We believe that the urban garden is one of the solutions in the face of rising cost of living. By applying permaculture principles in the design and lifestyle, we seek to maximize onsite resources to meet most of our needs with minimal impact on the land.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Organic Fungal (RUST) Control

There are rust on a patch of vegetation. From my research for an organic combat, Neem Oil and Garlic sprays are two natural fungal control for Rust.

Garlic Spray:
1 garlic bulb
1 quart water
crush the garlic bulb, place in a pan of water. bring to boil then turn off heat.let mixture cool. Strain out garlic.Pour liquid into spray bottle and spray affected areas of plants. repeat as`necessary.

Garlic is known to fight many types of disease causing fungi, including mildew,gray mold, rust. Garlic has not only been shown to fight fungi, but it also has repellent qualities for other diseases and insects. Plant Garlic bulbs next to your roses, and you should not have any problems with aphids.

Milk is another combat but it works a little differently from Neem Oil and Garlic. A comment from a forum:

There are many layers of bacteria and fungi living on the outside of your plants. The simple proof of that is the rust fungus living on the outside of your plants. The problem is that the beneficial microbes, which usually live there and protect your plants from disease, have lost their ability to do that. They need to be revitalized. Your compost tea will help with that, but also I would spray separately with milk dissolved in water at 3 ounces per gallon of water. Spray as often as you want to. Up here we shoot for spraying every 2 weeks. Your area may appreciate it every week. The milk will provide real food for the microbes living on the plant surfaces and should restore the good health to the beneficials. Once they are healthy, they should eliminate the rust fungus for you.

As an experiment, I'll section out the problematic veg patch into 3 sections and try each of the remedies on 3 different areas. Looking forward to finding out the outcomes.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Winter gardening in Spring??

Not quite. What vegetables might you expect to be growing in winter? Not much one might say, but really, there are a lot more than we think. I visited a friend's garden, and the vege beds were packed with winter growth. It was a beautiful sight. Very encouraging too. This is Palmerston North we're talking about.
Apparently growing winter vegetables requires a bit of advance planning, at least 4 to 6 months ahead of time. This is done when summer gardening chores are also at their peak http://westsidegardener.com/quick/winter_veggies.html. Below are some vegetables that we could be eating from our garden in winter...the months are an estimate...I haven't done most it myself but this is the coming winter project - I know, I know, spring has barely started, but...

Do let me know if you've more winter vegs to add to the list and suggestions for winter gardening...

Some of more slow growing winter vegetables are: (6months ahead)
Leeks (sow in Nov for planting in Jan)
Celery (sow in Nov for planting in Jan)
Brussels sprouts (sow in Jan/Feb)
Cabbage (sow in Jan/Feb/March/April/May)
Broccoli (sow in Jan/Feb/March/April/May)
Cauliflower (sow in Jan/Feb/March/April/May)
Chinese cabbage

Some faster growing winter vegetables/herbs are: (3 months ahead)
Chinese cabbage
winter carrots
silver beets
parsely (all year round)
snow peas
sugar snap peas
Broad bean (sow in April/May)

Fastest growing winter vegetables are (1 1/2 months ahead)
Lettuce (all year round)
winter spinach
radishes (all year round)

Monday, 10 September 2007

Rhubarb Galore...

It's time to divide the rhubarb clump. I did it last weekend and harvested a fair bit of rhubarb. Matt (my husband) decided to make a Rhubarb cake last night. We brought the cake to work, it went down like a treat. It tasted so much better the next day - 2 minutes in the microwave oven to just slightly warmup the cake. It will taste even better served with unsweetened yoghurt. The downside is we didn't take a photo prior to eating it..

150 grams butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups organic wholemeal flour (it gives very different texture from normal wholemeal flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Rhubarb Topping:
500 grams chopped up rhubarb - 1.5cm lengthwise (remove the stringy bits)
1 tablespoon organic whole meal flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnemon
1/4 cup sugar
rind/juice of a lemon

Cake Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream the slightly softened butter and sugar and then add the eggs, one at a time. After that, add the flour and baking powder, and turned the flour into the wet mixture - don't over do it.

Add all the topping's ingredients together and mix it well.

Spoon 3/4 of the batter into a 23cm square/round baking tin. Put in all the toppings. Spoon the rest of the batter on top of the rhubarb topping. Mix the cake topping together and sprinkle on top of the cake.

Bake at 160 degree centigrade for 45 -50 minutes (more if required -oven dependent).

This link has ALL the information anyone needs on Rhubarb