Saturday, May 11, 2013

seedlings in autumn

Here are some photos taken in the cooling of sunny autumn day.. southern hemisphere temperate, photo from the north.

This is an overview. 
Not of a funeral but raised bed centre and also to the left, 
with horse manure ageing in bags in the sun to the right.
The curtain over the centre raised bed allows light but not birds.
The main risk of aerial attack is from the satin bower bird, blackbirds, king parrots and crimson rosellas

and here is what is under that funereal cloth
- a mass of rocket (arugola) seedlings,
so easy to plant and get going.
 I had, some months ago, stuffed dried stalks with seed pods
into a plastic yoghurt jar, leaving the lid off for them to dry and not rot. 
Tis stalk crowded situation meant that when I went to get the seed out recently, 
it sprayed all down the tray of the raised bed 
with this result. Some fallen over momentarily with watering.
I am not planning to plant these out – the soil is very rich where they are – 
but will try harvesting with scissors when they are six or eight inches (15-20cm) high, 
leaving good growing bases and leaves.
I doubt the banana sucker on left will make it through the winter, 
inadequate shoots from the base when I took it out. 
But they do trend to die right back and rise from nothing in the spring (no frost here)
 so this is an experiment.

In the bed behind and to the left, a tray of (purchased seed) brussels sprouts seedlings
 among tamarillo seedlings (self-sown),
strawberries and seeding lettuce

and here in that same bed, more lettuce in seed, over seedlings
(click to enlarge).
In the heat of late summer, these salad plants quickly shot and went to seed. 
We have enjoyed picking meals of leaves right through to late in this growth, 
the sharp flavours mean no need for any dressing. 
Even those crinkly green leaves on the left and on the collapsed red lettuce (actually I pulled it over to get its seed to drop where I want it) are good
—if you enjoy strong flavour, rather than the watery mess of commercial lettuce 
or the fertiliser bag flavour of many hydroponic products.

I could collect this seed and if organised enough I could share it. 
But for now, I'm happy to see what becomes of the most vigorous seed falling to the soil. 
And the soil is good. 
A simple indicator: putting finger into the ground when not watered for a few days
you should feel moist humus, not dryness.

Note that physical intervention and work is minimal. 
Seeds raked in to begin, the seed, if soil holding moisture, 
should be not much deeper in the soil than its own diameter.

A quick look to remove grass seedlings, etc
a check for moisture, especially if going away for days.
Lots of thinking... some of those lettuce seedlings must go somewhere else... where?

Brain pressure thus impels planning for new beds or new arrangements. 
And as space fills up, you have to consider priorities:
— what grows best
—what tastes best
Don't persist with failures, neither you nor the plant will be happy

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