9 March 2017
|I'm sure there are larger organic onions being grown somewhere on the planet, but the onions in my current crop are much bigger than I have ever grown before, and they have lost nothing in taste and texture.|
15 January 2015
|These pumpkins are growing strongly and have just begun to set fruit. There is no sign of powdery mildew yet and despite the humid and wet conditions in Melbourne recently, I am hoping my aerated compost foliar spray will keep it at bay.|
|On each side of the pumpkin is a Lebanese cucumber. They are growing well despite the sprawling habit of the pumpkin, which tends to grab all the available light. Careful pruning has helped keep them growing, and they are now setting fruit.|
30 June 2014
Buzz pollinating my tomatoes.Tomatoes are self pollinating, however the pollen grains are securely held on the plants anthers. Moderate vibration is required to release this pollen but a strong breeze will often be enough.
Bumble bees buzz pollinate tomatoes by grabbing the tomato flower and vibrating their flight muscles vigorously to dislodge the pollen. Honey bees don't use this technique and consequently they are not very efficient tomato pollinators.
In mainland Australia where there are no bumble bees, we must rely on native bees (like the blue banded bee) or the wind. Both are unreliable in suburban gardens, so to ensure a good fruit set we need to buzz pollinate by hand.
I do this using a clean electric toothbrush. I hold the toothbrush so that the back of the head is in contact with the stem just above the tomato flower. I turn the toothbrush on and hold it in place for 2 or 3 seconds: Too easy.