Thursday, 28 March 2019

Days to maturity Buckwheat

This year I grew some buckwheat.   I grew buckwheat mostly for the flowers, it was planted so late that the frost will likely kill it before it gets a chance to set seed. 

Days to maturity Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)

Seeds planted       02/03/2019       Day 0
Germinated           04/03/2019      Day 2
Flowering             26/03/2019       Day 24

The time from planting the seed until buckwheat flowered was remarkably short.  I had dry seeds in my hand, then a little over three weeks later they were flowering!  I heard it was fast, but was always skeptical, so I m happy to have seen it for myself.

I was also surprised to see some plants had white flowers, others had light pink, others were dark pink.  I much prefer the dark pink flowers.  I wish I planted buckwheat a few weeks earlier so it could set seed.

For a full list of vegetable days to maturity please click here.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Flowering time for bees - Murrumbateman

I decided to start recording flowering times each week over a year, this helps me to know when my bees have ample food and when they may struggle more.

I only recorded things that were plentiful, there was no point recording if I had a dozen flowers.  I only recorded flowers that were on my property, or really obvious things on the neighbouring properties that share a fence with us (I didn't look over the fence, it is just what I can see from the street).  Everything on my list was within 80 meters of my hives.

I have certainly missed or forgotten some things, and I have probably used inaccurate and/or inconsistent common names for some plants, but the intention of this was to help me work out when the dearth will be here.

Before someone says something nasty, I understand that this list will change depending on what I am growing that year or if I get a new fruit tree etc.  The weather each year will make things a few weeks earlier or later, this is a simple guide.  I also realise that honey bees do not forage on everything on the following list, and they will travel far off my property to forage, again I stress that this is a simple guide intended to help me know when my bees are likely to have ample food to forage.

Honey bees, lining up politely


January
Week 1
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
parsley
skirret
carrot
Paddock St John's Wort
tomato
pumpkin
lemon balm
lime balm
lettuce
carnation
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
pomegranate
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 2
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
parsley
skirret
carrot
Paddock St John's Wort
tomato
pumpkin
watermelon
lemon balm
lime balm
lettuce
carnation
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
pomegranate
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 3
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
parsley
skirret
carrot
tomato
pumpkin
watermelon
lemon balm
lime balm
lettuce
carnation
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
pomegranate
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 4
clover
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
carrot
tomato
pumpkin
watermelon
lettuce
carnation
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
pomegranate
upland cress
mustard
lavender
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
Paddock St john Wort

Week 5
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
carrot
tomato
chilli
pumpkin
watermelon
lettuce
carnation
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
mustard
pomegranate
upland cress
lavender
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
February
Week 1
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
carrot
tomato
chilli
pumpkin
watermelon
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
sunflower
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 2
dandelion
strawberries
raspberries
lawn weeds
purslane +
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
tomato
potato
chilli
pumpkin
watermelon
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb +
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 3
dandelion
strawberries
raspberries
lawn weeds
purslane +
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
tomato
potato
chilli
pumpkin
watermelon
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 4                    
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
purslane
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
tomato
potato
chilli
pumpkin
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
neighbour roses
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree

March
Week 1
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
purslane
jump up viola
parsley
skirret
tomato
potato
chilli
pumpkin
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
neighbour roses
neighbour silk tree
 
Week 2
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
tomato
chilli
pumpkin
pineapple sage
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
neighbour roses
 
Week 3
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
basil
Jerusalem artichoke
tomato
chilli
pumpkin
pineapple sage
ground cherry
tomatillo
garlic chives
wasabi herb
neighbour roses
 
Week 4
basil +
tomato
chilli
pumpkin
pineapple sage
alpine strawberries
Jerusalem artichoke
celosia
borage
jump up viola
diploid potato
dandelion
false dandelion
clover
milk weed
neighbour's roses +
April
Week 1
basil
tomato
chilli
pumpkin
celosia
borage
jump up viola
alpine strawberries
wasabi herb
stevia
dandelion
false dandelion
milk weed
neighbour's roses
 
