View Full Version : Round Two.
01-09-2010, 06:42 PM
Our garden is based on Linda Woodrows "The Permaculture Home Garden".
We had a lawn area that measured 22mx13.5m (or so) and needed to move our 6mx13m garden to make way for work trailers/trucks etc...
The most obvious place to move it to was the lawn seeing as the kids had all grown up and left home they didnt need it anymore.
However the thought of scraping the turf off and hand digging this whole area had us beat before we started.
I happened to mention our problem to my brother when we were up in Auckland for a visit and he pulled out a his copy of Linda's book and gave it to me.
My dad and hubby built our chook dome at 3m rather than Lindas 4m and we have 6 hens in this.
This is almost our second year using this system.
For the most part we consider it to have been a raving success and alot of fun in a frustrating sort of way.
Our aim for the first year was to get used to using this system and
1. produce all our own eggs, most of our own vegetables, herbs and some of our own fruit and spices and herbal teas.
2.(me) to use all those lovely lawn clippings I get from the handful of lawns I do each fortnight rather than have to take these to the dump.
3.Not to have to dig the garden
Those aims have been pretty well met and we have new aims for this new growing season.
1.To get our seedlings grown to the reccommended 6 inches high before they get planted out .
2.To get the seedlings ready in time to plant out each new bed as soon as the chooks have been moved off of it.
3.To get a better balance of vegetable types growing.
4.To get the greenhouse built so we can get things up and running faster and have a place to store tender plants and shrubs over winter....Tamarillos for one.(tree tomato)
5.To find the 'right' tomato for our garden
I have found I have an addiction to trialling different plants to see which does better.
So this year there are 6 tomato and eggplant types including some home grown seed and 4 Okra, just for an example, call me greedy but its fun.
6. To get the garden beds edged so hubby and visitors stop walking all over his food.
7.To finalise the layout of the garden and make it permanent.
8. To get each bed planted out in sequence without missing any due to no plants to plant out.
9. To learn how to do this gardening by the moon/constellations.
I think I have a better understanding on this now but as the first book I read on this is from the Northern Hemisphere I still get alittle confused and need alittle more research to fully understand what exzactly it is we are supposed to be doing.
We have already discovered that we prefer Butternut Squash to the round sort of pumpkins because they are faster growing, taste just as good( alittle different to round pumpkins I think), store really well and better still, even now, the skin is easy to cut thru with a big knife in comparison to the round ones which go really hard.
The idea is to grow as much of what we eat as we can and to find out what can be grown here.
I would like to have some nut trees.
We spent ages measuring everything out again and marking out with pegs where the beds will go taking into account the width of the permanent edging to the beds,I'm leaning towards Winter savory for this and the dwarf munstead lavendar and until we can get seedlings grown of these we have opted for a type of parsley that grows only 1' each way.
These are alittle late being started so the edges have pegs around them so we dont lose track of just where the edges are.
Next was drawing up another to scale map of the garden and the exisiting trees, buildings etc..
We put the greenhouse on even though its not built yet because we Are going to build it this year and that Is the best spot for it.
This makes the first mandala not a circle which at first was disappointing but now we realise that its going to work really well.
We are translating a design worked out for a sub tropic site into a cool/mountain(I thought temperate but apparently not) site, so by having the central bed being used for the chooks and the greenhouse effectively taking up the space of an 'outer bed'.....what that means is that we can if we need to skip over between 1 and 4 beds in winter and use these beds for the winter plants.
That puts them as close to the house as you can get and they get the reflected light off the tool shed all day.
There was room to 'replace' this bed by moving to the other side of the bed next to the greenhouse.
This makes this mandala sort of like 2 sets of triangles with a central bed between them, (more on this irrelevent added significance later).
By moving that dratted Orange tree to the central bed of the second mandala, this means we have a proper circular flow going around the mandala leaving good space to get between all beds and all fruit trees and the fence.
We or rather I decided that the beds and the mandals needed names.
I get tired of saying first bed, second mandala, soooo.
I was once again gazing at our drawing trying to get some inspiration and thought well as we are going to start getting serious about gardening by constellations etc,... then maybe we can use this subject for the names.
I thought that with the Orange tree being in the centre of the second mandala, that everything flowed around it while it stayed still and that reminded me of the sun.
So the second mandala became the sun mandala, which meant of course that the first mandala had to be the moon set.
I looked at what the constellation were that I thought related to the sun and have named the 1st, 3rd and 5th beds after Leo,Aries and Sagitarius while the 2nd,4th and 6th became the Gemini,Aquarius and Libra beds.
With the Moon mandala it wasnt quite so obvious as they are not circular like the Sun mandala.
I finally decided that we had 2 sets of sort of triangles adn that the 'tighter' triangle had to be the earth signs so going along from the greenhouse we get the virgo, capricorn and above those at the apex is the Taurus bed.
Earth being a tighter, firmer sort of thing compared to water which is looser.
(Told you it was irrelevent added significance)
So on the other side of the path from the greenhouse you get the Scorpio, cancer the crab and Pisces beds.
I am going to have to find an alternative to cancer or crab bed they just dont do it for me and conjur up most unwanted imappropriate pictures.
I did think of putting signs up with the symbols of each constellation and realised that this bed would wind up being called the 69'er,(with crabs... thats just not nice).
02-09-2010, 02:47 AM
Very nice Mischief.
Would love to see an aerial photo of your mandelas!
02-09-2010, 08:30 AM
great to see you write it up Mischief - well done! I look forward to more.
02-09-2010, 09:01 PM
Hi 9andalf and PP,
Funny you should mention aerial views....
I was sitting on the bench seat that we moved further along the hedge.
Its under the evergreen tree and I had this idea that once all the beds have their parsley edges and are planted out, that I could use the long work ladder and climb the tree, trim off afew branches and take some photos from up there.
There are alot of branches to stand on its just that they are so high up and I should be able to get a really good shot of both sides.
Hopefully the greenhouse will be there by then too.
02-09-2010, 10:09 PM
I cannot think of anything better than just sitting in the garden "like a potato" just watching the different things happening and day dreaming about plans of greenhouses and beds and planting.I usually will have a little smoke of dope so I can really immerse and daydream for a good period of time.It is as calming as a Sutra of full awareness breathing.I was dreaming your garden for a second to Mischef good luck with it mine is a sacred place now,I hope yours will be too!
Best Wishes Fernando
02-09-2010, 10:22 PM
Will we be seeing a thread here on your garden?
I'm really hoping others will tell us about their systems, I think it would be a great way to learn from each other.
03-09-2010, 05:35 PM
8)I think Fernando would need a resilient garden to cope with his frequent absences/jail times. I will be having a beer in it one day I reckon.:hi:
06-09-2010, 03:28 PM
PP thats not nice and anyway how do You know that. Were you in there with him?
The garden calendar says that today we should sow and plant roots crops so thats what I did.
There is a section infront of the Feijoa trees that we have just moved the horse manure off and restacked it alittle more tidily.
Decided that this area would be for the potatoes.
I'm hoping that they will mature in time before the chooks have to go back on but if they are ready then we'll have to skip over this area instead.
Eventually we'll get the timing right on everything.
Had a bit of a tidy up cos things were starting to look alittle like a dogs breakfast.
The hedge trimmings/branches that hadnt broken down were put in an empty bay of the compost bin and trod on to fit more newbies in, the 'almost dirt 'sort that was underneath them has gone onto the compost bin along with the resident worms and slaters.
After raking the ground reasonably level we worked outthat we could have 5 short rows and have them alittle wider apart than the normal 2' cos I want to try intercropping with nasturtiums and beans.
These are supposed to be good companions for potatoes.
Could try them with the melons as well, just have to see how they go.
This area is where the Orange tree used to be.
I used to 'hide' the compost behind it, so the soil is a lovely black colour with twiggy bits still in it.
Yes we still have convovulus in this part of the garden as well but have found with the mulching, that it is for the most part, quite close to the surface and easily pulls out.
At this point I would like to 'fess that when I first moved back home a few years ago that I did try to get rid of this horrible weed with an unmentionable liquid.
It didnt work.It did knock it back abit but when its all over the railway tracks and thru the hedge it was a waste of time.
My mother hates this stuff and has spent many enjoyable hours hand pulling it.
Mulching definitely made a difference as did pulling off all flowers on sight and all leaves.
So our game plan with this is to keep mulching and then removing anything that dares to show itself.
When we finished leveling, sorting the rows we used the spade to loosen the soil on both sides of the potatoes and then hoed some over to cover them.
We have to keep them covered until the end of october because there have been late frosts here inthe past.
I dont think we should have too much trouble with them though because it is a quite sheltered spot.
Its raining again now and I FOR ONE AM REALLY REALLY READY FOR SUMMER.
The parsley seedlings are sprouting.
So far we have around 80 to pot up (during the leafy plant time of course).
I chose parsley for the edges because it is biennial, doesnt bolt to seed and should give me time to get the winter savory sown/planted and ready in a year.
I find myself gazing love-ing-ly at our floor plan of our garden, it does look awsome.
I just want it to look like that in the physical world right now and am having differculty with having to wait for the actuality to catch up with the dream.
The Kiwifruit and boysenberries have started to sprout, the boysenberry cutting we took look green but havent actually sprouted yet but I hope they come away.
Still need to run the wires along the trellis. I t does have railings and I am wondering perhaps we should take them off and just have the wires.
Hubby thinks that its a girl fence(i built it) and would be wise that we leave it as is just incase it falls downs which I thought was not nice.
Okay the posts maybe alittle futher apart than maybe they should have been but its been afew years now and it is still standing so I think it will be fine.
I had a wind chime hanging in the porch window.
It wasnt really doing much there and nevermade a sound so I decided to hang it in the branches of the tree over the bench seat.
Its a butterfly and now tinkles quietly even when the winds are quite strong.
Forgot to say that hubby loves where the old laundry tub is and cant wait to run a proper line out to it so I have water.
Might have something to do with tripping over the hose everytime I forget to put it away, but it does seem to be the right spot for it.
Occassionally we have culture clashes.
Being from the States, he seems to have this idea that things should be Nice, bright and shiny new penny rather than recycled old and worn looking.
I hate new.
I deliberately bought an old house cos it Was old.
I love recycling, not just because it saves me money but because its a challenge.
For example, the old steps up to the lawn was a set of old pallets cut to size.
It took me ages to find just the right size and they Had to be treated which is really hard to find.
They lasted 10 years and only cost me the countless hours of fun I had looking for them.
06-09-2010, 03:33 PM
getting alittle lonely here, is someone else gunna come play at Adams place too?
07-09-2010, 02:56 AM
Hi mischief. Is this forum Adam's place. Where is Adam? I am going to keep going on my thread over at the other forum but i can come in and go out of here too. Is this link updatedin the what's new thing. That's where i go daily to see what is going on. It saves time. I have noticed that not all the forums are listed in that part. I can't imagine why.
Can i tempt you to put piccies up on photoblog too? Or somewhere and provide a link. I've been using that place for a while now for other things and its quite easy to use. Though not as pretty as a usual blog. I think i will still have extra things to write in here that i won't write on that cause i wanted that primiarly to be a picture record. Its just that i can't help myself writing a lot of stuff as well.
You've written a very long blog above. I imagine it would be hard for anyone to start reading from scratch with mine as well. I really do have a short attention span these days. But I will gradually catch up with yours. or at least I will try.
What sort of floor plan have you chosen for your garden? Is it your own design? Have you pegged it out yet? I am just about to do that to mine. Or are you talking about the floor plan of a whole big place, while i am only talking about my vegie patch.
I'm still here, just haven't been posting much recently. Also it's not my place, it's everyone's. I would love for more people to use this part of the forum! Kudos to you for posting your thread up here, by the way, mischief. Your garden sounds really fantastic but I am dying for some pictures! Will you be sharing any with us?
08-09-2010, 01:33 PM
Of course its Adams' place, you thought of it and its a great idea and I would love more people to use it too.
I think it gives you a better idea of whats happening when you get a running commentary and I have found it useful to go back over myself to see what happened to such and such a plant., etc...
Much easier than trawling my diary.
I need to do something with our pictures, I think we've used up all our allocation based on the fact that I couldnt post all of them.
They might be too big, maybe I should learn to use my phone to take them or wait for my son to visit so he can put some kind of editing thingy on our computer.
The next lot I try to post will be when the beds are planted out and is full swing in summer, that way you get to see what they look like bare as I posted in Micshief at large and in full bloom here.
One thing I'm still confused on is the gardening by the moon/constellations.
I've been using the 'Garden Diary' but today when I read a mag(Australian womans weekly I think) it was different to my diary.
Would this be because even though we're neighbours, we are far enough apart for there to be differences?
They also state which sign the moon is in and whether its a fertile or barren sign whereas mine just tells you its a good time to do what ever.
I dont suppose we have our very own astrologer on board do we, wouldnt that be good.
Yep this is Adams' place but I think he's feeling alittle shy about me calling it that.
I can take pics but Im not that great on putting them on the computer, hubby had to do that.
Maybe I should check out your link, it might be easier to do that.
I decided to start a new blog for the start of the new growing season.
This is the start of our second year using this system.
08-09-2010, 10:20 PM
When I had moon planting Q's I asked Purple Pear and he explained it....
12-09-2010, 06:01 PM
I got the bio dynamics book out again so I could re read the parts on the constellations.
I think my main problem with this is that I dont know when the moon or sun or what ever is in a fertile or barren sign.
When you stop and think about how much energy earlier civilizations put into astrology it makes you wonder if they were of the opinion that this sort of thing made a difference.
That so many different civilizations went into astrology in a big way made me decide to try to use this in this new growing season.
The other problem I have is sometimes this book talks about the moon being in such and such a constellation and then its going on about the sun being somewhere which leaves me beffuddled.
So I am rereading whilst sticking to what my gardener magazine says to do.
Today for example, after I finished work, I moved the chooks over to the next station.
Because the girls dont leave the ground nice and level, I give it a brief hoeing to make it sort of the same height.
I found that if I do this straight away then I dont killl so many worms, they obviously dont move in straight away.
According to my diary, today is the start of when is best to plant everything that produces above ground(in New Zealand).
So All the brassicas that I sown and have been sitting for ages went in.
Way more than we will probably eat but I figured I could give the ones that we dont eat away or sell them.
I did have the seedlings labelled but ordinary pen on bits of seed packets arent working, I cant read any of the labels.
I think a permanent marker and some cut up milk bottles might be a better idea.
That way I should be able to reuse the labels each year too.
Planted were, red and green cabbage;violet, green and white cauli,chinese cabbage,mizuna,9 sweet corn,red loose leaf lettuce, 3 calendula(I normally get these to grow really well but in the last two years they havent done so well),afew mexican marigold mint.
I had three beds that needed to be planted out, the one that the chooks just moved off, the previous on that I only got to plant the beetroot into (and had to wait for a more auspious time fot the rest) and the bed that had the huge compost pile brewing away for the last 6 months.
This bed isnt a circle, abit like the potato bed really, the chooks havent been on it cos it had this huge mound of stuff.
I had to use the garden fork to pull it apart as the grape vine cuttings didnt break down like I thought they would.
These were taken out and put in a neat pile while I work out what exactly to do with them.
At the end of last summer this compost pile was around 3m in diametre and a metre high.
When I pulled it apart it was maybe a foot high.
I raked it into a blunt pie sort of shape and at the back planted the sweet corn.
On one side I planted the pine cuttings I took (13 for kindling maybe?, pine needles?coppiced?),in the middle I planted alot of brassicas- no idea which is which except for the chinese ones.
Around the edges I put the loose leaf lettuce and the mizuna (I love this in my noodles, in stir fries, in salad, on cheese sandwiches....).
In the bed that the chooks just left so far I have sown a couple of Italian zucchinni and Cannelinno beans.
I know I went overboard on the beans,but I think I've got them figured out.
I sowed them along the path at afew inches apart.
This year I will mound them up with mulch so they dont fall over everything else.
These beans are for growing to dry so I will be keeping an eye on how they go about filling their pods and will be picking them when they are fat but not quite mature(thats the idea anyway)
This year one of my personal goals is to grow enough drying beans for the year.
I also sowed some Painted Lady runner beans at each end of the Arch leading into the garden.
These we will use as both green beans and drying.
I thought originally they were just green beans til I opened the packet and saw how big the seed was.
I spend alot of time gazing at our poor orange tree sending it lots of love.( yes I just reread the Celestine prophecy too).
A friend who visited the other day said she thought it looked alittle yellow and probably needed abit of epsom salts.
I told her what had happened to it and she just sort of stared at me and shook her head.
I'm starting to get alittle nervous about the seed sowing thing again.
Its time to put my money where my mouth is.
There is so much I want to get done this year and it all boils down to timing.
The thing that annoys me the most about this time of year is that the weeds grow so fast but my vegetable seeds take so long it just doesnt seem right or fair.
I visited a friend on the way home today too and may have scored a source of stinging nettles.
I found fat hen at the nursery I worked over winter and now this.
We are going to get together again and have a sort out of who has what and what does each other want from the other.
A glass of wine was mentioned and good food which sounds just what the doctor ordered.
12-09-2010, 06:28 PM
Mischief, I've taken to cutting wedges out of old computer DVDs and CDs for my name tags and writing on them with permanent marker.
12-09-2010, 06:29 PM
Encouragement............. I can't think of anything else to say. I like weeds. I like pulling them out. Grass I don't like and hte speed at which it grows and can take over scares me but then there's always the mower.
On harvesting your beans, I just checked cause i wasn't sure but Penny Woodwards says to pull up the whole plant and store somewhere airy and cool for a couple of weeks before taking the beans out of the pods. That sounds like an easier way of getting them out than cutting the pods off the bush. I do like cannelini beans though.
12-09-2010, 07:47 PM
I dont have that many dvd or cd's but I have a stack of milk bottles I havent taken to the recycler yet.
The few cd's I have I want to use to make copper foil/leadlight type things with when I get around to getting back into my artwork again.
The permanent marker is definitely on my shopping list tho.
Last year I did the let em grow and pull up whole to dry and was disappointed as alot of the beans were starting to sprout in their pods.
They got wet in the rain and started to grow again, so this year I'm going to try to harvest them as they become mature while still letting the plants keep on doing their thing.
I'm trying to look at weeds as a resource, either for the compost bin or as chook food.
In this biodynamics book I got out of the library, it says to pull up runner type weeds and rather than putting them into the compost, put them into a bucket of water and decompose them that way then use the liquid as a liquid tea on the garden.
Already I have a full bucket and need to clean out another one of gib stopping compound so I can fit the water in before I can decompose anything!
12-09-2010, 08:12 PM
Compost tea is a good idea. I am trying to do it too though i need more bins.
16-09-2010, 04:49 PM
I managed to skip between the rain drops this week and got abit done.
I had to weed to roadside garden before I could plant anything.
We've put 2 staggered rows of giant sunflowers in here so far.
They were actually six inches high.Yipee, finally got something planted out at a decent size- course they would do seeing as they're sunflowers.
I am hoping for seeds for the chooks, compost for the garden and the stalks- kindling for the fire.
Our Parsley seeds are still doing well and we've so far transplanted into 4 trays.These have 24 litle pots all joined togther.
I chose these because the little pots are small enough that I dont think I will be using too much compost, but big enough to grow decent root systems in.
I have found that the seedlings all have really well developed roots even with only the first leaves that open so I have been transplanting them into their pots then rather than waiting til they get their first real pair of leaves.
I'm starting to think I could get away with sowing the seed into these pots and getting less stressed seedlings in the process.
I'm using compost again this year and it seems to be going okay, last year the seed sowing mix caked and I had to crack open the tops so the seeds could grow thru.
I found the fastest way to use these trays is to grab a handful of compost and pile it ontop then sort of push down slightly as I run my hand over the tops of the pots and keep doing this til they are all filled up.
So far with the seedlings we've planted out they 'soil' is holding together rather than falling apart and I think hurting the roots.
I did alittle experiment.
I keep hearing that capsicums and eggplants have the same requirements as tomatoes which annoys me cos I havent seen that.
So I alitle of all three at the same time.
The tomatoes came up first-Amish Paste was the winner there,the capsicums are just starting to show thru now and I cant see any eggplants yet.
I also did some okra just to see and one came up but sunccumbed -definitely needs to wait afew months yet for them.
I've sprinkled some corn poppies under the orange tree to add a splash of colour there.
The seed sowing started off quite well with a few more different things beings sown but with all this rain I feel bluesy and dont want to go outside.
Perhaps if I complain loudly enough we might be able to move building the greenhouse forward abit.
Ah, no cant cos its my job to move abit more soil underneath it so its level and I dont want to til the soil is not saturated.
I 'found' another smaller piece of white perspex Im going to liberate to the garden.
The seeds I've put under this seem to come up better than without.
I dont have sheets of glass-we did have an old window but that had an accident when it wasnt sitting properly over the trays and the cat decided to sit on it.So no more glass in the garden.
Im reading abit of my biodynamic book again and one that goes over what Alan Chadwick did with this and french intensive planting methods called biointensive.
All my reading at the moment is to find out what people do in what climates and the reasoning behind it
so I can see which bits will fit in here.
If I cant get into the garden at least I can dream about it and read about possibilites.
The guild plants as suggested by Linda dont always work here due to our difference in climate.
There are some months when it doesnt matter how hard you wish the seeds either dont sprout or the seedlings grow so high and then stop for a couple of months.
Still, it will be interesting to see what we can get whne we have the greenhouse up and running.
I also want to grow afew 'gluts' so we have shitloads of beans and tomatoes for purees and sauces.
Personally I dont see a problem with growing alot of the same thing together, so long as they have some companion plants in with them and are not planted in the same bed two years in a row.
I havent used the weemanure on the garden yet, I figured that it would get washed away with all this rain.
Did you know that urine was used in Scotland to bleach their woven woolen clothe?(It was aged first).
16-09-2010, 08:24 PM
Where is waikato? What latitude? Is it coastal or inland? Elevated? I'm curious about your climate?
Okra is strange. The packet say it should grow up here all year round. The seeds always germinate easily but after that nada. I am trying again now that it's warmer. Two days ago i was up the hill at Kuranda and a friend had a okra growing. I didn't ask her when she planted it though. Its cooler up there.
20-09-2010, 01:54 PM
The mighty Waikato is in the centre(ish) of the North Island of New Zealand.
There is also a large river in here by the same name.
20-09-2010, 01:55 PM
cheers. I've never been to NZ yet. One day perhaps.
20-09-2010, 02:37 PM
Come in summer when its not cold unless you want to experience cold/wet.
Snow is fun we have that alitle further south too.
04-10-2010, 05:01 PM
Well we found out that the dome will not blow away easily, we had some ferocious winds a couple of weeks ago and all that happened was the sail fell off the top of the dome and hung alongside of it.
All the potatoes have been planted out now so we have 6 short rows about 55-60 plants.
We've started to hill them up as they show just in case there was a frost unexpectedly.
What is it about rows that make you feel productive?
I discovered that it doesnt matter what time of the month it is, if its too cold and wet then your seed will just rot in the ground.
The Cannelinni beans wound up as fodder for somelittle white bugs but the runner beans have actually sprouted.
The onions we planted around the orange tree are getting to a size where you can actually notice straight away that they are there now.
Some of the sugar beet have disappeared though, probabably slugs and snails.
Most of the seedlings we put out over the last few weeks are still tiny and havent grown all that much with the exception of the white cabbage which is alittle bigger.
I've managed toget some lawns mowed again, the first lot didnt give all that much clippings so they went into the compost bin and I then covered them with some horse manure that hadnt fully rotted down.
I had a peek in there this afternoon and I think the sunshine we've had over the last 3 days has warmed it up abit so everything in there wants to start breaking it down, its definitely shrunk down quite abit, so at least something is working.
Todays lawn clippings went around the edge of the garden and in the next bed over as mulch to cook the weeds that were starting to grow.
I have managed to mulch the paths around the Avocadoes, in front of the Feijoas as well as the paths around the "sun" mandala.
I have been keeping an eye out for any more shredded trees on the side of the road with not much success.
Might have to go to the firewood man and buy some munched up bark.
I have decided that sunshine this time of the year is quite deceptive, you get the idea that its time to start getting seeds going or seedlings planted out but its isnt really warm enough and they dont move.
It must be time now though surely.
I dont understand how you can get seeds to sprout in the time the catelogue says it takes them to sprout, then transplant them before the roots get too big and then....... you wait and wait and nothing happens, so you put them in the ground thinking maybe they need alittle extra room, feeding etc.... and they are still the same size.( some of these seedlings are three months old!!!)
