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So, what did you grow today?

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So, what did you grow today?

Old 12-12-09, 08:38 PM
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So, what did you grow today?

Come on my fellow suburban farmers, I'm sure you're out there, even if your accomplishments involve no more than a pot of herbs (for eating, not smoking ) on the window sill. Let's see what you're up to, especially those of you dedicated enough to sow and harvest a winter crop.

It's summer here in the land of Oz, and things are looking green and lush on my 1/8 acre ranch We're harvesting cucumbers, silverbeet, and a range of herbs. We just recently finished harvesting our first batch of tomatoes and the plants were exhausted so we have a bit of a gap before the next lot start coming through, but the fresh eggs come in daily, year round. let me show you around my garden...

The recently added bed with 20 tomatoes (3 varieties), eggplant, capsicum, beetroot, and leek. Some rows haven't germinated yet...


My experiment - see how various things go in tubs. These are 44gal poly drums once used for transporting detergent, cut in half...


These are down the narrow side of the yard which is otherwise wasted space. They don't get sun until after 11.30AM but then get full sun for the rest of the day. They currently have tomatoes, which will soon be joined by something else to keep them company.


Strawberries in a bunch of ornamental concrete pots which I've picked up on rubbish days. They're perfectly fine, just no longer 'fashionable'. I have another dozen of these waiting for their new strawberry plants to germinate in my shadehouse.


Several varieties of pumpkin, and a rockmellon, all set to invade the lawn (which is fine by me ).


Zucchini...
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Old 12-12-09, 08:39 PM
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My pride and joy - my cherry tomatoes. I've been selectively harvesting the seeds for several seasons, and as a result I'm now constantly getting fast growing vines that set huge masses of delicious fruit. These are just babies at 7 feet tall, they'll go twice that before they're done, and the toms are closer to the size of plums than cherries. There's one plant in this generation that's noticeably bigger, with prolific fruit. She'll be seeding next season's crop.




I also have a beefsteak variety that's just starting to show a blush of color (doesn't seem to come up too good in the pics) so we'll be harvesting soon. Some of the plants fruited well, and they're showing excellent pest & disease resistance. I might keep seeds from the best one and see if I can get better fruiting consistency next season.

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Old 12-12-09, 08:39 PM
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Cucumbers and beans. Wish I had room for more cucs and beans, they're always popular...


...and ofcourse, a special mention for the girls. These young guns are my regulators, they control the snails and slugs as well as keeping the compost well aerated. They even produce breakfast every morning.

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Old 12-13-09, 01:16 AM
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My carrots are coming along. For some reason, only about half of what I planted came up, but that half are doing great.

My onions aren't doing so well. I'm not sure why not. I'd like to give them another go when I harvest everything in a month or so, and see if I can get them to grow.

My peas are doing great ... they're huge and draping all over everything. They started to flower a week or so ago, so I think the peas should start coming out soon.

My beans are also doing great ... they flowered a few weeks ago already, and are still flowering.

I've got photos of my garden here ... I should really take some more recent ones:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7622408227614/
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Old 12-13-09, 01:59 AM
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Harvested some coconuts today, all from a coconut I found sprouting in the gutter on my commute 18 years ago. Great source of saturated fat.
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Old 12-13-09, 11:40 AM
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Cyclaholic, one problem I see with your setup is the privacy fence. Do you find it cuts down on the amount of sunlight available to the plants? I have a privacy fence [bequeathed from the previous owner and now ready to fall down... ] and I have to move the beds well in from the fence. Of course, I also suffer from too many trees. I've announced to my wife that I'm devoting a bigger chunk of the front yard to some vegetable beds next summer. That gets more southern exposure and has no fencing to worry about.

How many chickens?

Will we gets some shots of your fish tanks?
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Old 12-13-09, 02:23 PM
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I grew about 3 inches of snow and ice.
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Old 12-13-09, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Cyclaholic, one problem I see with your setup is the privacy fence. Do you find it cuts down on the amount of sunlight available to the plants? I have a privacy fence [bequeathed from the previous owner and now ready to fall down... ] and I have to move the beds well in from the fence. Of course, I also suffer from too many trees. I've announced to my wife that I'm devoting a bigger chunk of the front yard to some vegetable beds next summer. That gets more southern exposure and has no fencing to worry about.