Week 2
basil
tomato
wasabi herb
chilli
borage
stevia
alpine strawberry
dandelion
false dandelion
milk weed
 
Week 3
basil
tomato
wasabi herb
chilli
borage
stevia
alpine strawberry
dandelion
false dandelion
milk weed
raspberry
jump up viola
neighbour roses
 
Week 4
basil
wasabi herb
tomato
pineapple sage
alpine strawberry
raspberry
borage
jump up viola
dandelion
false dandelion
clover
milkweed
neighbour's roses
bottlebrush
May
Too cold for any significant bee activity, more than enough flowers are present for the days that the bees were active

June
Too cold
July
Too cold
August
Too cold

September
Week 1
dandelion
jump up viola
wasabi herb
nectarine
neighbour almond
neighbour apricot
chickweed
 
Week 2
dandelion
wasabi herb +
jump up viola
exploding brassica
chickweed
plum +
peach
nectarine +
apricot +
neighbour almond +
neighbour apricot +
strawberries
Persian speedwell
 
Week 3
dandelion
wasabi herb +
jump up viola
exploding brassica
plum +
peach
nectarine +
apricot +
neighbour almond
neighbour apricot
strawberries
Persian speedwell
chickweed
clover
capeweed
small lawn weeds
string of pearls
strawberries
camellia
barrel medic
 
Week 4
dandelion
wasabi herb +
jump up viola
exploding bittercress
plum
peach
nectarine
apricot
strawberries
Persian speedwell
chickweed
clovers
capeweed
small lawn weeds
string of pearls
strawberries
camellia +
barrel medic
October
Week 1
dandelion
flatweed
wasabi herb +
exploding brassica
apricot
strawberries
chickweed
persian speedwell
clovers
camelia +
barrel medic
small lawn weeds
jump up viola
cape weed
nashi fruit
pink lady
 
Week 2
camellia
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
pink lady
Huonville crab
Igloo apricot
cape weed
wasabi herb
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
 
Week 3
camellia
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
pink lady
Huonville crab
Igloo apricot
cape weed
wasabi herb
strawberries
thyme
lawn weeds
jump up viola
red poppy
upland cress
borage
neighbour's hakea
coriander
plantain
 
Week 4
camellia
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
pink lady apple
cape weed
wasabi herb
strawberries
thyme
lawn weeds
jump up viola
red poppy
upland cress
photinia
raspberries
borage
neighbour's hakea
coriander
plantain
rosemary
lavender
pigface
 
November
Week 1
camellia
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
pink lady
cape weed
wasabi herb
strawberries
youngberry
thyme
lawn weeds
jump up viola
red poppy
upland cress
photinia +
raspberries
borage
neighbour's hakea
coriander
plantain
everlasting onions
sage
diploid potato
pigface
rosemary
lavender
neighbour honey locust +
 
Week 2
clover +
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
wasabi herb
strawberries
thyme
lawn weeds
jump up viola
upland cress
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
everlasting onions
sage
diploid potato
pigface
lavender
lemon +
neighbour bottle brush
 
Week 3
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
everlasting onions
Babington leek
sage
diploid potato
pigface
lavender
lemon
neighbour bottle brush
poppy
paddock St John's Wort
 
Week 4
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
parsley
carrot
Babington leek
diploid potato
pigface
lavender
lemon
neighbour bottle brush
large poppy
Paddock St John's Wort
 
Week 5
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
flatweed
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
parsley
carrot
Babington leek
potato onions
diploid potato
pigface
lavender
neighbour bottle brush +
large poppy
pomegranate
Paddock St John's Wort
mustard
upland cress
radish
Chilean guava
elderberry
 
December
Week 1
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
parsley
carrot
Babington leek
potato onions
diploid potato
lavender
neighbour bottle brush
large poppy
pomegranate
Paddock St John's Wort
mustard
radish
Chilean guava
elderberry
tomato
pumpkin
 
