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James of Bayswater

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James of Bayswater last won the day on February 23 2019

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About James of Bayswater

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  1. The FAQ says - "To sanitise using Unscented Household Bleach: Add ¼ cup of unscented household bleach to the FV. Place all equipment in the FV, fill with cool water and let soak overnight (or at least 30mins). Rinse out with hot water to remove all traces of chlorine smell." The bad news is that I have tried to buy bleach for several days but the shelves for the unscented bleach are totally bare.
  2. GREENY1525229549 , The Seed Collection is based in Ferntree Gully - my neck of the woods. I put a large order in two years ago but I must admit I have been disappointed by the germination rates especially of anything more exotic. It was great that they sell small samples at $1.20 a pack but not so good that they didn't germinate well. You should be fine with your selection though as they are easy growing. Also in Ferntree Gully is the Wholefoods shop where I scored my spinach seed over the counter - and the seed supplier was Eden Seeds who I highly recommend and have always enjoyed excellent germination rates with their seed. New gardeners should watch out for retailers selling seedlings out of season. One lady member was all excited that she had scored punnets of pumpkin seedlings at the big warehouse and she had bought so many she was offering them to the community garden. Pumpkins are at the very end of their season. Those seedling will produce nothing and were virtually worthless but that didn't stop them charging her full price for them. I have nothing against the big warehouse, in fact I am indebted to them in many ways, but the practice of selling out of season seedlings to gardening newbies is just wrong.
  3. Beautiful spinach BB. Spinach is almost as rare as toilet paper at the minute. Spinach ! It's hard to get seed and at Bunnings the other day new 'seedlings' were being picked up just as soon as they were put down. If you could call them seedlings as they had barely sprouted. I lucked onto some seed from a Wholefoods store when I was in the shop as they were being delivered. I was planting out yesterday in the community garden and three people approached me for greens including 'the bag lady'. She is an elderly local resident who looks like a bag lady and she has been picking greens from the garden for her dinner for as long as I have been there and its for people like her that I am planting out all this spinach. I was able to scramble up some silverbeet and a zucchini for her but the new spinach are weeks away. Council has restricted the number of volunteers who can be present at any one time to two so no more meetings and no more working bees. Most of the vollies have gone to ground anyway - several are in the 'high risk' categories. Fortunately the crew also boasts a couple of guerrilla gardeners (including me) and we have agreed to keep the garden going even if the council locks us down completely. I consider my gardening exercise and I am allowed to do that. I feel for the marginalized during the pandemic. The neighbourhood house next door was hosting Woolies surplus fruit and veg but the neighbourhood house has closed. We used to run a monthly food swap but that has had to stop too, and the poor buggers who normally rely on the garden for veg have found they have a whole lot of new competition and it has been stripped out. Worse still there has been a Covid-19 positive among the Meals on Wheels crew and that service was suspended also. It is a whole lot tougher out there for many people than not going to the footy or the pub. Wash your hands, keep your distance, stay home.
  4. At home I use the polystyrene boxes that Lite & Easy use to deliver as vegetable planters. They are excellent for the purpose and the lady across the road gives them to me in exchange for compliments about just how much weight she has lost. A bag of potting mix, punch half inch hole 3 inches from the bottom as an overflow and you have an instant wicking tub. Evaporation loss is much less in these than other containers especially with a layer of mulch and the polywhatsit insulates the roots. I always silicone some fence pailing to the bottom which reinforces the boxes so that they can moved with fear of them spilling their guts. I have one for salad greens, another for herbs, one for peas and another for garlic and shallots and one for strawberries. Virtually all my kitchen requirements come from these boxes. But that is not all they are good for. A Coopers Craft Fermenter fits in the box perfectly. I can feel some low tech temperature control experiments coming on. I have a temperature sensor. I only need to poke a small hole through the poly to monitor the brew without opening the box. I'll give it a go and I'll report back with the results.
  5. That's interesting. My post has been hidden pending approval. No swear words. I wonder what the robot objected to ?
  6. The tap really is the weak link in the Cooper's DIY system.
  7. Baron, Is that curry leaf ? I am no horticulturalist but from what I know of curry trees (apart from that they are of the Murraya family) is that they hate wet feet... and I notice yours is right by the water meter. It doesn't look wet but have a dig around - maybe there is a leak at the meter underground, at that will certainly lead to a yellowing of the leaves. Wet feet deprives the roots of oxygen and will eventually lead to root rot and the death of the plant. If you don't find the plant has wet feet then the yellowing is likely to be a nutrient deficiency and without going into the ins and outs of the duck's bum I would suggest a dose of Epsom salts and a dressing of compost.
  8. The good news is I scored a couple of bulbs of Austral garlic for planting and a four seedlings of Early Purple from Diggers. The rest of the shop was cleared out. I have never seen anything like it. As soon as new stock hit the shelves it was snapped up. I'll plant that lot at home. I just don't have a lot of confidence that the community garden will be accessible in the not to distant future. My plans for the community garden are simple : I am going to strip it down and dig over the garden beds and sow mixed green manure crops, broad beans and spuds... and walk away. My understanding is that May/June is likely to be the worst of the Covid19 situation and I am hoping that by August/September I can be digging the green manures back into the beds and be harvesting beans and spuds. These things can look after themselves for the duration of the lock down. In the meantime I can give some much need attention to my own patch. Maybe I am an optimist but this will be good for the community garden, We have planted season after season for three years now and the lock down will be an enforced fallow. The green manure and the broad beans will fortify the soil and the ground should be revitalized for the Spring.
