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Gardening chat thread


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#1 Ozquoll

Posted 19 March 2020 - 08:32 PM

Hi all

I know we're getting overloaded with Covid-19 stuff right now, so thought a chat thread about gardening might be a pleasant diversion 🌱

I got a new gardening book today - Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich. Looks good so far. His blog is good too.

I'm bursting with pride at the success of my late-planted tomatoes! If I can ever figure out how to post pics I will bore you all with photos of the little beauties 😆. Actually, I have unexpectedly bonded with the neighbour over the road as we both love growing tomatoes and fragrant roses. She is a scarily forthright chain-smoking grandmother of ten, so it is perhaps not an immediately obvious friendship!

#2 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 19 March 2020 - 09:59 PM

I’d love to be a gardener, I was brought up in a gardening family. But small children and so many demands make the poor garden come last. My kids do however love family weeding time, the kids get a bucket each to collect the weeds DH and I pull out. Today DS and I spent quite a bit of time pulling weeds, it was great, but the lawn is full of rye grass so it’s going to take a while.

I bought some seeds a while back, we might even soon have the time to make a space to plant them.

#3 Zeppelina

Posted 19 March 2020 - 10:01 PM

I love this idea. I'm desperate for any topics to discuss that are not CV-related.

We've had zero luck with our tomatoes this year (well, a few cherry toms but nothing else) but to be fair we haven't really looked after them very well. Did you do anything special with yours this year to get them to do so well?

Our dwarf fruit trees continue to punch well above their weight though - we had soooo many peaches and nectarines (even though insects got through half of them) a few weeks ago, and our figs are just ripening now. Yum.

#4 FuzzyChocolateToes

Posted 19 March 2020 - 10:05 PM

Well I'm delighted that at last a few of my crepe myrtles are in flower! Last year I became kind of obsessed with dark pink crepe myrtles. I went a bit overboard and bought 11! In my defence 6 are small ( 3 of these are Infinitinis) and 5 will be big.  Anyway it was looking like none would flower, but 3 of the smalls are now in bloom. :love:

Edited by FuzzyChocolateToes, 19 March 2020 - 10:06 PM.


#5 Ozquoll

Posted 19 March 2020 - 10:20 PM

22FMP - I love the idea of the family weeding session 😀. I have only once got DS to help me with weeding. He was proud of himself, but has declined to repeat the experience 😆

Zeppelina - I do put a bit of effort in because I REALLY love homegrown tomatoes! They are in good soil, which helps. I added a small amount of compost, ashes from the fireplace, and pee. I prune to one central leader and make sure there are no lower leaves touching the ground. If they look like getting one of the seven million funguses that attack Tommies, I spray them with this stuff:
https://migardener.c...ew-baking-soda/

Dwarf fruit trees are great. I have to put in an order for dwarfing apples this winter...DH is getting antsy that we've had our bolthole in the country for eight months and I still haven't planted his favourite fruit.

FCT, I love crepe myrtles too. I found out the hard way this year that they shouldn't be pruned - mine only flowered on a couple of twiglets that I'd missed 😟

Edited by Ozquoll, 19 March 2020 - 10:37 PM.


#6 purplekitty

Posted 19 March 2020 - 10:40 PM

My garden is my haven but I'm not allowed out until late afternoon under direction from my dermatologist.
I feel the hot, humid weather more each year as well.

It's hard to keep it under control in a subtropical climate and with the aching body these days.

I've left it a bit late to order my freesias the year.

#7 MsLaurie

Posted 20 March 2020 - 11:17 AM

My garden is an overgrown mess - we need to rip it out and totally re-do the retaining walls, but the quotes have come in at $50-80k which... yikes!!

I have had fun pruning though, and have taught Miss5 how to use secateurs and pruning shears so we get out there with our gloves on and sensible shoes and get stuck in! Very satisfying.

#8 Ozquoll

Posted 20 March 2020 - 12:22 PM

Purplekitty, I'm imagining your garden with lots of large tropical-ish trees and very very green lawn. Am I anywhere near correct?

MsLaurie, I was talking to my neighbour who's a builder - he's said that pretty soon he will have to quote much lower to keep getting work, due to commercial builders being laid off and competing for the same jobs as him. So, it's a bit grim, but you might soon find someone who will do the retaining walls for a better price...

#9 CrankyM

Posted 20 March 2020 - 12:37 PM

We live on a property but I'm a shocking gardener. I either underwater or over water things... and because of the semi-arid topically area climate I live in things don't really grow fantastically well. Well except mango trees and wattle. Both of which I'm allergic to.

I would love to do better though. Now we have automated reticulation I'm thinking of putting in some beds near the house. We need to move out veg patch as the soil needs to a break and to have various nutrients poured into it (I'm contemplating dumping some of our chickens into it and letting them scratch around and deposit some fertilizer). Means we need to move the fence though (roos will eat everything otherwise). But actually it's almost the end of March so we need to start planning the veg patch. I want some decent tomatoes this year, the roos managed to eat them last year so when they finally did flower then didn't fruit. Zucchini is always planted and we usually do ok with carrots. The damned bowerbird hammered my beans last year so I have to figure out how to prevent bird damage.