Week 2
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
parsley
carrot
Babington leek
potato onions
tree onions
diploid potato
lavender
neighbour bottle brush
large poppy
pomegranate
Paddock St John's Wort
mustard
radish
Chilean guava
elderberry
tomato
pumpkin
lemon balm
lime balm
 
Week 3
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
raspberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
parsley
carrot
potato onions
tree onions
lavender
large poppy
pomegranate
Paddock St John's Wort
radish
elderberry
tomato
pumpkin
lemon balm
lime balm
globe artichoke
lettuce
 
Week 4
clover
barrel medic
dandelion
strawberries
raspberries
lawn weeds
jump up viola
borage
neighbour's roses
coriander
parsley
skirret
carrot
lavender
pomegranate
Paddock St John's Wort
radish
tomato
pumpkin
lemon balm
lime balm
globe artichoke
lettuce
carnation
fish mint
ground cherry
tomatillo
neighbour privet
neighbour silk tree
 

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Do sunflowers track the sun?

When I was young I heard amazing stories of how sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) turn their flowers throughout the day to follow the sun. The story says that they face east in the morning, track the sun as it moves during the day, face west in the afternoon, and then overnight turn back facing east ready for the sunrise the following day. What an amazing story. I wanted to see this for myself.

When I was a kid I got some sunflower seeds, planted them, tended the plants, and remember being disappointed to see that the flower buds didn’t turn to track the sun at all. I figured maybe they only changed direction once they were open, so I waited. When the flowers opened I was even more disappointed to see that the flowers did not move at all. They stayed facing the same direction that they were facing back when they were fat little buds.

Last year I was talking to someone who told me how I must have misremembered, and that all sunflowers do follow the sun – that is why they call them sunflowers. They said there are even time-lapse videos on the internet of this happening with entire fields. My experience growing sunflowers was a lot of years ago, so the chances of me remembering incorrectly is really high. I grew a variety called Giant Russian and another old heirloom variety intended for poultry feed, perhaps they are too large and heavy to turn a noticeable amount?

This year my daughter grew some sunflowers, they were smaller varieties. If any type is going to turn it is going to be these little ones. So I decided to take notice of which way they faced and get some photos at different times of the day to help me remember correctly.

Somehow I forgot to take photos, which was irritating. Luckily one late sown seed grew, I forgot to take pictures of the unopened flower bud, but I did remember to take pictures of it throughout a day once the flower had opened.

The first picture is of the sunflower in the morning after the sun had been up for a while. Note which way it is facing. I tried to stand in a similar place to take the next two photos, but I may have been off a little. Even being off a tiny bit you will still be able to see how far the flowers turn or don’t turn.
Sunflower in the morning

The second photo was taken at mid-day, note which way the flower is facing here. Again I tried to stand in a similar position, but was off a little bit.
Sunflower middle of the day

The third photo was taken in the late afternoon before the sun went down, again note which way the flower is facing.
Sunflower in the afternoon

As you can see from the three pictures above, the open sunflower does not turn to track the sun. None of the other sunflowers that I forgot to photograph turned, nor did the unopened flower buds. When the plant was very small the growing point did display a bit of heliotropism and tracked the sun somewhat, but once the bud started to develop and become plump its sun tracking stopped completely.

I tried to track down some of the time lapse videos of this allegedly occurring. Not surprisingly all I could find were some poorly faked videos with digitally added rainbows in the background, and nothing that looked even remotely real. How disappointing. Oh well, at least now I know for sure that sunflowers don't track the sun each day.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Red Fleshed Apples Australia

There are very few red fleshed apple varieties available in Australia at the moment.  One is called 'Red Love'.  Apparently there are a bunch of different apple varieties owned by Red Love overseas ('Redlove Calypso', 'Redlove Circe', 'Redlove Era', and 'Redlove Odysso'), I am not sure which one is present in Australia but I am told it tastes like a granny smith apple, sour and unimpressive.  It looks pretty enough.

