Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Break


Photo by Helen


Helen Digs It! will be taking a break over the Christmas and the January period but Helen would like to wish all her readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you all in 2016!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Garlic

Photo of my garlic harvest.



This year I grew a small crop of garlic for the first time. I decided to grow my own for a couple of reasons, one for a fresher taste and two because it would be organically grown.

As I understand it there are two types of garlic you can grow, hard neck varieties and soft neck.  The hard necks, I'm given to understand do not store as long as soft necks, but are ready sooner.  

I chose a hard neck variety  which I bought from my local nursery and planted out in early autumn. I believe garlic likes a  well drained soil. I prepared the ground before planting by digging in compost and well rotted manure and let that stand for about a month. In the meantime I stored my garlic in a brown paper bag in a dark cupboard.

A little trick to discover when your garlic cloves are ready to plant is, to slice one open and if you can see the green shoot forming in the middle, then the cloves are just about at the right time to plant. I divided up the cloves from three bulbs and only planted out the biggest of these, pushing them into the soil around 1 - 3 inches (2-7cm). Then I watered in and fed them fortnightly with a liquid feed.

I watched these bulbs grow all through autumn and winter and well into spring. In November they produced the curly flower stems and their bottom leaves had died off. I read that they are ready to harvest when they have three or four green leaves left.

I was delighted with my crop and the bulbs harvested varied from very large to small. These I laid out on my  deck, in the sunshine to dry. The gaps between the decking boards allowed a good air circulation. After two weeks the outer skin was dry and the dirt could be brushed off, but the bulbs were not completely dry.  

I did a little research into storing and drying hard necks and came across some information that said to cut the stems off leaving around 3 inches. It said if your crop was a small one, which mine was, to place the bulbs in a net bag to allow the air to go through and hang in a dry place.

As you can see from the photo this is exactly what I did.

These are hanging from the roof of my deck and I will leave them there for at least another two weeks, before checking to see if they have fully dried.  When they do, I will store them in the net bag in a cool cupboard and hopefully have some delicious garlic to use over the next few months.


If you've never tried growing garlic, why don't you give it a go. The taste will be superior and you'll know that they are organically grown. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Summer Means Beans! - Growing Tips




As the summer months approach the gardener's thoughts turn to what variety of green beans to grow. After all, what would summer be without the taste of lovely fresh garden beans? 

In Australia our summers can be long and hot and we have several varieties suited to our climate, such as Purple King, Blue Pole, Brown Beauty, but my heritage comes from England and I cannot resist growing a couple of varieties of Runner Beans. This year I'm trying out Scarlet Runner, it has bright red flowers, and Painted Lady with its red and white flowers. Both these varieties are very ornamental and delicious to eat, but you must remember to pick those pods while they are young and tender. 


Scarlet Runner & Painted Lady Runner Beans -
Photo by Helen


Because our summers are hot, I've already got these plants in at the beginning of spring, so that they get a good start and possibly provide me with an early crop at the end of spring and another in the cooler months of autumn. I will provide some shade for these plants and when the days become too hot, I'll spray the flowers with water to help them set and prevent the plant dropping them.  For those not familiar with these plants, they are an heirloom variety that are known as climbing beans. I provide a teepee  made out of strong poles for their support. 

As you can see from the photo they're already making good growth. 

However, I've also planted climbers more suited to our hot climate, down  at my patch in the community garden, in order to ensure a supply over the summer months.  Again I've grown these up a teepee of poles. The variety I chose for this is Blue Pole.  


Bush Beans Brown Beauty - Photo by Helen



Back in my home garden I've got the summer months covered with some bush beans called Brown Beauty. This is a very reliable variety that provides a good crop of tasty beans and stands up to the hot weather very well.

Now what do beans require to give you a good crop? Well, it's really quite easy. First of all you need to pick a site that has full sun and dig in some lovely compost and well rotted manure or blood and bone as a fertiliser. Try to do this a least a couple of weeks before planting. Beans don't like heavy soil, so make sure it drains well. When you plant, water in and then mulch around each plant. I like to use pea straw, this will help retain moisture and keep your beans nice and snug. Remember to not let your bean plants dry out and to water more frequently during hot spells. A couple of days after I have planted them I like to give them a weak feed of an organic liquid fertiliser and from then on to give them fortnightly to monthly feeds.