Sometimes I feel like pulling them all out and starting again.
Still the garlic is looking good and so are the currant cuttings I took, both the red and the black ones, can remember where I put the white ones.
The orange tree is looking alittle tender still but it does have alot of little new growth coming along,I need to make sure I cut off all the flowers this year so it can concentrate on regrowing its poor roots.
The pine cutting I took ages ago and then forgot about for a week are all standing up and looking rather greener than they were afew weeks ago.
I had this idea of coppicing them, I dont know if they can be but I dont see we have anything to lose by trying.
If they do grow then we have pine needles for strawberries, Avocadoes and anytihing else that likes acidic soil.
The green manure we sowed down in a couple of beds has been growing quite well, it was a mix of peas, lupins and oats.
I forgot that it had oats in it and have been pulling out 'stray grass seedlings' til I noticed that the 'grass' has little knobs on the bottom and then remembered there were supposed to be oats there too....Oh...
We've been trying to decide whether to dig the green manure in or let it grow to maturity, well the peas anyway, they are alot sturdier than the ones the slugs and snails have been stealing from us.
I see split pea soup,mushy peas....
Can you eat lupin seeds?
The hens are still laying at least 3 eggs a day.
I think they have done really well,its been almost a year since we got them and they havent gone off the lay.
I have left the chooks on the same spot for another week.
I might lkeave them on each spot for 3-4 weeks over summer to try and give us that extra time/space to get things ripening.
We are having to keep feeding them their pellets still as they just mow down anything growing in the dome almost straight away.
They dont like florence fennel leaves though.
We are back to eating shop bought vegies again.
We should still be eating our potatoes, but they obviously dont like being stored in the attic as the last box all sprouted so madly they lifted the lid of the box.
We are going to have to get a cool store area setup for them by next Autumn.
Not sure where exactly they should go or what temps they store best at.
05-10-2010, 10:33 AM
Apparently sweet lupins are edible but may need soaking for some days first. Bitter lupins aren't.
11-10-2010, 07:34 AM
Over the last couple of weeks the potatoes have shot away.
I put the last row in on a root crop day and hilled up the others.
The 'swift' type has definitely grown the fastest and I'm sure it noticibly gets bigger every day.
We decided to let the field peas and lupins go to seed and they are looking quite good.
The Avocadoes looked at one point that they would be flowering and most had little buds on them but there hasnt been any movement on them since.
I had a look at the fully grown tree out the front and its the same as the babies which was a relief, I thought I might have set them back with the move.
The Orange tree is still looking sad and has lost more leaves, but it also has alot of little leaves sprouting along with the flower buds.
These I pluck off when I see them.
The slugs and snails had a lovely feast on the sugar beet and ate half of them, I think we will sow some more on a root day and replace them.
All the currant plants and cuttings, the gooseberry,kiwifruit and boysenberries are leafing up beautifully,the garlic are all growing strongly.
The black radishes I let go to seed are reeally pretty with pink flowers,the turnips that are seeding have masses of lovely white flowers and are quite eye catching.
The salsify seeds sprouted, they are such odd spiky looking things.
Its been alittle differcult getting to the garden over the last couple of weeks due to having to work out of town.
My mums been feeding the cats and chooks for us each day and watering the seedlings if it looks like they need it.
We are having less seedlings disappearing due to snails but they are still really slow to grow.
Perhaps we are being alittle quick off the mark in trying to get them started while its still quite cold.
I keep thinking okay now we are getting warmer weather they must start growing.
We've had some lovely warm weather over the last week and finally it seeemed that we would warm weather from now but no today its cold and raining again.
Good thing I went out and mowed most of the lawns yesterday.
Some of the clippings went onto the compost heap along with another big bag of not quite rotten horse manure and the rest I used to cover one of the beds that the chooks will soon be moving onto.
I am really glad we moved the chooks yesterday, today the wind is ferocious and it just wouldnt be happening.
I have to be up in Auckland for the next week or so and am seriously wondering if I should take the seeds and trays up there and try to sowing seeds up their, getting my brother or dad to look after them til they are big enough to bring home.
I know we are heading for cooler seasons but I cant help wondering how on earth did people get on with their food supplies or is it that our seasons Are changing whereas for the most part theirs were stable?
We had a curry last night for tea and in this went celery, silverbeet, mustard lettuce, parsley,mint,alittle fennel leaf, same smells amount of vietnamese mint,chives and lots of diced up butternut.
So while we might have made a booboo with the potatoes we are still getting some meals from the garden.
11-10-2010, 09:02 AM
Why do you pluck off the leaves on the orange tree?
11-10-2010, 07:27 PM
I think she's plucking off the flowers not the leaves. I guess its best not to stress the tree by making it work on fruit if it isn't a happy chappy to start with.
17-10-2010, 01:22 PM
I took our seeds up to AK and went over them with my nephew and dad(bro was still at work).
They sorted thru which ones they wanted seeds from and when I came back on Friday I sowed most of the choosen out for them.
I have sown alot of our next lot of seeds too.
The apple cucumber and oriental cucumbers are looking really good and so too are the capsicums.
I must do some chilli this year, but will leave them for next month.
Sow peas got planted out and this time I will be putting a stake at each end of them and string a couple of loops of line around them so the peas can grow up and through them and not swamp everything else like they did last year.
I hoed the few stray clumps of grass growing in the paths.
I also moved out from one spot, a whole heap of mulch out of the path where there isnt going to be a path anymore and moved it to where there is now going to be one.
Along this edge I have little white plastic tubes to mark out where the edge is and just to make sure nobody misses it have a lime green garden twine along this length as well.
The first lot of parsley got planted a foot apart for our growing border.
The winter savory has grown abit more so I took more cuttings of these and put them in another spot along a path.
I think we need to get some seed for this though, I can see it taking ages waiting for the winter savory to grow big enough for cuttings.
Nasturtiums got planted out amongst the brassicas.
I found the gooseberry plant again and moved it to a better spot along with half a dozen black current rooted cuttings.
These are along the 'fruit walk' on the chook dome side.
One of the other beds got filled up with grass and weeds with very few vegies left in it so I gave this a thorough hoeing being careful of the seedlings that were still there.
We have tiny little onions.
This is such a thrill after last years fiasco, I would like to put some more in but I'm not sure if I have left it too late, I'll have to check.
The bed with the sugar beet was filling up with dock, not possible to pull them out so I took a really sharp knife and cut them all off below the ground, I suppose I'll have to keep doing this but surely if I do then they will die off, heres hoping.(all good compost material though).
I had my first wild strawberry yesterday.Very small as they are, but so fruity.
I noticed that this year the coddling moth and white butterfly where in the garden early.
Usually you dont see theses til around nov or even later with the white cabbage butterfly.
I wasnt happy to see them,I have sauerkraut in progress in the garden and dont want them ruined before I get my cabbages to the kitchen.
We have an egg eater in the dome.
I have been finding half eaten shells or sticky eggs.
Luckily she seems to be eating only her egg but I think we may have to take each hen out at a time and put her in an old dog kennel we have, with her own nest,so we can see which one it is.... and then its probably time to start hunting up that chicken and chives ravioli recipe we tried afew years ago.
We were playing with our masterplan again and will be moving the chooks dome over bit by bit while they are in the water constellation beds.
We were going to make the path between each station permanent but think it will look better and be more useable to have a single curved path around the central bed.
This will mean needing less plants for the edging and we can if we want use these 3 chook dome spots as one whole single bed if we want to do a bulk planting for say kumara or pumpkins.
Have to see if I can scan our masterplan and post it so you can see what I'm talking about.
17-10-2010, 02:46 PM
I would love to see your plan mischief - please get it for us.
we cut off the dock below ground level too in some places and it is a great addition to the compost. Just think of the deep roots bringing stuff up from below. It will not die out though and as it regrows the root will be even harder to pull but that is ok I reckon for some of them.
Good luck with the egg eater. the only "cure" we have found beyond humane cull is to clear the eggs frequently during the day. I give the job to the wwoofer and it works but they do go back to their old ways it seems.
17-10-2010, 06:58 PM
Its sad to read about what is going to happen to the chicken who likes eating eggs. Wouldn't it be better to make a booby trap under her nest so she can't get at the eggs. I don't know it makes me feel sad that one is going to have the death sentence for such a personality failure. Saying that i am probably going to eat the chicken that is growing up into a rooster. That makes me sad too. I'd much rather have a rooster but alas, I am not allowed to keep one because it will disturb the neighbours. I've got a duck who so far doesn't lay any eggs but i've no plans to sentence her to death as yet. I like the number 5 in the flock. I shouldn't be guilt tripping you but its just sad. I am not against eating meat.
On another point, are you not tempted to take photographs of your garden and show us?
17-10-2010, 07:39 PM
On another point, are you not tempted to take photographs of your garden and show us?\
Often - there are some at groups -mandala town and more at the web site but there could be more.
21-10-2010, 05:43 PM
I did post some pics of the winter garden, but as you can imagine it looks rather brown and empty.
I have tried to will summer along by sowing seeds when I shouldnt have bothered but that didnt work.
Just because the sun shines for a day doesnt make it the start of summer.
We used to get a really good hot spell between Aug and Oct for about 6 weeks then a cold spell then into summer but for the last few years there hasnt been that hot spell just a few days here and there.
So I will have to re sow most of my summer vege seeds again cos those that havvent died will probably sulk for ages.
When we got the hens last year it was on the understanding that they were food, either via their eggs or themselves.
Nothing nasty about it, thats life.
We are trying to get to grips with life in the slow lane, so anyone eating their eggs is a goner.
Having said that I still havent set up the kennel to check which one needs to be dealt with.
I realised the other day when I put the rubbish out for collection that this was our first bag in at least three weeks!
We take our plastic bottles to the recycle centre and I insist we keep our old glass jars for preserves etc..., newspapers get saved for winter (or when its cold) for the fire and anything vaguely edible gets eaten or composted if past its best.
I keep forgetting to use hardworkinghippy's idea of using toilet rolls for seed sowing and keep burning them instead.
We dont have alot of tinned food so our refuse has been minimal for ages which is pleasing.
I let hubby know that the pee bucket was in a spare compost bin bay, this is quite a nice spot for a bit of contemplation, being hidden by unexpected guests by our turnip that is in full flower at the moment,he hasnt used it yet but Im sure he will now that he knows it will go to feed the orange tree.
I managed to get my nephews seeds sown, labelled and delivered, not sure how my brother will manage with 3 different types of Rock melon but what the hell.
I also did alot more of ours including lots of sweet corn.
The 'moon' bed( thats the cntral bed just as you go into the garden) got edged with parsley and this is where the sweet corn and NZ spinach have been sown.
I put some lengths of re inforcing mesh over the bed so the blackbirds dont ruin everything like they are doing with the orange tree bed(sun bed).
I thought I was rather clever when I used the lime green twine to mark out the paths in the first mandala, nobody can miss this so we shouldnt have any more meanderers wrecking things.
Bit of a booboo with my measurements as it now seems that I will have to move the compost bin back towards the parking area so the dome can get around the mandala properly.oops.
Oh well perhaps the compost could do with abit of turning.
22-10-2010, 06:09 AM
I am starting to appreciate living in the tropics in a whole new light. We don't have frost so we can grow things all year round though not that much of conventional vegies in the wet season apparenlty.
Oops i'v e just spied a naughty duck. How did she get out? gotta go and check it out.
28-10-2010, 04:09 PM
This week we mulched the orange tree with grass clippings and havent worried if the sugar beets under it get cooked.
We decided that it was more important to look after the tree and perhaps the others my take up the nutrients that the tree needs.
The onions are right on the edge of the bed so we are making sure they dont get covered in clippings.
The twine at the path edges seems to be working a treat and the parsley seedlings are coming along really well.
I have always liked the look of the potager gardens with their neat edges, cant guarantee that ours are going to severely pruned to such a neatness but I think it will be a great advantage to have the permamant edges along the paths.
Apart from telling visitors where the actual beds beging and end it should stop the chooks scratching out the mulch onto the paths like they have been doing and should help with protect against the wind(and tell us where to put the dome).
I just got back from AK after being away for most of the week.
I am quite happy to see that mum did look after the seedlings for us and we only lost the savoy cabbage seedlings which got fried.
The potatoes have shot up Im really impressed with them and really hope we get lots of large tubers this year now that they are planted futher apart than the small ones we got last year.
These got mulched with lawn clippings too.We sort of ran out of anything to hill them up with.
They were planted at 800mm apart and I was expecting to hill them up at least once more but I cant quite see how we can.
I did sneak in some butternut seeds 2 every other row.
These werent strictly speaking supposed to be sown as it wasnt reccommended by our planting by the moon diary but I just couldnt help myself.
The melons have started to sprout as have the sweet corn.
Tomoorow I will be weeding.
Weeding everywhere by the looks of things.
I really want to re sow some more tomatoes as the ones I did ages ago havent done too well.
I think we started them to early (I know we did, at some point I might learn not to).
We have had such glorious weather this week I wished I could be home sowing and planting while I was away but when I looked at our diary, I only missed out on the root crops.
Talking about root crops, we will have to check if builders sand is river sand or sea sand as the kumara tubers we had sprouting in a pot of this sand rotted instead of sprouting.
These were from the ones we grew last year so we know they werent dusted with something noxious to stop them from sprouting.
I had them sitting in their pot on the sunny side of the garden shed so they should have done really well and should have sprouted but they didnt.
Kumara has to be an absolute favourtie for the both of us so we will be buying seedlings to put in, its too late to try again with another tuber.
The hens seem to be happy even though they havent been moved as often as they used to be.
We have alot of dandelion,Puha(sowthistle) and Italina chicory for their greens requirements and now the comfrey is coming up too.
The pie shaped bed at the back of the garden has been absolutely demolished by the wild birds.
The mulch is all over the paths and the little pine cutting have all bar 3 been dug out and tossed aside.
Forget about the vegies that were in there they are all gone. this is so annoying, my cats are not doing thier job properly, obviously too well fed.
Still, It was a buzz to come home and wander round and see most things are doing really well.
Flowers on the raspberries and finally on the avocadoes- they have had flower buds on them for sooo long now I wondered if the big day was ever going to really happen.
28-10-2010, 07:52 PM
Why are you sprouting your sweet potatos in sand. They should go fine in the soil. Here they come up without any help from me. I imported them in a trailer load of mill mud and they just got chucked on the garden with the mud. Often its not even a tuber but a piece of one.
28-10-2010, 09:42 PM
It's much easier to propogate kumera from cuttings of the runners. Just cut off a bit and whack it in potting mix and stand back.
28-10-2010, 10:18 PM
sunburn, kumara is a tropical plant, so it thrives up your way.
Here in New Zealand, if you're not in the semi-subtropical North, growing it is a bit of a drama.
29-10-2010, 08:20 AM
I agree pippi but i still wonder about the need for sand.
29-10-2010, 12:09 PM
Apologies sunburn, my post looks a bit condescending when I read back, not my intention at all!
What I meant to say is: because our kumara season's so short, people usually put the tubers in sand to sprout before they could be planted outside, and break off the 'slips' to grow on. When I've just planted the tubers, they've struggled as my seasons are too cold and short
29-10-2010, 08:01 PM
no harm done pippi.
10-11-2010, 05:17 AM
I wound up up ending the pot of sand I had the kumara tubers in to find out if they were actually sprouting or not and found that none of them sprouted and in fact were all busy rotting.
I thought theywould have been okay sitting in their pot outside right next to the tin garden shed where it was lovely and warm but obviously not.
Will be buying rooted cuttings this year.
The blackbirds and I seem to have a disagreement on just how much mulch the potatoes actually need.
I hill them up and they dig it all off them...well not quite all but not far off either.
I had alittle feel under some of the plants and found some baby tubers, which was exciting.(funny how simple things make your day).
The peas and lupins we let continue to grow are now about 2-3 feet high.
The lupins seem to help the peas stay upright and they are both starting to flower.
Looks really pretty with the pink and magenta flowers of the peas alongside the blue spikes of the lupins.
I left some brassicas and beetroot to go the seed in these two beds as well.
The beetroot looks quite majestic and the brassicas aredoing a good job of providing for the bees.
We actually have quite afew different plants around the garden flowering at the moment or about to.
Some of them are for seed but also to provide for the bees.
I finally managed to fill the first compost bin full of STUFF.
Its shocking just how much STUFF it takes to fill up a bin thats 3-4 feetwide by 3 feet deep by 3 feet high.
Mostly grass clipping but also the old horse manure, bits of twigs and weeds.
I cut up abit of the old carpet to fit across the top to stop and weeds at the top from sprouting and to make sure it stays moist and have now started on the next pile.
Already the first one has shrunk quite alot and I was going to top it up but decided not to.
We wound up cutting the orange tree back abit more.
May not have been enough though.
The bottom three branches have leaves that are all really green but the top ones had gone all yellow,hardly surprising.
This has been mulched again with clippings and fed alittle watered wee.
The soil under the mulch is nice and cool and moist so I hope it will be alright.
Was thinking maybe we should put a loose cover over it to cut out some of the heat from the sun, but then would it need the light to regenerate..... or should I just put another tree in its place and forget about this one?
I tidied up the 'courtyard' yesterday and realised that I could string the clothes line from one side of the porch to the plum tree thats still at the other side of the courtyard and then back across to the other side of the porch giving us 2 lines.
So now we have a clothes line again.
I made it low enough that I could reach all the line which meant we needed to have 2 poles to raise the line to keep the clothes from brushing the ground and to keep hubby from throttling himself with it.
The first load of washing is gently waving in the breeze and it seems to working rather well.
I reused to line off the old rotating clothes line which took ages to get off and kept the bit that wasnt used this time so we will have it if and when we need to replace the line again.
At the moment the poles are 2 of the bamboo garden stakes, not a good idea really cos they still have the sharp bits on them which could catch and tear the clothes so something will have to be done about that.
Alot of the seedlings got fried while I was away, forgot to put a shade clothe over them so ....
This morning I check the box containing newish sowings, these are doing well as they are covered with a white perspex cover propped up at one corner to let air through.
I did notice however that something ate the stem of one of the melons.
I think it was ants.
I think the garlic may need feeding.
Im sure the stems are not supposed to be elongating like they are.
I hope they arent bolting to seed.
We still have some old horse manure I could put around them....should do that today.
11-11-2010, 02:11 PM
I oiled the wooden handles of our tools.
I did mean to do this in Autumn but forgot til I got a splinter in my hand from one of them and realised that they all were looking rather dried out.
They probably need to be done again tho.
The sweet corn is showing.
I direct sowed these in their bed after soaking them for a couple of day( afew weeks ago)
There are some gaps where some of them havent come up but most of them have.
It looks as though the chamomile is self sowing which is great and we seem to have a cucumber and onion sow themselves as well.
The garlic got a dressing of olde horse manure and this got really well watered in the get it down to their roots quickly.
I had a look at the soil where the peas and lupins are growing and it really quite moist.
Makes me think that if I can just get the knack of sowing and planting things in a timely sequence then I may not have to water so often or maybe better still not at all sa they say they do in that buio dynamics book.
I must get that out of the library again too cos it has a really extensive section on companion planting which I want to start using.
The feijoa trees got mulched with lawn clippings.
I put this straight ontop of the wandering jewel weed which is rampant over at my neighbours yard and coming thru the fence.
I have decided to treat it as extra food for the trees as it will cook under a couple of layers of lawn clippings especially if I stand it all down after watering it a bit and then put another layer ontop in a few days time.
Wont stop it coming thru the fence tho but ne'mind.
Getting alittle depressed with the seed sowing bit and been feeling like I should just cheat and buy soime plants but I simply refuse.
I might just wind up getting a handful of herbs and flowers with what ever I happen to fancy at the time and broadcast it over the last bed.
Most of what got planted in their was little and got either eaten or fried.
But it is still afew days away before Im supposed to sow or plant above ground stuff anyway so maybe I'll have calmed down by then.
I had a beetroot and onion sandwich for lunch today.
These were ones we grew and I pickled the way my grandmother used to...sliced in alternate layers in a sweet vinegar/water mix.
I know for a fact that this duo will stay well in a sealed jar for years.
My brother and I once found a box of nannas pickles stashed a way for a rainy day once.
They were so old that when we opened them the beetroot and onions were brown and had to got out with a spoon cos they fell apart but they tasted fantastic.
Mine have been there for maybe 6 months so the could have been left alittle longer but ummm
13-11-2010, 04:35 AM
great stuff Mischief - there is a lot of persistence required in gardening. I hope you find that , in time, self seeding will be a delight for you as it is for us. We leave celery, parsley. silverbeet and lettuce to go to seed and find it's own time and place to pop up. This complements our seedling planting after the chickens.
How did your garlic go? iIt was probably doing ok as it gets long and straggly before it needs harvesting. If it looks like bolting then just choke it. We have started harvesting the garlic at Purple Pear in the wake of the recent rains there is a chance that the corms will swell and split too much. We start platting the first lot today.
I love reading you stuff - keep up the great work.
13-11-2010, 06:13 AM
Beetroot and onion sandwich sure sounds challenging. Don't get me wrong, I love beetroot on a burger or salad sandwich but raw or pickled onion i can only do in salad. Sounds as though you didn't cook the beetroot for pickling. I haven't seen that before.
25-11-2010, 06:37 AM
Of course I cook the beetroot, you cant preserve uncooked beetroot,at least I dont think you can I never bothered to find out tho.
People somtimes say I'm stubborn, I tell them I prefer 'persistent'.(Makes me laugh cos our maori family name means stubborn).
I am definitely learning to be more persistent this year.
The last two beds have been planted out THREE times due to
1. me not being there and plants frying due to lack of water.
2. Birds and cats digging out the plants and
The last lot of seeds I sowed have mostly come up.
This time I mixed some of the compost with old rotten stable sweepings and they are a much better colour.
I have taken to making little teepees over the small plants that seem to get attacked and pulled out by the birds and this seems to be defending them quite wel.
That and putting their little pot over them for a few days till they setle in.(with something on top to stop the wind fromblowing them off)
Over the last two weeks when I have been home I have been weeding mainly.
There has been the odd sowing planting time where I have managed to get something planted.
Using the compost in the small individual pots hasnt worked, I really needed to be there to keep them moist.
I shifted the chook dome over on Sunday and had to dig around the edges to get the bottom level all the way around.
It was alittle late getting them moved but I really needed the turnip to get as many seed pods filled out as poss.
I dont like pulling plantsd out when they are doing so well but Im sure we have a lifetime supply of turnips now.
25-11-2010, 07:06 AM
The garlic is still looking okay, I was abit worried that it was bolting but so far it hasnt.
I am so looking forward to decent sized heads this year.
The llam Hardy potatoes are now in full flower.
I thought the Swift type would be first as they are supposed to be alot faster growing than the others but they are just starting to flower now.
I have mulched them all with lawn clippings and every now and then check them to see how things are going underneath.
I did see 2 of the butternuts that I sowed in amongst them but now cant find any of them mainly due to the fact that the ground is now covered by potatoes greenery.
So now I dont know if I should resow them or not.
I think I might just to be on the safe side.
I finally managed to mow our lawn- not really a lawn but what we havent gravelled over yet for the parking area.So the back yard is not looking so grotty.
The spot setaside for the greenhouse has turned into a bee garden full of borage and something else I cant for the life of me remember its name, looks rather wild at the moment but never mind.
I dont weant to talk about the tomatoe plants cos 3 plantings later I cant find the plants... at all... again...
We have a final lot that are almost ready to go in so maybe third time lucky.
The first compost bin I filled right to the top has shrunk alarmingly to just over half as high already.
The sweet corn that I resowed to fill in the gaps have already come up and I think they may actually catch up with the original plants.
I had put 3 golden midget watermelons in here as well as NZ Spinach which have also come up.
We seem to have some self sown cucumber? and german chamomile too.
The oriental cucumber has a reinforcing mesh trellis put next to them as have the Runner Lima beans.
The trellis for these, we put tall compared to the cucumbers which we put long ways on the ground.
Some things that I thought had died like the Goji berries are sprouting now.
One did start afew weeks ago but had a bad snail attack and looked like it wouldnt grow again but it has.
The sunflowers that got planted on the roadside garden sat there for ages and are now taking off.I resowed where there were afew bare spots so hopefully they will catch up with the others
27-11-2010, 06:27 PM
Garlic won't go to seed. I've never seen one set seed and I'm not sure they ever do. What you do get with 'hard-necked' varieties are scrapes, which are like flower heads but not a true flower. They set little bundles of bulbils, which you can plant but won't produce very big bulbs in the first year or so. You can pull the scrapes if you like before they start filling up and cook them in a little butter in a frying-pan. Delicious! I've seen scrapes selling in organic stores for gold-like prices. Or you can just leave the scrapes to develop and when you harvest they will dry off with the rest of it without causing any harm. As a rule of thumb, given decent growing conditions, the bigger the clove you plant the larger the bulb will be.