Another red fleshed apple in Australia is called the Huonville Crab, it is said to be the cross between a domestic apple and a crab apple.  I am growing this one.  Its bark, leaves, and flowers look amazing, this apple tree would not look out of place in an ornamental garden.

This year my Huonville crab apple produced fruit, the birds got to some and knocked them off the tree early.  There is a good chance that when the fruit are ripe I will forget to take any pictures, so I took pictures of the fruit the birds knocked off.  Some of them had bits missing where the birds had eaten parts, so I cut these bits off for the picture.

The skin and flesh does get a little darker than the pictures below, they still had a month or two until they were ripe, but it gives you a good idea of what they will look like.
Huonville Crab Apple - deep red and shine up well

Birds bit pieces, so I cut them off
Huonville crab apple - red fleshed

Red fleshed apple

Huonville crab are quite a pretty apple
The seeds were pink!

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Winner of the Flower Blog Award 2018

Recently I received an email from someone who claimed to work for Sparpeia.ch offering to nominate my blog for the "Flower Blog Awards 2018".

Apparently it was a competition, they had 10 blogs for people to vote for, and they offered to make mudflower the eleventh blog in the competition.

I had not heard of them before, and I never click on links that are emailed to me, so I googled them.  I found the following description of sparpedia.ch
  • Online Shopping, Discount Store, Vouchers, Our mission is to provide all Swiss with the latest and best offers of all online shops in Switzerland.


They are located in Switzerland.  That seemed odd.  Would my blog really be good enough to be nominated for an international flower blog award?

I did some more googling and it all appeared legitimate, so I replied to the email and agreed to be nominated.  Apparently the competition had been running for some time prior to my inclusion as there was less than a week left until voting closed.

I had a look at the other blogs in the competition, and they were all really amazing blogs, so I was delighted that my blog was considered worthy to compete with such high quality blogs.

It was a great honour to be nominated for an international flower blog competition!  Even if I didn't get a lot of votes this would still be a great experience and I was really excited to be part of it. 

If you voted for me in Flower Blog Awards 2018 thank you, I really appreciate it. 

The voting progressed and at the end the most amazing thing happened, I won!  My blog won the Flower Blog Awards 2018.  Seriously, I really won!  This blog got 40% of the votes.  Second and third place each got 7% of the votes.

Wow, I honestly wasn't expecting that.  

They emailed me the HTML for a cool little badge thingy to put on my blog (it is over on the right hand side somewhere) and will send me some prize money that was kindly provided by their sponsors Ricardo, Easyjet, Swisscom, and Autoscout24.

It isn't every day you win Switzerland's flower blog award!

Marshall's Bananaphone Pea

This past year I grew a rare variety of pea named Marshall’s bananaphone. What an amazing name! I grew them in the hope of building up seed numbers and distributing them.  Unfortunately it didn’t really work out that way.

The birds decided they were going to dig up and eat most of my pea seed, so I didn't get many more seeds from any variety that I planted this year. Marshall’s banana phone is no exception to this. I protected a few plants, but nowhere near as many as I planted.

To top this off, every time I looked away the kids would eat a few more of them. As I couldn’t increase the seed numbers significantly I thought I would write a description of this variety of yellow podded shelling pea.
Marshall's Bananaphone not yet ripe

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Massive Leaf Parsley


Last year I tried to do a bit more wide plant breeding.  I have a few things I am trying that may or may not be worth doing, but it is fun learning.  I seem to be achieving a few things that people say are impossible, as well as other things that it appears that have never been attempted.

One thing I attempted to do was cross members of the Apiaceae family.  Crossing Apiaceae is fiddly and time consuming at the best of times.  So my success rate is low and my confidence levels that I have made the cross I had hoped for is even lower.

Then I grew the most remarkable plant.
Possible skirret parsley intergeneric hybrid
My mystery seedling