There's nothing hard about growing beans and the reward certainly out weighs the small amount of effort it takes. So why not this summer, grow yourself some tasty green beans! 
.

  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tomato Planting Time!


Photo by Helen



If you live in the warm areas of Australia like Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide etc. then it’s almost time to plant out those tomatoes as the soil will now be warming up. In Melbourne we have a saying, “plant your tomatoes after Cup Day,” which is held on the first Tuesday of November.

Now is the time to prepare your tomato bed. The first thing to do is pick a site in a sunny position. You will need for good results at least 6-7 hours of sunlight a day. Tomatoes love a well prepared bed, so get to it by digging in some lovely compost. I’ll be using mushroom compost and  some well rotted manure or blood and bone. Make sure your soil drains well, tomatoes don’t like wet feet!

When you plant your babies out you need to not be afraid to plant them deep, at least to above their seedling leaves. This way they will form a good strong root system that will support the plant. I'll mulch around each plant with straw, this will help keep the soil moist especially on those really hot days we get, but remember to keep the straw mulch away from their stems. Another thing I do is to use a good scattering of sulphate of potash around the base of the plant. It’s magic for tomatoes as it encourages good strong growth and lovely fruit.

Get the watering right. They don't like wet feet, just keep them moist and never let them dry out especially when they are producing those lovely tomatoes for you or you’ll stress them and that leaves them open to disease. Last but not least, I always plant by my tomatoes some basil and some marigolds - they’re best of friends you know!


So if you haven’t got your plants yet, why not pop down to your local garden centre and choose a few yummy varieties for your own back yard and soon you’ll be enjoying tomatoes that really do taste like tomatoes should.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Easy-Peasy


Fresh peas from the garden have a taste all of their own and they are a crop I look forward to each year.  

Peas are a cool season crop, that makes them in the warm area where I live in Oz  a spring harvest. The recommended time for planting these sweet babies is February - August in my area, that's end of summer through winter.  However in England I believe March to June would be an ideal planting time.

But for those of you who live in Oz and haven't planted any yet, don't despair.  If you live in a warm area like Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide, hurry you can just squeeze in a planting now, although I would recommend advanced seedlings as opposed to seeds. However, if you live in a hot area like Perth, Brisbane and Darwin you can still plant seeds direct into the ground. Cool areas like Canberra, Ballarat and Tasmania have a planting time of January-Oct. (The guide I'm using for planting times is The Digger Club's Sow What When.)

I planted my seedlings out in autumn, having first grown them from seeds in my  little greenhouse. I prefer to raise them in seed trays, then when the seedlings are big enough I move them out of the greenhouse and into a protected area outside, where they can harden off for two to three weeks. You can't take baby seedlings straight from a warmer setting and plant them into the ground, the seedlings will be too tender - hence the hardening off period.

Before I plant them into my veggie garden I like to prepare the soil a couple or so weeks ahead by digging in some well rotted manure, or blood and bone and some lovely compost. This time I used mushroom compost. Peas like a well drained soil and an open situation where they get sunshine. At the time of planting I also scatter a handful of lime to sweeten the soil and lightly dig this in. Now your plants should not look back.  From this stage onwards I give them a liquid feed around every two to three weeks and I carry on feeding them through their cropping season.


My plants are now at the stage of producing their crop and I'm harvesting them a little each day. I like to grow three different varieties of peas: 

A shelling variety called Willow. It's a mid sized plant and will need support. It produces lots of pods over a long period and the peas are so sweet that I have to stop myself eating them straight from the pod!






The next on my list is Snow Peas, such a versatile variety. They're great in stir fries or raw in salads or simply steamed as a veg. 

These again need support and grow to around 1.1m (3.5ft)  Heavy cropper, they too seem to last over a long season - a must have in any kitchen garden.





 The last on my list is the Sugar Snap Pea, it's a versatile pea with a sweet flavour. You cook the young pods whole, but they are also tasty eaten raw in salads.  

A tall variety which can reach around 1.8m (6ft) and will need good support. They don't seem to crop has heavily as the  other two varieties I've mentioned, but their sweetness makes them well worth growing. 

Don't forget to keep your peas well watered and to pick the pods regularly to encourage your plant to produce more of these lovely treats!


There you have it growing peas is easy-peasy. 

Why not have a go at growing some yourself.



