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puppy

we have a puppy. She's gorgeous but she's also destroying my garden. This year I think i won't be planting out a garden, because i know she'll dig it up.

Potato from the ancestors

Ive bought a bunch of heritage potatoes from Koanga. I'm gonna try and grow some over winter and the rest come summer. These will all be potatoes that ancestors brought to this land.

Ive got two Māori potatoes, the rīwai kikorangi, and the Whataroa potato.

Also those Scots potato brought here by a Scottish immigrant in the 19th century.

Lastly the Stewart island potato of unknown origin found growing on Rakiura Island.

How to save seeds

Beans, peas and corn: remove husks and allow seeds to dry out – this may take a couple of weeks, then remove casings and store.

Pumpkins and melons: seeds need to be washed and set aside to dry for a week or so before storage.

Lettuce, celery, parsnip, rocket, carrots, leeks, onions and radicchio: allow plants to set seed (tall stems of flowers will eventually appear), pick once the seed heads are brown and crisp sounding. Hang upside down in plastic bags for a week or so, rustle the remaining seeds out of the stems and store.

Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, chillies and capsicums: scoop out flesh and wash through a sieve. Lay the seeds on a paper towel and place somewhere warm and dry for a week or two before storing. Be careful with chilli seeds as they can sting, so avoid touching your eyes after touching the seeds. Once completely dry, cut the paper towel into small pieces and store seeds on the towel in an envelope.

Indigenous plants

I've been growing several indigenous plants recently. Theres a miro tree that will eventually have berries. I've added karaka tawa, and hīnau to the growstuff database too, as these were (and are) food sources for the people living here for centuries. Also kūmara

There is also the New Zealand flax 2hich I've made as a new crop separate from the existing flax crop. I have renamed the flax crop to common flax as its a different plant and that's what it's called on Wikipedia.

I've planted several kawakawa recently mostly for medicinal use. It can make a reasonable tea with lemon grass.

Lastly, I discovered some New Zealand spinach growing wild behind the trampoline. This is going in the curry tonight. 🥘

Preparing for winter

I'm going to attempt to grow potato over winter. To prepare I'm going to do a full garden bed of mustard and then dig the greens into the soil. Add compost and blood and bone. I've never attempted potato over winter. It can get very wet here, and in August it drops below 0C for a few weeks. Also on the list to plant is parsnip and carrot.

There's a storm coming..

Cyclone Gita is due here on Tuesday. I'm gonna need to bring in the tomato stakes and other items that might turn into projectiles.

Vermicompost

I am trying to compost as much kitchen waste as possible.

Lifespan and harvest predictions

Something i've been working on is the predictions on GrowStuff.org. If you go to you gardens page there's now a progress bar for each annual planting. That's plantings that are expected to complete there lifespan in 2 years or less . the progress bar is % until the plant is finished and can be removed.

I also built a "first and last harvest" predictor. It's based on the median time from planting a plant until it is first harvested. It's only as good as the data on Growstuff.

The predictions for crops like coriander and basil look pretty good.

Right now, coriander says: Median lifespan of coriander plants is 156 days. First harvest expected 36 days after planting. The last harvest expected 115 days after planting.

Meanwhile, basil says: Median lifespan of basil plants is 178 days. The first harvest expected 51 days after planting. The last harvest expected 49 days after planting. The last harvest sounds wrong, but we have a lot more data on first harvest than on last harvest. A planting has to be marked as finished before we know that a harvest was the last.

that looks like the basil plants hang on a long time in people's gardens while not being harvested anymore.

The predictions for the perennial plants aren't quite as good, e.g. strawberry which has " Median lifespan of strawberry plants is 15 days "

Vermicompost for sale or trade!

My worms have been going gangbusters so I have several kilograms of high quality vermicompost for sale of trade. On ebay it goes for $20/400 grams but I'd be thrilled to get $10/400 grams or to trade for interesting plants.

Planning for summer

I intend to remove the raised beds, and just dig the lawn up to be garden. It'll give more area. The current wooden raised beds might end up. On the front lawn.

none

none

Good Friday

Today is good friday and i have:

  • Set up xiaomi plant sensors with homeassistant
  • shoveled the compost from the old bin over the gardens, and set up a new bin in new location
  • harvest the first feijoa. They were so heavy they broke a branch on the tree.

todo list

  • Plant more carrot
  • Plant the olive tree out front
  • Get new compost bin going
  • Clear out the tomato plants
  • Get a garden camera working
  • Get irrigator hooked up to home assistant
  • Install the xiaomi miflora in the herbs
  • Growstuff api!

how to eat kamo kamo

Chop up the kamo kamo.

