Archive for November, 2011

Growing your own mulch

One of the things which are very important when gardening in the subtropics is mulch, especially in a hot and dry continent like Australia.  In South East Queensland, the most abundantly available and affordable mulch is sugar cane mulch due to our sugarcane growing industry.

If you have enough space, it’s very easy to grow your own mulch, but we probably don’t want a big patch of sugarcane unless you have an expensive sugarcane juicing machine.  There are many other plants one can use as mulch which are easy to grow in a home environment, this includes Queensland arrowroot, lemongrass, pigeon peas, mung beans, and soy beans just to name a few.

Lucerne

The plants with little purple flowers is lucerne (aka alfafa) I sow in Autumn with some mustards.  The mustards were pull out and dug in when I sow peas in late Autumn/early winter, and the peas have since been harvested.  I left the lucerne in when I planted sweet corn and squash about a month ago, and now they’re flowering ~ They were covering up my squash plants, so I’ve cut them off and will use these as mulch ~

Lucerne in flowers can make nice floral arrangements if you're skilled in this area, but I'm just drying them for mulch ~

Seed raising with bottom heat ~

I  have tried growing winter melon, hairy melon, and angled luffa from seeds purchased at Chinese Groceries a few times without success…

I was later given angled luffa seeds from a fellow seed saver which were successfully germinated, so I’ve blamed the quality of seeds, although I have successfully grown radish and Chinese mustard from those packets before.

It is that time of year again to sow melons, and I have noticed it is very warm on top of the small wine fridge in the garage, which was given to us as wedding gift early this year.   Although I have blamed the quality of seeds, but I have also suspected the soil I sow them to wasn’t kept moist and warm enough, so I went and bought a packet of hairy melon seeds.   Again.

This time I have sown eight seeds in toilet paper rolls, covered with cling wrap, and put them on the wine fridge.  In about a week or two’s time, all eight seeds have germinated!!!

And then my mum gave me some winter melon, hairy melon, and bottle gourd seeds she got from her friends when I brought over a couple of hairy melon seedlings to plant at her place ^^