30-11-2010, 04:18 PM
So thats the secret!
No more eating the big ones and planting out the small ones.
The tops look good.
I've been naughty again and carefully pulled the soil away from some of the bulbs to see whats going on underneath but they still look quite small down under.
In the past,if any looked like they were going to bolt then I would cut off the flower stalk as soon as I saw it.
I found some of our Asparagus this week.
When the Asparagus season came and went with no sigh of ours I thought that they had all died or been eaten.
One I did find pulled out but it was too dried out to put back.
So far I have found 5 plus mum somehow got a pot with 3 in it so she's given that back to me.
Some of the plants are not where I know I put them....I think maybe 2 of them, which are in the middle of a bed, might sort have got there when I threw the seedling punnet they were supposed to be in ...and werent, out onto the bed.
But that was mounths ago.
I have put a stick next to the ones in the bed so I can find them again when they die down for the winter.
The others I have planted outside the dome space near the grapefruit tree.
I thought that seeing as neither really like their roots being dug around and both like alot of mulch that they might like to grow together.
I also have the pineapple sage growing really well under the grapefruit tree as well, didnt get badly hit by the winter frosts at all.
I am sure ants steal seeds that get direct sown into the garden.
I have some spring onions seeding at the moment,(they bend their stalks over so their heads are away from their roots), anyway I sprinkled some of the seeds alittle futher away than the seed head was, as you do but the next day when I went checking up on everthing I found this area crawling with black ants and today they arent there.
They must have found my seeds taken them and moved on to somewhere else.
The next lot I just took the seed cases off and sprinkled those around, probably wont fool them.
All the dock plants have started to flower so I have taken my secaturs and decapitated them right down to the ground.
These have all gone onto the compost heaps except for the odd few which look like they have open flowers on them.I dont want them setting seed in the compost.
Actually the dock plants came in handy, they grew quite tall and I found that if I cut out the lower leaves then I could put my tender seed punnets underneath the plants and the upper leaves protected them from the sun whils they were sprouting.
The second compost bin is almost full already.
I have layered the last few layers of lawn clippings with weeds in the hopes that if they do happen to have set seed then the grass with cook them, then followed these with another layer of stale sweepings and the dock.It was all alittle dry so I poured a bucket of water all around to moisten things abit.
When I came home the other day I was just in time to see the neighbours dog disappear by the back fence, he's dug an enormous hole under the fence.
This has now been filled in with 3 very large bits of concrete rubble.
Unfortuantely it wasnt done early enough as he has had a lovely time wandering all through the peas and lupins bed-its covered in 'paths'.
Hopefully they have flowered enough to handle being squashed and will still set lots of seed for us.
I had to plant out some climber beans today,I know its not the right time of the month but when they are starting to climb out both ends of their pot , its passed time.
These are the Painted Lady beans for the archway at the start of the garden path.
The seeding turnips got tied up and hung over the clothesline as have the black winter radish and mustard lettuce.
I think I've got afew days before they start going brown and need to be put in a bag to catch the seeds- they are still Green.
I dont know why we didnt think of changing the clothes line ages ago, its much better than having a rotating one, especially with having long poles to put them up out of the way.
I still ahve to use a chair or bucket to put my basket on when I'm hanging the clothes out tho, cos my back doesnt like the long bend, bit of bitch being so tall.
This afternoon I collected some crimsom clover flowers to dry.
I forgot that you are supposed to pick them in the morning, still I suppose its better than not collecting any at all.
I did want to get the red clover which is supposed to be better but that was out of stock and modern me wanted them Now not later so crimsom clover we have.
This is still supposed to be a good blood purifyer.
I'll pick some more in the morning
02-12-2010, 06:31 PM
Something funny is happening to our potatoes.
The 'swift' ones started out looking good quite early in the piece but the "Illam Hardy' have completely outstripped them.
The swift look like they are dying back already but they havent even flowered yet.
I pulled up two that had almost dried off and had 600g and 900g per plant, not bad sized spuds just not many of them.
Mum asked me how often I have been watering them and I truthfully told her I started watering them all when the Illam Hardy ones started to flower cos I was told they need watering at this point to help form up the tubers.
Her take on all this is that I have under watered them,,,,But the Illam hardy are green and tall and flowering.
Maybe thats the one I need to keep, on the other hand the potatoes I harvested on the roadside garden last year averaged 1kg per plant and that was after a long growing season whereas the swift have only been there a short time so maybe they are cost effective in that sense(have to look and see when exactly I did plant them).
They taste really good, nothing like new potatoes in butter with lotsa choice herb of the day which for me last night was chives.
I have decided not to worry too much about getting plants in the ground or sown according to the time of the moon, mainly cos I wont be here again next week when "Its time" and also because so many of my neglected babies did not do well even tho they were sown and planted at the right time.
(I know its because I wasnt here to look after them).
Popped in to visit the nursery down the road, new people bought the place last winter and reopened for business this spring, they had things I needed so I bought some plants -got given some chewed up chinese cabbage that may well not do any good but mine didnt come up so I am not losing by trying them.
My tricks to stop the Starling from digging everything up now includes the small sticks stuck everywhere rahter than just around little plants.
One of the loose leaf lettuces I bought from the nursery was pulled out in less than half and hour after I put it in, luckily its my sunday so I was pottering around the garden and spotted it, put it back, gave it a big drink and put a seedling pot over the top of it.
What is really annoying tho is that the lettuce plant "she" decided to pull out was tucked in under some stalks of a nearby mustard lettuce that has just given me its seedhead-didnt touch any of the other five sitting out in the open.
I have also trimmed back some of the Jerusalem Artichokes and laid these tallish stems inbetween the plants/rows in the case of the sweet corn.
I also trimmed back the watsonia leaves(its a bulb plant with strappy leaves and orange flowers that I used to love and dont so much any more),these are quite soft so I used them to mulch around the new plants as well.
Recently, I was had a meal with some sort of canned bean in it.
My step brother has discovered he loves to cook and cooked us a fantastic meal.
I was really surprised when he said the beans were canned broad beans, I didnt even know there was such a thing.
They tasted quite good.
Of all thebroad beans I sowed last winter/early spring, only one came up and not that long ago so understandably its not doing that great but it is producing beans.
I am going to save these and grow them again specifically for drying(sorry eco, I just hate fresh bb's).
I may have to buy some more to make a decent sized crop.
Some of the tomatoes I planted out today were quite tall-maybe a foot, so I dug their hole very deep so when planted their head were just sticking up out of the ground.
I figured that the deeper the roots were, the better off they would be especially when tomatoes will and do grow roots out from their trunks=more roots which should equal a better growing plant.
Basil have been planted in ad around the tomatoes and I got some wall flowers which I havent had for ages and put these in an alternate row with the chinese cabbages.
I am going to grow some of our own chillis but forgot to put them out last time so I also bought 2 chillis and 2 more capsicums.These are supposed to be the red ones, mum gave me a few banana capsicums that she grew from her saved seed.
I'm feeling alittle better about the garden now that it is looking like a garden and not a desert.
Originally I mulched the temp. paths quite heavily with fresh lawn clippings and now these have cooked down, this has been scrapped off and put onto the beds.
The paths are mostly bare soil for the time being, til they start to get weedy again and then I'll start the whole cycle over again.
I have to decide soon what to do about seed sowing mix.
I have run out of the bought compost mix that I wound up mixing witht the stable sweepings andI have a box full of seedlings that will need to be transplanted out of there before I leave.
In this lot I have got some Arch Angelica.
I have tried for ages to get these to grow and decided to give it one more go this year.
I didnt bother putting them in the fridge this year it didnt work last year.
So far I have 2 come up and it looks like there is at least 1 more.
I just went out to the garden to check something and wound up spending an enjoyable 15 minutes doing a war dance in the fruit walk.
(Sometimes I do wonder what my neigbours think when they could hear me doing things like this or growling at the starling or coo'ing over a little plant doing well.)
I didnt move the NZ Flax bush from this area and as a result have a hoard of snails to deal with, so its no wonder really that things are getting eaten.
So with the torch, there I was jumping and prancing and crunching whatever was under foot.
Mum says I should use Blittzum snail bait and be done with it,but I am not too keen on that.
11-12-2010, 05:30 PM
I had to hoe the central path again of summer grass.
The shredded tree mulch did really well up til now but I think it has packed down so well that it is behaving like soil and the grass just loves taking root in it.
I started to seriously consider splashing out and buy some 'proper' bark mulch that I know doesnt pack down and takes ages to break down, unfortunately my wallet wont let me do that at least not just now.
Things are finally starting to take off and I havent seen anything that has been pulled out by the birds.
The 'Swift' potatoes are defintely dying off already and I have dug up another couple of plants but didnt weigh them before they got eaten tho but I would say there was maybe a 1 1/2 kgs and little.
The butternut that I sowed in the alternate rows have finally come up as well as the extras I sowed cos I couldnt find the first lot.
I was expecting them to be growing in amongst potatoes but it looks like they may have the place to themselves soon.
We have onions!!!! with proper bulbs, not many and not big just yet but they are definitely worth eating.
The Orange tree insists that it produce flowers and even managed to set some fruit while I was away.
It has heaps of new leaves coming along now which is a relief.
I am still picking off alot /most of the flowers tho just to make sure it doesnt stress out and exhaust itself.
I had my first boysenberry I found when I was digging out the choko vine for my neighbour.Sooo sweet and ....wheres the next one.(Its only just been planted this year so I should be patient).
I was talking to my neighbour over the back hedge and asked him if he minded if I cut this section down quite low as I thought the Avocadoes here werent getting enough sunlight; He was just about to ask me the same thing so he can get more light into his house in winter.
We have agreed to swop black raspberries of mine for red raspberries that he has, he gets the choko vine that I just didnt have time to put into chutnyes etcc... last year and dont want it growing where we have our boysenberies planted now.( I have since discovered anothe plant growing on the other fence line so maybe I should make time for them in autumn.
I was told to try pickling the fruit like I do with onions, when they are still quite small-maybe a couple of inches, and would like to try them.
So from this conversation the hedge got trimmed from the corner of the section to the tree.
I dont want it to be that low any further along or we will have no privacy at all.
His son topped it for us and took out alot of privet while he was at it.
We still need to trim back our side of the hedge or its going to get too thick again.
The prunings will be a good size to go on the compost of scartter between the vegies.
When I was in the supermarket the other day I took a trip down the tinned food aisle and couldnt see anything that looked like canned broad beans.
I did see canned butter beans and I'm now wondering if what I got fed by my step brother was actually tinned butterbeans.
The poor lonely broad bean plant has managed to produce 4 large pods with another starting.
I will definitely save these for seed if only because this plant has shown such tenacity and deserves to be ......whats the word I'm looking for?.....honoured?
Got our first lot of beetroot for the new season, some we'll have fresh and some I will pickle with sliced onion again.
I'm going to hide this away so I wont be tempted to eat it too early.
The rock melon that mum grew are looking more and more like the gherkins she thought she had planted at her place, which means she has my rock melons!!!!
The cannellini beans I resowed did not come up bar a couple and when I carefully pulled the soil away to see what was happening, I found that they had been again infested with these really tiny little white bugs and have rotted.
I havent seen this sort of thing before and was told it was nematodes and to plant marigolds along that row so the root secretions will kill them or stop them reporducing.
This is really annoying because I like this sort of bean.
Its the one that is traditionally used in Minestrone and holdds its form when its slwo cooked- doesnt mush down as quickly as other types.
To make matters worse, I left ALL my seeds up in Auckland when I was up there and have to wait for a whole week till they can be brought back down to me.
I took them up so my brother could have a look over and see what he wanted and never brough the back with me.
The cabbages are almost ready to turn into sauerkraut.
We are going to try some with just the white cabbage and some with a mix of the red and white.
At the moment they are looking really striking growing alongside the calendula and nasturtium.
I have been trimming the 8 feet of winter savory edging where I managed to get cuttings to take before the sun got too hot.
This is starting to look quite good.
I dried the prunings out on the bench and they are now in their little herby jar in the pantry.
I also pruned back the lemon thyme that was starting to block the patha as well as the purple sage.
These two, I tied into bundles and have hanging on the door knob of the spare room, actually the thyme is on the key (in the door).
There is quite a nice breeze blow through when we have the window of this room open which cos its on the north side is often.
I have discovered that I like vietnamese mint when I have it in equal smells with the parsley and applemint(dont know what happened to the garden mint. Its possible that I may be the first person who managed to kill this plant).
13-12-2010, 03:41 PM
Yesterday we made sauerkraut from both the Red Express cabbages and the White Copenhagen market ones.
I decided to try something alittle different this time and added some Black radish,lemmon thyme, sage and parsley as well as some fennel seed and garlic.
We also used the outer leaves of some of the white cabbages which seemed to have a different texture to the heart when shredded.
Oh added some sliced onion as well.
One of the remaining white cabbages is looking stunning and I havent used that one because I want to let it go to seed.
The black radish we used had already gone to seed and didnt look like dying off at all in fact they seemed to be resprouting their leaves.
I pulled them up peeled the rough black skin of and removed a hard inner layer and the stem core.
What was left was the inner part of the radish which was still quite soft and crunchy.
It tasted alittle mellower than the ones we tried awhile ago.
The crock is now sitting in the kitchen in a nice warm spot and nobody is allowed to open it for 2 weeks while it ferments.
Thats supposed to stop any Kame yeast from forming ontop of the sauerkraut.( I think thats how you spell it).
Today I harvested the field peas we let go to seed.
This took some time as they had mostly fallen over and I had to sit down and pull the top most stalk towards me strip al the pods off into
a bucket and toss the stalk behind me.
Just as well I did do this cos alot of them were drying off even tho the top most pods were often still filling up.
Im sure there is a better way of doing this but it was the best I could come up with and got the job done.
I can see the need to use a trellis as they were over 6 foot tall.
Perhaps next year when the trellis around the north side of the garden is built, I can sneak them in before the Boysenberries wake up maybe.
Some were empty of seeds but not too many.
So now we have 2 20 litre buckest of peas to shell.
I dont know how that stacks up as a harvest but they were supposed to be dug in as green manure and have given us way more peas than anything else so far.
These will then get dried thoroughly and then..... I want to try something I read about how they get treated in India to make split peas.
Split peas are supposed to cook faster than the whole ones andI love pea and ham/bacon hock soup.
The zucchinnis we grew are looking really good.
When I have grown these before the male flowers came up really quickly and the fruits at the baseof the female flowers were quite small.
These Italian heirloom types have big fruit at the base of the flowers- they are already almost 3 inches long and the flower hasnt even opened up yet.
I just hope the male flowers hurry up and form up in time.
They look like they are lagging behind.
I definitely have mums gherkins and she is not happy with having all my melons.
The day lilly flower buds we have been harvesting are drying nicely.
Last year we picked them when they were almost ready to open and had trouble with them not drying properly.
This time they are tighter buds and I make sure they get brought in well before dusk just in case they start to reabsorb moisture.
The lemon Verbena seems to love being at the corner of the garden shed.
This got transplanted in winter along with the Italian Parsley.
The parsely has almost finished setting seed which is just in thime cos its taking up alot of room that the lemon verbena and pineapple sage needs now.
It did do a good job of protecting the pineapple sage from the frosts tho.
I have started harvesting the leaves of the lemon verbena too-- oh I love the smell of this.Its so refreshing.
Its funny how you can have a whole heap of things that have a type of smell but theres one that really stands out and for me its the lemon verbena.
The luffas got planted out along the old internal fence between the boysenberries and kiwifruit.
They should really have gone in maybe last week but they look okay so far.I dont mind if these take off like Eco's did...We'll let them go over the part of the yard behind the garden there.
Not getting enough time to sort that area out so I wouldnt mind abit of help smothering afew things over there.
I have been wondering what I should really be doing with the roadside garden.
This was going to be used for things that needed space to move so to speak, but hasnt really happened.
After reading about PP's survivalist list and someones elses nature strip, I'm thinking it could be a good spot to move those things that can be moved to let go to seed like the turnips, black radish,parsnips as well as letting afew uninspiring things grow there.
Like Salisfy.This does not look very impressive, in fact it sort of looks like ribleaf plantain.
The jury is still out on what trees to plant there.
There used to be the Lemon Tarata(lemonwood?) but that got way to tall and had to go being right next to the highway.
I would still like to put some things in to coppice like Hazel, and Chestnuts.
I dont see why we cant have some trees and vegies there.
15-12-2010, 07:02 PM
Today I finally got to pruning our side of the hedge.
I'd like to be able to say that I did it with the hand shears (which I do do), but, it was left too long and the stems were too thick so I had to use the electric shears.
I have just walked the prunings over the walkway between the garden and the hedge as I have found that it packs down really well and smothers all the weeds that are growing there.
Not actually very many this time though, there is still alittle bit of the convovulus but it actually looks quite weak.
I think both the neighbours on this side of the fenceline are actively pulling it out on sight too which is a relief.
They are probably relieved that I've finally got the hedge done in time to look nice for Xmas.
I had to pull out some of the bracken fern that grows under the plum tree as it was starting to incroach on the path again.
I was intending on putting it in the compost but as I was walking along I was stripping off the ferny bits and dropping them on the beds without really thinking about it.
Then I stopped and actually looked at what I had done and what it looked like and had a "Eureka" moment!
Sooo the path got cleared back alittle more than I intended and the three beds that this sod keeps invading got mulched in wirey bracken ferns.
It also seems to dapple the light hitting the beds as well.
It seems to be working as I saw the starling fly down get tangled in some of this and fly off again, of course that could also be that the cat just happened to be nearby too.
I thought that I might also see how other different plants act as possible mulches so lay some bears breeches leaves around 2 of 3 melons growing in one bed. I chose the largest and the smallest leaving the middle one as a control.
I checked when I planted out the potatoes and those swift type have been in for around three months.
There was 1 row in particular that had definitely died back so I took out the kitchen scales and weighed each plant lot as I pulled them out.
There were a couple that only had 700 grams but most were around the 1 kg mark.
They are small to medium sized with only 2 plants that had mainly golfball sized.
So on one hand its not the 2 1/2 kgs I was hoping for per plant on the other hand they werent actually there for very long and were growing quite close to trees.
Three of the tubers were green so I have kept these to harden up abit and I will see if I can get them to sprout and replant them in the next available bed to see how they do there.
I spend alot of time wandering around just looking at how things are growing and what is going on pretty much everywhere.
For example today I spent alot of time picking up handfuls of soil etc off the beds and taking a look at what was in my hand.
I know this area started off just looking like dirt and so was quite surprised to find that it contained alot of bits of leaf, tiny twiggy bits, bits of insects afew seeds here and there.
Its still sandy- when I squeeze it in my hand (after checking for worms) and opening my hand again it just falls apart.
Its for the most part slightly moist rather than completely dry.
When I scratched away the top loose level and had alook underneath it it was (except for one part that was bone dry ) damp and dark coloured.
We did have rain quite heavily yesterday, I checked alot of places this afternoon- its been really hot and for the most part not much of a breeze.
I did this once quite awhile ago and remember being shocked that the soil was dry almost all over after a day of rain so I am quite pleased with what I found today.
I think today made me realise that although the main purpose of the garden is to produce food, it also has an equally important task of teaching me about how things grow here in relation to different parts of the garden and/or the different plants growing nearby.
I have been getting stressed out over the disappointments and failures and realised/ reaffirmed that the learning experience is just as important to be doing now as collecting food for the table.
If something doesn work out we wont starve so it isnt a disaster.
The main boysenberry plant finally got tied up to its post, it suddenly occurred to me that it was not going to climb up there by itself and would prefer to crawl along the ground instead.
The cutting thats alittle further along the trellis is still not very big but has a nice fat juicy looking berry growing on it-still very green.
I did a woo-woo thing with the comfrey tea.
I dont know if it has any nutrients in it as it has been sitting around for quite some time and I remembered something I read ages ago about stirring liquid manure to I think it adds oxygen but I think there was something else about it too.
Anyway stirring the tea with my Right hand which is supposed to be more energizing (hell why not I'm righthanded so its as good a reason as any),get it to a point where there is a definite vortex going on and then do a figure eight to crash the vortex and start all over again.
I found that by stirring around the middle of the bucket rather than around the edges, I got the vortex effect more quickly.
I didnt do it for the whole hour but probably did put in a good 1/2 hour.
When I went to dose the plants I thoguht it would be a good idea to dilute it quite abit so some of this tea got poured into an empty bucket and that was taken down to the outside house tap where it got more oxygen pushed thru it when the buclet filled up with water.
I gave all the plants in 3 beds a drink quantity depending on how big they were.
Is it going to work... I have no idea but it was fun and wont do any harm, will it?
16-12-2010, 06:09 AM
Sorry to pick just this one thing mischief - I love you work and like that the garden has become more than just food production but ....
I found that by stirring around the middle of the bucket rather than around the edges, I got the vortex effect more quickly.
I suggest that a vortex established deep from the sides will be a more complete form with a deep centre and all the water rotating in unison
Is it going to work... I have no idea but it was fun and wont do any harm, will it?
It will not do any harm - that's for sure.
Thats two things Mark - wake up to yourself.
16-12-2010, 02:03 PM
Okay I'll try that tomorrow.
17-12-2010, 09:15 AM
Well today I was going to tell you that I had decided to under plant the winter savory with the creeping spanish veil,took more cuttings of the winter savory and planted these on the other side of the path that runs diagonally between the 2 mandalas from the compost bin to the north to the park bench infront of the hedge.
Pulled out some creeping plant thats growing in the driveway and planted that in front of the park bench along the hedge;dug out white clover out of the lawn and planted that in a part of the garden that the chooks dome cant get too in order to trial Fukuokas method.
I was going to tell you how clever I thought I was getting my timing right by putting the melons in at a time that when they are starting to need space the beetroot was ready to come out and so too was the cabbage there; and that I had gone around and gave all the other plants a feed of comfrey tea and planted the marigolds along the top of the roadside rock wall;but..........
As I was walking down the Bears Breeches along the hedge to give the Avocadoes alittle more light I went to pull off a spindly bit of convovulus off one of them and found........
WE HAVE BABY AVOCADOES !!!!!!!!!
The plant I first found them on was the one that got a thrashing from the Bears Breeches when we that ferocious winds alittle while ago.
It lost all its leaves at the top and only had 6 right down low so I thought it wouldnt do very well this year.
But no it must have clicked into survival mode because it has fruited.
Just 2 little ones but Im happy with that.
I raced around checking the others and found another that has tiny little bobbles on it.
Somewhat disappointed that it was just the two of them I went down to check the ones growing under the Big existing tree in front of the garage.
No, they are looking very pretty and leafy but no fruit on any of those, oh well 6 avocadoes for us this year.
Then, I looked up.
My god the big tree is loaded with fruit.
I would have expected it to pollinate the smaller ones but somehow their pollen has got all the way up there and pollinated the big one.
I think I'm exhausted now from sheer Excitement!!
19-12-2010, 07:33 PM
I re read an earlier post to see what I had intended to plant in amongst the potatoes.
When I read it was beans which are supposd to be a good companion for potatoes and nasturtiums, I laughed.
I cant see how I could plant anything in between them they have completely cover the whole area.(this is the Illam Hardy).
The butternut that was direct sown earlier, are looking good and I think are really appreciating the days of rain we have had, todays was quite heavy.
In some ways Im disappointed that it has rained and for so long cos I wanted to se how everything did after I gave them their drink of comfrey tea, but on the other hand I think plants do much better when they get natural rain as opposed to person-watered.
Still everything has shot away and looking happy and healthy.
I have seen the odd green shield bug and heaps of ants but they dont seem to be having an effect on the vegetables.
A couple of weeks ago I read some posts about the 28 spotted ladybirds which looked like what we have in our garden,I counted the spots on ours and it wasnt 28 but 11 and recently read that these were good guys.
Thats a relief because there were alot of them all over the place.They seemed to have moved on now tho.
The Parsnip finally produced seed that was fully formed so I stood down their stalks and moved the girls onto their next spot which thye absolutely loved.
It looks like it was not done on a root day tho-I never even thought to check that before I cut the umbells off to dry abit in the porch.
I wasnt sure that they would stand up to me moving the dome over them- as it turned out the stalks mainly snapped off at the ground and are just lying there for now.
