Sunday, April 27, 2008
Today I am finally online again! Power shortages and internet outages are common place in Zimbabwe - the last two weeks have been very difficult.
Today we havested leeks - well worth the trouble growing your own as those bought in the supermarket are often tough and have little flavour. They are easy to grow and almost imune to pests or fungal deseases. They like rich deep soil!
Harvested,cleaned and cut I was able to vacumn pack and freeze seven packets for future use. nothing better than leek soup! The flavour and even just the smell of the home grown plant is wonderful! And don't forget the leaves.....they add flavour to soups and stews - just clean them well and chop - then freeze for instant flavour - use like chives.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Plant strawberries now. They flourish in Zimbabwe. Always so expensive in the shops a few plants in your garden will keep you well supplied.
Obtain runners from good quality plants and plant out in rich well-drained soil. Water them regularly and when flowers form give food in the shape of liquid manure.
Before or as the fruit forms it is a good idea to place straw under the berries to keep the fruit off the soil. This also acts as a mulch to stop the soil drying out.
Fruit will be ready to gather from about September onwards.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Cycads were once one of the major components of the world's vegetation. They were grazed by dinosaurs and are today a modern living dinosaur of the plant world. Little appears to have changed in their make-up over the centuries that they have been in existence. Cycads are of the Encephalartos family. Zimbabwe boasts three cycad species, these being Encephalartos manikensis, E. concinnus and E.chimanimaniensis. The E. chimanimaniensis colony used to lie on the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. However, those on the Zimbabwean side have now gone like so many indigenous plants in the area.
Cycads are poisonous to humans and livestock. Certain parts of the plant can be processed and then are edible.
Cycads are protected plants in most areas of the world and the same is true for Zimbabwe. Some years ago there was a registration process to register all cycads in private gardens - this seems to have been abandoned.
They are showy plants with on the whole, thick spiky leaves. The seeds grow in the centre of the plant in an orange cone. Very attractive!
Most cycads in gardens are hand pollinated but those in our garden have been left to their own resources and have seeded and propagated well.
Most cycads prefer full or filtered sun and well drained soils. Cycads grow well in Zimbabwe and are a great addition to your garden.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
So April is upon us and with the cooler days perhaps a bit more energy.
Planting flowers to give our gardens colour is well spent time.
during Aopril in Zimbabwe plant the floowing:
Alyssum, Anemone, Arctotis, Calendendula, Candytuft, Canna, Cineraria, Clarkia, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Delphinium, Dimorphotheca, Eschscholtzia, Foxglove, Fuchsia, Gaillardia, Geum, Gypsophila, Helichrysum, Heuchera, Hunnemannia, Larkspur, Leptosyne, Linaria, Linum, Lupin, Matricaria, Michaelmas Daisy, Mignonette, Myosotis, Pansy, Pentstemon, Phlox, Plyanthus, Poppy, Pyrethrum, Ranunculus, Scabious, Schizanthus, Statice, Stocks, Sweet Pea, Sweet Pea, Viola, Violet.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
During April you will need to transplant and thin out some of the plants in your vegetable garden. All those mentioned below can also be growen now from seed.
Broad Beans can be sown and take from 5 to 10 days to germinate
Beetroot can be growen in rows and those already in the ground thinned out
Cabbage seedlings can be Thinned out and new cabbages planted in seedbeds
Carrots can be grown and those already in the soil thinned out
Transplant your endive, kale and kohl rabi
Transplant or thin out lettuce
Broadcast mustard seed
Thin out parsnips
Plant peas in rows
Plant radishes and remember they only take about 4 weeks to mature so don't plant too many at once
Spinich can be thinned or transplanted now
Thin out turnips