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Growing Granadillas in your Garden

The exquisite granadilla bloom
The exquisite granadilla bloom

More commonly known to us as the Passion Fruit and known in SA as the Granadilla, Passiflora Edulis is native to tropical America but the actual place of origin is still unknown.  Great news for us Durbanites is that Granadillas are perfect to grow in our subtropical coastal areas of Natal.  If however you live somewhere that has very cold winters with frost, you will unfortunately not have success growing Granadillas as they are sensitive to extreme cold. Other good areas in SA for growing Granadilla are Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape

 

Why grow Granadillas?  Aesthetically, Granadilla plants are beautifully lush with the most crazy gorgeous flowers. Add to that, the purple granadilla variety have beautiful purple fruit hanging off the vine. These can go for up to R5 each in store.

Bonus: This plant bears fruit twice a year – 2 main annual crops, a Summer crop and a smaller Winter Crop. Health wise they are high in ascorbic acid and carotenoids.

Ok…you convinced yet? … You can Granadillas from seed or a cutting. seedling.  Seeds store for 4 months and can be started in seedling trays.

A Cutting of the vine must contain 3 buds minimum on it
A Cutting of the vine must contain 3 buds minimum on it

No patience to grow your own from scratch then off you go to your local nursery or alternatively order a plant from ABF in season. Select the plant with short strong shoots and not the ones with long bare stems and shoots at the top. Whilst there, add bone meal, compost & manure to your cart.

Where & how to plant your new exotic looking plant:

Find a warm protected spot. Now prepare a 60cm x 60cm site of soil by enriching it with the manure, compost and your bone meal. This deep soil prep is necessary for good root growth and to make sure the soil has good drainage as Granadilla plants are sensitive to wet soil conditions. Water the potted plant before transplanting and then plant it at the same level in the ground as it was in the pot. Push a thin stake next to the seedling for training the plant up to reaching the wire or trellis. Firm the soil around the plant. If you are planting more than one plant, space them about 2,5m apart.

Your Granadilla plant will be a very vigorous, twining passionate climber and will therefore need support. Train it against a trellis, pergola, wires or enhance an old school swimming pool fence.  It will twist itself around any support.

Tie the plant to the stake regularly and pinch out side shoots until the main shoot leader reaches the top of the support. The Leader can then be trained along the top of the support in one or both directions ( in my case and photo, a wall ). To do this, allow the leader to branch at the top and train the branches in opposite directions by winding them loosely around the wire. Let the side shoots hang down.

Climbing Tendrils visible
Climbing Tendrils visible
Vine is trained along the top of the wall.
My Vine is grown up the green fence and then trained

in one direction along the top of the wall.

Taking Care of you plant:

In summer rainfall areas water the plants well once a month during Winter and twice a month in Summer.

Granadilla plants bear fruit on the current season’s growth, hence pruning is necessary. Prune the side shoots back to 60cm from the ground twice a year after they have finished bearing fruit.  Thin the plant to prevent overcrowding and overlapping. Remove dead or diseased wood.

Fertilize seasonally, especially at the start of Spring and after fruiting. I use comfrey tea as soon as the first buds appear to promote fruiting.  Keep the soil mulched with compost at all times. Your plants lifespan is about 3 years.

Watch out for woodiness or bullet disease which is caused by a virus. The leaves yellow and curl, the fruit develops a hard woody swelling and they eventually crack. There is no cure for the disease, infected plants are to be dug up and destroyed.

Flowering and Fruiting:

Each flower is not self fertile but it is not necessary to grow more than one plant for pollination. Flowers are pollinated by bees and other insects.

 

Only one plant is needed for fertilisation to take place.
Only one plant is needed for fertilisation to take place.

Your first fruits will be ready about 6-9 months after planting. The vines flower in Spring to produce a summer crop, then again in Autumn for a smaller Winter Crop.

Side view of flower and forming fruit

Two Green Granadilla Fruit
Two Green Granadilla Fruit
Side view of flower and forming fruit
Side view of flower and forming fruit
Fruit forming on the vine
Fruit forming on the vine

Pick the fruit when they are fully developed and light purple in colour.

Let them ripen in your kitchen, they are ready to eat when the they are dark purple and the skin has started to shrivel.

Granadillas yield a sweet and tangy pulp. The flesh of the ripe fruit is used to make a wonderful fruit juice, is added to fruit salads, used to flavor icing, yoghurt and ice-cream and as a cheesecake topping. There are no rules and having tried it myself, Granadilla even makes a delicious green salad topping.