My neighbour came over to ask what they should for their hens as they are laying really soft shells or jelly eggs.
I had been given some dolomite from a friend which fixed our problem so I told them about that and where they could get it in town but also asked them if they were giving them lots of leafy greens as well which they were.
We used to be able to get Oyster shell grit which is finer and small than the Mussel shell grit you buy now.I think this is not as good for the hens as the Oyster grit-I never had problems with soft shell or jelly eggs, but thats just not on the market anymore.
She was telling me that a friend of hers got her hens from the same egg farm in june and that her hens eat whatever they are given which ours dont.
The next lot of hens we will get will be from the June batch too so I can see for myself if there really is a difference, I cant see why there would be but you never know.
I dug over most of the bed the girls just moved off.
This has Apple mint growing in it which I was told was not invasive and would be okay to put at the edge of the bed....NOT.
Got about 3/4's done before the rain went from fine drizzle to full peltdown.
Had to stake one of the Italian Zucchinnis,it is so tall and the leaves and really big that it didnt seem to be handling the little bit of wind that came with the rain, so far its just the one but I'll have to keep an eye on these.
All three of them did produce a fruit (I guess you would call it that), with out any male flowers opening, not sure how or why they just didnt shrivel up.
I used to see pictures of Zucchinnis at markets complete with flower still on them and wondered if they grew like that in a different climate, now I'm thinking that this is just how This particular type grow.
The zucchinni is at least 2-3 inches long before the flower even opens up and by the time it has closed I have seen a decent meal and cut if off.
Now we just need to tomatoes to hurry up so we can have sauteed zucchinni, onions and tomatoes with alittle garlic and oregano.
Garlic! I had another sneaky look at ones base and so far its looking twice the size of last years heads, I cant wait for them to start dying back.
19-12-2010, 08:51 PM
"but on the other hand I think plants do much better when they get natural rain as opposed to person-watered."
They do because rain contains nitrogen while water from the tap doesn't.
I thought i had read that soft shelled eggs are caused by lack of calcium in the diet which is why the dolomite works.
But i found this on a website...Soft-shelled eggshttp://www.blpbooks.co.uk/articles/egg_problems/egg_problems.php
The first pullet egg may be soft-shelled until her system gets into its stride. If it continues, make sure that the birds are getting a balanced diet such as that provided by a commercial free-range or organic layer’s ration. Such feeds will usually contain calcium and phosphorus in the right ratio (around 3.5-4% calcium to 0.3% phosphorus). Providing a little crushed oyster-shell or calcified seaweed will ensure that any deficiency is rectified, for the birds will not take more than they require.
A shock can also make a hen lay a soft-shelled egg. My own observations are that if a flock is caught in a sudden shower of rain (for they are sometimes too dim to run for shelter), a few soft-shelled eggs are often produced the next day, but by the following day, they’re back to normal.
It is when soft-shelled eggs or misshapen ones are produced regularly that there need be a cause for concern. Veterinary advice should be sought. Conditions that adversely affect eggs include Newcastle disease (a notifiable disease to the authorities) and Infectious bronchitis, but there would be disease symptoms showing in the birds themselves if either of these was present. Hybrids are normally vaccinated against them.
Egg drop syndrome (EDS) is also a viral infection that results in a reduced number of eggs, as well as an increased number of pale-shelled eggs. Birds do recover from it but egg production may not get back to its previous level and there may still be a proportion of deformed ones produced. It can be vaccinated against.
20-12-2010, 11:36 AM
I think its also called Old Age.
24-12-2010, 01:09 PM
I am starting to wonder if our strawberry loving thief has learnt about 'sharing'.
I have been finding lovely sweet ripe strawberries with afew pecks taken out of them and then left for me.
Good thing they havent learnt how lovely the black raspberries are.
I discovered quite by chance that I have been picking these way too early.
I found one that was hidden and slipped off its stalk with barely a touch and so sweet.
Here I was telling people that they are alittle on the tart side and not really as sweet as the red ones.
So now I just touch them and if they dont start moving I leave them for next time.
I have dug up all the rest of the swift potatoes, I didnt bother to weigh them as they are pretty much what I have already taken out.
I'm taking these with me when I go visiting.
I have told everyone I know that Im not doing presents this year so dont do any for me, but I have to share our new potatoes cos they are so delicious.
Maybe I can encourage people to put in veg gardens.
I had another sneaky peak at the garlic and they are looking almost as big as the ones in the supermarket.
Some have started to fall over but they are still very green so I'm not sure what that is about unless they didnt like growing next to the apple mint either.
(Thats been cut right back and I will be pulling it out and potting it up).
I decided to pull up the onions.They were looking quite good last week and I worried that this lot of rain would ruin them.
Their stalks were bending over for the most part which made me think they had had enough and wanted to be harvested.
When we had a couple of dry days I thought it best to get them under the porch to dry out.
No.. Im not saying hiow many I got cos it is alot less than what I planted but it is over 1oo o/o better than I got last year so I really dont care.
I like to smell them... I realise that sounds odd even fetish-like but they smell real.
I can imagine what they are going to taste like when I cook them.
The Runner Lima beans have reached the top of their trellis so I have pinched the tips.
With so many seedlings demolished I went alittle overboard with the seed sowing and it looks like all but one came up.
I know that one didnt cos I found its head cut off quite early in the piece.
I was telling a friend about it and all the other things that had just been cut and left lying around and she said it was the Wetas.
Apparently spring is their mating season and the males get antsy and have to show off their strength, so they go around destroying the stems of my new seedlings.
We have carrots this year.
They seem to be coming up on in the path on the other side of the bed that I sowed them.
Perhaps that was the same day I sowed the Amaranth as that too has turned up all in the path rather than on any bed.
Dont sow seeds on windy days ...or do it reallly low to the ground so the seed goes where you want it to grow.
My little sowing of peanuts is producing results.
After doing alittle research, I may have sown them alittle closer to the edge than I should have but we'll just have to see how it goes.
I was sorting thru the seed packets and found some that were alttle on the old side so I put them altogether with some others that I had alot of and sprinkled them all over the roadside garden.
They may come up they may not.
It will be interesting to see what unfolds.
I havent been very good about getting this area planted out and thought I would see what happened with the self sowing.
As it turns out the marigolds did not self sow but alot of other things did, mainly daisies and dandelions.
From our front room, these look glorious.
I suppose it is looking alittle like the long acre now that the spring fest is over.
02-01-2011, 05:41 PM
I decided to pull up the garlic before we went away.
I was reading the NZ Gardener which had an article saying that it was rec ommended to pull them up when they still had 6 green leaves on them.
The reason behind this was that they arent going to get much bigger than they are at this stage and if it rains, they can reabsorb moisture and not store so well.
A couple of days later it did rain quite heavily so I rest easy with my decision.
We got some really good sized heads that are pretty much the size in the supermarket as well as medium sized ones.There were afew small heads from the later plantings I tried to get away with, these we are eating now, nice and mellow and still make nice garlic butter.
The field peas got shelled out.
We found they seemed to hold their shape and size better if they were left in their pods to dry- not so wrinkly and alot fatter.
They dont look appetizing so we'll use them for seed for a green manure crop.
The lupins took alittle longer to dry out but have for the most part been sheeled out too.
I found that they split and threw their seed around if left too long in their pods.
So, we've got their roots left in the ground, top parts and pod shells(?) for the compost and seed for the next green manure.
I think we'll sow some on the roadside garden specifically for seed next time and dig the veg garden ones in like we were supposed to.
Got a good haul.
The second compost bin has been filled up and has its cover of old carpet(I know but its there and its old) as well as the brush wood cover to keep everything from drying out.
The third bin looks quite full with stems and stalks of things that have seeded and been pulled to dry like silverbeet, perpetual spinach and beetroot.
This is still quite loose and I supposed I should step on it tio squash it but I figure that will come when the next load of grass clippings goes on.
After a slow start the garden is looking much better.
Tomatoes are tomatoing, zuchinni's are producing the most loveliest fruit. This Italian type definitely has a nicer flavour and texture and to top it off the flower is still in a decent condition by the time its ready for plucking.
We had the zuchinni and its flowers in a Ratatouli type dish the other day and I'm going to dig out that recipe I've got for zuchinni flower soup now that we've got some good sized ones to use for this.
The flowers are the size of pumpkin flowers.
One of our hens was not looking to well yesterday with her comb quite dark, she wouldnt eat or drink so I took her out and put her by herself in amongst the sweetcorn where it was alittle cooler, gave her abit of rescue remedy but this morning she had died.
The others look all right, we couldnt see anything wrong with her apart from the fact that she was dead so she has been buried somewhere out of the way where she wont be disturbed.
All the Runner Lima beas have reached thetop of the trellis and are starting to sprout little flowerbuds.
I love Lima beans and was told our season is too cold for them but these ones are supposed to be good here if they get in earlier enough, so far they are doing better than the Purple King which are lagging behind.
Finally got a sowing of Cannellini beans up and flowering.
We cut out one of the branches of the Nectarine tree that was blocking the path so we had to duck to get past it.
This still has two large branches to keep going with and will still give the Avocadoes frost protection.
I got in and started clearing along the back fenceline.
All the Bears Breeches got stood down and the wandering jew weed and convovulos got pulled off the fence- the convovulos got hung up in the tree to dry out so it cant resprout.
This will be an on going saga for quite awhile but I was assured by a friend who has got rid of all of theirs that it can be done, so we'll just keep at it.
It looks like the neighbour on this side has started at another point on the fenceline doing the same thing so things are looking up.
The only other thing we've been doing is tidying up along the side of the house which was looking rather ratty,havent really finalized any decisions as to what to put in along here yet so its been let go.
The Evening primrose has almost finished flowering and I want to make sure of my facts before I start harvesting the seeds.
We got a camara and have taken picts of the 'floor plan' and the garden.
I am not very good at putting them on the computer or posting them, but hubby has got them onto the computer for me.
I'll set up a photoblog where Sunburn has hers and start posting them there.
07-01-2011, 06:45 PM
Dad has come to stay for the last week of his holidays and I'm not sure if he was puzzled, bemused or what by the garden.
I did warn him that I didnt think it was looking as great as it did this time last year and that was mainly cos I botched the seedsowing and being away too often.
When dad comes to visit, he likes to be kept busy.
He thought I might want a hand with the house but I told him that I needed a break from it and am enjoying not smelling paint, concrete dust and gib dust; so it is the yard that is getting worked on.
We weeded the courtyard yesterday.
This area is about 4x 6m between the house and the garden(up stairs to the garden).
One of my sons and his friend helped me dig it out by hand soon after we moved in.
Originally there were 5 steps leading straight out from the porch up to the lawn and when it rained, the rain just washed straight into the porch.
I felt oppressed by this bank when we sat in the porch so space was definitely needed.
All the top soil went to the then veg garden. We knew where that was because the soil level was 3 inches lower than the surrounding lawn.
The sub soil went around the section filling in hollow bits.
At first we tried the non flowering chamomile lawn but weeding this was a nightmare as too was the thyme carpet.
It now has what is supposed to be pea gravel over weed mat, but its really just plain ol' river shingle-pea gravel is a much smaller grade of pebble than this.
It had quite alot of little/low grass growing in here and I had put this off cos it just looked like such a big job.
Surprisingly it didnt take the two of us that long to clear it up.
I found the best tool for this job was a bent piece of wire I found in amongst the pebbles, looks like a cut off bit off a clothes hanger-the wire sort.
Dad used a three prong garden cultivator which did well at this job too.
With these we scratched the pebbles and the roots loosened up making it easier to tug out the grass.
The areas where the pebbles had packed down were thicker and tougher roots.
I have made a new years resolution to never let it get this way again and will be making sure from now on that I scratch over the courtyard every now and then to keep the pebbles loose.
He wasnt too sure about the idea of things growing on the paths so a quick hoe and the weeds were gone- wasnt that much actually but what little there was was rather noticeble.
So now the path is back to pristine bare earth now that the tree mulch has broken down.
I dont think he knew quite what to make of our experiment with the moon bed.
He started to pull the weeds out from the sweetcorn, I had to explain what we were doing and why so now he has only weeded a smaller flower bed at the side of the house.
As my copy of "The one straw revolution' arrived and I had started reading this, this was used to help explain what we were all about.
He seemed to be under the impression that my partner had 'done' something to me as I was doing things that didnt seem normal( like thats something new!).
I needed to get him to see that it wasnt hubby's fault and that when I had moved down here I already had these ideas, so I told him how mum had broadsided me on the meat rabbit breeding scheme by telling me in front of the kids that she wasnt going to eat rabbit cos it looked like a skinned cat.
I showed him where I thought the composting toilet should go and the ideas I had to make one from recycled things rather than buying a commercially made unit.
He still doesnt see the point when you can just flush it away and remembers with distaste the night soil/longdrop days.
I think he was impressed with the new/old coal range we bought and was quite enthusiastic about it going in the kitchen which it should do.
Its a 70's model apparently and unlike the first one we bought which had badly deteriorated insides, this one isnt far off mint.
It came with a stainless steel flue too and we will probably rob the other one of its upper wire rack.
Just a slight difference of opinion as to where in the house it should go.
Today I snuck off and mowed a couple of lawns putting most of the clippings in the compost but some over the next bed and gave that abit of a water.
Later in the afternoon we moved the dome onto this spot.
He was suitably impressed with how easy we managed to take down the sail,take out the nestbox, moved the dome, put the sail back up and put in the water bowl again.
I have left the nestbox out so the last hen gets the idea that she should roost with the others.
(which she has done)
Someone had told me where there was an old sawdust dump that was fine for the garden so we took all the old chaff bags I had in the shed and a couple of spades to dig this out and bring back.
On the bed that the chooks have just vacated, I wanted to see how a last sowing of 'swift' potates would go so those got put in and most of the sawdust put on so they can be mounded up.
Last night we had an unusual meal.
Finally there were alot of male flowers on the Zucchinnis so I picked these and got on line to find recipes.
The ones we chose were zuchinni flower soup with rice and fried zuchinni flowers.
As the soup took longer to cook we started that one first and made the fried flowers while we waited for it.
The soup was lovely but the fried flowers was definietly a bigger hit and we had them again tonight.
I find myself eyeing up the pumpkin flowers, now but decided the gherkin and melon flowers look too small to bother with.
07-01-2011, 08:39 PM
Oh yeah !!!!!!! Fried zucchini flower with gorgonzola cheese and salted cod!!!!! To this day is one of the finest meals I have ever eaten.rabbits do look like skinned cats but the rib bones are different one has square one has round;>)Taste is not so similar though.
07-01-2011, 08:54 PM
Our fried flowers were the simple version all by themselves.
Not sure if we can get salted cod here but the with cheese sounds good.
I finally managed to get a couple of pics on my photoblog.
We're on dial up so I'm finding it alittle slow going, at least I think thats why its alittle slow.
Not sure how to do the link thing tho but here goes, its at www.photoblog.com/mischief
08-01-2011, 09:18 PM
Nice work mischief. I had imagined your place to be much bigger. You sure are squeezing a lot in to your block!
08-01-2011, 10:01 PM
Good to see you up on pblog. Images to do take quite a while to upload but its faster if you reduce the size of the images. I think 800pixels on the long side is about the minimum you should choose if you do have the choice. I do mine on photoshop but other image manipulation programs have this option too usually. When I reduce one side, the other side reduces automatically to the right size. I hope this helps a bit.
oops i forgot to befriend you. It makes it easier to keep track of peoples updates although it doesn't matter here on this forum so much because we are linked here..... later. I was unable to befriend you. My befriend function doesn't work. You can befriend me if you like. You choose the options button near the avatar image to do it.
09-01-2011, 06:36 PM
Um it is bigger, the veg garden is the major part of the back yard but there is still 8m wide alongside it where the garage/workshop is supposed to go with parking in front of that.
The courtyard is 6m wide between the house and the veg garden.
Then theres the driveway along the side of the house that me and dad were eyeballing yesterday.Thats 6m wide although the house side garden has shrunk to only 600mm wide I think we could still put some trellises up for grapes.
The house has 3m studs so the walls outside are quite tall-lotsa room.
I want dessert grapes green/red and black.
Then theres the front of the house that Is a dogs breakfast at the moment.It was mums flower garden but when she moved out a couple of years ago I never really took to it.It has flowers and I did weed out under the apple tree.
Then there is the old narrow single car garage with,the Avocadoes growing along the boundary in front of that.
Then there the part that actually belongs to TransitNZ which is about 4-5m deep =the roadside garden now growing afew sunflowers and lots of daisies and Things.
Oh and behind the garage is a 4x6m gap that was supposed to get a water tank put in it but that hasnt happened yet.
It did have an old cactus tree that Had to come out cos it was so old and big and dangerous when heavy winds blew whole trunks 600mm thick just dropped.
I had to start somewhere and the veg garden is the starting point.
The courtyard just needs its out door cooking facilities but that can wait.
Oh talking about cooking facilities, we have had a 'thermette' for ages and I decided to try it out to see just how much firewood we would need to scrouge up to boil up a pot for tea/coffee.
1 sheet of newspaper and a handful of twigs later I had 2 cups of coffee and a mug of milo and the water was still hot from the embers still burning inside it.
I was home alone and sat on the warm pebbles in the courtyard and had a little campfire thing going.
Just got to remember that you cant let them run out of water or you wind up splitting the soldered seams.
I have got some more photos to put in.
I stood up on the wooden wall above the steps to the garden so they will give a higher perspective and you'llget to see my nice neat clean, weedfree courtyard.
Gone are not just the weeds but the timber from all those building jobs- too good to throw away and they did come in handy for home jobs too, now they have been moved away from my eyesight and I wont have to see the remenants til its time to put in the water tank.Space!!!Outside the back door again how wonderful!!!!
Not wanting to climb the tree for the overall view just yet.
09-01-2011, 06:40 PM
You can be my friend Sunburn.
It takes me awhile to work out how to do things.
How long was it that you said we should use photoblog.com for our photos beofe I finally got to it?
I'm not sure if we have a photoshop, I dont think we do at least niot since our computer got wiped out, its still pretty basic.
I've been waiting for my computer genius son to come visit and work some magic on it.
12-01-2011, 03:34 PM
Today I decided to clear out the area behind the Mandarin tree in the courtyard to see if the compost toilet could fit there.
I think it could and so decided that if we/I was going to go ahead with this(wont Kimbo be pleased hes got another convert) then I need to clear the path and steps so its easier to get to it.
So now it doesnt look so much like a secret path more like a workmanship like track.
Im doing the Fukuoka thing with the prunings and strewed them around the new pop corn to break down as they will, rather than putting them on the compost heap.
I mentioned compost toilets and the fact that some people dont use TP to hubby afew weeks ago so he got on line and found an article written by someone in I think the Phillipines who went into graffic detail as to how the toilets in their country work and what exactly you are supposed to do.
Should have written it down cos it was interesting.
Still sounds gross to wash your arse with your hand and I'm just not going there.
I was talking to our neighbour over the rear side fence and remembered that he had a plant that had really soft leaves on it that grew all year round.
When I asked if he stil had these -they grow prolifically and spread- his first reaction was yeah do you want some then took off and brought back two.
This was in the middle of the day and it was stinking hot so I was not expecting them to take.
I planted them in different parts of the garden, one in full sun and one in morning shade and promptly forgot about them til this morning when I realised that they would need to be watered again being so newly planted.
As expected they were all droopy and sad looking so I took my scissors to them and cut off every single leaf, mulching the plant with these and gave them both a really good soaking.
This afternoon the tops have perked up and I swear they have grown small new leaves since this morning.
I rub some of the leaves on the inside of my arm to see if I got a negative reaction to them and again this afternoon but so far its looking good.
I may have found a substitute to TP!
Outdoor kitchen ideas.
I needed to find a way where I could convince hubby that the good wood stove should go in the kitchen instead of where he wants to put it- there is already a built in fire box in that room as well as a proper chimney which houses the flue to the firebox.
In front of that is a raised concrete hearth that it will sit on quite nicely being just alittle under the height of a standard stove.
In order to do that,I needed to come up with a good idea as to where a good spot would be for the not so good stove to go as a summer kitchen stove and I think I have come up with an ingenious plan that would work.
In front of our woodshed!!!
Up the path to the garden and behind that wooden fence you see in the pics ( in www.photoblog.com/mischief) is a concrete slab where the old water tank for the laundry (I think) used to go.
I filled the missing quarter in with a timber deck awhile ago.
So far there is a small water tank on the far side of this area and I would like to put three more up there.
I think it has to be done this way instead of a large tank because there isnt alot of height from the gutter to the tank on this side of the house.
Because this area is raised by about 4 feet or so it means there is not alot of height to work with ....but.
Smaller tanks could be used and hooked up together and as they are above the courtyard this means that if we put the wood stove infront of the wood shed,(with adequate protection of course and a small roof over it) then we can have gravity fed water to this new out door kitchen.
The wood is right behind the wall and the courtyard is a great place to have a meal in summer.
( And if we do the compost toilet thing right then that shouldnt smell at all)
We visited a new friend of his over the Xmas break, while they were talking boring stuff she rolled her eyes and said we should leave them to it so I asked her to show me her garden.
She is from Samoa and also has a courtyard type back yard which was full of luscious looking vines.
Unfortuantely these apparently only flower for a couple of weeks then its all just green.
Behind this was an area under some trees which was a really nice respite from the sun.
We were there for ages chattering away before I actually looked at what was around me.
We were seated a a table set into the ground on twin bench seats also set into the ground- one on each side of her square table.
I really liked this set up cos the table was far enough away not to Be in the way and the seats were just the right height so I told her that I was going to pinch her idea.
Unfortuantely I didnt have my tape measure with me or I would have measured and drawn the whole thing right then and there.
We kept talking, then I looked up and realised that the umbrella stand was not an umbrella stand at all but her clothes line sneakily disguised as an umbrella.
So I am going to pinch all her ideas for our courtyard and next time we head that way I am begging to be able to measure it all up so ours can be exactly the same.
Its unusual to find something that is absolutely perfect and this will work an absolute treat.
The shopping list now has 1x large old fashion type clothes line on it.
14-01-2011, 06:34 PM
Happy Birthday Mischef
I just noticed the announcement on the front page. It is so great to have you young people here with us.
14-01-2011, 08:06 PM
How long was it that you said we should use photoblog.com for our photos beofe I finally got to it?
um, I am not sure what you mean really so i can't answer. Don't worry about the friending but when you do get it sussed, then can you befriend me. I am shangrila.
I used photoblog before I had photoshop. I have a mac so i had iphoto. I don't think i reduced the size of the pictures using it though because they were smaller then already. I am not sure how to change the size of the images if you use other software. You can ask for help with that on the photoblog forum. The moderators are pretty good over there. But you might find the answers by browsing through earlier questions. Its bound to have been asked before.
Still sounds gross to wash your arse with your hand and I'm just not going there.
WARNING. The following paragraph is graphic!
Perhaps you should go on a long holiday to India or somewhere similar to get over that feeling. I remember when i felt the same way as you and wrote as much on a public forum too. It was only at the beginning of my second trip to India that i had a sudden change of heart. What made it easy to make the transition was that in india they have a squirty attached in the toilet bowl. You turn on the tap and get a squirt right in the general area. What i noticed was, that by the time my hand got to my arse, it already felt pretty clean. And what i noticed after that, at times when i didn't have the luxury of the squrity thing was that my arse nearly always feels pretty clean after a poo (i sincerely apologise for this detail but it came as a revelation to me.) What i mean is my hand rarely gets shitty. But once you get over that, you find that you prefer to feel cleaner as you do when you wash your bum instead of wiping it with loo paper. Its much like using dental floss. Once you've noticed how much cleaner it all feels, you won't want to go back to making do with only a toothbrush or in this case, loo paper. The only downside is that i want to be dried off afterwards and that's where you need to find an approach that works for you. I use a towel.
Don't forget to take your camera and get a snap of the table and chair arrangement for your photoblog. Its sounds intriguing but i don't really understand what's going on.
17-01-2011, 04:56 PM
Thanks, I'm a whole year younger than I thought I was.
I only recently discovered this amazing mistake at my brothers Birthday BBQ, when a friend said that bro must be.... cos he was .... and I piped up saying no thats not right cos I'm.... anyway, I get to do this year all over again so I'm feeling very lucky.
I'm hoping that this new plant I've scored from my neighbours will be a TP substitiute for the "wee House".
I'm seriously thinking of incorporating a small bucket and dipper for the business end of things with the obligatory wee rag.
Its also going to have to have a hand washing gizmo as well.
Still in the thinking stage for right now but this will definitely fit behind the mandarin tree.
