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22nd October 2013

Show week. And the tomato forecast is red and sweet with a chance of purple, yellow, orange, stripey, and white. And the weather forecast is for a few pretty cool days. So, plant your tomatoes if they're really leggy and desperate to get out of their pots, and IF they are hardened off well. But if they are still small or at least comfortable in their pots, it wouldn't hurt to wait a little longer and plant them in warmer times. Its good practice to be a bit mean to your seedlings until they have their first flower buds, then lavish all your gardening kindness on them. If they have perfect conditions from the beginning they can create alot of leafy growth without setting flowers, which of course delays fruit appearing.

The most dire risk to newly planted toms is frost, so if you see a night time temperature forecast under 5 degrees, consider protecting the seedlings in some way, eg with fluffed up straw, insulnet or row cover fabric, or even a tea towel propped up on some stakes.

My lovely little seedlings are still very small, and very comfortable in their pots, so mine will wait a few more weeks before planting out.

Fimbarista File: Oatlands Oasis

Eleanor has a magical garden in Oatlands. When I first saw her garden way back in 2009 I thought: "Why does she want us to help with this?" You see, Eleanor and Barry''s garden was a beautiful jungle of productive greens and flowers. The only "weeds" I've ever seen in Eleanor's garden are chard, lettuce, leeks, kale, parsley and so on.

But Eleanor wanted a bit more structure, and better access, to all this edible and pickable bounty. So we came up with a design, Barry found some big sandstone pavers, and a team of FIMBY helpers spent the day clearing, path laying, planting and installing soaker hose irrigation. Lex, Danny, Paul and Andy enjoyed this job mightily: we got an AMAZING country lunch and lots of take home goodies!

When Juliet and I visited again just a short few months later, everything was growing gang busters, including a new crop of "weeds" which were keeping Eleanor and Barry, and half of Oatlands, in fresh greens.

Eleanor built the stone walls that surround her garden, and is a driving force in many wonderful community activities in this town. Here are a few pics from this lovely place.

Open Day at Oatlands Community Garden 3rd November

I encourage any of you who do the facebook thing to go and like the "Oatlands School and Community Garden" page. Its full of great photos, ideas, tips and tricks that come from the many long term and smart gardeners who are involved. Really good stuff!

They are having an Open Day on the 3rd November. This is in conjunction with the Oatlands Whole Town Garage Sale. The garden is offering free morning tea, free garden gnome/gargoyle making with an artist-in-residence, free seeds from Urban Farmers and a chance to see the locally designed polytunnel situated in the garden.

Broad Beans

October is usually a little early for broad bean recipes . . . mine have just started to form small pods a few cms long. But a few weeks ago we did some gardening with Tonia and David, and they had HUGE ready to eat broad bean pods! Precocious! Anyway, here's my favourite way to eat broad beans with a bunch of people: 

One pile of broads beans in pods
One lemon
One (or more) garlic cloves
One sprig of mint
Salt, pepper
Olive oil

All together as you talk and sip wine, beer or cider, pod the broad beans into a bowl (or a pile on the table works too!). In a big strong mortar, smash up the garlic and mint leaves with the pestle, squeeze the lemon juice in, add the podded beans, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and smash them up a bit (or a lot) more. Stir in a glug of olive oil, and serve immediately on fresh crusty bread. Mmmmmmm.

9-10 November, 10am - 4pm
Princes Wharf 1

Come and say hello at the FIMBY stall! We'll be there for the festival weekend, which is just getting bigger and better and more juicy each year. Christina is running a workshop on Sunday morning about growing microgreens, and we'll have seedlings, duck eggs, and other goodies for sale, and loads of time and enthusiasm to chat about your garden.

We gathered at Penna, and we ate a LOT!

Here are some happy Fimbaristas with Toyota hats from Tony! Can you see Adam peeking out from Nina's backpack? He was a total champion, following the ducks around and hugging the dogs.

We had a lovely day looking, talking, tasting and sharing at Tony and Carol's place. As often happens at FIMBY gatherings, the pleasure of exchanging ideas and info about gardening was almost overshadowed by the incredible high quality and quantity of the food! Thanks to everyone who came, and for Tony and Carol for hosting us so gracefully.

Stay tuned for more gatherings in the new year - we'll have a compost session, and do some summer pruning demonstrations.
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