Mango Party

For those of you who have been following the progress of our one and only remaining mango, yesterday was the day it was ready for picking after months of watching it grow to a very large size. I was not aware of this but apparently they ripen from the inside out in our climate whereas in the tropics the outside goes yellow first as the inside gradually ripens. So suddenly it turned yellow and was ready to pluck.

We invited our friends David and Narelle Warner and their children around to help us eat it as they have been an enormous help to us over the last few months. Wish there had been more fruit as it would have been nice to invite some more helpers for a taste of SA grown Kensington Pride mango. It certainly did not disappoint! I have to confess I am not usually a huge fan of mangos as I find them and a lot of tropical fruit a bit sickly for my taste which runs more to stone fruits, berries and things with a slight tang to them. However, this was truly exquisite as there was the very slightest tang to it and beautiful buttery flesh but then everything tastes pretty wonderful when you eat it as soon as you pick it.

So for you mango lovers living in warm temperate climate I’d say give it a go! This was just a seed from a commercially bought mango planted in a pot about four years ago. You need to protect them from frost for the first couple of winters and if you are going to plant in the garden find the warmest spot. Ours was grown under special roofing which lets in lots of light but not much heat to protect it from Adelaide’s fierce summer sun.

I do apologise that this blog is not coming along as I’d hoped due to continued illness. I am hoping to post lots of articles and info soon but am in constant pain, not sleeping and having difficult reactions to painkilling drugs the doctors are trialing so it’s really hard to concentrate (or sit) for long.Image

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak….

The wonderful Vanessa Henley set this webpage up for us after the recent Open Garden so that we would have an alternative site to our Facebook Page as not everyone likes Facebook and the format has certain limitations. It has served us very well over the last year however and we are approaching 500 “likes”. We have no idea where some of these people are from or how they found us but you are all part of our community whether you live just up the street or are on the other side of the world as many are.

We are keen to get lots of useful information here in an easy to read format but have been hampered in recent weeks by debilitating illness which is very frustrating. If you have found this page before our Facebook Page I’d suggest taking a look at that too as there are lots of photos there as well as a bit of a blog of what’s been happening here over the last year. You can find our Facebook Page “Joe’s Connected Garden” here.

Currently four gardens are open to the public at designated times but two of these are owned by elderly people who have given us the use of their land without participating in any of the gardening themselves.

The two people who are involved in creating and maintaining the gardens are the eponymous Joe Kielnerowski and his neighbour Rosanne Parker who have organised a division of labour according to time, talents and physical abilities. As with the Facebook Page, Joe asked me to out myself as the author of most of what you read here.

Unfortunately, increasingly poor health (especially crippling arthritis) has meant that I can no longer do any of the heavy work in the garden which is incredibly frustrating for me. I do seem to have a few remaining brain cells however so my main responsibility is maintaining the communication side of things. That’s after the endless watering of course – I can still stand and hold a hose! I’d love Joe to write more but he’s an incredibly busy person although I will certainly be suggesting that he share his experience of the Food conference in Hobart this weekend. So when it’s Joe writing he will identify himself, otherwise it’s Rosanne!

Please be patient while I construct this website! I’ve been very unwell in recent weeks as my doctors try to get my pain meds right which has caused all sorts of horrors. Rather than do a sloppy job, it’s better to wait until some of this health stuff resolves a bit. Thanks for visiting us here!

Food 4 Thought conference in Hobart

SOME EXCITING NEWS! Joe is in Hobart this weekend to attend the Food 4 Thought conference of community and kitchen gardens. He was invited to give a presentation and will be talking about “Community gardens on private land” which is apparently not something that is commonly done and probably one of the reasons so many people find our gardens so interesting.

We never intended to become a community garden and are still feeling our way as to the next step. This is an example of how good things can come out of adversity! Had it not been for our health issues and the extra demands on Joe from his work and caring for his frail parents, it would never have occurred to us to ask for help and open up the garden to others but in many ways, this is the most satisfying aspect of what we do, even more than harvesting the yummy produce and knowing we are doing our bit to care for the earth.

This afternoon Joe is touring some Hobart community gardens as part of the conference and will hopefully come back with more ideas. He will be presenting on Sunday morning and have the opportunity to connect with high profile gardeners from all over Australia. I would love to have gone too but am still not well enough to travel and I have a rather shy and neurotic cat who will only let me feed her so I’m tied to home pretty much.

For more information about Food 4 Thought 2014 – exploring meaningful livelihoods in urban agriculture visit the Food 4 Thought website.

Learning about gardening

Where do you get your gardening information from?

I think I have mentioned before that both Joe and I are completely self taught but we are voracious readers. The internet has obviously changed the way everyone learns these days with the omniscient Google and excellent forums on anything that interests you.

There is still a place for books especially for those of us who love the feel of a beautifully produced book but I think gardening writers are having a tough time these days coming up with something original that you would pay money for when you can get the same information free.

We love gardening magazines which are sort of a cross between a good book and the internet and can be accessed free through the public library system.

We were pleased to see this week that one of our favourites, Earth Garden, has been given a major makeover and is now a good looking journal rather than the clone of Grass Roots that is used to be. It’s printed on environmentally friendly paper or you can download it if you prefer. I think the new format will give it a special niche in the genre: there’s almost no ads so why not check it out.

Of course, we still love Grass Roots as well as the ABC mags Gardening Australia and Organic Gardener although the latter seems to have a lot more advertising lately and less substance. Of course, there is no substitute for practical experience and especially conversations with other gardeners!

Our first test post

Quiet spot

Quiet spot

LAST DAY OF SUMMER  Well, that summer went so quickly, like they all do. Always sad to see the official end of summer even though March would have to be my absolute most favourite month with so many cloudless days around 30 and no more hot nights.

Lots of things to do too if you are into going out; I often think that the performers that come here from a cold northern winter must think they’ve died and gone to heaven when they see the glorious sunny days we roll out here, one after the other. I just love everything about summer although since becoming a serious gardener a few years ago I could certainly do without the endless watering.

I took a small group through the garden today and noticed again how lush and green it looks despite some very grueling hot weather this year. Yes, we’ve just got some pretty high water bills but I am sure that thorough mulching and judicious shading are very important as well. I also think my policy of watering well before the heat strikes serves the plants well as the roots have something to draw on when the heat hits.

Take a look at the photos that I will post  of the Open days and you will see that it has survived summer very well.

Farewell lovely summer for another year but it is March and there’s figs and the dread days of winter are still some time away yet.