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Let's Get Together - Community Gardens





Unlike in England, we don't seem to have allotments in Oz, at least I've never seen any, do tell if you know of any. But what we do have are Community Gardens. 

Community Gardens seem to have taken off in the  last few years. Local councils have been generous and donated various pieces of land. My own community garden was once tennis courts. They are a great asset as they provide those who do not have a garden of their own, or one not big enough or with the right conditions to grow fresh vegetables or flowers, with the opportunity to have a small plot to do just this, set in nice surroundings within built up areas.

But community gardens are not just for those without the facility to grow vegetables at home, they are also for people like me who have a veggie garden of our own, to have the opportunity to garden with others.

The great thing about these community gardens is that they provide you with companionship and the ability to share ones knowledge and learn from others. There are working bees held regularly, where members come along and help keep the general garden in good shape. It's a chance to chat with others over a cuppa and morning tea and to form friendships based on a shared interest—gardening.

There are social events for those who wish to participate and also speakers are engaged to come and talk on topics of interest. I believe my own community garden recently had a speaker on bee keeping. I would have loved to have heard this one, but unfortunately I couldn't go.

The garden I'm a member of is called Joy of the Earth and is now in its third year of being. Let me take you for a little tour around it.




This is the Rotunda and provides seating for that morning cuppa I spoke about and also shelter when it rains. 






Say hello to one of the characters that can be seen around the garden.







This is my plot within the garden, and I have to say everything is doing very well.





In the garden we have a greenhouse for the members use. There is an automatic sprinkling system installed to make watering easier for those who are growing things in it.



A small boxed orchard was set up last year, and the trees planted are doing very well. This photo I took during the winter months, so the trees are bare, but come blossom time they should look a treat!




There's sculpture in the best garden tradition ^_^






And of course there is a compost system which comprises of a three bed cold system. 











Housed next to it is our very productive worm farm, that supplies all the gardeners with that liquid magic called worm wee. 





Around the edges are beds planted with flowers, citrus trees and native plants, giving the whole garden a restful feel to it. 









We're the first community garden, I believe, in our area to have a wheelchair garden built by local college students as a project. 











Also we are a wheelchair friendly garden with access made easy to reach the lower half of the garden. 











And just to finish off your tour here are a few other views around the garden. 





So if you love to garden but would also like to have the companionship of other gardeners, why not check out your own local community garden.   

 Happy Gardening!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Come On Let's Talk Dirty! - Compost




Compost to the gardener is black gold. Every garden should have a compost heap of one sort or another, it's a vital ingredient in a healthy garden. It feeds and conditions your soil and it's good for the environment as it takes care of household scraps and your garden's green waste. 

Unless you are lucky enough to have the room for a three bin open system, which would make you a lot of compost and you're willing to turn it regularly, most gardeners like myself, only have room for an enclosed bin. The closed bin is a hot composting system and if mixed right will produce you compost fairly fast, as long as you place that bin in a position where it will get plenty of sunshine.

The enclosed bins come in various sizes, and I have found, having tried both, that the ones that also have air slats featured in the design, as compost does need air, work better than those that don't. 


 Just like the cold bin method, you do have to ensure your compost is aerated and within an enclosed bin you cannot really turn it, but you can use a tool that you insert and twist. This tool, (a picture of my own one is seen to your left,) will introduce space and air into the mixture. You still need to do this even if your bin has air slats. I also prefer compost bins that have an open bottom and which you place in direct contact with the soil. By having an open bottom to your bin you allow access to those lovely worms that work so hard for you in your garden.  

Making compost is not hard, you just have to get the mix right, that is the right balance between brown material (paper, cardboard dry leaves, straw) and green material (kitchen scraps, garden waste etc.) Compost also needs air and to be damp. Too wet or too dry and your compost will not turn into that black gold that smells right - no bad odours. Also the addition of extra nitrogen in the form of organic fertilisers can and should be added. I add usually a little blood and bone to one of the layers. 

The trick to good compost is to build it in layers. You can start with your green waste, that is scraps like vegetable peelings etc. Egg shells, just crush them up and don't waste those coffee grounds, tea leaves or tea bags as your compost will love these and they act as an activator to breaking everything down. Throw in your garden green waste, but do chop it up small. Even weeds can go in a hot compost bin as long as they haven't gone to seed.




