Growing Pine Nuts – Is It Worth It?

pine nuts

pine nutsAny pesto worth it’s weight needs pine nuts.

And, in our house, a Caesar salad without pine nuts is a sad thing indeed.

But every time I buy a small packet of these delicious little nuts, I cringe at the $9 price tag, for just 80 grams of nuts.

Maybe I should be growing them myself instead? After all, that’s one of the reasons we created our edible garden, so we could save money.

So I did a little investigating.

It turns out that once you learn what goes into growing, and harvesting pine nuts, you may not resent the price they fetch so much.

Growing A Pine Nut Tree

There are actually a number of different varieties of Pine tree that the Pine Nut can be harvested from but the ones used most often, due to the bigger sized nut they produce, are Pinus koraiensis, which is used for the majority of commercial pine nut supply, or Pinus Pinea, the Stone Pine, preferred in the European regions.

Read moreGrowing Pine Nuts – Is It Worth It?

I’m Growing A Passionfruit!

growing passionfruit

I’m growing a Passionfruit!

One lonely little Passionfruit : (

Every Summer I get all excited when I see these.

passionfruit flowerAnd then I get all disappointed when absolutely nothing comes of it.

No crinkled, deep purple fruit to cut into. Nothing. That gorgeous, statement flower just withers away and leaves us empty handed.

I know what the problem is, our vine isn’t easily accessible to the bees and other natural pollinators.

Unfortunately our climate is less than tropical and also frost prone so we’re growing our Passionfruit vine in our big greenhouse.

Read moreI’m Growing A Passionfruit!

Edible Ground Cover

strawberries

This pile might not look like much, but I have big plans for it.

strawberries

With the size of our garden, it gets a bit hard to plant out every space and avoid leaving gaps for the weeds to flourish.

I HATE weeding.

I love the end result when it’s done, but it’s not my favourite job at all.

So the more I can stifle the weeds, the better. We don’t use any sprays what so ever so it comes down to competition and natural means of weed control in our garden, and sufficient ground cover seems like a good strategy to leave little room for weeds to make themselves at home.

Ground cover plants are easy to find, but given that we’re trying to make our garden as edible as possible I wanted to plant some kind of cropping plant as ground cover.

I’ve done the herb thing and it wasn’t really a winner for me. We planted various creeping Thymes and Oregano but they tend to get quite scruffy after a while and there’s only so much Thyme you can use in your cooking. They also didn’t crowd out the weeds as well as I hoped. The really determined ones just grew up in between the edibles and it wasn’t easy weeding once that happened.

So most of it came out along the way and the earth was left bare once again.

Read moreEdible Ground Cover

Dividing (Splitting) Up Rhubarb

dividing rhubarb

Years ago I was given a Rhubarb plant from a work colleague.

I’ve talked before about the journey of this poor neglected plant into my garden. The short of it is that it was left to dry out, forgotten in a garage, then eventually sent my way where it got (accidentally this time) left for another day to dry out, then finally planted in the garden to flourish.

As I said in that post, Rhubarb plants are tough. They are extremely resilient and while I wouldn’t recommend treating them badly like my first plant was, they can tolerate a fair bit of unkindness.

It’s been at least 18 months since my Rhubarb plants found their current home, and at that time they were split off from the original plant to create 5 new plants.

Dividing Rhubarb up is not only useful for propagating more plants, it’s also important for keeping the original plant healthy. The bigger it gets, the thinner and fewer the stems tend to be, and the whole plant can get a little out of control.

Which is where our Rhubarb patch had got to.

dividing rhubarb

Read moreDividing (Splitting) Up Rhubarb

Pruning Raspberry Plants

pruning raspberries

The berries we grow in our garden are a firm favourite for our family.

Strawberries, Boysenberries, Blackberries, Blueberries and definitely Raspberries.

You can’t beat a bowl of Raspberries with a sprinkling of icing sugar or a scoop of vanilla icecream, or a jar of fresh home made Raspberry jam.

When we first planted our Raspberry patch, we planted just one cane. That was 4 years ago and this is just some of what we have now (there’s more on the other side of this same fence).

pruning raspberriesWell that was what we did have, before we got pruning.

You can see in this picture that there is a lot of woody looking canes, and it’s just a bit of a mess really.

This is what our Raspberry patch looks like at the end of the season. All the fruiting canes have died off, and the new canes that will fruit in the next Summer are strong and ready to go.

It’s at the end of every fruiting season that you need to prune back all your old Raspberry canes, and prepare your patch for the next season.

But a lot of people, new to growing Raspberries, aren’t sure which canes to prune away and which ones to leave.

I could give you the easy answer and say to just prune out the old, dead wood and leave the new canes, but you want to make sure you know exactly which is which before you get cutting, right?

Read morePruning Raspberry Plants