When I looked from my window, Mt Wellington and the sky were missing; cloud obliterated the city and the landscape features on the western side of the Derwent River, and grey puffiness was overhead. Yikes! I shook my head in puzzlement. Isn’t this Thursday, the volunteering day at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) when the weather is always gorgeous. Of course it is, I told myself. What I am seeing is simply nature’s way of cleaning itself before the sun shines. Be patient, I counselled myself. This will change. And change it did. Of course. Not much later, blue patches appeared above and sun sparkled through. The day turned into another spectacular Thursday.
This was the first of two days of plant sales offered to the public by RTBG; it was the annual tomato plants sale that is well known to locals. K was determined to arrive early to select plants before they best were snapped up and the queues of would-be purchasers grew too long. But there was no shortage of plants.
Later, at my house we looked at the bag and boxes of purchases.
My selection consisted of three plants: a ‘Sweet Stuff’ capsicum,
a ‘Gardeners Delight’ tomato
and a ‘Hurma Ukraine’ tomato.
Now you have read the plant descriptions above, which had been thoughtfully prepared by RTBG Nursery volunteers and staff, you may have the following question. What is a Determinate, Indeterminate and Semi-Determinate Tomato? Determinate tomatoes are varieties that grow to a fixed mature size and ripen all their fruit in a short period, usually about 2 weeks. Once this first flush of fruit has ripened, the plant will begin to diminish in vigour and will set little to no new fruit. On the other hand, semi-determinate tomatoes are those plants which are more compact than indeterminate types but are also capable of producing fruit throughout the season. Determinate tomato varieties are often referred to as “bush” tomatoes because they do not continue growing in length throughout the growing season. They are generally smaller plants than indeterminate tomatoes, with most growing to a compact 4-5 ft. tall. I have to say I don’t remember seeing a tomato plant that crops almost fully in a very short period. Besides, I have become so used to my self-seeding cherry tomatoes which fruit for around 5 months.
Anyway these plants were robust, richly green, in pots with beautiful soil and they held the promise of great crops.
After the rush of the tomato sales it was time to volunteer; stone work on the gabion wall required care and effort. Thanks to K, I have photos to show. And you will see Mother Duck was showing her ducklings the efforts as well.
You might recall from an earlier post that I showed images of the formwork under construction. K gave me the following photo showing me having a sticky beak at progress.
There are other visual records of the travels of the duck family.
Garden patches were being dug in preparation for planting, while hoeing and weeding proceeded in other garden beds.
R was back picking tea leaves in the tea plantation.
K had photos of me picking tea leaves. And she produced the most instructive photo of the tips that needed picking.
K has experimented with producing green tea at home from the tea leaves that we picked. She has tried three different ways and we will make a brew from each, one Thursday soon.
This was the day B brought in his home made Brie and Camembert cheese for all to taste. I love the generosity of spirit of everyone. I am delighted to work with clever people who are passionate about all things natural, and particularly about the life of vegetation.
Thanks to K and R for their photos.