Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some very early results

There is a marked difference in the three cucumbers.
This may be due to individual plant differences.
However, I thought it was worth sharing.

The plant: Cucumber - Crystal apple.

GREENHOUSE:  Potting Mix Formula # 4
Next set of leaves out with strong buds visible for next set.
The stems are straight and strong.

 OUTSIDE POT: Potting Mix Formula # 4

Next set of leaves beginning...
but not as advanced. Stems not as erect as GH one.


This one was a little bigger to begin with,
and is at the same stage as the GREENHOUSE one.
However, the snails have dined on the first of the true leaves
and the leaves are not as green as the ones in the pots.

All three, received an application of seaweed extract on Friday.

Not vast differences, but differences nonetheless...
and enough to excite this old 'scientist'.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Potting mix experiments

Science in the garden is so much fun!
Here are the first of my first experiments, growing in my Fat Fruit Greenhouse.
Following the progress of the plants, and the evaluation of the various potting mixes will be interesting.

Like a true scientist, I have planned my experiments and attempted one variable
(i.e. same plants, same pots, same potting mix but in a different location - in greenhouse/not in greenhouse)  Some plants and seeds have been also planted in the garden beds.

Seedling producers are making it easier to buy a variety of plants 
without having to buy a punnet of six of each type.

These were perfect for my experiments.
I have planted one of each variety, 
in the same soil mix, 
and the same type and size pot.
One will be living inside the greenhouse 
and one outside.

Formula #1 - (20 October)
50% cheap potting mix
50% well rotted manure
Added blood and bone.

All seedlings and seeds in the greenhouse
  • Grafted Grosse Lisse tomato
  • Early money tomato
  • Egg plants (grown from seed - can't remember the type)
  • Watermelon 
On the left: tomato - early money
Right - tomato - grafted gross lisse.
Both in IKEA self watering pots, which I already owned.

Formula #2 - (23 Oct)
70% good quality potting mix 
25% well rotted compost
5% river gravel/sand

Seedlings in greenhouse
  • Tomato - Early money (will be able to compare with same variety in Formula #1)
  • Chilli - black pearl
  • Chilli - habenero heat
Chilli - Black pearl
The second set of tiered shelves from the greenhouse
being used outside.
Inside the greenhouse

Formula #3 - (23 Oct)
Good potting mix only
Seedlings in self watering pots in green house AND outside, AND in garden bed.
  • Capsicum - Yolo Wonder
  • Capsicum - Sweet Mumma
Capsicum's  eye-view of the sky, through the greenhouse roof.
Formula #4 - (23 Oct)
70 % well rotted compost
20 % good potting mix 
10% river gravel/stones 10%

Seedlings in the greenhouse AND in same type of containers outside.
  • Capsicum - Big Bertha
  • Capsicum - Cherry Pick
  • Capsicum - Golden Bell
  • Cucumber - crystal apple (also in garden bed)
Seeds (24 Oct)
  • canteloupe/rock melon
  • Salad mix (Goodman seeds, corn salsd, mizuna,  mibuna, spinach, lettuce, rocket)
  • Beetroot - crimson globe (Mr Fothergills) - also in garden 3 days earlier.
  • Spring onion - white lisbon (Mr Fothergils) - also in garden 3 days earlier.
Just greenhouse
  • Chilli - Ever bearing perennial - Rainbow Chilli.
I will have to become a chilli fan,
with gorgeous bejeweled specimens like this one.

There is a long way to go, before the greenhouse is full...but it is a start!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Potting mix - Formula #1

I am beginning to experiment...first off: potting mix.

Formula #1
Equal parts of well rotted compost and cheap potting mix (for drainage) with some blood and bone.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Setting up #1

Oh, I am such a dreamer sometimes.

I imagined Daniel delivering my Fat Fruit Greenhouse...
and me swanning into it, with armloads of pots and plants.
The plants were already large, lush and dripping with flowers and fruit.


The reality is a lot more down and dirty...
and there aren't even any plants yet!

First off, I had to cement the legs in so the greenhouse stays put.

Then I put bricks under the edge of the walls and laid a path...
mulch over newspaper.

As usual, I had help,  of course.

The path will go all the way around the greenhouse... 
for ease of maintenance and as a buffer to encroaching grass.

I have decided to go with just one of the three tiered benches 
at this stage with an in ground garden bed along the north wall.  

It bodes well for my future greenhouse gardening success, 
that the grass inside is already much longer than outside.

I think my dream will come true
but it may take a little while.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Help wanted!

You know how it is.
Everyone has an opinion on how things SHOULD be done.
Heckle was henpecking me about cementing in the greenhouse legs yesterday.

Bubba, was certain she could do a better job 
of backing in the truck than Daniel, last week.

Bazza was an instant expert on knots...when it was not needed.

But sometimes you need a bit of help.

I certainly do.

Recently, on my other blog, I asked my readers
for advice about what to put on the floor of
my Fat Fruit Greenhouse.

I certainly received some good advice.
I will be posting soon about flooring for greenhouses.

Hazel's Fat 'n' Fruity adventure begins

I know it isn't,
Fat Fruit Friday,
but I have to share my exciting news!