 

Passion Fruit Juice Recipe:

5 Ripe passion fruit

Cold Water

Sugar

 

  1. Cut the granadillas in half and scoop the pulp into a blender
  2. Add 2 Cups of Water & 3 tablespoons of sugar – blend for 2 minutes – trying not to break the seeds.
  3. Pour through a sieve to remove the seeds, pushing the pulp through the sieve with a back of a spoon.
  4. Add remaining ice cold water and sugar to taste. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  5. Add some ice and drink as a juice. Had a hard week, add a tot of vodka or rum for a quick cocktail.

 

Passion Fruit Cordial Recipe:

1 cup passion fruit pulp

1 1/2 cups of Water

1 cup of Sugar

1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

  1. Heat Sugar, water and lemon juice over a low heat until the sugar dissolves
  2. Increase heat and bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes so that the syrup can thicken.
  3. Stir in Passion fruit pulp and set aside to cool.
  4. Strain through a sieve to remove the seeds, pushing the pulp through the sieve with a back of a spoon. Pour into a jug and refrigerate.

 

4 week life span – great and refreshing with sparkling water.

 

References:

Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening by Jane Griffiths

Down-to-Earth Fruit & Vegetable Gardening in South Africa by  – Zoe Gilbert and Jack Hadfield

www.duroimultiplant.co.za

www.homeguides.sfgate.com

www.nda.agric.co.za

 

 

 

 

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A Greater Leaf-folding Frog in my Worm Farm this morning

Greater Leaf-folding Frog 1

What a lovely surprise to find a a gorgeous little frog in my worm farm this morning. Such a clever little guy with all the food he wants easily at his disposal in the form of the little fruit flies and insects that eat on the decomposing food there in.  As you can see from the ABF logo, this little farm loves frogs and welcomes all frogs. ABF even built  a sweet little pond for the guys to make sure they know that they are always most welcome.

After taking a few pics, I consulted my “The Frogs of Durban” picture chart I have, put together by the Endangered Wildlife Trust to identify the species.

The Frogs of Durban Chart

This frog is most definitely a Greater Leaf-folding Frog ( Afrixalus fornasinii ). I identified this by the vertebral band starting in a point between the eyes and going down the back. It is usually found in the Wetlands and is native to Africa.

My Worm Bin

 

Frog in the Worm Bin Greater Leaf Folding Tree Frog 5
Greater Leaf-Folding Tree Frog 2

 

Greater Leaf Folding Tree Frog 3Some internet browsing spread some knowledge on the species.

  1. The Leaf-folding Frog is so named as they lay their eggs on leaves and then wrap them up and glue the leaves closed to protect the eggs.
  2. This particular species is not threatened.
  3. The Greater Leaf-folding Frog grows to a size of 40cm.
  4. They have spines on the small white speckles of their back.
  5. They have webbed fingers.
  6. The males have a yellow colour to their under throats and make repeated clacking sounds “preceded by a short soft buzz”.

 

The lid is closed on this one.

Ang

 

Webb sites visited for research:

www.frogforum.net

www.johanmarais.co.za

 

 

 

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Just A Farm Girl At Heart

The Times Newspaper 21 January 2015
The Times Newspaper
21 January 2015

Thank you so much to Shelley Seid and Jackie Clausen of the The Times Newspaper for putting this lovely article on page 15 of todays paper. I hope that this inspires those of you that can, to start your own vegetable gardens at home and others to support ABF by buying herbs, sprouts, micro greens ( and occasionally produce ) available from Eat your Home and Earth Mother Organics.

Please contact me by sending me a Facebook message if you are in Durban and are interested in being a supplier of Angela’s Backyard Farming fresh sprouts or micro greens, if you are in the restaurant industry requiring micro greens and/or sprouts as a fresh gourmet garnish to compliment your menu or if you are a group of individuals in the Durban North, Umhlanga, Morning Side area and are interested in a weekly order for yourself and friends. Price lists will be uploaded to the website within the next few days. Drop me a message if you are requiring bulk prices.

Lots of Love
Angela

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A new Look for 2015

Having studied and then worked in design for most of my life, packaging plays an extremely important roll to me. 2014 saw me start my business on smaller quantities using a a cost effective handwritten washi tape label. This was effective in a crafty home made way and worked well for me for the year.