On the clothes line, think old rotary clothes line, the family size(large), now think, it doesnt actually go round and round any more but is stationary with a square table sitting under it,with the post going thru the middle of it.
So it would still be able to be used as a clothes line, in summer it could be used as an umbrella when a cover gets put over the top.
I might even be able to dry my herbie things under it out of direct sunlight too.
In winter I still might be able to get some smaller clothes dried if the cover is left on.
Now we just have to find That right clothes line and That right table.
17-01-2011, 08:31 PM
I found a good table to day for a good price. I didn't buy it though as I don't really need it. It was hexagonal though not square. $30 bucks and had the hole for an umbrella in the middle. Very nice wood. A bit weathered. Keep looking.
19-01-2011, 06:41 PM
We had to take the door to the wood stove down to the welding specialist here in town today to see if it was possible to get the crack in it fixed, so far thats looking good.
He has chooks roaming around his yard- black ones which I think are Austrolorp(sp?).
I asked him out of idle curiousity if he had any roosters that he didnt want to keep and wound up going back tonight to collect a new addition to the dome.
Now I'm feeling alittle nervous, we've been down to his workshop quite afew times and never heard this rooster so I dont know how often he actually crows.
I'm hoping that I can keep him long enough to get fertile eggs from the girls so I can replace them.
To be honest they are probably the worst hens I've ever had, in that they hardly lay at all now.
In the past they have gone into moult and stopped laying while they refeather and then gone on some of them I had for 4 or more years and produced really well.
These ones still havent gone into moult and only lay a couple every day.
Not sure if having a rooster is going to increase that or not or how long I will have to wait to get a good clutch.
I have read up on candling eggs but need to get the gear together and have a practise run on the eggs we have at the moment so I can see what unfertile eggs look like.
I think I might be able to talk the neighbour into taking on the rooster if my other neighbours get upset.
They have 1 1/2 acres and the previous owner or tenant had a rooster which nobody complained about.
So all going well we maybe having little chickies running around the place soon.
Our welder friend also said that he's sure a couple of his hens have gone bush and he's expecting them to come home soon with wee ones in tow soon.
So maybe I might just be able to get some of those.
When I collected the rooster I took some of our Oriental Cucmbers down hoping he likes cucumber, which he does.
He was suitably impressed with the size of these woppers
I think I had better get up really early tommorrow to see just how much of a racket the new addition does make.
19-01-2011, 07:22 PM
We've just excecuted our poor astrolorp rooster. It is sooo much nicer and quieter without him around. So i suggest that you should anticipate getting your babies and then finding a new home for him asap. My bed was about, say, 50m perhaps from the chook house. I found it quite disturbing. His first crow was just before 4am but i guess it depends on other factors when they will crow. As i think it was grasshopper said, they also crow during their day to keep their women close if they stray. But if you've got htem all in a tractor he might not be so noisy. I think grasshopper also he noticed it crowed if it was bored. Whatever reason they crow for, it sure is loud and although it was awful to kill him, i am glad he is gone. They are magnificent looking creatures though i must say.
25-01-2011, 02:20 PM
Well, I got up really early on Saturday to see how noisy our wee man is and he didnt really start to crow until about 6am.
Our closest neigbhour was obviously up and outside then cos I heard the gentleman say 'What Was That?'.
I thought that was abit funny,I did giggle hoping he didnt hear me.
Doesnt everyone know what a rooster sounds like?
Anyway we havent had any complaints but then again he isnt that loud.
I stood in the woodshed with the door open to see if I could hear him from there and I could but not very well.
We cant hear him from our room, cos we are downhill from them and behind shrubbery and in the middle of the house.
The neighbours to the left dont have the same buffers and their room is right on the corner closest to us, so we'll just have to see how it goes.
He seems to have settled in quite nicely and is no long looking for That gap.
When I googled Light Sussex's they are apparently a reasonably docile breed.
I hope so or my mother will not look after them for me when we have to go out of town.
I have discovered that if you throw in cat biscuits they completely ignore you in their rush to get every last one for themselves.
I will have to tell her about that, so if she does get nervous then she can do that, nip in and get the eggs and nip out again.
We have put a rabbit cage in the laundry just in case we will need to bring him inside after they roost and then take him out again at a more civilized time.
Its been raining solidly and has been quite dark here so I think it would be a good idea to get up really early again tomorrow to see if he crows earlier now that he's feeling more at home and its lighter with less cloud cover.
On Sunday in the rain I planted 2 Olive trees to replace the ones that did not survive being transplanted.
The El Greco and Koroneiki type.They are both supposed to only grow 3x4m's so they have gone down in the roadside garden with the baby manzanilla.
I dont know if it was a dumb thing to do but I bought the plants that had fruit on them.
I figured this time I knew that they were fruiting and should do so again next year too.
I specifically waited for Sunday cos per my book it is supposed to be the right time to plant root crops and perennials.
I took a two dozen cuttings of the Winter Savory and Stevia plants for the same reason.
The Avocado tree has lost some more of its fruit but the ones still on the tree are looking bigger and longer.
I think I needed to water them alittle more than I did and hopefully this rain will have made a difference.
The first of the root crops for winter(?) have gone in.
I'm doing them in rows so I know where the hell they are.The back part of the garden is still alittle on the wild side so it will help to know where to keep an eye out for them and now that I know what all the new shoots of these plants look like I wont be accidentally pulling them out and feeding them to the chooks.
I got a real buzz the other day when I inspected the slower growing 'gherkin' and found that it had finally flowered And fruited and was in fact a long lost Rock melon so now we have tiny little fluffy balls to watch.They are such hardcase looking things when they're little, I wonder where the fluff goes when they grow up.
The Luffas we finally got to grow are also starting to flower.I was so jealous of Eco last year when I saw how exuberant her's were and am hoping to get a similar crop myself.
I dont think it will be quite as much being in a cooler climate but I'm happy that we got them to grow.
i have been feeding everything either comfrey or seaweed tea on the days my diary tells me too.
I think I might have had the last lot alittle strong-that was a seaweed tea, we're out of comfrey now and are waiting for the next lot to brew.
27-01-2011, 11:14 AM
So far this week we have cleared out behind the garage so we can see why the garage still leaks and found that when they built the garage, instead of taking the back wall right along to the end they butted it up to the lower side wall then put a stud and put the wall on.
It seems to have had a piece of coro steel leaning up against it at some stage which has rotted away.
Not sure if I've already mentioned this or not, but anyway the soil that has built up against the garage has been cleared so we know have enough head room to put in some rainbarrels along the back wall.
There isnt enough high to put in a proper water tank to catch the rain off the garage roof and the most we can do is fit 2 rows of 5-6 200 litre barrels along there.
Doesnt seem like alot realy but it will probably go to watering the Avocado trees in the height of summer.
The idea is to have them all joined together at the bottom but with cut off vavles at each, so that when they are filling up they all fill up at the same time and then if we want to save some we just turn the valve off to that/those barrels.
Up til now the rain has just run down the down pipe and straight onto the ground.
The gutter was really old and rusted too so thats been taken off and we need to get the replacement to put back on.
Now we know what the problem is with the leaking, this can now be address and once thats done we can start using the garage again with out having to worry about things going mouldy or rusting.
The chimney to the wood stove is being put on as I speak, I'm supposed to be helping but this is the first time I have been able to get anywhere near the computer for ages sso I'm having my turn now and besides I'm still hot and tired from mowing lawns this morning.
Spoke too soon, have to go help, back again later.
27-01-2011, 09:57 PM
Congrats on the loofah. I vowed not to do it again this year, but one lonely plant self seeded from some compost that must have had a stray seed in it, and it looked so small and harmless.... So I left it to takes it's chances. Well, one tendril has headed off about 8 m to the south over a garden bed. Another north and up a tree. The other went east and up and over the top of my guava tree, the kangaroo paw beside it, past the pond and is currently headed for the Great Fence of Nambour! It would be about 10 m long so far. By breakfast tomorrow it'll be 11. There are starting to be flowers - they are pretty! and I can see one tiny loofah fruit so far. I might try eating more of them this year - I don't mind the taste but it is fairly strong and I can't hide it from the kids!
Let me know how yours goes in the colder climate.
28-01-2011, 07:12 PM
Maybe the chickens will like them a lot.
29-01-2011, 02:31 PM
So far they are growing and thats about all that can be said for them.
I have little female flowers all over the vine and male flowers clustering around and about but so far none have opened and multiplied.
Its January already and we are running out of time! 2 more months to go and it will start getting cooler again.
Then again it could be a long summer with La Nina,I hope so.
Still, if yours have just started fruiting then mine shouldnt be too far behind.
* * * *
I was telling a boss about the Rooster and how we were trying to get fertilzed eggs from the girls to on breed some more hens.
Also mentioned that I wasnt very happy with the hens from the battery egg farm this year.
He said they had problems with their hens from the same farm too and were looking for better hens and a Rooster, actually thats when I told we had a rooster and .....
He coverted it right out of the dome!
We did a deal.
I am not supposed to have a rooster cos I technically live in town, he lives in the country so he can have as many roosters as he wants.
He got the rooster- man was he excited,I thought he was going to start hopping.
I told him the little I had managed to find out about the Light Sussex breed.
This Rooster is supposed to be a pure bred but I think he might have something else in the gene pool cos he has black feathers where he ought not.
The daughter of the friend we got him off breeds this type but at $40 per bird.....
Anyway,I get fertilized eggs or I can buy point of lays at a good price.
(I'll probably be able to get ducks from him too but I'll need to check what sort he has and if they will be any good at our place).
For some reason he wants white hens, must ask him why that is as the only white ones I know of are leghorns which I found flighty and easily upset, they dont look very tasty either.
I want him to get fat Buff Orphingtons or some other 'heirloom' type dual purpose hen.
I'll have to sic hubby on to trademe to see what he can find for us, he's an absolute genius at finding exactly what we want or need and usually at a really good price too.
In fact he got so good at it I have hidden the wish list.
I on the other hand have been coverting our neighbour Pecan nuts.
Initially I was miffed that the neighbour we share fenceline with talked them into cutting out one of the two Pecans they had growing along their back fence.
They cut out the one further away from us which means we get the shade from this remaining tree in early spring and in autumn.
I wanted them to cut out the tree closest to us but now have decided that its all to the best.
This tree has taken off for some reason and has grown out over the fenceline which means we will be getting pecan nuts when they ripen(so long as the wind doesnt blow the wrong way when they are ready to fall).
We have found two seedlings growing in the garden that we dont know what to do with.
One is growing about a metre off the fence which means it way to close to the fence and will have to be moved and the other is growing right slap dab in the middle of one of the beds which means it too will have to be moved.
Only problem is...where to?
29-01-2011, 05:36 PM
Do mean Pecan seedlings. What about on the nature strip if you are running out of room. Or some other wild place where you think the council won't notice. Or in a school playground - ask the principle and or the gardener. Some other public garden. A friend's garden. Anyway they are some options that i can think of.
31-01-2011, 03:34 PM
These grow really tall and wide so the roadside garden would be out, I just planted some Olives there and was looking at planting some coppiceable trees to defray our firewood bill for winter.
I could go ask the local schools if they want them, could just sneak across the road when nobody is looking and plant them along side the railway line too- think I would get away with that?
08-02-2011, 06:07 AM
Well, my brother finally managed to come down for the weekend this week and I'm not sure what he thought of the garden.
He did say it was a !@#$! forest though and that he missed the lawn.
I think thats more because his back yard is mainly taken up with his 2 car garage, but we have in the past enjoyed pots of tea sitting on the lawn.
When we first walked around the garden the look on his face was more of morbid fasination and as I explained why we were doing what we were doing he seemed to relax alittle.
He has been working insanely long hours for years and is now in a position where he can start getting a life and his friends back.
Dad now lives with him and has started up the little vegie garden that had sat neglected for years.
His inspiration was our garden, actually I feel quite pleased with myself cos I have got quite afew people (back) into putting in a veg garden and/or getting chooks.
Our Luffas have finally started to get moving on the flowering and fruiting aspect of life and so far have 3 fruit swelling up and more flowers opening than before.
I had been watering them but maybe not enough and have increased that.
I havent been watering everything all the time, just those plants that I think need that little extra even if its been raining.
For example I havent watered the sweet corn at all since it started to tassle up and it doesnt seem to have noticed the lack at all.
The cobs are so sweet they are almost too sweet.
These are not heirloom seed, I couldnt find any for this but I think I might still keep some cobs to dry for next years seed.
The Sunflowers in the roadside garden are not all growing straight up, one in particular grew straight out over the driveway and I have resorted to holding it up with a tree branch stake.
These have never been watered either and are absolutely huge with really big flowers.
The single flower in the garden is only now starting to open its flower up inspite of having better soil and more water than the others.
We are starting to get tomatoes now to go with our zucchinis which have taken off again since I cut out all the marrows that had been hiding.
I think in the future we will plant these outside the garden, maybe infront of the bank to act as a weed surpressant along this.
I have let the 4O'clock marvel (Peru something or other)grow self sown along here and that not only looks and smells great but has kept the grass at bay.
I have been thinking long and hard about how to get organic matter into the soil and whether or not to just put the compost on the top or dig the compost in.
The last 2 beds we have dug in the compost and are going to sow it down with buckwheat.
This normally gets dug in just before it flowers apparently but I want the grain from it-I tried a Russian recipe years ago of buckwheat which I really liked and am looking forward to having it again, so we will let it set seed and harvest that then cut the straw down as a mulch for the next lot of plants that get sown/planted there.
What that will be will depend on how long it takes to get to harvest it, where the chook dome is by that stage and how long it will be before the dome will be back on that spot.
It might just wind up being another cover crop or chook food crop.
The overall game plan on the compost, this Autumn, is to get as much as possible made in our bins and spread a thick layer over the bed, dig that in, if the bed is particularly weedy then to spread a thick layer of the leaves we collected from the side of the road by the local school-large leaves, from Plane trees, I think.
Then to top it off with some old black sawdust from the sawdust dump.
I think this might work at discouraging the slug/snail brigade as well.
Our neighbour at the back corner brought over a bucket full of Raspberry plants and is digging out 50 or so more, I of course said yes I would love to have them, thinking, bloody hell where are we going to put them, we're not ready for this.
I do have friends who will love to have some of these.
Where we were going to put them was along the fenceline on the north side of the yard out of the garden, but after thinking about it I didnt think it would be fair to that neighbour as they would grow through the fence and hang over them( this side is around a metre higher than them, most of their garden is less than knee high-in other words normal).I have upset them enough over the years with my scruffy ways and have been quite diligent in being normal along this fenceline.
I did think of along the back fence but that still needs alot of work in getting rid of convovulus and wandering jew weed, plus the Avo's planted just in from the fence are supposed to become like a hedge and the Raspberries will interfere with that.
Perhaps they should go where the fruit trellis will be whenever we get to that,decisions,decisions....
09-02-2011, 03:20 PM
Well the Raspberries got planted out where the fruit trellis will eventually go and had a good soak so they are looking good.
I have been wondering about the lack of bees and if it was just my imagination or not but I'm sure we have NO honey bees in the garden this year.
I havent even seen the little black ones.
The bumblebees have still been busy and I have seen 2 hornets this week cruising the cauliflowers.
The green shield bugs has me concerned cos they are absolutely everywhere.
Back to the bees, this lack could be why our beans are not producing as well as they normally do.
The Lima beans are smothered with flowers but those are not always transforming into actual beans.
Even the calendulas which normally have full heads of seeds have alot of empty old flowers with no seed in them at all.
Mum has a friend who does bees maybe I should see if she needs somewhere safe to 'store' some.
We had our first watermelon today,beautiful and sweet.
The Buckwheat seed arrived this morning, I wasnt expecting it for a few more days but thats okay,these got broadcast over the last 2 beds and raked in alittle then watered.
We should see soon how well I did with the broadcasting.
I am puzzled by our hens.
They still have not gone into molt and still only 1 is laying.
I even left the egg in there for afew days to see if it got eaten but no.
I have tried feeding them more, tried not feeding them in the morning, all day(once), tried changing their water more often, more greens,less green, more bugs-they didnt eat them even when I squashed the snails, even meat that I was supposed to eat and still no change.
They much prefer to dust bath.
Honestly I wish I was hard hearted so I could enjoy chicken and chives raviolli with a tomato and basil sauce.
09-02-2011, 07:08 PM
You softy - I know how you feel Mischief. What is the breed of chicken and how old are they?
10-02-2011, 01:02 PM
They are Isa Browns.
They are supposed to be 2 and 1/2 years old, I think.
I didnt actually ask but last time I got some from this farm they told me they 'rotated' them after 18 months.
We've had them since sept(?) year before last.
I see 2 eggs in their nest box today, but unfortunately I cant remember if I cleared it last night, I swear sometimes I feel like I'm going senile.
I have to confess that I got a book out from the library on vegan cooking.
It did occur to me that maybe I might not be able to eat meat if I couldnt kill it.
Hubby has backed right off on his manly duties.
My brother isnt all that happy with me since he and my nephew visited.
Son asked if they could turn all their backyard into a garden like Aunties.
When he arrived,before they even got out of the car, he actually asked his dad if they had come to the right place.
They are going to stick to the little garden dad saved but are seriously looking at how and where to put 2-3 chooks and I am to take cuttings of all the herbs we have growing.
Couldnt talk him into taking a Pecan seedling or fig treeling though.
18-02-2011, 02:09 PM
I visited my boss on the way home to see how 'our' Rooster was getting on.
Apparently he has been hanging out with the ducks while he was waiting for his girlfriends to arrive.
Now he's hanging around the chook house where they have been penned in for 3days to get used to their new home.
I do miss him but I'm sure one neighbour does not however.
Still only 1 egg per day, disappointing.
My brother said he would dispatch of them for me seeing as hubby wont.
That wont be for afew weeks and by then we may have some fertile eggs to put under the remainder.
With all this running around up and down the country not much is getting done anywhere except the basics.
Strangely enough the veg garden doesnt look that bad, most of the beds are planted out in something even if that something is the Amaranth that mum gave me the seed for that was supposed to be the seed type and obviously isnt.
I was eyeing that yesterday wondering if I should dig it in before the flowers open of if I had already left it too late.
That might be a job for tommorrow.
The Okra that is doing really well is the Clemson Burgundy.
I did plant these later than last year but now think they could have been started alittle later or kept potted up and put out later.
I am taking off the tiny rock melons so it concentrates on those that are already getting to be a decent size.
Our nights have started getting quite cold again and I was afraid that we were going to have an early frost last night.
(It was a full moon, dont know if that had anything to do with it or not).
We ll I found out that I need practise in broadcasting seed, the bed I thought I did quite well at has hmm, bald spots all over it.
That could be because the cats have been using that part as their toilet,so Im not sure if I should resow it or not,probably not.
we are pushing it as it is in getting them to flower and set seed before the first frost.
They are supposed to be harvestable after 6 weeks but I dont know what sort of climate that was in.
I discovered a source in AK for Pigeon Peas, I hadnt been able to find them before so I bought a packet.
Now the question is do I sow them now and baby them through winter or do I leave them til spring.
I did a check on wikipedia which did not show up that they were frost tender, I only disciovered that important fact when I checked out something else on them.
Bit of a dilema, I might have to give my seed to my brother in AK for the chooks he's going to get.
The birds started to eat 2 of our sunflower seedheads, these had filled out really nicely and were big and fat so I cut them off and brought them into theporch to dry.
We have been very popular where we visit cos we have been taking our sweet corn with us.
Actually, my brother bought some sweet corn from the supermarket and tried to feed it to his son for dinner, butthat didnt work out too well because after the first mouthful, son said it didnt taste like aunties and he wouldnt eat any more.
We have just about eaten the first lot right out and the second plot is starting to tassle up now, it just shot up this week.
I was in a hurry and tried freezing the corn by just cutting it off the cob and bagging the kernals.We wont eat them straight away but will leave it til all the fresh stuff is all gone, but after a little peek they are looking quite good and very edible.
19-02-2011, 04:54 AM
Aren't sunflowers great for getting birds into your garden?
Isa browns are laying machines - they lay themselves to near death for 18 months then die right off on production.
19-02-2011, 12:28 PM
Umm I dont know they are in the front yard trying to make it look pretty.
But yes they do seem to be attracting attention from the birds as well.
It seems like the flowers that sort of curl around rather than stay flat that are being robbed at the moment.
I was hoping for a treat for both us and the girls.
I didnt realise that about them chooks, I have had this type before and didnt have this problem with them.
The last lot died of old age(the last one most likely died of loneliness but I found her under her perch so I figured she had died in her sleep)
Im sure I had them for at least 4 years and they only stopped laying in winter.
Good excuse to buy those expensive Buff Orphington eggs off trademe then.
Still, they are doing a good job of turning over the soil still and weeding so they are serving a useful purpose.
Sad isnt it that we assume that other lifeforms should be there to serve us and then they gotta go.
Makes me feel alittle selfish.
02-03-2011, 04:24 PM
We dont so much have a garden at the moment as an army of triffids.
Bro thought it was a forest when he saw it, but afew weeks later and its taken off even more.
The zucchinnis have gone mad and swamping thier bed as well as the path and the sweet corn bed next door.
Just as well that lot of sweet corn has been all eaten.
Luckily mums boss like zucchinnis and a friend actually likes marrows, so between them they are taking all our surplus.
I had good intentions again this year of staking all the tomatoes up, pruning the laterals all off (which we had been doing) and having them all nice and easy to get to.
Of course when you arent here that often nature does things her own way.
The tomatoes are growing fantastically as larged sprawled bushes absolutely loaded and so green and healthy looking.
Hubby doesnt like tomatoes unless they are in Ketchup....mad, utterly mad,...
I've been eating vine ripened tomatoes and cant decide which tastes the best.
I am supposed to be bottling them but that hasnt happened yet.
Mum has started so maybe I can talk her into doing some for us as well, otherwise this year they will be popped straight into the freezer to sort out later.
The Principe Borghese are a small cherry type that I thought was determinate but not this year it seems,they have a little point on the end of each fruit which I nip off as my first bite.
Then there is the Amish paste which to me has a softer flavour.
The delicious look like a beefsteak and are so juicy.
Cant find the Oxhearts this year they must have been in the lot that got munched early in the piece.
The green sausage were sown alittle later than the others and are still to ripen up.
Then again, I should really go and have a good look, being green when they are ripened they might not be so obvious as the others.
One of the Amish paste toms is growing behind the Lima beans and next to the grapefruit tree.This has taken off in all directions and loves growing thru the grapefruit.
I dont think the grapefruit is suffering because of this, to be honest its pretty hard to spot inamongst the pineapple sage, beans and tomatoes, but there are some lovely big fruit coming along.
I think all the competion is making it reach for the skys perhaps faster than it would normally have done, which is good as it means I may not have to prune it away from where the chook dome will go.
Tall is definitely good.
Once again we are having differculty in being able to move the dome this time because the butternuts finally decided to start growing like mad and producing by the ton
These were sown around the same time as the potatoes alothough I did resow a couple afew months later.
It seems that because they have not been watered religiously this year, that they have taken alot longer to grow.
We stopped watering around Xmas time and did a stint where only the larger more streessed looking plants/ the ones we knew had a higher water requirement like melons, got watered.
So for ages now its been the rain thats provided liquid refreshments.
The buckwheat looks really good.
I realised that perhaps I had been a little handy with the raking and may have buried some of the seed too deep but most of the two beds are well covered.
This is over a foot high now and is starting to flower, so I am getting excited= might get some buckwheat before the frost comes along.
I didnt know that sunflowers bent their heads down when they started to ripen, to be honest it just doesnt look right and I find myself wanting to go out and stake them all up right again.
They all have lovely fat heads that so far appear full of seeds.
The redroot amaranth has taken over more and more of the garden.
It feels quite strange to feel so resigned to the fact that somethings just arent going well. Last year I would feel quite stressed, mainly because I felt we had to prove ourselves and our strange style of garden.
One comment that came up the other day was that we had a guerilla garden without even trying and if you didnt know what plants looked like you probably would think there was vegetables there at all.
In another bed the beetroot self sowed which we decided to leave to its own devises.
The seedlings were really thick and I did wonder if we would get a spindly crop, but so far they seem to be weeding themselves in that the faster larger ones seem to be blocking out the smaller ones.
I've had enough of gherkins, mum and I have so many jars we just dont want anymore, I was goingto pull it out and actually started to but stopped myself when I realised that it was already dying back on its own, so it must have had enough too.
There have been a couple of disappointments, the main one being that I finally noticed that my fennl hadnt actually grown and all we had was dill, which I also like but .... I discovered that I like fennel seed in my cooking and dont have enough.
