Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodness me!

Onion buds

Shungiku, edible chrysanthemum.

It seems that this blog has been viewed 999 times ( I'll conveniently forget that every time I look at it to do some editing that counts as a view) and I find that hard to believe!

So in true internet style, I'm going to give the 1000th person to have a gander at this, providing they can get to the Tas Farm Gate market in Hobart on the second or 4th Sunday of the month, a little thank-you box of plants. I will have no way of knowing who the 1000th person is, so if you are the very next person to leave a comment, (and maybe the person after that too as 1001 is a fine looking number) I'll put together a few little treats for you.

It is hard to believe that people read my musings, but you have, and I thank you for that!! This blog is a way for me to promote my business, share my philosophies and methods, but most of all it's a way for me to sort my thoughts out. I sit down to write something and then I have to make those ideas into something cohesive with practical applications. And I have to research what I write as well, so while I'm ranting, I'm also learning. And when people share their thoughts I learn even more!

Brooty, our Pea Combed, Rhode Island Red mother hen, due on 13th of January

So thank you interweb-land people, and I hope your Christmas was merry and that your New Year is joyous and bountiful! See you in 2011!!

Comfrey flowers. See that little hole at the top of the flower tube? That is how a bumble bee takes a shortcut. I worry about the effect these flower bullies will have on pollination, ripping flowers apart like this to get the nectar instead of crawling in as they are meant to and spreading pollen as they go.
Blushing red currants
Blushing strawberries
Roman chamomile

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holy wasabi! Oh, and Merry Christmas

Banksia marginata
My wasabi has been getting a right seeing to from caterpillars. I'm not sure if it's the cabbage white, or a little brown moth that lurks in our brassicas. The critter in question bungy jumps from the  foliage when disturbed, which seems to me a silly strategy as they are easily seen and squished whilst dangling in the air. So I haven't been bringing my plants to market as they are so ugly! But I've given them a little spray with Dipel,  an organically acceptable bacteria which infects only caterpillars that ingest it, which then become paralysed. It would be best used early in the season to prevent the build up in numbers of dubious garden guests. Even though it's ok to use in organic systems I still use this as a last resort and prefer to put up with a little damage and grow my main crops of brassicas in Winter when these greedy creatures aren't about. Anyhow, I'm bring a few slightly nibbled plants to the market this Sunday, they will look wonderful again soon, so get in early if you want one!

And I've fallen victim to the Christmas dilemma. I'm not huge on the commercial side of Christmas, (I LOVE the family and food!) but one important part of being a sustainable business is to be financially sustainable, along with fulfilling environmental and social responsibilities, and people will be buying gifts, and why shouldn't they be lovely plants? So.....

Christmas 6 packs from Provenance Growers!

Not beer, (sadly not my abs!) but lovely combinations of 6 useful plants!

I've put together the following Christmas packs for your loved one's pleasure this year. Stock of some varieties is limited so get in touch if there's something you especially fancy and I'll put it aside for you. I'll be tucking 6 plants from each list into a little box, or make up your own combination from the list on our last post.

Bush tucker combo, Sagg, Lomandra longifolia, edible leaf bases. Flax lily, Dianella revoluta, edible blue berries. Samphire,  Sarcocornia quinqueflora, edible stems. Sea celery, Apium prostratum, edible foliage, similar to parlsey. Warrigal greens, Tetragonia tetraginoides, edible leaves, Pigface, Carpobrotus rossii, edible fruit and foliage. Native pepper, Tasmannia lanceolata, leaves used as a flavouring, spicy when raw, becoming milder with slow cooking, berries used as a seasoning borne only on female plants (our peppers are seed grown so you may get a male or female). Native Bluebell, Wahlenbergia sp, edible flowers. Have a look at this wonderful article for more on some of these plants.

Feast on flowers, Dianthus, borage, chives, Roman chamomile, globe artichoke - French purple, Nasturtium and variegated society garlic.

Tassie native mix, A hardy blend of plants suitable for an average sized garden. Spicy Everlasting, Ozothamnus obcordatus, Myrtle Wattle, Acacia myrtifolia, Bluebottle daisy, Lagenophora stipitata, Silver Banksia, Banksia marginata, Paper Daisy, Xerochrysum spp, White Flag Iris, Diplarrena moraea.

Garlic chives
Tea, Roman chamomile, peppermint, Mexican tarragon, sage, thyme, Moroccan mint.

Unusual herbs, Variegated society garlic, white borage, salad burnett, Angelica archangelica, curly golden oregano, orange peel thyme.

Mints, Peppermint, Moroccan spearmint, variegated pineapple mint, variegated ginger mint, apple mint, common mint, spearmint.

Classic herbs, Italian parsley, garlic chives, thyme, oregano, chives, sage.
Asian mix, Laksa leaves/Vietnamese mint, mitsuba, red shiso, garlic chives, perennial spring onions.

So drop me a line at if you'd like something tucked away with your name on it,  or come down to the biggest market ever, from 9-1, with your green bags, a good appetite (think awesome sushi, cupcakes and real Tassie flour!!) and have some fun with us. And a merry Christmas to you and yours this year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's growing on?

White Flag Iris, a hardy and beautiful Tasmanian plant.

Borage flowers, ready to head out to dinner!
I really need to list what I'm growing and get some kind of catalogue together. But, when the sun is shining (or even when it's not) I really want to be outside. And when I'm working inside I'd rather spend my time thinking through some aspect of growing plants that might be interesting to the people who find themselves reading this. But, a new plant seems to be ready to sell each week, and so I've decided to start a list of the plants we're growing for sale. When I've got more inside time I'll start with descriptions, cultivation requirements and uses, until then you'll have to find a good book, ask Google or come to the market for a chat with us! These are the ones that will be for sale at Tas Farm Gate market this Sunday.

Food plants:
Red and black currants
Warrigal greens
Lemon thyme
Alpine strawberries
Salad burnett
This thyme is growing in a washing machine spinner and is plenty for our family.

Garlic chives
Roman chamomile
Dianthus, edible petals
Italian parsley
Wild rocket
Lemon balm, variegated form
French sorrel
Red shiso
Ginger mint
Laksa/Vietnamese mint
Pineapple mint
Morrocan spearmint
Globe artichoke, French Purple
Society garlic, variegated form
Pineapple sage
Heirloom tomatoes 
Potted strawberries, (with fruit on if I can keep the kids away!)

Wow! That's a lot of plants, and there are still dozens in the works, and more planned for next year.

Tassie plants:
This list is on the cusp of being bigger. Those Hobart plants are on the way, but it is staying cool, so they're taking their time. But while you're waiting.......
Lemon bottle brush  Calistemon pallidus
White dogwood Pomaderris apetala
Bluebottle daisy Lagenophora stipitata
White flag iris Diplarrena moraea
Blanket leaf Bedfordia salicina
Creeping everlasting Helichrysum scorpioides
Silver Banksia Banksia marginata

When I cleared a mass of weeds yesterday I found this thing in the photo below, but what on earth is it? Fungi, plant?? If you have any idea, please let us know.

Isn't it beautiful? About 1cm high, and those 'seeds' were stacked neatly inside the cone. Please tell me if you know!