How many chickens?

Will we gets some shots of your fish tanks?
3 chickens, Isa Browns.

I've noticed on TV shows from the USA that you guys often have no fences, or fences that are wire mesh which provides no screening. That seems weird to me because we have these fences you see in my pics basically everywhere in suburbia. The old wooden fence you see is about 35 years old and is about due for replacement. The newer green fence with the climbing beans on it was a replacement I built a few years back, it faces north so gets full sun all day (southern hemisphere) except in winter when the house shadows it. The old wooden fence next to the big new bed runs east-west and starts to cast a shadow on the bed in the mid afternoon, but the plants against the fence still get 7 or 8 hours of sun, so they still do OK.

I'm modifying & expanding the aquaponics system so I've dismantled it after the last harvest. Once it's back up I'll do a post full of pictures on it as there's been some interest. In the meantime this will have to do ....

6ft display tank, just ornamentals in this one.




Yabby (freshwater cray) breeding tank. They don't grow very big, maybe 5 or 6 ounces, but they're absolutely delicious! I feed them parsley from my garden for a few weeks before harvest....




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Old 12-13-09, 10:33 PM
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Cyclaholic,

Between your plants, your chicken, and your fish you have an impressive little farm there. What percentage of your diet would you say it produces?
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Old 12-14-09, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Cyclaholic,

Between your plants, your chicken, and your fish you have an impressive little farm there. What percentage of your diet would you say it produces?
Thanks.

We don't get all that much, maybe 20 - 30%, but we've only really started ramping up our volume over the last 12 - 18 months. We have plans to go into breeding & raising quail as our main source of white meat (we hardly eat any red meat at all), and we're looking at building a greenhouse on the concreted area in the photos to extend our warm season planting and increase our winter production. I'm hoping to get to >50% maybe even >75% in a few years.

I don't want this thread to be about me, I really want to see what you guys are doing.... I probably should have waited for the northen hemisphere summer before starting it.
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Old 12-14-09, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
I probably should have waited for the northern hemisphere summer before starting it.
Oh no. Your little ray of sunshine is welcome here in the cold and the wet and the dark.
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Old 12-14-09, 12:56 PM
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I like this thread, this spring I will add what I grow. I do like a fresh garden, I miss mine already. Had a hard time with my peppers this year though, they just never grew.
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Old 12-14-09, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Oh no. Your little ray of sunshine is welcome here in the cold and the wet and the dark.
Thank you, that's nice to know.
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Old 12-14-09, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I grew about 3 inches of snow and ice.
I bet you don't have much weeding to worry about

Originally Posted by akohekohe View Post
Harvested some coconuts today, all from a coconut I found sprouting in the gutter on my commute 18 years ago. Great source of saturated fat.
Coconuts, yum! where's the pics? c'mon dude, pics!


Originally Posted by Machka View Post
My carrots are coming along. For some reason, only about half of what I planted came up, but that half are doing great.

My onions aren't doing so well. I'm not sure why not. I'd like to give them another go when I harvest everything in a month or so, and see if I can get them to grow.

My peas are doing great ... they're huge and draping all over everything. They started to flower a week or so ago, so I think the peas should start coming out soon.

My beans are also doing great ... they flowered a few weeks ago already, and are still flowering.

I've got photos of my garden here ... I should really take some more recent ones:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7622408227614/
It's too warm for onions right now, wait until February. Raise from seeds in trays before planting out. Don't waste money on seed raising mix, a 50/50 mix of washed river sand (NOT beach sand!) and peat moss works great for raising seeds. Pinch out the seed head and wait for the tops to die down before harvesting. They like well rotted horse manure. See if you can get a variety called 'Creamgold'.

I love your parcel of land, it looks beautiful... so much potential.

Last edited by Cyclaholic; 12-14-09 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 12-15-09, 02:05 AM
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We had a killing freeze last week in Austin, so right now our garden is down to several kinds of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and parsnips. We've still got about 20 butternut squash keeping in the garage. (Butternut squash is very similar to sweet potatoes, even makes a good pie.)