Now, to the no no no's of kitchen scraps. No meat, fish or dairy. I do believe too that your dear worms are not too fond of onions, garlic, chilli and citrus (although I have to admit I have put all of these things worms don't like into my bin without any problems, but not very often.)  A big NO to  dog/cat/human waste - you don't want any of that shit! It may not be safe to use - so don't put it in.

Next layer can be your brown waste, that includes paper, shred it up, but not the glossy type though, newspaper, kitchen roll is all good, cardboard, save those inserts to your toilet rolls and kitchen rolls and rip 'em and chuck 'em in!  Don't waste those dried leaves in your garden, they're all brown waste and of course straw.

Sprinkle on top of this some blood and bone, or well rotted manure, chook, cow, sheep etc. or even some organic pelleted fertilisers.  Also I don't waste my spent potting mix. When a plant pot is finished I empty it's contents into the bin.

Now you can start your layers all over again!



You need to keep your compost damp but not wet or too dry.  If it's too wet, how do you know this? Well, it may not smell as good as it should. Aerate it and put in some of those dry ingredients I talked about earlier. If your worms are exiting your bin, the chances are it's too wet or you've added those ingredients those little darlings don't like ^_^

Some people advocate not composting tomato plants, capsicums and potato plants, because they may have developed a disease, and you do need to keep your compost disease free. However, I do compost tomato, capsicum and potato plants, all you have to do is check those plants out, if they're clean they're fine. If you suspect any plant of any sort has a disease then the best thing to do is bin it, not compost it.

There you have it, compost is the gardeners friend, so go on make yourself a lovely heap!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

READY, STEADY, SOW! - Tomatoes, Capsicums & Egg Plants


Photo by Helen A. Howell

With winter almost over, my thoughts turn to spring and of those summer veg and fruits that I can grow. Now spring is the normal time for sowing tomatoes, capsicums and egg plants, but I like to get ahead so that by the time it's right to plant these babies out, I'll have advanced plants that are strong and healthy and get off to a really good start. Not to mention having early crops over a longer period.

I don't have a heated greenhouse, only a cold one, but I have devised a simple way of heating my seed trays to help provide the warmth those tiny seeds need to germinate.  But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Before I tell you my method of sowing and germinating, I want to share with you which varieties I'm going to plant. Always a difficult decision for me, because I want to grow everything! ^_^


Let's start with the Egg Plants. Last year I grew Red skin, a delightful variety, bright red in colour and very small fruits. The skin was much thinner than the purple varieties and made the most delicious pasta sauce. Also I grew Slim Jim's a cocktail variety, very useful for slicing and grilling or chopping up to add to your favourite sauce etc. This year I decided on just the  Slim Jims. Why? Because they are a small compact plant and produce a heavy crop over the summer. Although I did like the Red Skins, it does grow into a very large plant taking up quite a lot of room.

Capsicums, what would summer be without some of these to throw on the bbq. toss into a salad or stuff with yummy mince and rice? I'm just going to grow two varieties this year: The Italian variety Romano, long and red and also the miniature Yellow. I bought a plant of this miniature variety last year and have saved the seeds, so let's hope they're true to their parent plant.



Photo by Helen A. Howell
Tomatoes, always difficult to choose as there are so many delicious varieties to try out. I do like to grow heritage varieties as these are open pollinated and so the seed remains true to the parent and they taste like good old fashion tomatoes should.

Last year I tried for the first time Black Russian, these had a dark almost black skin and a wonderful smokey flavour and are definitely on my list again this year. Money Maker is another favourite of mine and I have been growing this variety since the 1970's. Good medium sized tomatoes that crop well. For the cherry tomatoes I have chosen Lemon Drop, which have a zing  to them and a new one called Pink Bumble Bee and the last cherry variety I have chosen is Florida Basket. This plant is real miniature. It only reaches a height of 20cm (8") and produces bite sized fruit. My choice as a beefsteak variety is one called Granny's Throwing Tomato or alternative name, Boeuf or Beefheart in France. This produced wonderfully large beefy tomatoes for me last year with an excellent flavour. 


Time to tell you how I go about sowing and germinating these seeds.  First you need to get everything ready. Have a good quality seed raising mixture, nice clean punnets, a small garden sieve and your labels all marked up with each plant variety's name.
Photo by Helen A. Howell



Photo by Helen A. Howell
Photo by Helen A. Howell
Next fill the  punnet almost to the top, leave  maybe a quarter of an inch and place two seeds into each square, this way you cover your bases by planting more seeds than you require. Then if they don't all germinate, (but they usually all do, and I give away the spares) you'll at least have some. Then sieve more seed raising mix over the top to cover. I find sieving is the best way to go as it covers the seeds with a fine layer of soil, much easier for the seedlings to push through.