Perhaps I should just go and sprinkle some around the garden in spots that wont get frosted to see if we can sneak them in before winter.
The other one was the lack of spring onions, last year I just scattered the seed and got patches all over the place but this year all I have is the four I transplanted for seed.
These set seed which I cut off, dried and resprinkled to no result, but the origianl plants are still growing.
I think they are such unusual looking plants that I have left them alone.
I am hoping that they set seed again but this time I think we'll just let them self sow.
Lettuces seem to be the main plant that does not like growing with out weeding and watering.
All but two disappeared underneath everything else, the last two recently gave up and have bolted.
The beans dont seem as good this year.
The ones growing thru the arch have the excuse of not very good soil, but the lima beas are luscious looking with lots of flowers on and give the appearenace of having lots of little beans starting, but I cnat find bvery many big pods on the vine.
These porbably were planted way to cllose together, next year I will try to give them alittle more room and somehow something alittle taller too which might help.
I do wonder if the lack of bees has made a difference here too.
We are seeing less and less of the bumble bees as well and have not had that many honey bees at all right throughout the summer.
We have carrots,after last years none I thought if we are going to have only arfew come up then they had better be big ones so I got the giant sort and so far they seem to be growing very well.
Unlike Eco's my luffas have only grown 3 fruit so far but there is another little one on the way.
I'm thrilled just to have any, this is the first time in 3 years of trying.
Same cant be said for the bitter melons, this is the first time I've grown these, the plant looks good but I just dont see any female flowers on the vine at all.
Another thing we have been busy with is getting the insulation done in the roof space before winter, with the last little bit in the hallway done this week.
Actually been home this week but have had to spend the time on the house this time.
I dont think the garden is missing our attentions at the moment it seesm to be doing well with out us.
We do want to get a cover crop of barley down to start a winter barley/ summer wheat rotation going...just where.... might have to be the roadside garden out with the sunflowers.
19-03-2011, 05:46 PM
We finally got to harvest the first lot of butternuts and moved the dome over.
From 5 vines we got 33 butternuts which I think is quite good.
They arent as big as last years but then they werent really watered this year either.
There is still one more lot growing and they do seem to be bigger, probably cos they've had more rainfall compared to the others.
I couldnt stand the sunflowers anylonger and have cut them down with the loppers.
Afew of the head have been eaten right out by the birds but most, have most, if not all of their seeds intact.
One did look like it had seeds but they seem to be shrunken and when I crack a couple open they were empty.
I gave the bird pecked heads to the chooks to play with and have the rest drying in the porch.
I must say I am impressed with one of them which is alittle over 40 cm across and has fat fat seeds which I have been pinching.
The tomatoes are still going strong but the okra obviously does not like the cold nights and has died after producing only 3 fruit, none of which I saved for seed cos I saw heaps of flower buds and didnt think we needed to worry about that yet.
We got our very first lot of neighbours nuts last week.
They are not Pecans but a different type of walnut than the ones we used to have.
These were noticed when we moved the dome over.
They must have been falling for alittle longer as we found alot of shells that had one end nibbled out and the nut on that side well chewed.
I'd say its probably a mouse, I think a rat would have done a better job of getting to the nuts.
The shells are not that hard, compared to our old walnuts.
The feijoa tree looks like it has recovered from its extreme makeover and has quite afew fruit swelling.
These have been well mulched over the last couple of years and I think it makes a difference to the size of their fruit, if not mulched they seem to produce alot of little skinny fruit rather than the fat juicy ones we like.
They should be falling soon, funny, it seems that they never ripen fast enough.
The orange tree is looking okay, I wouldnt say its looks 100o/o yet but not too bad.
We have honey bees in the garden in huge numbers now, they absolutely love the buckwheat flowers.
This is now waist high(3'?) and you can hardly see the old bare spots any more.
There are afew gaps around the edges where all the hens got out after digging a large hole under the bottom of their dome.
I think it looks really pretty,a lovely soft green with clusters of mainly white flowers, the odd pink ones.
The stems look quite fragile actually.
I was tempted to sow another lot but I think that probably wouldnt be a good idea, I'll have to check again as to what their growing req's are.If the are frost tender then we'll start the first lot of winter barley.
The zuchinnis that had been let run to marrows have finally succumbed to powdery
mildew which usually happens at the end of summer.
I cant remember off hand how many we collected, not as many as last year thank god but still hubby looked at them and said that he thought he was going to get awfully sick of eatingall of these.
My reply to that was to say well thats why we grow herbs and spices to help spark them up abit.
The three baby bear pumpkins that we were growing for mum turned into 2 different types of squash, a yellow oval one and a dark green rounder typeleaving only 1 baby bear pumpkin.
This didnt do too well probably because it was not watered , but also it was put in a spot where the chook dome didnt quite fit on so maybe not enough feed for it as well.
We found that rock melon and watermelon do not like to grow as a ground cover under tomatoes.
This might have been different if we had kept the tomatoes' laterals pinched out and them tied up nicely to their stakes.
The watermelon with the exception of one just disappeared and the only fruit from the rock melons came from mums 'gherkin' that was grown over a mesh trellis.
They definitely need alot more feeding and mulching than they got and probably more watering as well. At least until the level of organic matter is vastly improved.
I have been too busy to sow seed for winter veg and am going to cheat and buy plants from the local nursery.
Most of the winter garden is going to be put down in green manure or winter barley this year.
We have just been too busy and not getting to look after it the way it needs to be to grow really good vegies.
Not to say that what we have grown hasnt been edible.....
19-03-2011, 08:31 PM
cant remember off hand how many we collected, not as many as last year thank god but still hubby looked at them and said that he thought he was going to get awfully sick of eatingall of these.
My reply to that was to say well thats why we grow herbs and spices to help spark them up abit
Great attitude Mischief - inventive recipies do help at zuchinni and pumpkin and kumra and cabbage times of year. That is living from the garden - I love it.
19-03-2011, 09:14 PM
Mischief when can I expect my feijoa to bear fruit? It is almost 2 years old and growing well, but no flowers or fruit yet. I do like them....
10-04-2011, 02:31 PM
Sorry Eco, I dont know how long it takes for them to start producing.
We were lucky in that our trees were mature when we bought the place.
I think they do need company tho, I have always seen them growing in at least pairs.
10-04-2011, 03:04 PM
Sorry Eco, I dont know how long it takes for them to start producing.
We were lucky in that our trees were mature when we bought the place.
I think they do need company tho, I have always seen them growing in at least pairs.
Ah Purplepear, I do wish that 'attitude' would stay with me all the time but recently I have felt really snowed under and lost it.
I think its coming back slowly but it has definitely taken its toll on our garden.
I'm the main gardener so it shows when I fall on my arse, like now.
Bro asked me what our neighbours think of our garden and I had to honestly say that they are probably quite horrified cos it got away on me quite severely.
Okay, plus side.
The last lot of buttenuts are still ripening up and this last lot are bigger again probably due to the extra rain they got.
The grapefruit tree is looking stunning and the fruit on it are enormous.
I love grapefruit halves sprinkled with brown sugar and grilled til brown,after the wedges have been precut so all you have to do to eat each piece is stab it with a fork and enjoy.
We definitely are not going to let the tomatoes sprawl all over the place again, there has been so much wasted tomatoes its embarrassing, especially now that the vines are starting to die back and anyone can see the waste that was previously hidden by all the leaves.
We are still chomping thru the last sowing of sweet corn.It isnt as sweet as the first lot but the cobs are all full.
All the corn was grown at a foot each way which meant that nothing underneath them liked it at all, except for the black nightshade which for some reason just grew into small trees.
I was hoping that this would attract the bugs like it did for Purplepear but that was not to be.
The corn didnt seem to mind them tho.
I recently saw a photo of someone elses corn and they had clumps of corn with big gaps inbetween and pumpkins growing underneath them
We might try this next year and see how different the harvest is compared to my normal way.
The luffas have decided to behave like triffids and shot off in all directions with lots of babies coming along.Nothing like ecos' but yeah we have something behaving like its supposed to!
There have been some lovely surprises, like the bitter melon.
This has been flowering all summer and yet no fruit, I gave up on it and stopped hunting thru its leaves for those strange looking ...things, until today when I was picking some beans off the pole bean that shares the trellis with it and there they were.
Lots of strange warty things that arent supposed to be very tasty but for some reason I just had to have in our garden.
I dont know if its been the extra rain we've had or what but that one vine has started to sprout them all over the place.
The sunflowers we harvested have dried out and I scratch my head wondering what on earth we are supposed to do with them now.
I hadnt really thought about it.
The seeds are very nice and we have cracked open alot and had the seeds as a snack but that not quite what I had in mind when we decided to grow them.
Any hints on how to process them in a reasonably logical manner whould be appreciated.
My solution to getting the garden back under control is to smother the ground with lawn clippings after the chooks have been on for maybe a week to a week and a half.
They are in the back mandala right now and I think I might put them round again so I can re- work all the edges and get them planted out with the permanent planting of winter savory.
Mum has our lavendar which is going to go around the edge of the orange trees bed, but I want to make sure of the outer beds before I plant them out.
10-04-2011, 06:27 PM
Tee hee! I did warn you about the triffid! Do you have chooks to feed the sunflower to? Its the sort of thing that requires more calories to get to the food that you get FROM the food.
14-04-2011, 05:13 PM
Yeeah, but do they deserve such a tasty treat seeing as they arent doing all their jobs (no eggs! still)
Hey We got bitter melons finally, they must like more water than what they had been getting earlier on in the summer,Im sure the cooler weather isnt what has got them spurred on.
My lovely daughter let me put it in her salsa if I chopped it really finely.
Wasnt too bad, I had a taste of it by itself and while it was bitter it wasnt too bitter.
21-04-2011, 08:01 PM
I'm starting to feel alittle better about the state of the garden.
After a long deep and meaningful evaluation I realised that perhaps I should have used the lawn clippings to mulch the paths which would have killed off the weeds growing there and then when it had cooled off and dried out abit, scrapped it off and used that to mulch the beds.
This would have solved the problem of weeds getting ahead of me before it became a problem.
last year I thought we had too much nitrogen- lots of leafy growth and decided to use compost bins to deal with this.
Our recovery plan is to start with the back mandala and get this under control which seems to be going okay so far.
The chooks go on for alittle over a week, then I hoe it reasonably level and smother everything with lawn clippings and lightly step it down with the rake( dont want it to go like felt on the beds), then we have be putting a green manure crop in for autumn of buckwheat and in the last bed some white mustard.
I know I did a good sowing of mustard but something didnt quite work out because less than half of it came up- I think I had another bird attack.
Thats been redone with alittle more mustard as well as some of the seed from the earlier buckwheat that has already set seed.
The chooks have been on the first bed of buckwheat for a couple of days now and have gone nuts over it.
They are only getting fed at night every other day at the moment usually with leftovers.
They still look fat and healthy and are not screaming at us thru their bars any more so perhaps we have been over feeding them.
I have managed to get the last bed smothered with clippings.
Next on the hit list is to make sure the beds are where they are supposed to be and plant out the winter savory along the internal path edges.
I dont think hubby agrees with them being there cos they arent food but I feel a need for boundaries.
I am also digging out the old weedmat from the garden shed to lay around the compost bin and down the straight path that separates the two mandalas.
Not perhaps the most permie thing to do but thats two areas that I am constantly having to hoe clear that I wont have to worry about for the time being.
Tonight I discovered an amazing amount of moths flying around the Pineapple sage and realised they were actually visiting the flowers, this was just on dusk.
I dont really know that much about moths but it seems that they are pollinators too.
I have decided not to grow that many vegies over winter, just enough silverbeet, caulis and cabbages and concentrate on getting the structure of the garden right.
We still need to put in the fruit trees and berry trellis around the edges of the garden and cant really do that properly with out running into problems if the beds arent worked out properly.
Everything fits beautifully on paper but when it comes to the actual garden it for some reason doesnt seem to fit quite as well and I'm not too sure why that is just yet.
22-04-2011, 07:58 PM
Everything fits beautifully on paper but when it comes to the actual garden it for some reason doesnt seem to fit quite as well and I'm not too sure why that is just yet.
Folds in the space time continuum mischief.... It's quite common after all the seismic shifting you've had over there! (Now where did I leave my foil hat again?)
23-04-2011, 02:58 PM
Yeah, Earth Rocks!, haha
I had a dream once not too long ago that we had an earthquake which stretched the land and we wound up with heaps more than we started with inside our fence line and the council were trying to get me to pay more rates.
I'd like to think that I won but I woke up instead.
25-04-2011, 10:28 AM
Yesterday I did pull out the old weed mat from the shed and laid it out around the compost bins to start with.
We also had a roll of galvanised wire which got cut off in not quite foot sections.
These were bent in three forming a staple and were used to hold the mat down.
The oldest bit of weed mat was used first cos I figured that the area around the compost bin was going to get alot more wear and wouldnt be worth putting the fresher stuff there.
The odd hole got a patch put under it and stapled down.
The newer stuff still on the roll was just enough to do along the existing trellis, so now we have a 'square edge' to start from to get the back mandala lined up as good as its going to get.
So far so good.
We had quite abit of growth on the original winter savory so this was given a hair cut and the prunings were used to edge the beds along the trellis path.
I stuck the garden scissors through the weedmat to make a little hole and pushed the cuttings thru that and firmed them up.
I'm pretty sure that the mat is not going to last forever but it makes me feel good to have it there, I see a newly purchased straw broom being used to sweep it clean every now and then while it does last.
Hopefully by the time it needs replacing I will have come up with a more long term solution that will not cause more problems than it solves.
We have been collecting the walnuts that fall from the neighbours tree andso far have got quite a haul.
They arent very good for long term storage being soft shelled so we have been sharing them out amongst our friends and scoffing them like the delectable treats they are.
It was time to collect the Chokos too before the frost got on them so there I was crawling through the Bears Breeches (acanthus?) and getting disengaging them from the fence.
These seem to grow quite well in the long grass and I found these accidentally by almost breaking my ankle when it rolled on one.
From the vine that I didnt get rid of in time I think we easily got at least 50kgs.
I knew the neighbour loved them and for some reason hadnt got his to grow so I took a bucket of them over to the fence and hollered.
She wasnt too happy to see them but he was delighted and after telling them afew recipe ideas to make them more tasty they swopped a bucket of Feijoas for them.
They have two huge Feijoa trees and said that on thursday gave away 75 pounds of fruit just on that day and had started to run out of people to give them to.
Our trees are still recovering from their haircut and are only just starting to drop their fruit.
I do wonder if they are alittle slower because they are started to get shaded by the neighbours walnut tree.
I was alittle bit nervous about talking to them cos they can see what is going on in our back yard and thought they would have something to say about how slightly overgrown it looks but they didnt and didnt seem to be just being polite about it either.
Back to the Bears breeches.
I originally grew these along the fenceline when I noticed that the wandering jewel weed didnt grow under them and at that point had neighbours who didnt care and let it grow all over the place.
When I crawled in amongst them after the chokos I was expecting to find the convovulus vines all through them but apart from two there wasnt anything growing in them.
I was absolutely thrilled to see that my pulling this off the fence and where ever else I saw it has started to pay off and have decided not to pull out the bears breeches from around the garden to make more room.
The other neighbour on that fenceline got a butternut stuck up on a post for them to collect.
I wasnt sure if they would see it as it was getting abit dark but it had gone not too long after so hopefully that will go towards keeping them appeased too.
25-04-2011, 10:52 PM
You have neighbours that swap chokos for feijoas?! They are either REALLY nice or VERY gullible! Wish I had a neighbour like that....
11-05-2011, 04:09 PM
Yes lucky me!
Its now the start of winter and they are still growing strong.
I have been picking the little ones when they are about an inch to an inch and a half and munching on them as I work in the garden.
We used to eat them like this as kids and I think the little ones have more flavour.
I'm really surprised at what is still going even though its May and now winter.
The luffas are still growing both vines and fruit.
I'm not too sure whether we are supposed to be cuting the fruit off to dry or leaving them to die back, Im starting to get alittle concerned that they will rot if I leave them too long.
The last of the butternuts have died back and I need to pick up the fruit, I'm going to leave one to see what happens to it over winter.
Actually I left the sunflower that grew in the garden (and the last couple of sweet corn on the stalks) just to see what happens too.
It had a full head of seed on it which bent downwards and now looks like one of those old fashioned curved street lamp, minus its seeds which may be if we're lucky grow next spring, we'll see.
The peppers I left hoping they would redden up didnt, they rotten instead, oh well.
All the capsicums and peppers are not exactly growing but not dying either.
Its such a warm winter they just havent died back yet.
Perhaps we should dig them up and put them in pots til next spring.
The nasturtiums are still flowering even one of the ginger plants is trying to flower.
The Lima beans are still green and still flowering, I did even find some pods on them!
I have decided to leave them till they die back before collecting the pods- they are really hard to see with all the greenery, I figured I would be able to spot them better when the leaves are all gone.
The Purple King and Painted Lady beans died back probably a month ago and the pods are in the porch drying out for seed for next year.
I thought I had accidentally thrown out the bitter melon seed but found them on a reciept in the kitchen under something else so they are now in an envelope, folded up and labelled.
Alot of people tell me I need to get proper containers to my seed in but my grandmother never did and just kept them in envelopes that came through the mail folded and quite often just left in the kitchen cupboard.
I acquired some new things for the garden just recently, a friend had the purple maori potatoes and I was told to get them in the ground in a sheltered spot now which I did.
I put them in 2 spots to be on the safe side.
The other score was a dozen hoops from the nursery I do winter work for,they dont use these any more.
Now all we need to get is the frost clothe to go over them and we should be able to extent our season alittle and maybe protect the baby plants from that dratted starling next spring.
I'm feeling quietly excited about this,I can see good things happening here because we have these.
The watercress my daughter collected from a local stream had roots on some of the stalks so we put them in the half wine barrel that had filled up with water.
We werent too sure how they would go but they all are still green and still floating,perhaps we will have our own watercress to harvest next spring too.
The winter savory cuttings are looking healthy and strong and aittle bit more visible on the weedmat.
The last bed the chooks left had alot of wandering jewel weed growing in the path which I had raked onto the bed in the hopes that the chooks would eat it.
I used to have chooks that did eat this right out but these ones obviously need to be educated.
While they did enjoy scratching though it they didnt eat it so I,m left with this and not really knowing what to do with it.
I dont have any lawn clippings to put on that bed due to the constant rain so I guess it will have to be raked backwards and forwards to stress it out so it doesnt set roots down.
The chook dome is half way round the back mandala now and so far everything is fitting.
We will be jamming the dome hard up again the Bears breeches along the back fenceline or the orange tree bed will be more lopsided than it is now.
Its shrunk from 3 metres in diametre to 2 but alittle oblong at one section.
Some of the girls must have lost the odd feather as there were quite afew lying on the ground,none of them had notable patchy spots though.
For some strange reason known only to them, they have started giving an egg or two each day again.
Could have been something in the buckwheat ?
11-05-2011, 10:03 PM
mischief, you'll always have those urenika potatoes wherever you plant them once they're established. They survive hot compost and pop up everywhere. They also stay bright purple when cooked (cool man!) and the chooks love em cooked up, dirt and all.
I can't imagine them getting diseased, but they could be a vector to other, wimpier spuds.
I dunno, but I'm having "it's when, not if" freakouts about potato disease at the moment.
Even pretty hardcore permies seem to recommend getting the volunteers out.
12-05-2011, 05:06 PM
I'm not too worried about the potatoes getting diseased.
I have had them grow by themselves along the fenceline from either the really tiny spuds or the seed balls that are produced from the tops (not sure which).
This area has had the potatoes grow there now for about 4 years,they also grow alongside of jerusalem artichokes and have afew wild flowers and grass with them so perhaps all those plants have organised their own crop rotation system.
I quite often transplant the rogues when I get the time and found they produce just as well as chitted potatoes.
I was recently told about an old timer here who grows his potatoes on the same spot every year and has done so for the last 20 years.
He apparently grows white mustard on their spot over winter and digs it in just before he plants the potatoes.
I love the look of them and think they taste fantastic.
These ones are supposed to grow quite long, but perhaps thats from the extra watering she gives them.
I didnt think they would survive a hot compost tho.
Now if I could just get my Yams to grow properly and at a decent size to eat life would be getting close to perfect.
12-05-2011, 10:31 PM
I can't decide if I should ignore the cries of "disease, disease!" or not.
My garden's only 3-4 years old, so I'm worried that the garden being healthy thus far could be more due to lack of disease buildup and luck, rather than my happy perennialised, polycultural potatoes!
I keep hearing/reading opposing info. While right now I might be congratulating myself on my volunteer lovely spuds, what happens if blackleg, scab, wireworm and wilt show up? The four horsemen of the potatoapocalypse...
I'm not fond of yams, so that's one veggie I can ignore.
Do you have a favourite tomato to grow? I keep trying obscure varieties that I think aren't suited to my climate.
I know what you mean about waiting for things to die off. My garden's pretty small and I save so much seed, it seems that most of it's tied up in giant seed-monsters most of the time. Next season is the year of the shelly bean. If mine ever brown off and you're still keen, I'll send some, although George's beans and the scarlet runners may have crossed...
13-05-2011, 05:37 PM
I sometimes wish that we had just started small instead of going whole hog with the two mandalas, but I always just jump in and try to do it all and maybe not getting the best results that I could have.
Still I look at it this way, that part of the section is in better nick that it was as just a lawn and it is providing more insects and lifeforms with a more varied environment and so has got to be better than just being a short lawn.
At some point I know it will be exactly what and how I need and want it to be.
I always come back to Oxheart and Amish paste.
This year I grew the Princippe Borghese again too, this one is a cherry tomato.
So this trio give me a cherry type, medium sized with the Amish paste and the Oxheart is slightly larger.
I did grow some enormous ones the very first year we tried gardening but didnt keep the seed from them cos I thought that was how that sort always grew and now mourn the lose.
I think you will only get disease build up if you are foolish and only plant the same thing year after year in the same spot with out a buffer crop.
Or if you are also unlucky too.
I think the growing climate plays a part too....what would your section be suseptible too?
I did have late blight show up one year on the tomatoes but I cut the affected parts off and put them in the rubbish.
The tomatoes grew back and while they didnt do as well they still produced fruit that looked good.
I had never gardened before and didnt know that you're not supposed to do that,I havent had it since and thinking about it cant remember what you are supposed to do to combat it.
I dont think we will have major problems with pests and diseases because we are trying to feed the soil rather than the plants and adding as much organic matter as we can.
(Having said that I just couldnt get my cannellini beans or any dwarf beans to grow this year as they kept being eaten by some little white bugs in the ground.)
This year was supposed to be my shelly bean year but due to being away so much the garden didnt do very well with the beans amongst other things, so it turned into a what happens when you (do/dont do something).
Beans need to be picked regularly or they stop producing when they have mature pods forming up.
Its quite surprising how fast they can get to that point, especially in mid summer.
I did grow a couple of cool weather tomatoes that one was supposed to grow in greenland but again didnt do well.
I dont know how Fukuoaka and his students managed to eat well if they had to survive on what could grow through the grass, but I guess they probably lived mainly on the Barley and Rice crops more than anything and just had the vegies as top ups rather than main course.
I will have a look at what types I do have of the tomatoes(I was greedy and bought quite afew different types to try out). I can pm you and if there are any you want to swop for the beans that would be great.
13-05-2011, 08:53 PM
I haven't had any disease, yet. (Powdery midew doesn't count, in my book). I move my plants around, but my big ???? with potatoes is more that I've never managed to completely clean them out of a bed, so despite my (rather relaxed) rotations, I have spuds all over the place.
I like a tomato with a bit of acidity. Oxheart is always described as 'low acid'...
Have you tried tommy toe or gardener's delight?
24-05-2011, 07:11 PM
Powdery Mildew seems to turn up here near the end of summer.
To me its a sign of summer coming to an end, finishing off the pumpkins and gherkins that have set their fruit and ready to die back anyway.
So far the chook dome has gone around the back mandala with lots of room of the edging.
In fact its now looking like two beds now rather than 6 circles.
Now that the central bed with the orange tree has been shrunk considerably, the first two beds are now joined together with curved edges on two sides, while the rest of the beds are now a big semi circle.
We do need to shunt the diagonal path dividing the two mandalas over just slightly for the dome to be able to be inched around to that last station.
I harvested some more of the cabbage tree that hubby tried to kill by cutting it to the ground.(This set LOTS of shoots which are now up to 3 feet high).