We'll start putting out plants again next February. That's a little earlier than customary but we want to get an early start next year. In this area there's a good chance of not having a late hard freeze in February. If it happens, we'll just replant. I want to try the seed ball method of planting.
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Old 12-15-09, 08:27 AM
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My aloe plant enjoyed the extra light afforded it on Monday because I was at home with a cold and had the shades open.
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Old 12-15-09, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Platy View Post
We had a killing freeze last week in Austin, so right now our garden is down to several kinds of lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and parsnips. We've still got about 20 butternut squash keeping in the garage. (Butternut squash is very similar to sweet potatoes, even makes a good pie.)
I eat a lot of squash in the winter because it's one of the few local crops that stores all winter. In fact, we call it winter squash as opposed to summer squash such as zucchini.

I cook it a lot of ways. My favorite is to peel it and cut in cubes. Then coat with olive oil and seasoning, then roast (single layer) in a very hot oven for about 20 minutes.

Make sure you're eating the squash seeds also. They're delicious! I put a few drops of oil on them and some salt, and roast them for a few minutes until they're crispy and easy to chew. They can be jazzed up with some red pepper or curry powder if you like.

You're right about squash tasting like sweet potatoes. Sometimes I roast cubed sweet potatoes with it (as described above) and it's difficult to tell the difference between the potatoes and the squash.
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Old 12-20-09, 08:48 PM
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Some of today's harvest... as you can see some of the ripened toms are already gone, they didn't even make it into the house I leave the tomatoes in the fruit basket with apples and bananas which causes them to ripen over the coming days so we have a constant supply. This is just one truss off each plant, there's still 7 or 8 trusses on each plant at varying stages of development.

I'll trade some eggs and cucs for peppers, lemons, and lettuce with the neighbors. That will pretty much cover us for a day or two.






...and some kitchen window herbs mrs cyclaholic likes to keep. The basil is getting a bit leggy and is a bit past its prime to eat from the plant, fortunately I have another 20+ coming up under the tomatoes. This one is about to be turned into a batch of pesto sauce and frozen in an ice cube tray.



Last edited by Cyclaholic; 12-20-09 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 12-20-09, 08:56 PM
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forgot to mention, the beans have finally set fruit - a lot of fruit! It's looking like a very good crop this season, I suspect because of all the blood & bone I dug into that bed before planting. I'll update with pics in a week or two if anyone is interested.
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Old 12-20-09, 10:53 PM
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Those are some very fine looking cucumbers. Last summer I enjoyed a lot of cucumber sandwiches made with homebread bread. Cucumber sandwiches aren't very well known in my part of the world. I learned about them while trying to figure out what to do with all the cucumbers we were getting. I also had some failed experiments, for example cucumber tacos and stuff like that.

We still have a very large jar of sweet dilled pickles in the refrigerator that we made from the cucumbers, plus some jars of bread & butter pickles.
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Old 12-20-09, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Platy View Post
Those are some very fine looking cucumbers. Last summer I enjoyed a lot of cucumber sandwiches made with homebread bread. Cucumber sandwiches aren't very well known in my part of the world. I learned about them while trying to figure out what to do with all the cucumbers we were getting. I also had some failed experiments, for example cucumber tacos and stuff like that.

We still have a very large jar of sweet dilled pickles in the refrigerator that we made from the cucumbers, plus some jars of bread & butter pickles.
Nothing refreshes like chilled cucumbers picked on the day, with dinner.

How do you pickle them? ...I'll probably have a glut this season and I'd like to preserve them.
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Old 12-20-09, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
Nothing refreshes like chilled cucumbers picked on the day, with dinner.

How do you pickle them? ...I'll probably have a glut this season and I'd like to preserve them.
Oh, we're not experts, we just got recipes off the Internet. I like the refrigerator pickle recipes because there's no critical processing that has to be just right in order to keep them preserved at room temperature. I think the minimum is a big crock to keep in the refrigerator and pickling solution made from vinegar, salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Add sliced cucumbers to the pickling solution as convenient, and take them out as you need them. Refrigerator pickles keep for months, not years, but that should easily get you through the winter.

Last edited by Platy; 12-20-09 at 11:40 PM. Reason: I forgot about the salt.
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