Remove seeds. (Save these to grow for next year)

Leave skin on.

Roast with sprigs of rosemary at 180C for about 40 minutes (until soft) It's okay to do this the day before

Remove skins (easier if the kamo kamo is cool). place in pot with chicken stock and garlic. Puree with a stick blender until smooth. Heat slowly on the stove. Pour over pasta.

For extra points, serve with steamed pūhā

Summer broccoli doesn't work

I planted some broccoli at the start of spring.. I grew fast, made long stems and quickly turned into yellow flowers. I conclude the first spring summer months aren't good for brocoli.

So I've got some new seedlings in now, in the heat of summer, hoping that by the time i put them in the garden the weather will turn more autumn.

Some of features id like

I like to automate the calculations, analysis, and plain old remembering what has happened in the garden.

Some of the challenges in my garden is knowing when it's too late to planting something, if it will cope with the weather conditions here, and working out what is killing the tomato. The broccoli went into the on seed, I think because it was planted too early.

I suspect I've got consistently great yields of potato and carrot, but I'd need to more diligently record that to find out.

Remembering what I planted where, to properly crop rotate, would be useful.

I've mostly been a summer gardener, so knowing what to plant for successful winter gardening would be great.

Pūhā for dinner

Pūhā grows wild everywhere in New Zealand. It's a bit like spinach, but is bitter when raw. It's traditional in a bunch of dishes, but I like to use as a substitute for steamed spinach with eggs benedict.

Shakey SHakey Town

We've been rock and rolling with 7.7 Earthquake at midnight and i lost count of how many 6-pointer aftershocks - and a tsunami evacuation.

Super tired, this morning we went home for about 90 minutes sleep - and then went looking for something normal (instead of our wavy shaken up house). School is closed, the city cordoned off. We ended up at the garden shop, it having the only cafe open on a Monday.

Lots of plants acquired. Many large tomato seedlings, three artichoke, some perpetual spinach and chives.

They'll mostly go into the large garden bed we need to dig (frame is built). They'll need wind shelter. We've got a high winds warning for tonight (YAY! more disasters) so the seedlings are sheltering behind a north fenced. The winds are nearly always northerly here, but a north fence of course also blocks the sun from the north - so it'll need something better.

How to grow kūmara

Kūmara has been part of the staple diet of people in te Motu Kairangi for hundreds of years - so i figure it should grow here. I come from a long long line of potato growers, so maybe the genetic skills are transferrable.

I planted 4 kūmara into pots, with sand above and below, and left in a sunny spot on the deck. These should sprout and make tupu (i think this is "slips" in english).

Fermenting Hot Sauce method

I came across this post talking about how habanero and similar can be preserved; might have to give that a go.

typo

i meant to suggest "mesclun"

Website update (Release 13)

We've just made some minor updates to the website. These are mostly behind-the-scenes, enabling our next round of improvements.

  • Fixed broken emails
  • Minor gem upgrades
  • Build process improvements: Check PR author is in CONTRIBUTORS.md under Travis, Check for "forgot to commit Gemfile.lock" in CI, Block external URLs in feature tests
  • Add support for Bootstrap alert types
  • README file update for Freenode IRC

One trellis! Ah ah ah!

One trellis is finally done:

Trellis

Since I did end up deciding to plant an Opalka tomato after all (because I went to the Sheep & Wool festival, and someone there sells seedlings), I really did need to get on the ball about finishing at least the trellis that's in that bed.

As I previously posted, my beds are 3x8 ft. The trellis is placed one foot in, so something can be planted on both sides, and then there's 1ft left for non-climbing plants.