Photo by Helen A. Howell
Photo by Helen A.Howell
And of course give them a good water and pop them into a small propagator.


Photo by Helen A. Howell
Next I take the propagators indoors, because this is where I will create the heating source for my seedlings. How? I'm going to stand both of them over the heating vents (yes it's still winter and the heating is on). The vent looks like this and I place one propagator each side of it. I close the vents on the propagators when the heating is on to create the humidity I need and through the day when it's off, I  open the vents up to rid them of condensation.

Photo by Helen A. Howell

I actually did these a week and a bit ago and already have one set of seedlings up. As you can see it's easy to get ahead, so come on—Ready, Steady, Sow!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Come On - Bee Friendly!

Watercolour by Helen A. Howell

Bees play a very important role in the pollination of flowers and vegetables, and without them our survival would be questionable. The poor bee is suffering somewhat these days from the use of insecticides both by agricultural chemicals  and those that the home gardener reaches for. This coupled with the loss of wild flower meadows and their natural habitats is seriously impacting on the bee population.

Photographed by Helen A. Howell

What can we as gardeners do to help? The first step is to take on organic practices and cease using insecticides. Simple and safe solutions can be found to the common problems we all experience. 

First and foremost plant your garden with insect friendly plants, this will not only encourage the bees but also those good insects like lady bugs who will soon devour those pesky aphids that lurk on your plants.

Speaking of aphids/greenfly all I do to get rid of these little blighters is one of two things. I either put on a pair of disposable gloves and just run my fingers up and down the parts of the plant that they are infesting, they really don't like this. You may have to do this for a couple of days but they will go away. Or if you don't like the idea of doing that, just get your hose, or a spray bottle and give them a blast of water, this will knock them off. Again it may take a few repeats over a couple of days but it does work. No harm to the environment and no harm to the bees.
Photograph by Helen A. Howell


Powdery mildew – we all groan when we see this appearing on the leaves of our plants or veggies. A quick solution is to use one part full cream milk to two parts water and spray on the affected leaves. It won't cure it but it will go someway to controlling it.  Another thing you can do is cut off the offending leaves. If the plant is, say an annual and has really bad mildew, just throw it away and start again. I have heard Chamomile tea works a treat, and one should just spray it on, but having never tried this I can't say whether it does or doesn't work. 

Those pesky slugs and snails do like to come out and feast when the soil is nice and damp. You can go on a night patrol and collect them, then maybe the next morning put them somewhere the birds can see them. I like to put them out in the middle of my lawn. The birds will do a perfectly good job of getting rid of them for you, just as nature intended. If you must use a slug and snail bait then use the animal friendly one, it doesn't harm the birds etc and I believe, neither the soil. Don't salt slugs or snails this is very cruel and salting them causes them not to function on a cellular level and so they die of dehydration.

So there you have a couple of easy organic solutions to the pests/problems that commonly arise in one's garden.


Photograph by Helen A. Howell
Now to encourage the bees into your garden you need some bee friendly plants, and what plants do they like best? 

Bees don't see colour the same way as we do, they can see in the UV spectrum. Bees seem to be really attracted to blue plants. Of course bees love native and wild flowers but they also seem to love herbs when flowering. I noticed my marjoram was alive with bees when it went into flower. So why not plant yourself a herb patch with bee friendly herbs, like marjoram, thyme, rosemary etc. Good for the bees and good for your cooking!


Photograph by Richard Howell
Now, I did mention that bees love blue flowers and there are loads of blue flowers you can plant like bluebells, cornflowers, salvias, both blue and white, borage, bees love borage and of course lavender - what would a garden be without some lavender.


Photo by Helen A. Howell
I noticed that the bees also loved my Eryngium Blue Sea Holly. As it matures it seems to get a deeper blue. 

They do say that bees don't like red so much, but I have to tell you that my salvia 'Hot Lips'  whose flowers are red and white was alive with bees last summer.

The thing to remember when planting flowers for the bees is that the single headed variety is the best. They have nice open flowers and easy accessible pollen. Of course those hard working bees also like the flowers of your vegetable crops and I notice that they really did love my blackberry flowers too.


