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.

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

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

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Cape Gooseberry Days to Maturity


Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) is also known as Incaberry, goldenberry and Pichuberry and a few other common names. 

I find germination to be a bit hit and miss, I planted seeds that didn't germinate, then a few weeks later I replanted seed from the same packet and they all germinated.  They grew very slowly at the start and felt like they would never flower.  Once they started to produce fruit it was very productive over a long period of time.

Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana)
Planted             20/08/2016       Day 0  No germination, seeds rotted so I needed to re-plant.
Replanted         10/09/2016       Day 0 again
Germinated       26/09/2016       Day 16
Flowered          09/12/2016       Day 60
Harvest began  14/01/2017        Day 86

For a full list of vegetable days to maturity please click here.
Cape Gooseberry seedling
Cape gooseberry flowers and fruit

Sunday, 5 February 2017

'Space Master' Cucumber days to maturity


We planted some green 'space master' cucumber seeds, they grew into a small shrub instead of a long vine.  The cucumbers tasted good, and the plants were reasonably productive over a long season, but I am sure I can find a better variety.

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

Seed Planted        16/10/2016       Day 0
Seed germinated   25/10/2016       Day 9
Flowers                06/12/2016       Day 51
First harvest          28/12/2016       Day 73

Obviously these dates could change significantly if grown differently.  They were simply what happened in my garden this season.  Even though, it gives a reasonable baseline for comparison against other plants grown in my garden this year.

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

Saturday, 4 February 2017

White Wonder Cucumber days to maturity

I planted some heirloom 'White Wonder' cucumber seeds.  They are an old heirloom variety of cucumber that is rather good looking.  The plants grow long vines and were very productive over a long period of time.  These cucumbers need to be picked young, if left to grow the skin becomes tough and woody and they become too bitter for my liking.

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

White Wonder Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
Seed Planted        16/10/2016       Day 0
Seed germinated   26/10/2016       Day10
Flowers                06/12/2016       Day 51
First harvest          01/01/2017       Day 77

Obviously these dates could change significantly if grown differently.  They were simply what happened in my garden this year.  Even though, it gives a reasonable baseline for comparison against other plants, such as the green 'space master' cucumber, which were also grown in my garden this year.

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