Here's how I made the trellis:

Requirements:

  • 5 pieces of 1/2" electrical conduit (or "EMT") (this is usually 10ft long)
  • 4 1/2" 90º connectors for conduit
  • 4 pieces 2ft 1/2" rebar
  • 16ft of 4ft high welded wire fencing
  • Garden wire / long twist ties / cable ties / heavy wire

Steps:

  1. Cut 4 of the pieces of conduit to 8ft long.
  2. Hammer rebar into the ground so 1ft remains above ground. You want one at each end of the bed, and then 2 centered with ~1/4" gap between them.
  3. Measure the distance from the inside of one rebar to the inside of the next. It's not exactly 4ft.
  4. Cut the last piece of conduit so you have 2 pieces, each the length of the rebar gap.
  5. Put a corner piece on each long piece of conduit.
  6. Put a short piece of conduit between so you end up with two very large squared off U's
  7. If you got the kind of connector where you tighten down a screw to keep it all together, tighten nice and good
  8. Carefully lift one of your 4ft-wide sections and slide the tall conduit legs down over the rebar. Do the other.
  9. Cut 2 8ft long sections of welded wire fencing.
  10. Use your wire to attach one section of the fencing along the top rod of the trellis and down the sides.
  11. Place the other section of fencing against the bottoms of the legs, and wire it to the sides.
  12. Wire the top and bottom sections of fencing to each other.
  13. In the center, wrap your wire around both uprights and the fencing to add stability.

You could probably attach the fending to the frame before standing it up, but I did the frame like two months ago. You'd still want to lash the two uprights that are next to each other to each other.

Why two 4ft wide sections? I didn't trust an 8ft horizontal run without support. And why 8ft tall? Opalka tomato is an indeterminate variety, meaning the vine just keeps growing until winter kills it. Consequently, it very much outgrew my 5ft tomato cages before, and I wasn't too sanguine about 6ft being enough height either.

And in other news, we've started picking up 1ft square pavers to redo the paths around the beds, because the mulch paths are full of dandelions. The car can't handle the weight of bringing home enough for the entire garden at once, so the plan is to just pick up a handful on each trip to the garden center. Please ignore all the weeds in this photo. My plan for this year is to work on pavers / building beds / double digging the permaculture food forest, etc. Heavy labor more than actual plants.

pavers

New photos

I've just uploaded some more recent photos of my plants. The parsley is still going strong, having seeded itself in a second spot along the box. One patch has died back a bit - I clearly need to pick it and use it more often. The chives have also died back a bit, again probably because I wasn't harvesting enough. The aloe vera has tripled in size - if anyone in the area wants some, there's plenty. Along with a ton of geraniums, which apparently love my dry soil whenever I forget to water.

New maintainers for Growstuff

Hi all,

You may have noticed that things have been very quiet with Growstuff for the last year or so. This is primarily because I have been dealing with some serious health issues that left me unable to manage Growstuff, or even to spend much time online, since early 2015. Things are looking somewhat better these days, but I’ve realised that I’m not going to be able to give Growstuff the attention it deserves. The time has come to step back officially and put the project in the hands of people who can take better care of it than I currently can.

Miles, Cesy, and Maco, three of the developers on the Growstuff project, will be taking it over from here on out. All three are experienced open source contributors, and Miles and Cesy were two of the very first coders to join Growstuff in 2012. I will be shutting down Growstuff-the-business (which was founded in the hope of being able to pay people to work on the project, but sadly didn’t pan out) and the open source project will become a community-run one. I know that Miles, Cesy, and Maco will do a brilliant job, continuing to build the Growstuff platform as well as maintaining Growstuff’s traditions as a supportive and welcoming open source community. I wish them all the best.

For any future enquiries about Growstuff, please contact them at maintainers@growstuff.org

Thank you for supporting Growstuff.

Regards,

Alex Bayley

New website features and bug fixes (Release 11)

Our next release has just gone live. Let us know if you spot any issues. Emails from comment replies still aren't working on the main site, but https://talk.growstuff.org is working fine, or find us on Github, Gitter or IRC.

New features

  • Crop approval flash alert for wranglers upon sign in
  • Added Bootstrap accessibility plugin

Technical improvements

  • Removed redundant code from our crowdfunder last year
  • Remove warnings and debugging puts from rspec output
  • Add capybara-screenshot to assist with feature testing
  • Use standardized & translateable strings for the photo show page
  • Stop hard-coding strings for pagination
  • Refactor photo controller create for readability
  • Updated Gemfile.lock for Code Climate inclusion
  • Add code climate to README
  • Add config/factory_girl.rb so that rspec doesn't fail with a confusnig 'Could not find mapping for #

Peach blossoms! (photo inside)

Ok, I'm late on posting this because I didn't think about it at the time, but remember how I planted 4 fruit trees and a nut tree in fall 2014? Well, they're not supposed to bear fruit for 2-4 years depending on variety. So I was surprised to see that this year, the peach actually blossomed!

peach blossoms

New website features (Release 9)

We've just pushed a load of new features and bugfixes to the site, thanks to @pozorvlak for deploying, as well as all our coders - we had several new contributors this time.