Photograph © Helen A. Howell


It's easy to create this environment within you garden, so come on - Bee Friendly! ^_^

Photograph © Helen A. Howell

Monday, July 27, 2015

Have a Very Berry Summer!


We have one more month of winter to go here in Australia and so I thought it time to tidy up my berries ready for the spring growth. 

In my garden I have blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
My blackberries did very well last summer for me. I have two plants trained up wire supports against a south facing fence. North facing is the hottest in Australia. Last year they yielded me, with very little effort on my part, 1200 grams of fruit, ( just over two and half pounds).  I've cut back all the old fruited wood, as blackberries fruit on the previous year's growth and got rid of all the dead wood. In spring I will dig in some compost and blood and bone and sprinkle a little sulphate of potash around their base. Sulphate of potash encourages the plant to make good growth and quality fruit.  I can just taste those blackberry and apple crumbles to come!

Raspberry varieties that I grow are Autumn Bliss and Lloyd George.

I choose to grow Autumn varieties because there is no complicated pruning required. You simply cut the canes back down in winter and they shoot again in the spring.  

Autumn Bliss produces large sweet fruit, while Lloyd George is a heirloom variety. It was first introduced in England in 1919 and is prized for being reliable and producing sweet delicate fruit with a sherbet flavour - what more could you want?!  

I haven't done anything to the soil except dig it over as I moved my raspberries into this new position. I have put around each plant a wigwam made up of four bamboo canes and this will help support these tall growing plants.  Come Spring I will do the same as I do for the blackberries, dig in garden compost, blood and bone and sprinkle some sulphate of potash around their base.  Mmmm raspberries, who could want for more.  ^_^

If you don't have room to grow any raspberries in the ground, don't despair, they grow just as well in pots.

You need a good sized tub and the best quality potting mix. I always choose premium which contains food for three months, water retaining crystals etc. Remember your plants will only do as well as you provide for them. The other thing potted raspberries will need is support. If your tub is big enough you can do the bamboo wig wam, if like my tub, it's not quite big enough, use a wire support. I recommend again planting an autumn variety, much easier to handle - this one is Lloyd George. This pot is facing north but in a shaded position, so it will get morning sunshine and shade at the hottest time of the day.

Strawberries - what would summer be without them! 


I've just prepared my strawberry bed in readiness for that luscious summer crop. I dug up each plant and cleaned it up, removing dead leaves and stems that were still trying to flower. Before planting back I dug into the ground some powdered down chicken manure, blood and bone and mushroom compost. The strawberries will love that! Then I replanted them and watered well. Next I sprinkled around each plant some sulphate of potash and scrabbled that into the soil, finally covering the whole bed with straw. That should keep the moisture in and their toes warm!  I've ordered some strawberry supports. These are circles of plastic that come in two halves and you place around the strawberry and it lifts the fruit off the ground, keeping it dry and away from slugs, snails and earwigs. Of course the plants will need to be protected from the birds, or you won't get many strawberries before those old blackbirds and thrushes do. I will place a tunnel of plastic netting over these plants once my supports arrive and are in place. 

By the way if you do have an earwig problem here is an organic and old victorian way of dealing with them and it really works! I first saw this demonstrated on the television series the Victorian Kitchen Garden and tried it out for myself last year. You take some thick stalks of the broadbean plant and cut into small lengths. You will see these form a tunnel of sorts. I laid mine among my strawberries and each morning checked them. Earwigs will crawl into them at night and all you have to do is pick them up and blow down one end and the earwig will come out and you can dispose of them how you like. I like to put them into my compost bin where they can do some good!

Blueberries. I'm really excited about this crop as I have never grown blueberries before. I have chosen a variety called Sunshine Blue. It's a low chill variety and suits the Melbourne area perfectly. It's suppose to be a heavy cropper producing mid sized fruit in summer.  



The variety is suitable for growing in containers and I have planted two. They sit in a easterly position where they will get in the summer morning sunlight and much needed shade in the afternoon. They are like azaleas, camellias and roses etc. and need an ericaceous compost (acid loving). In spring I will feed them with some azalea/rose fertiliser  But look how well they are doing right now, full of flowers that will turn into the lovely blue berries.


Growing berries is really not hard, there is a variety to suit your situation, so why not plant yourself some and have a Very Berry Summer!