At last winter is almost over as we think about getting the garden ready for next year’s Open days in February. This would not have been possible the last two years without the amazing help we have received from our “Friends of Joe’s Garden”.
So many of you have provided invaluable help both on the actual days and in the lengthy preparation time so we want to say a big Thank You! This is a social event only and not a working bee (although if you are overcome by a irresistible desire to pull up a weed you will have plenty of choice and no one will prevent you!). BBQ lunch provided but if you can bring salad, fruit or dessert that would be good.
It’s a good chance to meet other gardeners, pick our brains and, depending on the numbers, we may be able to have some discussion about further events and what people would like. Some of the things that have been suggested are short courses on gardening and other sustainability topics, discussion groups, meditation retreats, film evenings, and cooking with fresh produce.
Joe is always coming up with new ideas for the garden itself but now it is up and running, it’s time to look at other ways we can build the community.
We want you to enjoy our garden as much as we do! BBQ served around 12 to 12.30pm but if you want to come a little earlier and wander around the winter garden you are very welcome to do so. Most of you will have seen it in its spring and summer glory and it’s very different at the moment but interesting to see Nature getting ready to display the annual miracle of Spring.
A few days of lovely blue sky earlier this week was a reminder that spring is only a few weeks away now so we’d better get a hurry on and finish the winter pruning before the sap starts to run, especially in the grapes and figs. The Open Garden might be still months away in February but if the last two years are anything to go by, that will be here before we know it so today was our first open day for the new season. Some lovely people came to learn pruning and helped us complete that task, we had a couple of people come early and take some silver beet (a small fraction of which is shown in the new photo) and then we had two groups come in the afternoon to pick our brains and collect more silver beet(thank you!). We were also able to give some cuttings to a family who helped us enormously last year. It was so pleasant to have members of our little community here again so for the rest of the year until the Open Garden Joe will endeavor to be in the garden on Saturdays from about 9am to 3pm. Anyone who wants advice, to help out or buy trees is very welcome – just PM me for the address. The garden is looking a bit dismal at the moment with deciduous trees sporting their dead look but in about three week’s time this will be a mass of exquisite pink blossoms. We’ve been quiet for the last three months with illness, work and family pressures and it was great to see Joe come alive as he shared his garden with our visitors. I am just about to post a special Event for next Saturday to which all friends of the garden are invited. I just noticed that there are a few comments which I have missed so I apologise for not replying. I am new to WordPress and did not know where to look and have been very ill over winter so not able to be on the computer so much.
LEARN HOW TO PRUNE! With a forecast of 18 for Saturday we sun lovers are being coaxed into the garden for the final winter pruning which should be done while trees are still dormant. In particular, it is important to prune grapes before the sap begins to flow which will be very soon. Joe will be available all Saturday in the garden if you would like to come and learn how to prune. We will be doing mainly grapes, figs and mulberries as citrus don’t usually require pruning and in recent years we have been summer pruning the stone fruits for more fruit. Winter pruning promotes vigour but summer pruning more fruit. You are welcome to take cuttings as well which are very easy to propagate and if you missed the Rare Fruit Society grafting days we may also have available bud wood from stone fruit trees. Joe is also available for providing gardening advice for your own garden and the nursery will be open for very cheap fruit trees. Please bring pruning gear if you have it. A light lunch is also provided so please PM me if you are coming for lunch so we know for catering. After hibernation during a particularly nasty winter(although it must be said it was nice to fill the tanks), the garden is now in full swing again! And you might even be able to relieve us of a huge surplus of spinach etc. Come any time from 8.30am and go through the garage door if you have not been here before. PM for address and contact phone numbers.
Another quick seasonal note re spraying of stone fruit trees. Many of you will be aware that peach and nectarine trees are very prone to curly leaf disease which is a fungal problem. It is problematical whether to spray or not as most of us try to be as organic as possible but usually trees will benefit from a copper spray at the start of spring. This is not against organic principles. Personally, I would advise spraying this year as we have had a very damp winter which is ideal for overwintering of fungal spores. Curly leaf is not usually fatal but it does reduce the vigour of the tree and the fruit set. The correct time to spray is at bud burst so look for the little pink blossoms when they first appear and spray then; it is too late once the blossoms are fully out or the leaves have started to shoot. Most years this is about the first week of September but different trees have a different time if they are an early or late peach. Previous copper sprays were notorious for gumming up the sprayer but new product released last year called Liquid Copper seems to make this much less of a problem.
Sorry for the lack of posts in recent weeks, two months in fact! Rosanne is still struggling with recovery from her knee surgery a few weeks ago. The icy cold is doing me no favours either. Neither Joe nor Rosanne likes winter…no, that’s too weak…we both actively detest it and yet it’s the time when there is lots of work to be done with pruning and propagating. I can still hardly walk so am pretty much useless in the garden and Joe has been sent south of the city to work so he leaves home in the dark for a long drive and then repeats it after work which has been super stressful for him recently. Thus, truth be told, our wonderful gardens are looking a bit sad as they always do at this time of the year. Fortunately we have a lot of citrus growing which provides some winter beauty (and yummy fruit) but we are both longing for the return of the usual wonderful weather that Adelaide enjoys for 8 months of the year. The appearance of the first pink blossoms on the stone fruit trees in the first week of September is a wonderful, albeit very short, time in the gardening year as the dead looking sticks are adorned with exquisite blossoms which begins the exciting stone fruit growth period and the anticipation of my personal favourite fruits.
However, one thing that doesn’t stop growing is the green stuff! Call it what you like – spinach, silver beet, swiss chard – we have MOUNTAINS of it. Many different types, all growing prolifically – self sown, unwatered and unfertilised. PLEASE come and take it away! I hate to see good food go to waste and I noticed in Coles this evening pathetic, small, wilted bunches being sold for $4 each! Last year I was able to pick it and drop it off to people but I’ve been so sick this year I’ve had to ask if people can come and pick their own or at least come on a Saturday when Joe can pick it for you. For those of you who are new to this page we are 25 kms north of Adelaide SA and if you want some, PM me and I will unlock the gate when you are coming past. You can have as much as you want as often as you want!