We had a -2.9dC on Wednesday morning, Its quite a cold snap. The greenhouse station which is mounted at knee height reads -3.1dC, however, there’s no sign of frosting in there. The raised beds however were frosted. The hugelkultur beds are frosted as well… Ohoh…

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We had another round of frosty on Thursday morning, Temperature went down to -1.9dC, greenhouse at -2.3dC. Its all good, we do need a few hard frost to do a natural clean up of some pesky pest. Get the stubborn trees to do a last minute go dormant dash too! That almond is still partially in leaf!

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The strawberry beds have been weeded. It all looks sad, wilty, and brown at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see, I believe the entire bed will turn green come Spring. The plan is to let them run wild, and cover the whole mulched strip by the pavement. Strawberry plants are now available at garden centers too! I saw 2 of my favorite varieties for sale already. Camarosa and Sunset!

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Yet, I can’t help but notice Spring 2013 is just around the corner. The flowering plum decided to jump the gun. Guess what else? I finally figured out how to get into the macro mode on the Camera 360 app to take close up photos.

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So, I took more macro shots, and will be doing more of it from now on, as I really like macro shots. I think this is hazelnut flowering. Silly me thought they were tiny hazelnuts from last season, and at one point, thought of stripping the tree of it. Talk about epic inexperience.

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Sour cherry, Griotella, is probably experiencing what we call bud break. Ever wonder if bud breaks feels like wisdom teeth popping out of the gum? It must be a really painful experience for the tree.

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Asparagus grown from seeds in 2011 and planted in Spring 2012 should be ready for harvesting this season. There’s Asparagus Mary Washington and Asparagus Sweet Purple at each patch, something like a double crown. 3 rows in total, 5 patch in each row. I’ve also clean the beds up and weeded them. I’ll probably need to feed them a bit of fish and Rok Solid the next time a warmish rain comes along.

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I’m expecting a bumper crop of carrots. They look like they are ready to set forth and flourish.

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Peas are climbing… faster now, climb higher please.

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All this picture is making me hungry, so I make kale chips, and sort of charred the edges. Thanks to my beginner’s luck, I did not burnt the whole thing.

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One would have thought it is probably too late now to get Spring bulbs. Let alone procure them cheaply, as by now, most would have been sold potted up, which commands a premium. So… I look South, where it is cooler, and got hold of about 50 English Bluebells for dirt cheap price. As of today, I am not longer a Spring bulb virgin. I’ve planted the lot around the walnut, pecan, chestnut, persimmon groove sort of thing. In a few years, that will come up nicely, sprawling with English Bluebells.

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Look at this, $5 for 2 seeds. I bought 2 packets. So, I thought I would do a big Tomaccio experiment, and compare F2 to F1. The experiment involve 4 of each. And one as a seedling, one grafted onto Indigo Rose, grafted onto Super Tom F2, grafted onto MonteCarlo F1, 8 plants in total. And I began the seed raising today. ONLY TO REALIZE I DID NOT SAVE SEEDS ON TOMACCIO LAST SEASON, SO THERE IS NO F2!!! HEAD PALM. HEAD WALL. FACE PALM… So, this experiment will be postponed to next season. Unless, I manage to get hold of some from Ooooby.

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After some thinking, I decided to trial Indigo Rose, as seedling, grafted onto Tomaccio F1, grafted onto SuperTom F2, grafted onto MonteCarlo F1. These will be grown in the greenhouse. There’s also some other varieties, Black Cherry, Black Ripple Yellow Currant, Black Zebra, Dagma’s Perfection, MonteCarlo F1, Oaxacan Jewel, and Super Snow White. Last season, Black Cherry and Black Zebra performed marginally, I would have canned them if not for their novelty, so I would be grafting them onto 3 different rootstocks, and see if I can improve their health. The rootstocks I’m trying out are Indigo Rose, MonteCarlo F1, Oaxacan Jewel, SuperTom F1, and Tomaccio F1.

Apart from that, I’ve also sown 24x Pepper Jingle Belles, 12x Broccoli Sprouting Summer Purple, 3x Tomatillo Grande Verde, 3x Tomatillo Purple, and 30x Basil Genovese. These beds are heated to about 25dC. The seed raising mix is 75% Oderings and 25% Vermiculite. Then a generous dressing of Vermiculite to cover the seeds. Then cover them trays with a sheet of newspaper.

It was raining today too, so I took the opportunity to go and sow more wildflower seeds in the rain.

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Does anyone need a hand? Its CSI all over the garden… There’s body parts everywhere. The hawk is frequenting the Orchard Cottage nowadays, its probably a good thing, keeping the other pesky things away. Caesar is not too happy about sharing his catch with the hawk though.

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I’ve caught 2 possums in the yellow box trap this week. Caesar is loving it! I try using a tiny apple whole instead of quarter, and it works well.

 

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