So far I've taken off four of these and replanted them in the back mandala where hopefully they will take root.
They should do, 2 of the 3 I did earlier grew.
I did collect the luffas and put them in the porch just in case they got frosted on and rotted.
I'm looking forward to these being dried and in use.
I have waited so long to finally get home grown luffas, I cant wait...no more buying plastic pot scourers and a decent back scrubber!
The black raspberry cane was cut into foot long lengths and these have been planted out along the trellis on the north side of the back mandala, in between the 2 boysenberry plants.
This may make things alittle congested but hopefully we will be able to kep the boysenberries up along the top rung and have the raspberries underneath.
All the currant bushes look alittle small to be taking bits off so we havent touched them.
The black currant appears to sprouting shoots already.
I think we may nned to move the white currant from where it is as it is getting swamped by the pineapple sage thats growing with the grapefruit tree.
I checked the watercress the other day, some of them have obviously not found it to their liking and disappeared but a couple are still looking quite green and sticking their heads up out of the water.
I was fasinated with the bugs that were on the water.
There were a couple of different types.
One lot were quite small and scurried along the top of the water flat out.
I thought it strange that no matter how slow or fast they moved, the water didnt ripple at all.It really looked like they were scuttling over mirror.
The other one was alot bigger about half the size of a fly.
This one jumped.Actually I first noticed it when it landed on the water and again no ripple, then it jumped and the no ripple.
I know about the tensile strength of water but to me it just didnt seem right that there was not the slightest ripple.Very strange.
We have been sowing the white mustard as well as the lupins and peas again as a green manure crop, using our saved seed to do this and will keep aside some to set seed for the next lot, hopefully alittle more than this years (otherwise we will just have to get some more seed.)
The next part to get sown will be with the phacelia cos we're getting alittle low on the other types.
Two of the ginger plants are flowering, what a lovely yellow is has.
So far this winter hasnt been that cold yet so these are still growing as are the chillis and nasturtiums that have usually died back by now,they are still trying to flower as well, I really do need to get some potting mix and pot these up and bring them inside.
Im going to ask my boss at the nursery if we can have some of their old frost cloths for our garden.
I was talking to one of the supervisors who told me that they do still have them in one of the sheds but dont use it so we should be able to get some or buy some, I'm happy with either option- its not cheap to buy.
I started thinking of how we could use these other than as frost protection.
We might be able to run the hoops along the back hedge line with covers on and run the chooks through there to help clear out weeds and bugs.
Actually this opens up all sorts of possibilities,I did look at the back fenceline too but that might be too much temptation for the little foxie who lives over the fence.
We should do much better with our seedling raising with these hoops.No excuses for fried vegies now,lol.
On the "T.P" tree, I still think its a tree mallow but as it still hasnt flowered I cant be sure.
This obviously likes to be planted in reasonably rich soil as the one that is in poor soil is less than half the size of the other.
That one has a very sturdy trunk on it and huge hand sized leaves.
I have been eying this one up as a possible trellis for a cherry tomato,Maybe we could just looped the tomato in amongst the 'mallow'.
It will be interesting to see how tall this grows, at the moment its about 4 foot high.
I really should take some cuttings of it and maybe cut the other one right back to see if its a cut and come again type plant.
25-05-2011, 08:40 AM
I think it is great that your garden is evolving to be your individual space - unique in all the world. Well done.
26-05-2011, 10:11 AM
Thank you Purplepear.
I had a bit of time after work to get out and do a bit of a tidy up before the rains started again.
I went out specifically to find all those asparagus plants and mark them so I can find them later to transplant them
The one on the shade side of the grapefruit is obviously not liking where it is, their new home will have to be in a full sun spot I think.
Im looking at the north side of the garden just across the path from the compost bin.
That bed is alittle deeper and should they should fit there without interfering with what will be in the bed.
This area is where I stupidly planted the Apple mint after being told it was benign.
I wonder if they would like to grow together,I do like mint tea and it seems a shame to pull out such a lovely plant if we dont need to.
I have this urge to race the dome around the rest of the beds so I can make sure of my facts this time before I do a major transplanting exercise again.
26-05-2011, 04:38 PM
Eeek! Apple mint! Benign is not the word...I can't imagineit working with asparagus as it forms such a mat and asp resents competition, right?
But then again, I'm biased: our old place Down South has apple mint, montbretia, honeysuckle and a load of other...things battling for supremacy. The apple mint's winning.
27-05-2011, 12:42 PM
Ahhh,never thought of the matting aspect, just the root depth levels being at different levels.
Oh well, I made a start on pulling it all out,have the leaves dried off with a towel and going to chop them up and dry them by the fire as I go.
I should have known to put this in a big pot rather than in the veg garden.
28-05-2011, 06:47 PM
I have been wanting a hedgehog to come and live our garden for ages now and I think we might have one now.
I went out to feed the cats in the dark and put my hand down where I thought a bowl was only to feel something small and prickly.
Good thing my old dog is no longer with us or the hedgehog would have been chook food.
Strange how the cats sort of look sideways away from this intruder stealing their food.
Maybe I should start feeding the cats inside again, dont want the hedgehog to fill up on cat food when there are all those lovely snails it could be dining on.
We got rained off work yesterday, which was great cos I really needed a break.
By lunchtime the rain had died back to the odd drizzle so I set to work on the back mandala.
I cut the larger winter savory plants back quite hard to get some sturdy cuttings for the edge of the double bed and had enough left over to go round most of the path side of the other larger bed.
The dome got inched around again and I stuck a peg in the diagonal path where the dome needs alittle more room.
It definitely looks like the diagonal path will be curved rather than straight now.
On my wanderings I crouched down to see what was happening with the black currant.
It has not grown into a nice round shrub due to being crowded by the winter radish that grew next to it and still after having the extra space all summer was some what flat on that side.
Somehow one of it branches had broken off so I took that off and stuck it in the ground out of the way by the compost bins.
Under the currant, the orangeberry ground cover was looking really pretty.
I'm a foliage person rather than a flower person and I love the way different shapes contrast with each other.
So we have the currant, the granny's bonnet and the orangeberry all nicely nestling.
I like the way the orangeberry acts as a ground cover, its not too aggressive and tends to 'stand up' before touching down again,leaving lots of mulch underneath.
It seemed like it had quite alot of tendrils so I decided to give that a haircut as well.
Each length had alot of leaves and at the bottom of these, little roots were forming.
So with my newly sharpened secateurs, I cut the stalk into bits with at least one leaf on each, some are longer.
These have been planted in between the winter savory cuttings.
I'm hoping that apart from having a really nice contrast of size and shapes of leaves, that the larger leaves of the orangeberry will act as a ground cover under and on each side of the winter savory.
It wont matter too much if it encroaches on the beds or the paths, the chooks will scratch it into place on one side and we will stand on it on the other.
I am hoping that this will be at least a partial solution to our weedy path problem.
The nasturtiums are still flowering and I realised that I had not collected any seed from these yet which is annoying cos I couldnt see the yellow one just the red one(its supposed to be orange but is scarlet).
I managed to find half a dozen seed pod(?) to dry and will just have to wait for the flowers to finish and fruit up hopefully before we really start to get frosts.
I'm thinking that this plant might be useful as a internal bed 'path'.
If I plant it where we are going to walk inside the beds it could act as a ground cover and I'm thinking that it will stand up to alittle bit of walking on, I'm going to try it to see next season anyway, so we'll soon find out.
The Cabbage tree in the corner closest to the compost bin keeps getting trod on, or rather its long leaves do when I walk past it.
I dont really want this happening in case it rocks the cutting too much and stops roots from forming up so all the leaves that grow on those two sides got cut back by at least half.
This cutting has a curve in it rather than growing straight up so I have put in a short stake to hold it upright, hopefully it will start to grow straight from now on.
I've been reading Eco's blog and started to wonder if I should look at having a spot outside the mandalas for when I cant move the dome around.
(Havent decided whether it should be a permanent thing yet or not, I dont really want to do that.)
This would stop the over fertilized rampant growth that we have had with the Lima beans and I wouldnt have to worry that they are going to get worms from being on the same spot for too long.(I'll have to check, but I think their worm cycle is 3 weeks to be re infested).
I'm quite keen to see if the hoops covered with shade cloth would work and can see that they could help me clear the 'boundary' between the garden and the rest of the yard, especially around where the fruit trellises are supposed to be going.
This is always getting grass growing and gets away on me.
If it works, then Maybe I could move the geriatric hens into a hoop system and the new girls into the dome.
That way I dont have to think about being mean to the old girls.
(I do so love chicken and chives ravioli tho)
There should be enough hoops to do another one for the newbies if I have to or someone will have to give me a hand lifting the dome out into hubbys side so they can help out there.
06-06-2011, 06:28 PM
Weelll, we both chickened out on dispatching the chickens and a friend took pity on us and said they could go live a the bottom of the farm by the river, so off they went today.
There were already 3 other geriatrics down there, 2 roosters and a white silky cross, they seem to be ignoring the newbies so I guess thats a good start.
Who knows we may go back to check up on them only to find they finally decided to start laying again and have little fluff balls following along behind.
While we were coming back we spied some chipped trees in a little park.
It may have been put there to mulch the tree it was under but it was already well mulched so I dont feel guilty at pinching it.
So, using the half barrel we transferred the hens in, we filled up the back of the ute.
Instead of all the other things we were supposed to do today we wound up relaying the paths, I think we managed to make the mulch deeper than the first time so hopefully this will keep the weeds at bay for quite awhile.
Got most of them done with 2 ute loads.
I think maybe one more should do the trick.
It feels like we are back to square one again
The dome got moved around to make sure the beds were wider than the dome, it got hard to see exactly where the edges were even with the parsley on some of the beds.
These werent quite right although they werent too bad so alot of them got hoed off.
The paths were made wider as well so there will be that room for the winter savory cuttings to go in when there are enough to go round.
While doing this we found an absolutely enormous carrot which unfortunately got hoed in half but you could still see how fat it was!
The diagonal path between the two mandalas does now have that curve in.
Looks kinda funky, with the self sown turnip and black radish, that were on the edge of a bed now finding themselves slapdab in the middle of the 'new' path.
They, of course, had to stay until they did their thing because they were already flowering.
Darn,I hope this isnt going to be a re run of last year as well, I Will walk over these if they are still there when the dome is ready to move past them.
Maybe I should move them off to the side out of the way this time
The three beds that run along the hedge next to the tools shed are now joined together with the path now running right to the middle of the garden.
I figured that if I was going to walk over the bed cos it was more convenient than walking around the beds, then there really needed to be a path there, and so now there is.
I would say though that I think this will be the last time I am allowed to move things around, so it had better be right this time.
I thought there might be enough room for a 'bed' of strawberries between two stations in the second mandala and laid out the hoops to see how the wideth worked out.
Unfortunately it didnt, the hoops fitted but to get the dome over the diagonal path onto the first mandala meant going right over where the hoops would be set up so thats not going to work.
I decided that I dont like sharing My strawberries with the birds, they can have all the little plums.
I want to use the hoops to cover their special bed.
We ran out of sunlight before we finished so there is checking out the bed over the path from the compost bins.
The water bed, funny this is the only one that still gets called by name, its the curved one in the first mandala and is longer than three domes.
If I get home before dark tomorrow I'll lump the dome around that bed to see if there will be room for the hoops at the end.
12-06-2011, 07:18 PM
This week we finally got the luffas dried out.
The largest one started to get a white mold on it and when I cut it open, it was all black and nasty inside so that got thrown out,yep into the garden along the back fenceline.
I figured that it if was growing wild and got moldy it might still produce good seed and good plants.
I dont really know, but it isnt anywhere I would deliberately plant them so it cant contaminate next years crop.
Never having dried these before and having tried for the last 3 years to get this to grow, I was not going to lose what little crop we managed to get, so when another one looked like it too was going to get this mold, I brought them all inside and put some on a rack over the firebox and the rest on the tiles in front of the fire.
The ones on the rack got turned every now and then so they would dry rather than cook.
When they felt alot lighter I was fiddling around with the first one trying to figure out how to get the skin off it.
I knew it wasnt supposed to be there.
I managed to get a finger underneath the skin and it sort of unzipped.
I couldnt do this at first with the others until they had dried out alittle more and only one got a piece of skin stuck on that I couldnt unzip, eventually I got it off but you can still see on the luffa where that spot is cos the fibres there look different.
I was surprised to find that although they had lost alot of weight, they were still really wet and slimy feeling inside the cavities, so they went back infront of the fire until that had all dried out too.
Gettting the seeds out was a mission, you can only get one finger into one cavity and cant really get a grip on anything
Another head scratching moment.
Somehow I hit on the idea of squeezing each along the ridge all the way up and then banging it on the table, which of course meant they flew everywhere.
After a couple of frustrating days I discovered that if you put your hand over each end and shake up and down the seeds loosen their grip and then fall into your hand.
So with all the table banging, shaking, squeezing,poking etc we now have a lifetime supply of luffa seeds.
I have to admit that Im still not sure which is the best way to get the seeds out and can see us going through this all over again next year.
The first time I used it in the bath it felt all slippery again and I thought "oh great Im going to get covered in yuk", but it washed off and dissolved in the water.
It started off looking a light brown colour which isnt particularly pretty but after the slim was washed off and I used it to soap up my back -lovely, it turned in this quite nice pale goldy colour.
This now sits upright on a cloth to help it drain, just incase it starts getting moldy too from being damp.
They all are alot softer than the ones I ever bought from a shop and arent white like those, which I guess means the shop bought ones may very well be bleached.
I wasnt sure how they would go in the kitchen because they do feel quite soft, so I cut one in half, just in case it was a waste of time and got ruined.
So far its cleaned off the plates etc really well.
I wasnt too sure about using it on the greasy fry pan but it rinsed out okay in the soapy water and as far as I could see, I got all the food scraps out of it, gave it a rinse in fresh water and left it standing up right to drain too.
I am absolutely rapt!!!
We never have to buy kitchen scourers and back scrubbers ever again.
When mum saw the finished product she just had to have one and made sure she didnt forget it when she left.
I think these might just be a nice part of a Birthday and/or Christmas basket prezzie.
Its such a basic thing but, I feel that we have really achieved something significant with these.
And best of all when they arent any good any more in the house they can go into the compost, or as firestarters filled up with fry pan grease.
Multi functional. I love it.
13-06-2011, 06:36 AM
Well done Mischief - that is permaculture.
13-06-2011, 01:59 PM
You can have some of mine... I still have 2 garbage bags full of them... :-)
13-06-2011, 04:03 PM
Thank you, Purplepear.
I did wonder after I had posted, whether or not I had in fact steamed the seeds in the luffas I dried ontop of the stove.
I guess Im going to have to do a sprout test at some point before I resow them in spring!
Hi Eco,Now girl why havent you dollied them up and opened a stall at your local market, You know I'd love to have some so I had enough to give to all my friends and family but Customs just wouldnt approve.
Hey did you say the flowers on your Vietnamese mint were white? Ours are still going strong but the are a lovely pink.
We had a powercut all ay long yesterday, so I made perc coffe ontop of the firebox.
I had put the finely chopped stevia in a teapot to brew with tea but that didnt sweeten it up that well.
So with the coffee I put the stevia in the little basket along with the coffee grounds and then set it to work.
I can say categorically, that a tablespoon of stevia is way too much but it definitely works that way.
Also discover the culprit that was ruining the skins on our mandarins, I thought it was birds but no it was tiny little snails!
13-06-2011, 06:32 PM
Molassis for those snails mischief. Just water it done enough to spray and cover the tree.
13-06-2011, 11:03 PM
The flowers on my Viet mint are pale pink. Very pretty. They've been out for about a month now.
I gave some to all my friends until I thought they would stop liking me.... I have just started using them in the kitchen. It still feels kinda odd when I'm used to a sponge but it's free so I'm getting used to it!
I'm REALLY worried as there are about 4 BIG ones high up in a tree where I can't get to them and they have gone all brown and dry. Next time there's a decent wind they are going to shatter and drop seeds all over the place. So next year I'll have even more... I wonder if you can weave baskets from the vines?
14-06-2011, 07:41 PM
Never thought of that, give it a go and let us know how it went.
I still think that if you have a couple of rubbish bags of Luffas, that you should set up a stall at your market and sell them.
Im loving using our new scrubbers, we used to use the green pads or steel wool thingies which are terrible on the hand.
The Luffas feel so nice by comparison and look good too.
I got the first three hoops up in that garden.
They are over the new strawberry bed.
Im glad this is just across the path from the compost bin because I used the first bin I filled up for the very first time to raise the bed for the strawberries.
I managed to get most of the compost on the bed and not on the path but parts of the path are looking alittle black now, which is annoying.
I think next time we will put down a tarp in front of the bin to try and keep it looking pretty as long as possible.
The last thing I want is for compost to build up on the paths and encourage weeds to grow in them again.
I got given a bucket of old strawberry plants from a client who was pulling out their garden to make way for a garage, so these are now planted out with ours and are covered with bird netting to stop that dratted starling.
The Half wine barrel has been moved to the path by the parking area and is underneath the regrowing cabbage tree there.
I have some watercress seeds and am going to put a pot full of compost in that and sow the watercress in that, I'll leave that til spring though.
Hopefully, they will like to have their roots in the compost inside the barrel.
I would really like to get some waterchestnuts to go in with them.
I checked up on the Avocado tree to see how its fruit are coming along.
We have lost heaps of them due to not giving them that extra water we were told they needed over summer,but there is still fruit there so thats good.
It seems like they are taking forever to grow to a size that we can eat, they are only about 2 inches long.
We play a guessing game trying to figure out what variety they will turn out to be, my bet is for the green smooth skinned one, I think its the Haas type.
It is unfortunate that the tree is so close to the neighbours driveway because I feel that they will not like it if I start mulching the ground under this tree- Its right by their letterbox which the previous owner moved from where it was to put it closer to the road.
Sometimes shared driveways are just annoying.
At this time of year we are munching on the Mandarins.
What I like about these is that they tell you by feel, when they are ready for you to eat them, unlike oranges which can look ripe but peel your tongue with their acidity.
When the skin feels soft and bendy due to the gap that it gets between the skin and the actual fruit, then you know its time.
The other thing is sometimes you want flavour without intensity.
With mandarins I sometimes feel like I'm having a drink of cordial, it seems like they have more water in them.
My daughter and her partner have moved into their new flat and apparently are actually going to stay put for more than 6 months.
They want to put a vegetable garden in the back yard and have permission to do so from the landlord.
They want me to design their garden for them!!
15-06-2011, 12:15 PM
That'll be fun! I fancy getting to play with someone else's yard.
23-06-2011, 05:53 PM
This week we have put in a trellis next to the strawberry bed for peas.
Snap peas actually, they are supposed to be alittle more hardier than the normal peas which we are supposed to leave til early spring.
The trellis is made from 2 of the old clothes line poles,they were alittle bent from when the kids used to swing on them so after carefully taking the sledge hammer and beating the hell out of them they are now quite straight.
I decided to use the old clothes line line as well seeing as it wasnt really long enough for hanging clothes on.
These peas are supposed to be a climbing sort but the packet doesnt actually say how tall they get so I dont know if the trellis is too high or not.
We may have to put some twigs in as support, I cnt quite see how 3 well spaced lines will hold the plants up but they may surprise me.
The seed were put in a rough line under this and then covered with some lovely black compost.
I decided to see how things went under the frost clothe so we set up one over the Broad beans when we saw that the wild birds were starting to scratch madly around that area, hopefully we got this up in time to save our bean seeds from being stolen.
When I checked yesterday they were just poking up out of the ground -about 2 weeks since they got planted so it didnt speed up the germination rate ( they have been under cover for a week now)
The other set of hoops is over a bed that has carrots, turnips, leeks and kohl rabi at one end and loose leave chinese cabbage and kale from a friend at the other end.
Im not too sure if these are supposed to go in at this time but the packets did say so.
So far the turnips and chinese cabbages have sprouted.
One of our cats was encouraged not to go in under the hoops, even he could see that this was a great place to get out from the cold and have a nice quiet moment of contemplation.
Its been a funny winter so far.
Its still quite warm, well it must be if the lemon verbena and nasturtiums are still flowering, makes me quite nervous about spring, I have a nasty feeling that we will be getting all the freezing cold then instead of now and its usually so changeable any way its probably just as well we got the hoops and frost clothes for the garden.
We have been eating more and more of the NZ spinach that is growing under the orange tree, have to cos otherwise it takes off over the path.
I have found that if we take the leaves off the stems and chop up the stems putting them in the stir fries or whatevers before the leaves go in then everything is cooked at through properly.
Before when I put everything in together the leaves were over cooked or the stems werent done.
I think I like this better than silverbeet, it has a flavour that works better with alot more dishes, silverbeet can taste too strong in some dishes.
The hedge has mostly been trimmed.
The sides have at least.
I did start to top it and was stopped by the rain which is just as well cos I decided that it needed to be alittle lower than it was and when I looked at the hedge compared to the height of the dome I realised that it did have to be alittle higher or the wind coming over the top of the hedge could catch the top of the cover and flip it over.
At the moment those strong southerlies have whipped over the top and not been a problem.
I found the site for the Bio Dynamics association NZ and got hold of them to get a copy of their calendar in the hopes that this will help me become alittle less disorganised.
This has just arrived so I will be studying this and the other bits that arrived with it.
I did think that it would be all laid out for me but at first glance,I am going to have to learn the symbols and jot down notes to myself.ooohh
Unfortunately they did not have the wheel thingy on their catelogue so I will have to keep looking for that.
I have also found "Gaias garden" at the Book Depository and this should be arriving sometime real soon, meanwhile Im reading John Seymours The self suficient gardener, from the library.
Im sure I've read a couple of his books but hadnt seen this one our library before, even though its obviously quite old-should put a request in that if they ever get rid of it that I would like it for my home library.
I thought this would be good reading for me as his climate has 4 definite seasons similar to ours although I would say his winters would be alot colder in Wales.
Interestingly, I thought you guys would like this, The Biodynamics assoc.magazine had an article in it where it was stated that permaculture is starting to take off but the demeter system(?) doesnt seem to be.
I thought that the demeter label was quite well established, so there you go.
07-07-2011, 07:15 PM
Last week I was saying to myself that this so far has been quite a warm winter, didnt stop us from lighting the fire though.
We've only had one real frost so far which almost made me late for work cos I couldnt get into my truck!!!
But now its really windy and cold and it does feel like winter is here.
Not much going on in the garden but I did clear the stalks from the Jerusalem Artichokes.
Most of it was broken up and put on the compost heap while some went back onto their bed.
I had almost finished breaking them up when it occurred to me that these might be strong enough to support the snap peas and help keep them along their trellis.
There were just enough thick stalks to do a row on each side of their narrow bed.
These have been pushed into the ground quite firmly and angled so they lean up against the trellis.
The Peas are poking their heads up through the compost right along the row now.
I was alittle worried that I had put too much compost ontop of them and that they might rot instead of grow,so I am relieved.
I have been spending my time studying and thinking.
My 'Gaias garden" arrived and this has given me alot of food for thought.
I quite often come across things that to me seem contradictory in alot of books I read.
I do understand that some of this is because every situation Is different to any other one even though they can seem similar, but when I read 'dont dig the soil' and then read something completely different, its confusing.
A couple got contractors to take the soil off and compost it so it can be used to feed the soil, thats all good, but then he goes on to say how they then got truck loads of compost brought in and tilled into the soil...;.;.ok...I just dont agree with this.
How is this possibly going to maintain the soil structure or not kill all the worms that may actually reside there?
This concept of getting organic matter into the soil has become confusing to say the least.
In the Bio Dynamics book, I pretty much run into the same thing, so I must be missing something here.
On one hand you want the humus in the soil, you can get it there two ways 1. dig it in..2.put it on top and let the worms pull it in.
B>D say its best to put well rotten compost ontop of the soil, yet Marias Thuns book said put it on in autumn and dig in in spring.
Then they say humus as acts as a sponge holding water and that you dont want the humus ontop as this will hold water close to the surface when you want it down where the roots are making the need for hand watering less.hmmm.
Then I take another look at our compost, of which I am particularly proud, and realise that there are no worms in it at all, in fact there are no bugs in it at all.
Does that mean that its not great compost like I thought?
It feels slippery, its mostly broken down all though I can see where the horse manure was due to bits of sawdust that are still sawdust shaped,its black, smells like soil.
I decided that it is great compost and there are no worms in it cos its completely broken down and nothing left for them to eat so they have moved over to the next bin.
Also there are no other bugs because they mostly are debrie munchers and again nothing for them to munch on.