 

Washi Tape Labeling

 

 

As my quantities are growing, to hand write each label has become a time constraint issue. 2015 sees a more refined look for ABF.  The brief given to talented Durban based graphic designer and friend, Paul Bragason ( who also did an amazing job designing the ABF Logo )  was to follow the washi tape formula but in a a muted natural colour pallet. Each product label was to  have it’s own designer pattern allocated to it.  Paul designed a  ‘Angela’s Backyard farming’ signature font – which way outshines my nasty handwriting.

The new look is modern, clean and stylish –  Let me know if you love it as much as I do.

 

2015 Product Labeling

 

 

 

Product found at Earth Mother Organics and Eat Your Home. Sprouts & Microgreens grown to order for the Durban North area. Restaurants, companies and organisations wanting to stock ABF or with enough individual orders to warrant a drop off are welcome to contact me via Facebook for price lists.

 

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The Vegetable Tunnels get an upgrade

This last weekend Brad, my husband, and I set to work on upgrading both the veg tunnels. We replaced the old crop cover, which had seen better days, with newly purchased 50% shade cloth. This is a much better construction inspired by the Durban rooftop garden visit we did. Plastic tubing is attached using cable ties to the centre of the top arches. The shade cloth is then cut to size with 5cm stitched tunnels on the longer sides. More plastic tubing pipes, cut to size are threaded through the tunnels to create weights. Now as the photo shows, I can lift up one side at a time in order to work in the tunnel where as with our previous construction, I had to lift up the whole tunnel and lean it on the wall. With more shade now provided in this hectic Durban heat, I forsee higher yields of leafy greens. I have to just keep reminding myself, as the saying goes…. slowly slowly catch a monkey….. or that other one…. Rome wasn’t built in a day… wait, there’s one more …. One step at a timeVegetable Tunnel

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Visit to the Priority Zone Garden

Last Tuesday, husband, 2 kids, friend from CT and myself headed off to the CBD to see Durban’s very own Rooftop Garden – and – we were ALL blown away. The exact address: 77 Monty Naicker Street, close to the ICC. Entrance is free.

Off the main road and into the front door, through a passage with walls covered in informative posters and boards on the garden and other Durban City initiatives. This professional operation is known as the Priority Zone Garden and is an initiative set up over 4 years ago to aid in the beautification of the inner city. Through to the reception then taken to a waiting room. There we meet our informative tour guide Siyabonga.

Siyabonga talks us through the gardens. Our fist stop, a passage with Jo Jo tanks lining the pathway and a lush vertical garden wall. The Jo Jo’s harvest rainwater for the garden collected from the rooftop and from surrounding buildings. We walk through another passage with hanging baskets and a bamboo lined wall on which, humorously recycled shoes, are suspended. Inside these various shoes are all kinds of indigenous succulents. Hanging 2L coke bottles house ferns, grasses and strawberries.

Under the stairs live the worm farms. Scrap food is fed to the worms and all nutrients rich worm wee collected is fed to the plants. Also under the stairs is the garden nursery with baby plants being cultivated.

We climb the stairs and are met by the most unexpected site to be found in the center of Durban. Beautifully landscaped gardens, food landscaping, vegetable & herb tunnels. Broad beans, chili’s, peppers, cabbages, swiss chard, cauliflower, lettuce, aubergines, spring onions, strawberries, tomatoes & herbs to name a few. The effective back drop to all of this is a wall painted mural of the city streets lined with crop rows. There are benches with rest areas and even a life size chess board.

This garden ticks all the correct boxes.

1.Everything is grown organically.
2. Companion planting is used in the form of Marigolds inter planted to keep insects at bay.
3. Incredible use of an otherwise wasted space.
4. Recycling in the form of old tires, drums, shoes, 2L bottles, robots & even an old bus shelter.
5. Increasing the dwindling bee population with bee hives, and in return these bees pollinate the flowers.
6. Organic farm practices.
7. Jobs created through maintenance and sale of produce
8. A large portion of the produce is donated to charities & old age home in the vicinity
9. Solar panels generate all the electricity required to run all the rooftop operations with excess.
10. Meeting area, conference room and venue hire facilities available

 

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Our first egg

Yay, Our first little egg. Ours is the tiny egg as the hen’s have only just just started producing. The eggs will get bigger as the hens get bigger. The other egg is a size large shop bought egg to give you a size comparison. That is hopefully our last shop bought egg that we will have to buy …. how exciting!!!! I hope I am inspiring some of you to get yourselves some hen’s.
eggs