Sunday, 17 January 2016

Pumpkin vine - video & photos of pumpkin patch

Pumpkin patch is loving this years growing conditions.
We've had a bit of rain and a bit of heat these last few months. Pumpkins, if given the right conditions will grow through the day and the night (unlike other plants that only grow through the day)
This is the ** PUMPKIN PATCH ** video I took 2 days ago which shows how large the patch is, plus I managed to capture some footage of the bees pollinating the flowers. I uploaded the video this morning

This pumpkin patch consists of approx. 10 plants. I start them off from seed in containers and potting mix. I use the best posting mix I can find. The cheap ones just aren't worth the money. They are started in October (Springtime) and then left out on the veranda behind glass until big enough to plant out into the main garden. I live in a cold climate zone so I can't plant them out until mid November otherwise the frost will get them. Pumpkin plants do not like frost and will be killed by it.

This photo shows the bed when its empty and then what it looks like once the pumpkin plants begin to grow. Pumpkins are a very large plant (vine) so plenty of space is needed.

It is possible to purchase smaller varieties, some are called bush pumpkins etc. These ones I grow are called Jarrahdale Pumpkins. I've tried a few different varieties such as Queensland Blue but I don't like them much as they have a rather tough skin so very hard to cut plus they aren't as blue looking as their name might suggest. Plenty of people and shops mistake the Jarrahdale for a Queensland blue because it has a blue looking skin. I like the Jarrahdale, they have a nice flavor, they grow well plus the skin is not too thick so makes cutting them easier. They also grow to a nice size, I've had some that have weighted in at 8 kilos. Plenty of pumpkin soup can be made from one decent sized pumpkin.

Pumpkins take about 14 to 16 week until harvest. They need a fertile bed to grow in so we use plenty of cow manure to provide the nutrients required for steady constant growth.

SEED PLANTING TIMES - Pumpkin seeds can be planted at the following times
* COLD CLIMATE ZONE - from October to December
* TEMPERTATE CLIMATE ZONE - From September To December
* SUB TROPICALCLIMATE ZONE -  From July to February
* TROPICAL - From January to December (All year round)

This photo below is from our 2009 harvest which consisted of 96 pumpkins ... some are jarrahdale, some are jap and some are hybrid

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Liar Liar pants on fire!

Ok, so I'm a bit late in posting my next blog update (Late?. 3 months is a tad more than a bit late mate) ... when I look back at my last post I see I was even crazy enough to *promise* to post the following week (was I insane when I said that???) anyhoo I've been waaaay busy (hasn't everyone) AND I have the photos to prove it.

My veg garden is bursting at the seems. I'm in Australia NSW Cold Climate Zone so my season starts from Sept with the planting of onions & carrots seeds into the ground, followed by seed planting into dunny rolls and then final planting out of all seedlings into the main garden in November after all frosts have passed.  This year we had some beautiful spring rain followed by warm weather so everything has grown without incident except for the Apricots ... they were growing really well, the trees were loaded but we got another lot of rain just at harvest time and it caused the apricots to split. I saved some and turned them into jam but the rest went to the native birds. When growing food you just have to take the good with the bad and be thankfully for any that is harvested.

This year I planted my cucumber and Zucchini in big terracotta pots just because I didn't have any room for them in the main garden. They have been growing really well and I will do the same thing again next year. I planted one zucchini plant and it has produced enough for me & hubby to have a nice feed. As for the cucumbers, I'm not sure what I was thinking and planted 6 plants so now I have cucumbers everywhere.

The pots are filled with high quality potting mix and each year the mix will be replaced. As for the main garden, that is covered in cow manure each year after every harvest to replenish nutrients used by the plants through the growing season. Why cow manure I hear you ask? ... well its because cow manure is basically fermented grass compost. It's gentle, slow release fertilizer. The soil loves it, the free-range worms love it, the plants love it.

These next couple of photos show the pumpkin patch going berserk.. A couple of times its even tried climbing over the neighboring fence. I think it might be a good year for pumpkins. There are plenty of bees around and I've seen quite a lot of pumpkins developing so fingers crossed we don't get a big storm or hail ... I try not to count on anything until the final harvest.

The weather right now has been quite warm (of course it has, its summer time!!!), we got up to 35C yesterday (we can get as high as 42C during mid summer but that happens very rarely) We are classed as *Cold Climate Zone* because our winter temps can be bitterly cold down to -minus 8C with heavy frosts and the occasional snow storm.

I have been out this morning picking lettuce & cabbage and they are now sitting in bags in the spare fridge. I'll be picking all the carrots soon as I can see some of them starting to *bolt* to seed. I'll harvest them all at the same time and keep them in the spare fridge as well until we get around to using them. We have carrot, apple & celery juice each morning so most of the carrots will end up being juiced. I can taste the difference when using our own carrots compared to commercially grown ones. The flavor is more mellow and doesn't have the bitter after taste.