  9. Thanks Yeasty. I didn't know the Lost Seed Company so thanks for that reference but it seems they are selling out fast. It is the same across the board but it might not matter anyhow... The Covid19 crisis caught up with the community garden yesterday. Not only are supplies getting hard to get but our monthly 'food swap' has been cancelled. In previous years if I needed planting garlic (or anything else) I would rattle the network and the universe would provide but the food swap was the hub of that network and it has been shut down. Secondly the council has dropped a whole range of restrictive measures on the garden yesterday including a maximum of 2 people in the shed at one time limit, and whole bunch of hygiene and social distancing measures that are going to make the garden group unviable. We cant even hold a meeting to discuss it. The numbers at yesterday's working bee were significantly reduced (understandable) and council wants to restrict our numbers to a maximum of five. It seems only a matter of time before the decree to close the garden is made and that will involve changing the locks on the shed so we cant get at the tools. Basically the garden will revert to the wilderness it was three years ago and all my good work will be undone. So it looks like my gardening will be restricted to home again for the duration of the lock down. I am not happy about it but what can you do. I am not going to bust a gut trying to keep the garden running if the powers are going shut us down at any moment. I am better off putting my energies into my own patch which is generally neglected because of the amount of work I put into the community garden.
  10. Love it Greeny. Great idea for a kitchen garden when short of space - or even if not. I made similar for a vertical strawberry garden using old spouting for the levels. I attached each spouting length to a fence paling then hung them off a chain link fence. It turned an ugly fence into a garden. I have another unfinished project using a pallet and boxing off the slats. Small footprints but multiple levels of growth.
  11. Geez, when the Rosemary dies back you know you are in strife, BB. Don't be surprised if the mint reappears if it ever rains. Container gardening is an art in itself and maintaining moisture is key. I am a big advocate of wicking beds and have translated it to containers using those polystyrene boxes they deliver the Light 'n Easy in. They are often left on hard rubbish piles in Melbourne and I snap them up. They are a little flimsy at the base when full of soil/water so I always silicone a couple of cut lengths of fence paling to the base to stop the bottom falling out, punch a hole in the side where I want the over flow to be, and fill it up with potting mix and compost. The polywhatsit insulates the roots and if you mulch you'll lose minimal water to evaporation. You don't even need a filler pipe, just water from the top before planting until the water begins to escape from the overflow. It really is the best way to make the most of your water especially if you lash out on a water meter (about $10). These things have a spike about 300mm long and will give you readings at various depths. Often the surface of wicking beds will appear dry but the deeper you go the more moist they are. Its easy to rig up a plastic 'tent' to fit over them and they become mini greenhouses and protected from frosts. If the palings are applied to the bottom you can pick the box up and move it to chase the sun or get shade relief. And if it ever rains these boxes make excellent beer bottle storage . I use mine to grow tender greens kitchen herbs and spring onions but I have grown tomatoes and broccoli and strawberries in them with success too.
  12. Yep. Diggers is where I got mine. You will only need a plant or two. They are prolific producers over many months.
  13. These are Tromboncino, also known as zucchetta, a type of summer squash, similar to a zucchini but actually of the same family (curcubita moschata) as butternut 'pumpkins'. They have a vining habit and will grow straight up a trellis or a piece of reo, although I found the fruit tend to weave themselves through the reo and you need to cut them to harvest. They can grow up to a metre long and they fruit for months. They are also very resistant to pests and powdery mildew. They look kind of rude but they taste great (sweeter than Zucchini) and have very few seeds. Like its butternut relative all the seeds are in the bulb end. When fruiting they grow noticeably day by day. Kids love them too. But here's the thing. They are not well known outside the Italian community and people don't pick them in the community garden because they don't know what they are but once you try them there is no looking back. It is a good idea to try to encourage them to grow vertically because the vine can grow to 10 metres in a well composted bed. They are a fail safe grow with lots to recommend them and I will certainly be planting them again next year.
  14. The thing I like about gardeners is that they are very down to earth, and community gardeners are very community minded. I dropped into the garden to deliver some bags of horse poo I scored down the Peninsula and there was the lovely Lexi doing the watering. She said she would swap me two rolls of toilet paper for a bag of poo. Done deal ! The universe doth provide... "Where did you get it ?" I asked "Who Gives A Crap'" she replied " I was only asking..." "No" she said "that is the name of the supplier - Who Gives a Crap - they are an online toilet roll supplier. We've been with them for a while. They deliver boxes of 48 rolls. 3 ply. 400 sheets per roll. 100% recycled and 50% of the profits go to building toilets in developing countries...." I had to learn more... so I went to the web site and everything Lexi said was true. Only trouble is there is a banner across the web page that reads "Holy Crap. We have sold out of TP !" Oh well, I still have my Preciouses
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