Weeding when annoyed is also incredibly therapeutic ;)

Edited by CrankyM, 20 March 2020 - 12:38 PM.


#10 Ozquoll

Posted 20 March 2020 - 12:47 PM

Automated watering is the best! I put in a dripper system at our country bolthole to keep the fruit trees and vegie patch going and for a bodgy job it's done really well!
Having read a bit more about how I should have done it though, I'm going to rip the whole thing out this winter and do a better job.

Will also be expanding my vegie patch considerably over winter, with the plan of growing a good range of veg for my family next summer, and a huge number of tomatoes as one of my sisters has got all the kit for making passata 😋

Edited by Ozquoll, 20 March 2020 - 12:50 PM.


#11 Ozquoll

Posted 20 March 2020 - 12:49 PM

Anyone else putting in sweet peas soon? Such a good range available by mail order now, and I adore sweet peas. DH is going to be very busy constructing trellises for them to grow on 😁

#12 BECZ

Posted 20 March 2020 - 12:57 PM

Our mulberry trees seem very confused!  Not anywhere near as much fruit as usual, but there is a decent amount of fruit ripening on them. They usually fruit late winter/very early spring, but right now, the leaves are typically starting to fall off!

Most of my other things have been quite neglected this year.

I did plant some lettuce, beans and spinach down the side of the house as it’s gated off and the chooks can’t eat it, but the rats have discovered it!  All the tops are off my lettuce and leaves from my beans are all along the fence line.  Grrrrr!

Oh and the like my zucchini flowers too!

#13 CrankyM

Posted 20 March 2020 - 01:23 PM

View PostOzquoll, on 20 March 2020 - 12:49 PM, said:

Anyone else putting in sweet peas soon? Such a good range available by mail order now, and I adore sweet peas. DH is going to be very busy constructing trellises for them to grow on

We are in WA. We are so restricted in what we can get because of biosecurity laws. I love sweet peas too but haven't had much luck sourcing them. And yes automated watering is sooooooooooo good :lol: We have a weird assortment of fruit trees, most of which don't fruit but DH keeps planting so they need regular watering. And our lawn and our "jungle" (Palms and a few pot plants) and I also have it do a daily 5 min top up on the pool. I don't have to be wandering around in the dark making sure everything is watered and changing stations manually. Also our lawn hasn't died over summer for the first time in years.

becz - our mulberry trees are weird. We have four and they seem to fruit in pairs. So two will start fruiting, then 2-3 months later the other two do it. And now they have taken to fruiting 2-3 times a year. Not that we get a lot before the birds get to them.

#14 Etcetera

Posted 20 March 2020 - 01:34 PM

Great thread!

We're on acreage and moved here just over a year ago and I'm still trying to get used to the huge climate change (Brisbane to country Victoria). We now have winters and frosts!

I need a greenhouse, just need to source a good one. Any recommendations? Happy to spend around $500 until DH can build one with recycled windows.

We have herbs that are doing well, a small orchard of neglected fruit trees that we've extended and mulched and trying to fix.
Silverbeet loves us so we are doing well with that and we have a ton of potatoes in the ground.

I need to get back into it. I was doing an online permaculture course but I got lost in analysis paralysis and couldn't work out what to do with our space.

#15 purplekitty

Posted 20 March 2020 - 01:49 PM

View PostOzquoll, on 20 March 2020 - 12:22 PM, said:

Purplekitty, I'm imagining your garden with lots of large tropical-ish trees and very very green lawn. Am I anywhere near correct?

MsLaurie, I was talking to my neighbour who's a builder - he's said that pretty soon he will have to quote much lower to keep getting work, due to commercial builders being laid off and competing for the same jobs as him. So, it's a bit grim, but you might soon find someone who will do the retaining walls for a better price...
Very heavily planted with palms,ferns , azaleas and not much lawn left and I do like to keep it green. It stops the dogs bringing dirt into the house.
I do have some temperate plants that I insist on trying to grow.


#16 CrankyM

Posted 20 March 2020 - 01:53 PM

Ooh jealous you can grow potatoes Ect. It's too hot here. (I miss having an actual winter not just a different variation of hot).

Well inspired by this thread I just bought 13 pkts of vegetable seeds. My husband will probably die at the cost as he normally hunts around for cheaper ones but :shrug: They had free postage anyway. Going by the notice at the front of the website they are having a much higher demand at the moment. I suspect there will be a lot of people putting in vegetable patches this year.

#17 Starflash

Posted 20 March 2020 - 02:04 PM

Raised bed sown with raddichio, English spinach, parsnip, and spring onions today - just got to keep the chooks away for a while! Looking for some Egyptian walking onions because they sound fun.