New Features

  • Thumbnails of crops should now show on a post where you reference a crop
  • You should be able to unsubscribe from notification or community emails with one click
  • When posting, the focus (where your cursor is) should automatically move to the subject field. If the post is a reply or a comment, it should go straight to the main content.
  • When you delete a photo, you should now get a message flash up, instead of not knowing whether it had succeeded or not
  • When replying to a private message, you now see the message you're replying to for handy reference
  • You can now search from the places index page
  • We're now starting to track how long a seed takes to grow to a mature plant. This is in the early stages of collecting data at the moment - eventually you'll be able to see a prediction based on other people's experience with that crop. For now, there's a pretty progress bar.
  • Posts and comments now show when they were edited, if they're edited
  • Member profile page now shows date of last login
  • Add placeholder to harvest screen's plant part select box
  • Display available seed count on crop pages
  • Redesigned navbar
  • Sunniness icons on planting pages, for partial shade, sun, etc.
  • Places pages show nearby seeds and plantings, not just members
  • Added link to owner's profile from seeds', plantings', and harvests' index page
  • Harvests, seeds and gardens have a new card-based design

Bug Fixes

  • Limit the vertical space taken by crop varieties in sidebar
  • Display only the active plantings on the garden page, where finished plantings aren't helpful
  • Photo view page now links back to the harvest or garden it is a photo of
  • Thumbnails now have a background so we don't get odd effects with transparency
  • When signing out, you get redirected to the last page you were on, if it's something public, rather than always to the homepage
  • We've supported alternative and scientific names for a while, but you had to add them after creating a crop, not at the same time. Now you can do it all in one go.
  • Make it clearer which fields are required and which are optional when filling in various forms
  • The members page didn't flow very well on different sizes of screen - it now does so better
  • A link to Open Service has been added to the footer
  • Notifications are now paginated, using our new trial pagination gem
  • Posts at the bottom of the homepage were all saying they were "1 minute ago", because they got cached straight after posting. They now say the right date.
  • We added tracking seeds as organic, heirloom or GMO in the last release. Now this information is added to the CSV and RSS output, so other apps can use it.

Technical Improvements

  • Automated testing improved with poltergeist
  • Robots are now discouraged from visiting our staging site
  • Switching to a new way of handling secret keys that makes it easier to progress from dev to staging to live
  • More automated tests added
  • Our test data (database seeding) is now improved, so our testing will be more realistic
  • Maco is now a committer! Update the docs accordingly
  • Performance improvements of some database calls
  • Developer improvements (tweaks to .gitignore)
  • Refactored some automated tests to make them faster
  • New versions of various gems and other upgrades

Let us know of any issues you find! We hope to make releases a bit more frequent in the future. Search is also now working much better, with Elasticsearch turned on.

Gardening: from a hobby to a business?

Hey everyone, I'm very excited to join the community at Grow Stuff.

I'm a twenty-something gardening enthusiast from Melbourne. I have a couple of years of experience in the field and huge desire to learn and develop in this sector. I'm interested in herbs and I grow my very own vegetable garden in my 10 000 square ft yard.

Recently, I decided to turn my hobby into a business. I started researching different ways to get into the gardening business. Since I haven't worked in management before I'm more inclined to settle for a franchise business than start everything from scratch. I have extensive knowledge in the landscaping sector as I worked several years in garden design and landscaping.

I'm open for any suggestions and advice on starting my new landscaping franchise.

Tiny house + house plants?

I have an itty bitty house. It's about 650 square feet, and equator-facing windows are:

  1. over my bed
  2. inside my shower
  3. actually double-doors that open inward into the kitchen and anyway anything in front of them would block the fridge and the dishwasher

There are two sunset-facing windows:

  1. over the kitchen sink
  2. over the couch / anything on the floor there would block the basement stairs

There are no window sills.

I intend to put a shelf over the sink for some herbs, but it'd be really nice to be able to have bunching onions, shallots, and garlic in the house. Any ideas for getting away with trying to grow these in the house? The bunching onions probably don't need much sun, but anything making bulb needs some. Would "well, it's in the house, and some sun comes through the windows" be enough?

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