Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmasy Smells

Cosmos Mocha
The other day I went to my local big barn hardware store to purchase a living Christmas tree. Of course in the back of my head I knew I would have a little looksie through the rest of the plants and might just get myself some flowers for a basket out the bathroom window. Anyway, I came across this cosmos mocha plant for which I have had a hankering for many months. But I've never clapped eyes on a real live one. This plant smells like chocolate. No joke. Not a strong smell mind you, but nevertheless there is a smell of chocolate.

So I snapped it up and planted it that afternoon in my garden. That night I had some friends come over with their kids. And I got very excited to take them all out to the garden to have a sniff. Littlest Monkey has a strong sense of smell and is rather particular about what he likes. So I was really hoping to surprise him. I led them out to the plant and commanded that they all get down on their knees, sniff and tell me what they smelt. There were a few moments of quiet apart from the sniffing. The adults looked a little quizzically at each other. But there was no holding back with the kids:

"It smells like poo"

At first I thought they were just being kids making the usual oh-so-funny poo jokes. But then the adults agreed that it did indeed smell like poo.

And then I remembered that I had lovingly prepared that flower bed beforehand with a pile of pelletised chook poo. And I can confirm that the unpleasant smell of chook poop is quite a bit stronger than the faint chocolatey aroma from a cosmos mocha.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Location Location Location.

Garlic curing in the garden shed
Finally, garlic success. For the past few years I've had no luck at all. Teeny bulbs, rotten bulbs or miniscule amounts. But this year I got it right. I've been reading about other people's garlic on their blogs and there are some interesting analyses going on out there (read Liz's post at Suburban Tomato). So you may ask what insights I have. What expert tricks have I cottoned onto to share with you all? Well, I think it was the location. I finally chose a bed that gets sun all through the winter. That's it. Pretty obvious I'd say now but it took me a while to catch on.

So now I have a year's supply of garlic hanging in the shed to cure for a couple of weeks. And then I will give it the beauty treatment - brush it and trim it and attempt to braid it.

And like a real estate agent I have already scouted next year's bed and will be wacking the garlic in full sun there come winter. Location. Location. Location.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vacuuming the Garden - Experiment Results

Purple climbing beans
Well for two whole days I got up early in the morning and vacuumed the white flies on my parsley and bean patch near the back door in my dressing gown. (See this post if you're completely bamboozled as to why I would do such a thing). And on day three there was a cracker of a thunderstorm which I was so pleased about as I didn't have to do the vacuuming. Day four was going to be a stinky hot day. Of course it wasn't stinky hot at 7am but I decided that as it was going to be stinky hot later on I might just conserve my energy and give the outdoor housework a miss. On day five I'd run out of excuses... except that I was so exhausted from the stinky hot day I really, really did not want to go vacuum the garden. And that has how I have felt on every other day since.

So - the results of this scientific experiment to reduce the white fly population from the veggies via the vacuum? Vacuuming has absolutely no impact.

Hmmm. You did know I was a lazy gardener didn't you?

I was, dear reader, thinking of you for most of my experiment week whilst in the garden. I was thinking that it would be a bloody pain in the backside if I discovered that vacuuming made a big difference because then I'd have to be vacuuming for hours trying to eliminate them from all the problem patches in my backyard. And I was thinking of that pesky Mark who put a spanner in my works by pointing out that maybe those flies would fly straight out of my cleaner inside and then they'd invade my indoor plants too. So I did a bit of a google and apparently you're supposed to put the vacuum bag into the freezer and then in the bin. But I don't have a vacuum bag - we have a fancy schmancy cleaner with no bag but good suction. Luckily Fiona suggested putting a stocking over the end of the nozzle. Which is what I did. And I am pleased to report I have no white fly on my indoor plants. Yet. And I was also thinking about how disappointed you'd be with me if I couldn't provide any proper results to this white fly experiment... but I'm pretty good with guilt (I did grow up Catholic after all) and your disappointment wasn't enough incentive to keep me vacuuming.

So now I will shut my mouth and just bite my tongue when those swarms of flies flap about in my face. And maybe I'll try the neem oil.

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