#18 blackcat20

Posted 20 March 2020 - 02:05 PM

View PostFuzzyChocolateToes, on 19 March 2020 - 10:05 PM, said:

Well I'm delighted that at last a few of my crepe myrtles are in flower! Last year I became kind of obsessed with dark pink crepe myrtles. I went a bit overboard and bought 11! In my defence 6 are small ( 3 of these are Infinitinis) and 5 will be big.  Anyway it was looking like none would flower, but 3 of the smalls are now in bloom. :love:

My crepe myrtle flowered for the first time this year. I’ve had it four or five years, first in the garden at our old house then in a pot while we built. It’s now in its forever spot and thriving.

Lots of tomatoes in my garden, but I’m the only one that seems to eat them. Need to turn my basil into pesto this weekend. And work out when to plant my daffodils and other bulbs.

#19 raspberry sherbert

Posted 20 March 2020 - 02:21 PM

We are currently in a rental with the most amazing garden. 20+ roses (which are still blooming) lemon and manderin trees, as well as bulbs and flowers. I have some seeds started for snowpeas and sunflowers. I have lots of indoor plants as well

#20 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 20 March 2020 - 03:47 PM

Becz all the mulberries around us fruit in spring, ours at the same time isn’t even in leaf, and instead fruits at Christmas. The fruit are huge and juicy and very worth the wait.

Our olive trees have really taken off in the last few years, they look fabulous now. The only problem is that we don’t pick the tiny olives and so the rats feast on them.

We have a couple of huge old lavender bushes that really need to come out and be replaced. The kids love picking the flowers, only problem is that I keep finding dried out crushed lavender in odd places around the house.

We have some lillipillies in pots that need to be turned around and given a trim. Plenty of stuff to keep us busy out there!

#21 CrankyM

Posted 20 March 2020 - 03:54 PM

View Post22Fruitmincepies, on 20 March 2020 - 03:47 PM, said:


Our olive trees have really taken off in the last few years, they look fabulous now. The only problem is that we don’t pick the tiny olives and so the rats feast on them.

We have an olive tree. It looks lovely and healthy but I am starting suspect as it's friend died due to goats getting onto our property it isn't going to fruit any time soon. I might have to tell DH to buy another one. I remember eating the olives my grandmother use to brine.

#22 purplekitty

Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:31 PM

View PostCrankyM, on 20 March 2020 - 01:53 PM, said:

Ooh jealous you can grow potatoes Ect. It's too hot here. (I miss having an actual winter not just a different variation of hot).

Well inspired by this thread I just bought 13 pkts of vegetable seeds. My husband will probably die at the cost as he normally hunts around for cheaper ones but Posted Image They had free postage anyway. Going by the notice at the front of the website they are having a much higher demand at the moment. I suspect there will be a lot of people putting in vegetable patches this year.
I don't have enough sun anymore because of the height of the garden so can't grow much.
I do have herbs and some citrus in pots.

I'v never had much luck with vegetables in a sub tropical summer.

#23 CrankyM

Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:56 PM

View Postpurplekitty, on 20 March 2020 - 04:31 PM, said:


I don't have enough sun anymore because of the height of the garden so can't grow much.
I do have herbs and some citrus in pots.

I'v never had much luck with vegetables in a sub tropical summer.

We won’t play the veg patch for at least a month. Our growing season is pretty much April-August. It’s too hot either side of that. It’s currently 35 at the moment and our “low” temp for today is 27. Sometime around midnight. But we are not tropical except for the fact we are past the 26th parallel. More semi-arid. When it’s dry, it’s dry and when it’s wet it’s like someone dropped a tonne of water just above you and gravity is giving it a helping hand to slam it into the ground as quick as possible. You know like when you get almost 50mls in the space of 20mins? :lol:

#24 rowd

Posted 20 March 2020 - 05:58 PM

I love this thread idea! I'm trying to focus on my garden at the moment, it's always my go to when I'm stressed and overwhelmed with the world. My current roadblock though is that I'm 28 weeks pregnant so gardening isn't the easiest of activities anymore.

Anyway, this week my toddler and I planted more snow pea seeds, a patch of rocket, and coriander, and I've ordered winter vege seedlings that will be delivered next week. Our stonefruit is over now, but I'm still getting passionfruit, rhubarb and raspberries from our orchard, and we are about to hit feijoa season (NZ - I don't think you get feijoas in Aus?)

To the PP who asked about sweet peas, I planted seeds a few weeks back and mine are growing like crazy now. I used to only do one lot a year but this last 6 months I've had them growing almost constantly.

What are everyone's favourite annual flowers to plant at this time of year? I'm almost due to redo my annuals garden, and I'm not sure about autumn planting.

#25 Ozquoll

Posted 20 March 2020 - 07:06 PM

LOL, we get feijoas here - I loathe the damn things! The neighbour's feijoa tree drops tons of fruit on our driveway in April each year. Admittedly, DS loves feijoa jelly, so my mum brews up his supply for the year from all the fallen fruit, so I shouldn't complain!

Apart from sweet peas (it was me who mentioned them upthread) I'm drawing a blank on annual flowers that can be planted in autumn 🤔. Lots of bulbs can go in though - I planted anemones and tulips last weekend.

Such a good time of year for rocket and coriander - I've been harvesting heaps of both, it's so satisfying 🙂.




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