I cant see the point now of just putting it ontop because the worms are not going to be interested in it...so I may as well have dug it in so the sponge effect is down where the roots are.
Dammn, and its ontop of our peas.
Another thing I have been contemplating is companion planting/guild planting.
The first one came about due to our problem of decrepid garden stakes.
The stakes on offer in the shops are pathetic and once you're well grown tomato feels a reasonable puff of wind it snaps and there goes the plant all bruised and sorry looking.
After looking at what plant could be used(after considering and rejecting the idea of using the reinforcing mesh trellises)...
I hit on an ingenious solution.
If we grow the tomato plants so they are quite leggy then plant them deep in compost, taking all the bottom leaves off so they dont rot,leaving their heads showing,... then planting a sunflower next to them and when they are close to needing to be 'tied' to their stake, planting a pole bean/sowing a pole bean to act as its very own tie.
The nature of the pole bean makes it want to twine its way up something and I dont see why that cant be two somethings.
This way the tomato will have roots quite deep and all the way up the buried stem, giving it a chance against competition from the sunflower.
It the three of them are planted/sown in a shallow bowl, they can be fed with more compost and mulched without raising the soil level too much, which should help keep the moisture around the roots.
If I pinch out the laterals after they have set one lot of flowers then I dont feel cheated and those shouldnt add too much weight for the pole bean to handle.
(could be a good theme for another thread actually....guild plantings )
On the companion plantings I was trying to work out why it was said that broad beans are good companions for potatoes...the timing is all wrong so it must be a sequence thing first the beans in winter then the spuds in spring.
When I was looking at where the best place was to transplant the asparagus, I was annoyed with myself.
They like to grow with their roots undisturbed, dont like to get too frosted on and like to be well mulched with their own fronds as well as other things.
Peas like having something to grow up so they dont sprawl (or rather I like them to have something to grow up so they dont smother everything else).
Peas grow when the asparagus are dormant meaning no competition.....
I wish now I had thought of this earlier and transplanted the asparagus before I sowed the peas!!!!
Now we will have to leave the asparagus where they are til next winter.
15-07-2011, 07:42 PM
As its now well into winter here, its time to buy TREES.
I have been putting off getting trees for the garden for a number of reasons...
I felt the garden was too narrow and would make vege gardening harder.
When I first heard about Food forests, I couldnt see how I could put as many trees in the yard as some people were doing.
(and ok it might have had something to do with a certain hard nosed individual who seemed to hate annuals, and made me cry,lol).
Realising that I didnt have to plant them in the vegetable garden helped-I still have the rest of the section to work with (so long as I leave hubby space for the workshop!!!)
I decided it was time to get over myself and so this week have been listing out what fruits and nuts we would like to eat as well as what coppiceable trees we could get to help defray our firewood costs.
After hearing about the Black Mulberry, we just had to have at least one.
Im hoping to use it to shelter some other tender baby with it, as well as all those juicy berries.
I have fond memories of being in a lovely Plum tree as a small child gorging on the most delicious Black plums so of course we have to have a black plum but maybe not quite such a large tree.
Sweet persimmons are a fruit I do not like to share so this is on the list as is the sweet cherry, even though it will probably need its own net to stop the birds from taking them all.
The pomegranate was on special so it had to come to a good home, I looked at this when I got home and did wonder if I had made a mistake, I dont even know what it tastes like let alone researched how it grows yet.Not good.
The coffee tree was added when the sales lady said hers is in a pot still at year 4 and has started to grow berries.
I figured by the time this will need to go in the ground, that something else will have reached a decent height and will shelter it from the sun in summer and frosts in winter.
The Tea Camillia was bought to replace the one that just gave up, it does look alittle more robust than the earlier one so hopefully I will do better with this one.
I have been enjoying those cups of green tea that my mums boss makes with whole dried green tea leaves, its been ages since I had a cup of black tea.
The red Gooseberry came home because I wanted a red one but could only find the green one last time I looked and hubby just had to have that lovely crabapple.
We were going to buy alot of Hazelnuts and chestnuts to coppice for firewood along with the silver acacia but they were just so expensive we settled for 2 each of different sorts to get a good pollination and perhaps we can take cuttings of these later or keep an eye on the bargain bins.(I did learn that Oderings have their yearly sale at Easter so this might be a time to have another look).
The roadside garden has been allocated to grow alot of the firewood trees, mainly cos I just hate being so exposed to the road.
This caused a bit of a problem in choosing the right sort of tree.
The rock wall couldnt be concreted in place due to being on TransitNZ land (no permanent structures without consent- and after the head aches we had to not get the driveway finished down by the road I didnt want to go there).
I've ordered the Italian Alder, which is supposed to have roots that go straight down rather than spread out, so these should not push the wall out onto the road.
This is supposed to be a good nitrogen fixer, a good wind break tree.
I figured it would be a good one to help repair to churned up soil that the wall holds up.
To go with these, we've ordered some silver acacias and a couple of honey locusts.
We were going to put the Hazelnuts and Chestnuts there too but I didnt do my research properly on the distances needed for coppicing trees and there wouldnt be enough room.
To be honest I still am not certain just how far they should go, I've found info to say 1 metre apart which to me seems alittle close and now the latest which was 2.5 which seems to be alittle too far- maybe thats for farm shelter belts.
I had a major light bulb moment,again, on something thats really obvious that I knew intellectually but not conceptually and that is this thing on Diversity.
I was reading the Designers manual and came across the part where he talks about diversity and stability.
....It is not enough to simply place as many plants and animals as you can in a system,as they may compete with each other....
....So the importance of diversity is not so much the number of elements in a system;rather its the number of functional connections between these elements...
...It is not the number of things but the number of ways in which they work together.
And here I was trying to work out some guilds to try out to just solve perceived problems, so I have started to take a better look at this area again.
Good thing its winter so I still have time to work the next seasons game plan out.
15-07-2011, 10:04 PM
Ah, trees. My place is tiny and to begin with I refused to consider espalier and multiple grafting as it seemed, I dunno, too controlled, or something.
Then I got over it! What's a Cox's orange apple but a product of centuries of control? I couldn't squeeze it, a pear and a plum, let alone their pollinators unless I got down with the two-dimensional, multigrafted tree.
Just checking that you've got a properly self-fertile plum, or a guaranteed pollinator?
How about 2m apart for the coppice? My worry would be if I didn't prune for some reason, at 1m apart I'd have an impenetrable wall of twigs really fast.
I'm in the Wairarapa at the moment and winter is most definitely here, anyway!
16-07-2011, 02:34 PM
Pomegranate. Mmmmmm.... Don't worry you made the right decision! Very yummy.
17-07-2011, 07:39 PM
I just heard about someone not too far that is grafting plum and apple trees, Just have to find them.
The plum is a guaranteed self fertile so Im really looking forward to this one.
Ah yes an impenatrable wall is not something to look forward to.
I've still got time to get it right cos I've only just ordered them so it should take a week or two for them to arrive.
I was thinking that maybe I could do them at the max spacing and then infill with either the Gooseberries or Black currants or even the Hazelnuts.
Its going to be so good not to have everybody staring at me from across the road!!
Forgot to say that I do also have the Tommy Toe and Beef steak tomatoes, if you wanted to try these.
Im glad you think Pomegranates are tasty, thats a relief, now to get that right spot.
I have heard about this, but know absolutely nothing about it.
Its on my list of things to do this week to find out!
Forgot to mention that I found some Elephant Garlic bulbs so these have been planted in amongst some wall flowers away where they wont get walked on or chook pecked when they are just about ready to be harvested.
Also put in some shallots but havent even sown the onions yet,which I justified by saying they will get done on the next fertile root day.
I did sneak in some Bought Asparagus roots too and carefully dug out along the side of the Strawberry bed where there werent any planted.
Hopefully these are far enough inside the bed, I think they are and are definitely deep enough.
So we might get a spear or two each this year.
11-08-2011, 04:47 PM
I got the trees planted out this week, not the right time according to the moon calendar but it was the only day off I've had for ages and I'm not sure when I will get another full day off yet.
The 'firewood trees', have been planted along the rock wall, I didnt realise that silver acacia was considered a weed here, oh well.
The Alder and Silver acacia are alternated except where there is already black wattles self sown.
Strange but true, they just happen to be growing at the right spot for them to be 2m's away from the others.
To make things look more consistent, I planted the Alders on each side of the black wattle rather than a Silver one.(are they wattles or acacias? they sort of look the same except the silver acacia has slightly redder leaves.
At the curve in the wall next to the driveway, I put a Kowhai.
This is supposed to be the tall type and so far is looking okay although I do worry about the snails etc eating them before the get growing.
I figured that when it came time to start cutting for firewood, that the Kowhai would be pretty safe from damage at this spot and hopefully it will give the Tuis something else to munch on at some point.
I was alittle annoyed to find that the chestnuts I got are grafted, I suppose this will mean if they are coppiced then I will not have that type grow in the regrowth,so just in case, I took two cuttings of these to see if we could get them to grow.
I'm not too worried about whether we get nuts from them, I know that wont happen for years but I do want stakes from them.
Chestnut is supposed to be quite good for this sort of thing too.
The leftover silver acacias got planted along the boundary and again I found selfsown wattle/acacias regularly space out.
The two chestnut cutting got put in just in from the Tuis' tree- a bottle brush, (yellow unfortunately not red.)
I seem to have lost the Persimmon and Plum tree.
I was so sure we'd got these but I cant find them to plant out and I've lost the receipt, so I couldnt check.
The Black Mulberry got planted away from where we park as did the Hazelnut trees.
I put these closer together and was tempted to plant them really close and take cutting to see if we could get a little hedge of these but common sense prevailed.
I've left a gap for where I want to plant the Elderberries near the compost bins but on the other side of the trellis.
The Cherry got put closer to the house and nearby I put in the lemonade tree which wont grow as tall.
It was in the wrong spot inside the garden and needed to move.
When I was putting the Crabapple in by the existing Apple tree, I noticed that the Apple trees trunk has all these splits up its trunk.
It doesnt look very good and I dont know why this has happened.
Im sure it wasnt that way over summer.
There is another healthy looking shoot coming away from the side of the trunk and I am wondering if I should cut the old trunk out and let the smaller shoot take its place.
It looks like its well balanced and would make a nice looking tree.
We decided to wait at least until the Crabapple was fruiting before we made our decision on this.
The coffee shrub is still in the bathroom where its nice and warm along with the Lemongrass.
These will be kept in pots and brought inside for winter-especially the lemongrass.
I spied alittle flower bud on the coffee which was exciting.
Maybe we should get another one.
I couldnt decide where to put the tall Alder tree or the seedless grape and fig tree.
The fig tree we have does not produce very impressive fruit and we are hoping that this different type will do better.
When the Nectarine tree lost a whole huge trunk and branches when strong winds blew it over the fence into the neighbours place,it meant there was less protecting the baby Avocadoes that were still under it.
Luckily the Bear breeches protected the lower portion of these so they are still very green below the shrivelled up top part.
We decided to move these to along side the driveway where there are trees and hedge type plants they can shelter under.
I did wonder if we should replace the Nectarine tree with the taller Alder that we got and plant the seedless grape next to it so it could grow up through the tree.
Ever since I saw a program where this sort of thing was still being done in Georgia,
(country not state), I have wanted to try it.
Grapes are supposed to grow really well up through Mulberry trees but I think that may just be too much temptation for the birds.
I decided that the Grapefruit could grow by itself without the pineapple sage this year.
It was looking alittle congested and we have pineapple sage growing elsewhere.
I'm doing an experiment with the garden peas to see if the broadbeans will act as a trellis for them and so have sown the peas down the middle of the double rows of broadbeans.
With the snow peas, Im having trouble with snail/slugs which have eaten half the row, the half I sowed a single line so I have been naughty and put some snail bait down and resown a thicker row to replace them.
28-08-2011, 10:45 AM
A couple of weeks ago, we had snow!!!
My daughter decided to have a bach party by the seashore even tho it was winter, so we were fishing when this sort of hail but not quite came floating down.
It was getting quite cold so it was back to the bach to cook up the catch for the day for lunch.
I caught all 4 fish, hehe.
It was quite disconcerting to look out the window and see snow flurries especially on the coast so far north.
Unfortunately, this burnt alot of the Avocadoes, even the mature tree has singed leaves and the fruit not sheltered by the leaves are withering and turning black which is disappointing.
I decided to put off seed sowing til next month when hopefully it will be warmer.
The Plum tree finally got planted out but I cant find the persimmon at all, I hope I didnt leave it in the carpark or at the checkout.
We've cleared out alittle more along the north side of the bank and put the plum in there along with the tea bush and underplanted these and the cherry with strawberries.
All the trees have a ring of garlic planted around them and later I will sow some beans underneath them too.
I read somewhere that trees grow better when they were planted with beans so we will see how it goes.
Beans and garlic arent supposed to be good companions but I'm going to try them together anyway.
Its pretty hard to see what things are good companions and there seems to be conflicting ideas for example tomatoes and brassicas arent supposed to be good together but in our first season all the tomatoes had brassicas in with them and all did well except for the broccoli that didnt form heads which is why they call it having blind heads.
Anyway, this year we really need to tidy up the boundary line of the vege garden, this was supposed to be done in the first year but didnt happen and things were just let go along here.
It did look pretty with the 4 o'clock marvel self sowing everywhere.
Now that we've put the trees in I feel much better about having trees that might grow enormous in the middle of the section.
They are all deciduous and so wont affect the winter light into the house but will still help break the winds.
Under the main trees I want to put some smaller ones and underplant this band with herbs and beneficial insect plants.
The seedless grape is now along side of the north wall of the house.
The soil got dug out and replaced with lovely compost and its been put a couple of feet out from the house.
Still hasnt got its trellis yet so for now I will just use a tall sheet of the reinforcing mesh I use as trellises in the veg garden.
I got a lovely surprise in the mail the other day.
Pippimac sent me some of her Georges beans and perrennial chillis!!!! with afew other goodies.
I knew there were such things as perrennial chillis but didnt think we had any in this country so Im am really excited about this and have been raving to my friends about it.
We now have orders for at least one plant each of this.
Thank you Pippimagic!!!
28-08-2011, 05:16 PM
My pleasure mischief.
We all chat away online, but nothing like seeds in the mail to remind us that we're actually real people!
My rocoto seeds came up within days on a heat mat. Pubescens can sometimes take weeks to germinate, so yay!
29-08-2011, 06:12 PM
I'm practising restraint this year so I am going to wait til it warms up before I sow my seeds.
We dont have a heat mat and the hot water bottle trick didnt work for me last year so we wait for the sun to do its thing.
It was cool getting pressies thru the mail.
I have decided to become particularly fond of snails.
I happened to watching the food channel recently when there was a program with a segment on a snail farmer.
The main problem I had with the idea of eating snails was how on earth do you make sure they are ok to eat?
Well the answer was you put them in a container and keep them without food til they stop pooing which is about 3-5 days when they then look nice and creamy beige coloured.
When I was very small, my grandmother fed us winkles-a type of sea snail as far as I was concerned.
She didnt have enough cats eyes to finish a shell box she was making and could only find ones that were the right size...but still attached to the snail.
So we got a gourmet meal and she got the small round bits to finish her box.
They didnt really taste like much but then nothing does when its all boiled to death.
A few years ago my sons mother in law gave us some of the sea snails they had collected.."Its a Maori delicacy" They didnt taste like much either actually, so I have never bothered to collect these when we have been on the coast.
Our local council in their infinite wisdom decided to gift me with a completely useless double bucket contraption in order to encourage me to send them my compostables.
Not sure why when they dont have the resources to do anything practical with this and wind up sending what they do collect to a recycle centre 2 hours drive away by car.
Hubby uses one as a waste paper bin and the other sat in the porch where I would often look at it wondering what I could use it for.
This inside bit doesnt have solid walls but sort of slats and soft plastic so its not all that sturdy.
Anyway, I was working on moving the flax bush away from the garden to somewhere snails could congregate in peace without disturbing my peace, when it occurred to me that these snails were really big.
Off I went to get this useless basket and sure enough the snails were too big to get through the slats.
I was busy filling this up when I got snapped.
There I was nose in the flax bush looking for delectable morsels to practise on when I hear..
"Do you want a cuppa...um what are you doing"
"Ah ok, theyarentfordinnerarethey?
"Not tonight no"
"Oh.... thats good" as he disappeared inside again trying not to look too worried.
We learnt that when it came down to it , we just couldnt kill the old chickens, but I can and do kill snails.
I have often seen and heard about escargots,and it high school, we were supposed to get to taste these in our french class but they never arrived.
Soo... now we have a basket full of various sizes.
They do have some lovely mustard lettuce leaves to eat cos I need to be able to sort out the larger ones out into another container and let the not quite so big ones grow a bit.
I asked my mother if we could have her recycle basket to use for this as she also uses a compost bin.
When that arrives I will sort them all out and keep the big ones separate without the leafy greens.
And after all that excitement, I discovered that the flax was now riddled with English Ivy, probably arrived via the birds.
I couldnt get it out so the flax bush has all its leaves cut off to become mulch for the garden and the bush itself has been dug up and moved to allow it to dry off so it wont be so heavy when I take it to the dump.
01-09-2011, 12:40 PM
We just finished reworking the chooks dome for the next season.
All the chook mesh has been taken off along with all the wire ties, thankfully before they rusted right through.
The broken bit of pipe on the bottom has another shorter piece wired to it making the circle whole again.
We replaced the mesh with windbreak clothe, using a thick type of fishing line to 'sew' it onto the frame.
For the top we put over some bird mesh which was sown onto the top of the windbreak.
This has made a huge difference to the weight of the dome and to make sure the frame was still ridged, we replaced some of the wire bracing and tightened most of them by taking the pliers to them and twisting so there is a kink in the wire.
Now we're off to locate the new arrivals to go into their newly refurbished home.
07-09-2011, 06:11 PM
I wound up giving mum back her recycle basket, land snails dont taste like much either...
onions garlic,parsley, mint and oregano and not much more.
I waited til hubby wasnt home before I tried them.
I decided they just were not worth the effort,the texture wasnt too bad tho, I suppose it helps when they are just cooked through, abit like calamari rings sort of.
So I guess I learnt that if we ever have a dire need of protein, I know how to catch them, process them and cook them.
Maybe I should have tried them in a chilli or curry type sauce.
08-09-2011, 06:00 AM
Well done for having a go at the snails mischief - chilli sauce sounds like the go. Your new type of dome seems similar to mine with much less wire and much lighter.
There I was nose in the flax bush looking for delectable morsels to practise on when I hear..
"Do you want a cuppa...um what are you doing"
"Ah ok, theyarentfordinnerarethey?
"Not tonight no"
"Oh.... thats good" as he disappeared inside again trying not to look too worried.
You crack me up!
08-09-2011, 10:54 AM
I think the 'commercial' snail growers tend to 'clean' the snails the collect for a while before eating them. By that I think it means feeding them on fresh clean grass for a while. Something like putting carp into clean fresh water for a while before eating them...
I don't intend this as being alarmist, but I have a vague recollection of some issue with botulism and snails/slugs. But that may just be a cooked vs raw thing
08-09-2011, 05:06 PM
Dont worry Im still alive and feeling pretty good after having a good work out today tidying things up again.
I hear about botulism too but havent found any one who actually knows somebody who has been made ill from it, not saying that it doesnt just that I find it strange that nobody knows anybody who even got ill from it let alone died.
Mine got lettuce mustard and rocket then nothing for 4 days but water.
I do feel reassured that if at any point I am starving that I know of one resource that I can kill and eat.
08-09-2011, 06:28 PM
Which probably makes the rest of the family happy that you wouldn't eye them off as the first option!
08-09-2011, 09:54 PM
I've heard stuff about parasites in snails being an issue. Never botulism, which always seems to involve Americans canning strange things.
The parasites thing could be a complete urban myth though!
12-09-2011, 05:10 PM
My family are absolutely horrified hahaha.Well my mother is and almost dry retched, havent actually told the rest of them yet about my new culinary expertise.
My daughter however seemed to recover rather quickly tho when I mentioned "escargots" and "of french descent" and simply said that escargots is the same word in portuguese (as french)- her partner is of portuguese descent.
Hmm with regards to American canning (and their strange rituals) sorry sweetpea, but there seems to be (what I consider to be ) an irrational fear of germs/botulism
(it can kill you you know!).
My partner is American and refused to be fed some sweet chilli sauce that I made because it had not been 'canned properly'...ie killed completely by double cooking.
I bottled it in a recycled sauce jar with a pop top lid.
I forgot and months later fed it to him and was told it was the best darned chilli sauce he'd ever tasted!!
Eco. I just reread your post.. ooww naughty girl,
anyway they arent fat enough.not one of them....
wasnt there a thread on this subject alittle while ago-gross.
I wouldnt eat humanmeat, they are diseased, dont you know.
Off to the chemist tommorrow to get worm tablets which hopefully will get rid of any parasites I may not have cooked thoroughly enough.
12-09-2011, 09:03 PM
Eco. I just reread your post.. ooww naughty girl,
anyway they arent fat enough.not one of them....
wasnt there a thread on this subject alittle while ago-gross.
I wouldnt eat humanmeat, they are diseased, dont you know.
You know if you double cook them..... ;)
07-10-2011, 05:42 PM
mischief, I had a look at your photoblog Great looking gardens and I've never seen a broad bean without the black spot either. Do they smell the same? I'm pretty sensitive/obsessed with smells and broad beans are my (and the bumbles) first real floral hit after the winter. Next year I'll be growing 'red seeded' which apparently has pinky-red flowers. Cool!
Importantly though, I wanted to warn you that the yellow, multi-spotted guy is a 28 spotted ladybird. They are bad news. Squish them!
07-10-2011, 06:39 PM
Thank you, I have borrowed mums camara which is much better than ours and got alittle snap happy, of course I have been snapping the good looking bits, as you do.
I did see your comment and raced outside to find that bug but couldnt so I will be religiously looking at holey leaves til I do.
I have seen alot of 2 spotted ladybugs tho which I left alone.
I couldnt really smell the flowers but thats probably due to smoking for so long.It will be interesting to see how they produce compared to the other plants, not sure if its worth taking seed from this to see if it will breed true tho but I might try.
08-10-2011, 06:48 AM
I don't seem to get the 'normal' ladybirds, but I don't have much in the way of aphids and I wouldn't hang around if there's no dinner either.
So I was excited to see a ladybird last season, albeit yellow and extra-spotty...
reminds me of when loads of little black, red and green ladybird-looking things showed up. Aww, how cool said I. Then they turned into green shield bugs and sucked all my tomatoes dry!
20-10-2011, 10:30 AM
Off to the chemist tommorrow to get worm tablets which hopefully will get rid of any parasites I may not have cooked thoroughly enough.
Why would you want to poison yourself? :sweat:
Aloe vera (especially the candelabra strain Aloe vera barbadensis F. Asphodelaceae) is, amongst other things, an excellent vermifuge.
The following is from Isabella Shipards' website (herbsarespecial.com.au):
Cut one or two large leaves from the base of a plant, and allow to stand half an hour for the yellow sap just under the skin to drain. Take care not to get this sap on clothes, as it can stain. To make an infusion from the leaves, cut them into 2cm chunks and place the pieces into half litre size glass jars with lids (or other containers), filling the jars about one third. Top up the containers with cold water and put them in the refrigerator. Leave to steep eight hours or overnight. Pour off one half to one glass of the aloe infusion and drink first thing in the morning and also the same amount before each meal and at bedtime if desired. After draining the infusion from a jar, refill the jar with water. This is where it is beneficial to have several jars prepared, so that the jar just refilled goes to the back of the shelf in the refrigerator, and the jars are continually rotated. This allows enough time for each jar to steep before being used. The infusion can be drunk whenever you feel thirsty.
After 10-12 days, the used aloe can be emptied into the compost, and a new batch started with fresh leaves. If the jars are not used for a number of days the liquid may ferment. Discard and start a fresh batch. Each time the jars are refilled, the infusion will get milder and weaker, but it will still benefit the body. The flavour is mildly bitter during the first days, but then the infusion will taste like crystal clear spring water. In fact, many people use this method of infusion to purify drinking water, particularly in countries where water is untreated. Some people use this procedure to remove the chlorine taste from treated water by placing a peeled chunk of aloe (with the yellow sap washed off) into a large jug of water in the refrigerator. As liquid is taken out to drink, the jug is topped up again. After several weeks of use, a new chunk of aloe can be started in a clean jug of water.
You can also add ginger (fresh or ground) for a bit of flavour.
21-10-2011, 04:52 AM
Brilliant thank you.
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