Look what came on the back of a truck last week.

The adventure is underway!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Location, location, location

What do you look for in a house?
Location, location, location?
Views, proximity to facilities, water supply, good neighbours?

Today I am thinking I would like a north facing house ...
with lots of passive solar energy all year round...
and some afternoon shade in summer.  
A flat site would be easier and access to facilities  
would be a major plus as well.  

So, my little greenhouse groupies, 
here is a plan of the back part of the garden.

Click to make larger

The position for the 
is marked in red.

I have been watching this space through the winter, and it gets the most hours of sun.  
I will be using the greenhouse all year, but I especially want to make the most of it in Winter, so good sun then is essential.  As for shade, I can provide this with seasonal plantings on the north side of the house and with shadecloth.

According to my research, positioning a greenhouse with its long axis running east-west is ideal in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.  In the north one of the long sides should face south (without something blocking the sun) and where I live, Downunder, it should have a northerly aspect.

This diagram is how the sun will shine into my
greenhouse (Melbourne, Australia) throughout the year.
The angle differs with latitude and, in the Northern
Hemisphere, just put South on the directional arrow.

This site is also close to facilities such as two back doors, the veggie garden, the garden shed, water and electricity if I require this at a later stage.

Micro-climates are created by geographic factors, the built environment, position of trees and windbreaks, and bodies of water.

A greenhouse creates a warm, moist micro-climate and allows the gardener to extend their growing season, to grow some things out of their regular season, and to grow plants that would normally not thrive in their climate.

So...the journey begins!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Australian Made and STRONG!

This week I visited Daniel, of Fat Fruit Greenhouses, at his factory.
It was the first time we have met in the flesh, 
having only used the phone and email up to this point.

He thinks I was going to meet him and discuss
some of the finer points or our arrangement
where he provides me with a greenhouse
in return for writing a few veggie articles on his website.

Really, I was going to check the progress
on my new greenhouse and to make sure he was doing a good enough job.

This is what I saw outside his factory as I drove up.
Mmmm! Looks pretty strong.

Yep!  It's strong!

Daniel, is bursting with enthusiasm
and eagerly showed me around the factory.

He is using galvanised Australian steel
and has lots of ideas for additions and accessories for his greenhouses.

Don't forget to call in on Daniel, if you are going the 
Royal Agricultural Show in Melbourne.

You will find him (and my greenhouse)
in the City of Melbourne's
Sustainable Backyards display.

This is new to The Show this year
and has interactive and educational demonstrations
to illustrate simple ways for us to become more self-sufficient
and environmentally friendly
in our own back yards

And look what else I got of The Show's website:

Fat Fruit Greenhouses Competition - Win a Greenhouse for your School

Visit the Fat Fruit Greenhouse exhibit in the Sustainable Backyard to find out more and collect your entry form. You will need to send Fat Fruit Greenhouses a 3minute DVD, explaining why your school would love a fat Fruit Greenhouse and where you would place it in the school. You then go into the draw to win an Australian made 2.3m by 2.3m Fat Fruit Greenhouse valued at $2932 with super tough patented panelling - 250 times stronger than glass and easy to use vents, great for the kids.
Send Entries to: Victorian Schools Garden Awards C/o Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria, PO Box 2280 Wattletree Road LPO East Malvern VIC 3145 by 30 October 2011.
The winner will be announced at the Victorian Schools Garden Awards presentation day at the Royal Botanic Gardens at 10am on Thursday 1st December 2011. As an added bonus all schools that enter are invited to attend.

Meet my Greenhouse!

I am getting a greenhouse!
That's right, a new greenhouse!

 *turning somersaults, 
doing hand stands and backflips, 
jumping off the table and screaming*

Many of you will know of my ongoing lust for a greenhouse.

And this is not just ANY OLD greenhouse!

It is a 

It is made locally
by a young man who has begun his own company.
He's full of the sap of youth, wonderful ideas
and enthusiasm...just like me (except for the sap part).

Mine will be bigger than this.

It looks like a traditional glasshouse
but in place of glass it has AET panels
(the same stuff they have in those folding, shop shutters)
supported by a galvanised frame
making it 250 times stronger than glass.

Daniel, assures me it will be
To prove it, he sent me this photo.

Mmmm, we'll see about goats
are no barefoot boys!

Daniel, bless his soul, is giving it to me!
Free!  Well almost.
We have an arrangement where I will
work off the cost of the greenhouse.

I will be bending your collective ears
with the drama and excitement 
of my journey to find out what I can grow
in the greenhouse and when I can grow it.

I will also be writing vegetable profiles and gardening info
for Daniel's web page over the next year.

I don't even have to go into work...
Daniel has introduced me to The Cloud.
Walking on air, I am!

Isn't that the best news!
If you are in Melbourne, you can check out 
Daniel and his Fat Fruit Greenhouses
 at the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show.

Please mention my name, 
so that he knows he is really getting something
for his faith in me!

Oh, and DO NOT touch the greenhouse on display...
this is the one that will be 
making its way to my garden 
when the show over!

Oooo!  Is that applause I hear in blogland?