Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Regina Strawberry Days to Maturity

I grew several different alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca) from seed this past summer.  I looked on ebay for seeds, but the vast majority of strawberry seeds on ebay do not exist.   Due to this I had to get seeds from more expensive, but more reliable places.

Being in Australia the dates are written in the format of Day/Month/Year.

Days to maturity Regina Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Planted                        08/10/2016                  Day 0
Germinated                 19/10/2016                   Day 11
Flowered                    13/02/2017                   Day 125
First fruit ripe              13/03.2017                   Day 153 (about 5 months)

Strawberry seedlings

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Jade Bean Days to Maturity

Jade Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) were grown this year, they are a nice variety of heirloom bean that is both rather tasty and pretty.  I planted 3 Jade bean seeds that were 5 years old and was surprised that they all grew and cropped well. Even though I find it difficult to find green beans among green foliage it is still a good variety of bean.

The following were the days to maturity for Jade beans.  Being in Australia, all dates are written in the format of Day/Month/Year.

Seeds planted       03/12/2016       Day 0
Germinated           11/12/2016       Day 8
Flowered              14/01/2017       Day 42
Harvest start         05/02/2017       Day 64

Monday, 13 March 2017

Snake Bean days to maturity

Snake beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) are also called yard long beans or asparagus beans. 

I was always told that snake beans took too long to mature and may not crop in cooler regions.  I am glad to say that this is not quite the truth.  They are quite an impressive looking plant, which grows an impressively long bean, that tends to crop well even in short seasons.  So this year I recorded the dates. 

The following were the days to maturity for Snake beans.  Being in Australia, all dates are written in the format of Day/Month/Year.

Seeds planted       03/12/2016       Day 0
Germinated           07/12/2016       Day 4
Flowered              ??/??/2016        Day??
Harvest start         03/02/2017       Day 62

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Days to Maturity Pumpkin Kaempw Melon Rilon

This year I planted seeds of a pumpkin named Kaempw Melon Rilon.  I was told it was Cucurbita pepo but I am almost certain it is actually Cucurbita maxima.

Below are the days to maturity for this pumpkin in my garden this year.  I possibly could have harvested the pumpkins a lot earlier (perhaps Christmas time) or a bit later, I don't really know how to tell when pumpkins are ripe.  I don't usually pay them much attention and normally just wait for the plant to die back somewhat and then harvest.

This year I picked an arbitrary day to harvest when the pumpkins had each set a large pumpkin that was no longer growing or changing colour and started to set a second round of fruit.  The pumpkins weighed roughly 8 kg or 9 kg each.

Being in Australia the dates are written in the format of Day/Month/Year.

Kaempw Melon Rilon Pumpkin days to maturity (most likely Cucurbita maxima)

Planted                       16/10/2016                 Day 0
Germinated                 26/10/2016                 Day 10
Started flowering         01/12/2016                 Day 46
Harvest                       05/03/2017                 Day 180 (possibly Day 70 if picked at Christmas)

Pumpkin - Kaempw Melon Rilon

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Immali Corn Days to Maturity

This year I planted Immali corn (Zea mays).  I am very biased, but I think that this is a great variety of sweet corn.  Being high in anthocyanin it is also very healthy.

A while ago someone complained because I did not tell them how many days until harvest.  To be more accurate, they complained because they looked up a random variety of sweet corn days to maturity on the internet and assumed that Immali corn would be exactly the same, but it wasn't, and somehow I am to blame.  I think I have mentioned in other posts how 'days to maturity' mean different things to different people and is often a pointless number.  For this reason I record all the important dates.

Unfortunately until this year I had never acurately recorded the days to maturity for Immali corn.  Now I have.  Please note that this is simply what happened in my garden this year.  The days to maturity would be longer or shorter if conditions were different.  It is indicative only and I plan to use it as a guide to when to plant seeds next year.

The following were the days to maturity for Immali corn.  Being in Australia, all dates are written in the format of Day/Month/Year.

Seeds planted       16/10/2016       Day 0
Germinated           24/10/2016       Day 8
Flowered              21/12/2016       Day 66
Harvest ready       30/01/2017       Day 106
Cobs dry ready to save seed 05/03/2017   Day  140

Immali corn cobs

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Muffet Bean Days To Maturity

We planted Muffet Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) seeds, they are a delightful little variety of heirloom bean.

