Archive for October, 2011

Seed saving Chinese Mustard

We’ve grown Chinese Mustard over winter at my mum’s place, these veggies are a tiny little bit bitter when mature, and a bit peppery when young.  I like to use them to make soups with pork and salted eggs.

We’ve been harvesting the outer leaves rather then the whole plant, and the warmer weather in late winter have triggered them to flower.

Chinese Mustard Flowers

Chinese Mustard Flowers

The flowers grew into seedpods and were dried over the last few weeks, I’ve then harvested these seedpods still on their stalks, and put them into a clean polyethylene with lid.

Mustard seed pods in polyethylene box

Mustard seed pods in polyethylene box

The box is very light, and I just pick it up and give it a few shakes every time I walk passed it.  The seed pods splits and the seeds and some of the broken seed pods falls to the bottom of the box.  I then tip them into a small colander in a container with lid, and give that a shake as well.

Mustard Seed pods inside colander

Mustard Seed pods inside colander

Mustard seeds falls to the bottom

Mustard seeds falls to the bottom

The seeds falls to the bottom of the container with the colander catching the broken seedpods and larger chuffs.

Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

The smaller chuffs which fall through with the seeds can be lightly blown away as they’re lighter than the seeds.

The seeds can then be collected into ziplock bags for storage until ready to plant or seed sharing with other gardeners ~~ pods and chuffs can be used as mulch ~

Mustard mulch & seed packets ~

Mustard mulch & seed packets ~

Hail damage

Hail damageThese are not damages by chewing insects, these are hail damages from the storm last Thursday!  I actually had that day off for a doctor’s appointment, and have visited my parents that morning and saw the same plants with perfect and shiny leaves, but this is what they looked like when I went back for an inspection on Sunday ^^

From left to right, they’re Mulberry, Garlic Chives, and Warrigal greens (AKA New Zealand Spinach).

 

 

 

Here comes the storm season…

Visited mum’s garden which I helped set up over the last few years, they have harvested most of the peaches, which this year are not as badly attacked by the fruitflies. There are limes to be picked, and still some Mulberries hanging on the tree. The Longan tree is flowering profusely, and I was hoping for a good crop this year as the weather’s been good so far since it started blooming, unlike last October when there were hardly any sunny days and we ended up with no fruit at all.

Seed pods of the Chinese mustard, Chinese celery, parsley, and edible chrysanthemum are almost ready for harvest.

However, a severe storm hit our suburb yesterday afternoon… I have not yet seen the damage, but I’m not so optimistic about a Longan harvest any more ….

My patch of land

I’m lucky in that my landlord doesn’t mind me digging out the lawn and replace it with a veggie patch, so this is exactly what I did.  It’s been about 3 or 4 months since we put in half a cubic metre of purchased compost, almost half a cubic metre of coarse sand, some extra garden soil, and some coir, but things haven’t been growing very well… all the veggies appears to be stunt at seedling stage, and bolt to tiny flowers when the weather start warming up recently.

The only thing that really took off were the peas!  Unfortunately, the trellis I built was too short, and they collapsed into a bunch when it grew too tall, and started getting powdery mildew due to lack of air circulation, so I didn’t get much peas either.

Purple podded peas

Purple podded peas

No matter, it’s now spring, and it’s time for summer planting ~