For the past couple of years I've attempted to start my own seeds rather than purchase partially grown seedlings. This has been met with varying successes, but as with any gardening endeavours it's about being thankful for your successes & learning from your mistakes. I've often wondered why I can't have the large seedlings I so long for even after ensuring the seedlings have sufficient growing time & the care that is recommended.
I realised a couple of years ago that it is smarter to utilise our house windows 'greenhouse' type abilities when growing seedlings rather than keep them outside in the colder temperatures ( they were protected from the frost). This meant that come August our windows are lined with seed post. This gave me much more success with the quantity of successful seed starts I got, but I was still puzzled as to why mine were on the smaller side when it came time to transplant them. I always purchased quality seed starting mix to plant them in & kept their soil moist. I also used peat pots which were recommended to me as they break down quickly & therefore I didn't need to disturb the roots when replanting the seedling.
This year, however, I didn't purchase enough peat pots to satisfy my requirements so I found some older black plastic pots to use for the remaining seeds. While I had good success with the seeds sprouting, to my surprise the plants in these black pots quickly surpassed their peat pot equals in size. Each of these trays holds the same variety of tomato started at exactly the same time from the same packet of seeds. The growth in the black pots was so large that I had troubles photographing the Amish Paste tomato seedlings. (Sorry if the colours are strange, I had been playing with my camera & quickly snapped these without thinking.)
We can only surmise that the black plastic warms the soil promoting more prolific growth. Needless to say, next year we are forgoing the peat pots & will use black plastic pots instead. It will be very interesting to see the outcomes for other plants as we only used them for the tomatoes!
So what gardening tips have you found work for you? I'd love to hear of any successes you've had!
After two dismal years of summer gardening we've decided to attempt to garden differently over this coming summer. Our blistering hot summers tend to wilt all but the hardiest plants. Our dry climate means that to successfully grow a garden a lot of water is required. As we don't have enough water in dams to provide adequately for a proper sized garden, we decided that at least we'd plant a smallish garden in the hopes of garden fresh tomatoes & a few other veges.
This shadehouse came with the property & last summer we removed it from it's original (terrible) position & tucked it up out of the way. As we were talking about summer gardening & the challenges it brings here, we thought of this shadehouse & how we could utilise it to meet our needs. Sadly it was in terrible disrepair, but today the children & I decided to clean it up. We removed old vines attached to it. We braved countless spiders & enormous spiderwebs! We removed the shadecloth from each end & the posts which were unattached ( there is one attached one left & I'm not sure if I can remove it as it looks to be supporting ~ I'll get Dave to check it when he has a chance). Finally the shade house was ready, except that the ground was covered in a very small amount of soil before it hit hard rock- like ground that is typical of an ironbark ridge ~ obviously not great gardening soil.
Attempting to get a photo of myself covered in dirt!
So we took the ute up to the shearing shed & shovelled the composted manure that still lay there from the original owners shedded sheep operation. Shovelful by shovelful we loaded the ute with this beautiful soil. It ended up being a terrible day for it at the wind came in strong gusts & caused us to get covered in the dirt (I'm fairly sure I'll wake up a foot taller tomorrow after all the compost I ingested today)! Finally we had enough to fill the garden adequately for the plants I had raised from seed (which we then planted).
The job is not complete, although we are very happy with the progress so far. A watering system is being added (negotiations about the best type are currently under way)! We are also going to fence this to keep any livestock that may escape into the houseyard out (I've lost too many plants to lambs or cows already).
If this is successful we will then look at building portable shade houses for the other gardens in future years.
Meanwhile I also have a few other things to plant in the other gardens which I'm hoping will survive our summer regardless - my 'small garden' is now definitely a little larger than originally planned!
I hope you have a wonderful gardening season this year!
It's been almost 12 months since we visited the Digger's Club St Erth Garden, but I still remember vividly the beauty & peacefulness of our visit. I've been hoping to post about it ever since. While we were in Melbourne last November we took the opportunity of a free afternoon to journey through some of Victoria's prettiest country. As we were close to this garden & since both myself & the children (who have all grown about a foot since then) all had free entry we decided to have a quick look. We ended up staying until closing time enjoying the green, lush, beauty that is everywhere! It was one of the highlights of our long weekend away.
I was so thankful to find that even the professional gardeners have to cover their vegetable patches in bird netting. I am not alone in this! I found their combinations of plants very interesting & am entirely jealous of their average rainfall which is over double our own. Even revisiting the photos (which are not the best quality & I apologise ~ it was before I received my new DSLR camera, but after my old one broke) brings a peacefulness. I would love to revisit this beautiful part of God's Creation & am looking forward to one day visiting one of her sister gardens.
I'm joining up again with SouleMama in her Friday ritual of capturing a single moment.
While I was photographing the flowers last night, I couldn't resist moving the camera slightly & capturing this piece of my heart. She's growing up so very quickly. Recently she came and asked if she could take over all the washing of the clothes!
What an amazing blessing this precious girl is to us!
Three who are very confident way up high in trees.
Three who play games far from the ground, comfortably moving from branch to branch.
The other one...we'll let's just say he prefers the ground (although some may say he has his head in the clouds rather often...).
Sometimes it is better for me, as a mother, to not look at the heights they are so comfortably playing at.
Sometimes it is better to remove the 'what ifs' from my brain.... to not think of the patients I treating in my professional career - a number who fell out of trees.
Though truthfully, my children come by this love of tree climbing quite honestly.
I've climbed my fair share of trees over the years.
I have vivid memories of getting stuck up our mulberry tree & Mum having to help me down. I also remember falling out of our mango tree in a box with my sister (although neither of us remembers the actual fall which is rather strange)!
I truly think that climbing trees is one of the joys of childhood. I feel sorry for the child who has never been allowed to ascend the branches of a tree, to experience the delight of looking down at the world from a new perspective.
(Although my children found recently that doing their schoolwork up a tree is very uncomfortable.)
Welcome friends to my farmhouse journal! My name is Renata & I am the wife, Mama, homemaker, teacher & chief cow milker here at Sunnyside Farm! I enjoy keeping a record of our farmsteading life & pray that it encourages you as you read my words!