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Sunday, 28 August 2011

My Huge Tomato Plant

This is just one tomato plant...

Some months ago I have noticed a tomato plant in my flower bed. It probably germinated from a seed which somehow survived in the compost that I added to the beds. I decided the tomato can stay as it is but, I could never thought how huge plant it will turn into! It almost suffocated my Tiareallas! In spite of drought, the plant is fully green with lots of flowers and the first fruits turning red... The stems are over 1.2 m long crawling over the brick paving and forming the root system at the places where they touch the earth.

the roots on the stem

tomato fruits

The weathermen say it will be a long warm autumn and I think, it will be enough time for all the fruit to ripen. I picked up the most of other tomatoes and they slowly decline, except from the cherry tomatoes that tirelessly produce new fruits. 




Friday, 19 August 2011

My New Gardening Book


Horticulture is my vocation and I could never have enough of gardening books. This one is my birthday treat! I do that now and then, buy myself something I like, mostly books. 
I ordered it seven days ago form Book Depository. I like this on-line book store, easy to browse, easy to add book to wish list, easy to place an order, good service and free delivery worldwide on all the books. I think is cheaper than most similar on-line book stores. I already have some more books on my wish list waiting...
Well, I cannot wait to start reading this one.



As for my garden, we again have a longer period with no proper rain. So, watering is in order. I had to pull out all the broad beans, no use to wait if they will bring some pods. What a pity!
Sedums and Semprevivums survive the drought easily. I planted some in this old roof tile.


Interesting flowers of Veronicastrum virginicum.






Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The First Potatoes

One potato, two potatoes...

I was working in the veg garden this afternoon and could not resist to check out one of my potato bags. I actually find it odd not to see potatoes blooming until now. Maybe it is an late cultivar, I don't know, a friend of mine gave me two kilos of them in late spring.
I cannot say that I am disappointed with the crop. All in all, there were four kilos (about nine pounds) of potatoes in the 50 l volume bag. I guess, the drought took its toll too. I did water them but, nothing is so good as the proper rain shower. I will leave another two bags be until the leaves start yellowing.
Some potatoes are really big, but there is lots of medium and small ones. I definitely picked them up too early.
The tomatoes still provide lots of fruits. They came alive after the rainy days. I have lots of cherry tomatoes too. Love them in the mixed salads, e.g. Greek, with feta cheese and other vegetables. One of my favourite salad is the one with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, which I prepared myself for a dinner today. Easy to make, healthy and light, it is a perfect hot summer day dish.


Simply slice tomato and one mozzarella cheese and arrange it on the plate. The dressing is made of olive oil, apple vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper and oregano. Stir it well and pour it over the tomatoes and cheese. I eat it with a slice of bread.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Pergola


Small pergola attached to the garden shed is finally done. I am quite pleased with it. Now I need to plant the area around it and  finish the paving underneath. Being placed in the western corner of my garden, this will be my private, secluded sitting place.
The rose 'Bleu Mangeta' is planted by one of the poles. As the matter of fact, it is planted in Autumn but, at the time I already knew where the poles will stand. It is a vigorous rambler rose, that will overgrow pergola eventually. This rose tolerates many unfavourable growing conditions, such as shade, poor soil or cold so, I expect it to grow well. The flowers are fragrant and have a great clusters of pink-violet flowers.

image credit: rosesloubert

Summer heaths seized and the garden came alive again after the rain. The mornings are quite fresh, between 10 and 15 °C, and the days are not so hot any more. Many roses provide the second bloom. Asters open the very first flowers.


And here, there are some of the present garden bloomers on the photo above: Solanum, Russelia, Verbena, some Hostas, Agapanthus, Lonicera...


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Just a Few Pictures...

Anemone japonica

Beautiful colours of Coleus sp.

Kale 'Black Tuscany'

Macleya cordata



Friday, 5 August 2011

Penny Bun


Unfortunately, these mushrooms don't grow in my garden but they do in the woods! Today is a day off, a national holiday in Croatia and I have spent it walking in the woods.
The weather lately has been really ideal for mushrooms and I made quite a lot of photographs of mushroom species for my other BLOG. I also picked up about five kilos of Penny Buns (Boletus sp.). I could have picked up a lots more but, according to the new regulations for picking up fruits, plants and mushrooms in the wild, it is allowed to pick up 2 kg of mushrooms per person. People who pick up the mushrooms for commercial purposes have to have a licence and are allowed to pick up a maximum of 10 kg per person. I am all up to that law 'cause I would like to see these mushrooms in the years that come. I mean, people became so greedy picking up enormous quantities of mushrooms and we have every year more and more protected species that face extinction. Penny Buns are especially loveable in Croatia and in years with favourable weather conditions one can pick up sacks of it!



If you like mushrooms like I do, try to make this mushroom strudel.


Ingredients: 

6 sheets of strudel pastry
450 g mushrooms (Penny Buns or cultivated mushrooms)
150 g smoked ham
2 bread slices
1 big red onion
1 egg
1 dl milk
salt, pepper, some thyme
oil and a bit of margarine

Dice the onion and fry it for a while on some oil. Dice the mushrooms and add to onion and simmer until mushrooms are soft, add diced smoked ham and simmer about five minutes. Dip the bread slices into milk, squeeze the excess liquid and put into a bowl. Add onion, mushroom and ham mixture, salt, pepper, thyme, and egg. Stir it well.
Put two strudel dough sheets together, fill with 1/3 of mixture and roll on. Make another two strudel the same way. Put them into backing tray, brush them with melted margarine and bake on 180 - 200 °C until golden.
I believe, the strudel would be even better if made of puff pastry.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Organic Fertilizers DIY

I stopped using mineral fertilizers many years ago. Instead, I use pelleted organic fertilizers and make my own too.
1. Sheep organic fertilizer is one of the best fertilizer of the type. Maybe it sound silly, but you can collect sheep droplets on the fields ( ask for the permission the field owner)! To make liquid fertilizer from sheep droplets you will need one textile sack, some sheep droplets and a bucket full of water. Simply put the sack filled with droplets into water and wait for a while (1 kg manure to 5 l water). The same can be done with chicken manure. Before use, add some more water to the bucket to dilute the liquid (1:10 ratio), especially if you have chicken manure - high in nitrogen!

2. A few days ago I filled another one bucket with sting nettles and added water. I know, most of you use this wonderful fertilizer. It just begun to foam and smells terribly! But it is away from the garden area used to enjoy, near the compost piles. The smell may be minimized by adding some bone meal.
This is a fertilizer with high concentration of N and K, and has to be diluted in water before the use. I usually make 1:10 dilution. The nettle manure is not good for peas, broad bean and garlic.
The second bucket contains a mix of sting nettles and comfrey. All these plants may be used as mulch as well. You can add some other plants to nettles e.g. fern, chamomile, and horsetail.

3. Compost soup is very mild and can be used all the time. Easy to make: just put one bucket of compost into 15 l of water and wait for a day until it settles. Water plants with it.

4. Check this out Banana Peel Fertilizer by Fer. Very good for house plants and any other plant as well.  (Banana peel N= 0 P= 3.25 K= 41.76)

5. Biodegradable mulches, such as grass clippings, tree bark, straw, spent mushroom compost serve as fertilizers as well by slowly realising the nutrients into the soil.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Croatian Vacation

Browsing web the other day, I came up to this funny comics. It is about my land, Croatia and our neighbouring country Slovenia. I had much fun reading it and I want to share it with you. Thank you, DUSTINLAND. Please, click this link to be able to read it in original size.