed 1 is now ready to eat so please drop in and pick a couple for dinner. Just look at all those plump, sweet corn kernals.




I don't think many people have noticed the lemon cucumbers growing in the wicking bed behind the fig tree. Take a look if you like cucumbers - there's lots ready to eat or pickle.






Our sweet potatoes in bed 2 are still growing so fingers crossed the tubers are also growing under the ground. These can be grown from cuttings. You're welcome to cut some pieces and root them in a jar of water on a warm window sill. Keep them inside your home in the water all winter and plant out only when the frost is finished in spring.


Neil

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Easter Weekend Workshop

If you're planning to stay local this Easter and are looking for something to do, we are running a Seed Saving workshop on Easter Saturday following our monthly produce swap.
The produce swap will kick off at 9.30am, and the workshop at 10.30am.

You'll learn when to harvest seed, how to store it and other seedy subjects.
If you'd like more details you can email us yackandandahcg@gmail.com OR phone Neil PH 02 6027 1557



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Passata making Workshop Saturday


There is nothing like being involved in processing bucket loads of fruit or veg for preserving, its the joy of summers abundance.
 And its not just imagining the wonderful meals that are will be prepared during the winter months when things are slow in the garden, but its also the social aspect, the team work, the conversation, its a celebration.
This Saturday is our Passata making workshop with Marty O'Sullivan. There are still some places left so if your interested please send us an email to book in.
 
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