The internet references a large bean called 'Muffet bean' that was bred in the Goulburn region around 1827.  The brief descriptions I can find sound very different from my Muffet bean.  My Muffet bean is a short bean plant that gives reasonable yields of regular sized green bean pods.

The following were the days to maturity for Muffet beans.  Being in Australia, all dates are written in the format of Day/Month/Year.

Seeds planted       23/10/2016       Day 0
Germinated           31/10/2016       Day 8
Flowered              12/12/2016       Day 50
Harvest start         28/12/2016       Day 66

This year my Muffet beans and many other crops were almost entirely covered with Rutherglen bugs (Nysius vinitor), this has meant that the crops were much smaller and a bit later than normal.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Water Celery

Water Celery Oenanthe javanica (flamingo)
Like many rare vegetables this plant has many common names including: water parsley, Java waterdropwort, Japanese parsley, Chinese celery, rainbow water parsley, and a bunch of other names.

Water celery is a perennial vegetable that is under utilised and strangely uncommon considering how prolific and simple to grow it is.

I don't really remember how I first got the variegated form of water celery, I do remember that I had hoped to get the pure green one and was a little disappointed to get this prettier version as the green one is meant to grow in a very aggressive way and the variegated one is said to be more tame.

The variegated form of water celery sometimes known as 'flamingo' or 'rainbow water parsley', the edges of the leaves are white and sometimes pink. Like a lot of other plants the colour becomes a lot more vibrant and intense in cooler weather.

It grows extremely fast when the weather is warm, it is often used to clean water, is sometimes used to extract gold from water, and most importantly it is edible.  It can be grown in a floating raft to clean water in an aquaponics type arrangement.
Water celery growing in a bucket
 How to grow water celery
Water celery prefers a lot of moisture to grow, I usually grow it submerged in a bucket of soil with a few cm of water on top.  This plant should always have the leaves emerging from the water or it will rot as it is not an aquatic plant.  Most people seem to grow it in depths of 10cm to 15cm of water.  That being said some of my plant's runners have made their way into other pots of soil not even near water and are growing happily enough if they get reasonable water.
I didn't plant water celery here, it found its own way in using runners
Water celery found its way into this pot has survived here
I am told that it can survive temperatures as low as -30C but find that very difficult to believe.  It seems to die back a little when the frosts hit and there is ice on top of the water, but as soon as the weather warms up it takes off and grows well.  This plant can become invasive so take care if you plant at the edge of a pond.

Water celery, even the variegated flamingo form, is a productive and aggressive grower.  It grows long runners in an attempt to colonise as much suitable ground as possible.  I have read several studies which state that when grown on a floating raft type system it can be used to remove phosphates, nitrates and various other forms of pollution (apparently including gold) from water. 

Considering that water celery loves moisture, and it is reasonably simple to remove, even if it does become a weed it should not stray too far from damp ground and should be reasonably simple to pull or dig out.  Guinea pigs and chickens seem to like it so if you ever had a patch that got out of control if you move animals onto that ground they should eat it out pretty fast.

This plant can and does flower and will set viable seed.  I lost all of my seeds so do not know if they will be variegated or if a percentage will be green. I am told that it will grow to 60cm tall but mine never reach half of that.
Water Celery and Vietnamese Coriander growing in buckets
Water Celery Flowering
What does water celery taste like
Not surprisingly, water celery tastes very similar to celery, and a bit like parsley.  We don't tend to eat much of it as I am not too fond of celery.  When fresh the celery taste and smell is strong, this decreases with cooking time.

Water celery can be eaten raw or cooked.  If you plant to eat it raw please be careful that it does not have any water snails on it.  Water snails can carry a host of different parasites which are bad for people.  Cooking, even briefly, can kill the parasites and make this plant completely safe.
Water Celery sending out runners
Where to buy water celery in Australia
Variegated water celery is sometimes seen in nurseries and for sale by specialist water nurseries and pond supply companies.  It is difficult to find and is normally very expensive for some reason.  I sell water celery, it is listed on my for sale page along with some other perennial vegetables.
Water celery plants ready for sale
Water celery is pretty in the right light