Saturday, 31 March 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 90

My noisy friends still call round for their bath,
even though the weather is cooling down

Friday, 30 March 2007

Garden Log 29 Mar 07

The entry in the moon planting guide read:
Bok Choy, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli under water sign, Silver Beet, English Spinach, Cabbage, Chicory, Chinese Cabbage, Endive, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions.

So I planted the Purple Peacock Broccoli seedlings I had waiting into bed 6. I left the pots around them to stop any pesky meanies eating them straight away.

The Royal Leeks went into a Tank Bed in the Dog Pen Garden (they are around the edge). Some of the Rainbow Silverbeet went here to and into Bed 9 to replace the Spinach which the grasshoppers had eaten as it emerged.

Triple Curled Parsley and violas went into a Tank Bed with the emerging Gringo Garlic planted there.

Last week our local harware store had seedlings on special so I bought some flower seedlings. I haven't mastered the timing for planting flowers from seed yet so these have been planted around the vegetable garden to brighten it up in winter.

I planted some tiny White Chrysanthemums around the Broccoli as white flowers are supposed to fool the White Butterflies into believing there are already some of their 'own' in this area and so they should avoid it. That's the theory anyway, don't know how well it works but they will look pretty anyway!

I planted some Yellow (Goblin) Chrysanthemums in between some Cream 'Tinkerbelle' Violas on the edge of Bed 1

Some 'Tiger Eyes' Violas into the Tank Beds and tyres in the Dog Pen Garden.

It was drizzling with rain as I planted these so they didn't even need watering in straight away.

A Photo A Day - No. 89

Moon and Stars Watermelon
Still growing and
showing a small Moon with its Stars!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 88

Crazy Weather
We are at the end of our first month of Autumn
These are Spring Star bulbs emerging already???

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Chook Mash

Each morning I feed my chooks their favourite Mash.

I start with 3 scoops of Bran and Pollard mix I buy in big bags from the feed store. Add in 1 scoop of Meatmeal (can use fishmeal or cooked soy meal)

I use a big bucket to mix it up in and a special paddle that Doc made just for the purpose.

Inside I mix:
1. about half a cup of skim milk powder with
2. a glob (about one tablespoonful) of molasses also bought at the feed store
3. add about 3-4 cups of warm to hot water to this to dissolve everything
4. this is added to the dry bran and mixed until just moistened.

I add things to this mix occasionally:
Around the Full Moon I add crushed garlic cloves about one per bird and will soon trial crushed, dried pumpkin seeds as these are good for worming. A pinch of sulphur per chook added to their mash helps with keeping parasites at bay.

Another beneficial additive is to recycle their eggs shells back to them by:
1. baking the empty shells in a low oven for about an hour
2. then crushing the shells
3. put them into the mash
4. mix thoroughly.

This is a real calcium boost for the girls and makes their shells nice and strong.

1. Then it is put into their troughs
2. while they wait patiently! Not!
3. given to them to eat
4. even Lucky Dog loves to lick the bucket out!

Yummy they love it in winter when I make it with very hot water to warm them up on frosty mornings.

Along with this mash the girls get grain scratch in the afternoons and a couple of times a week I fill their inside feeder with pellets or other yummy mixes.

They have their fodder range as well and have plenty of room for scratching up goodies from the soil.

A Photo A Day - No. 87

Cherry Tomato Cuttings
The forecasters are hinting at frosts.
I'm clearing garden beds now.
So I've taken some cuttings of cherry tomatoes,
that I'll over-winter in the hothouse.
So far they look like they've taken.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Clearing The Beds No.1

Weekend 24/25 March 2007

Time to clear Bed 10 ready for some Green Manure.

Last weeks promise of rain meant it was an ideal time. The mulch was raked aside to allow all the rain to reach the soil.
Straw mulch is great for keeping moisture IN the soil but is very absorbent. During light showers of rain it's the mulch that soaks up all the good rain and very little gets through to the soil below.
While we aren't having regular rainfall and I water with drippers below the mulch this isn't much of a problem. So when rain is forecast I rake the mulch aside.

The rain came, twice in fact with a total of nearly 30mm for the week. Prefect! The corn plants were removed and taken to the chook run.

The old pumpkin vines and other greens were put near the compost heap with the raked off mulch ready for compost building soon.

The area was well hoed using a heavy blade hoe which enabled me to search for potatoes that are still emerging in bed 1 year after planting.

Next stage is to use the claw hoe to work soil and level it off. It's also used to mix in the seeds or a rake can be used.

I plant the green manure seeds from my friend here and on Sunday I added some clover and lucerne seed to the mix.

Sunday I also planted Climbing Telephone Peas along the trellis at the rear of the bed and used a plank of wood (from Doc's secret stash sssh! Don't tell him) to walk on. The plank fitted just perfectly.

With Chippee the crazy bantam still escaping and the blackbirds still checking out the garden each morning I have put chook wire around the outside of the bed and bird netting over the seeds. For the peas on the trellis I used the trusty old bread crates again.

Now I'd like some more rain the help these grow, please!

A Photo A Day - No. 86

White Cosmos
The last of the cosmos flowers.
Having a 'second life' with recent rain.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Sunday, 25 March 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 84

Meet Phyllis the Gramma
I had to pick her as the chooks have gone back to this area.
Not sure what she's going to taste like yet!

Food Gardening For Beginners - Part 8

Companion Planting for Fruit Trees

I have decided to replant some of my Companion Plants around the Fruit Trees. The chooks have all but destroyed the earlier plantings and that, along with the very dry conditions we have been experiencing lately, has meant very few have survived. Now I mainly plant the Companions on the Edge Bed on the other side of their fence line.

The chooks are doing an excellent job of keeping pests at bay but they don't have access to all of the fruit trees.

I have a Plum, 2 Apples, a Cherry and a Pear tree out of the chooks main enclosure. I have put Chippee the Bantam in a smaller enclosure under the William Pear and Cox's Orange Pippin Apple but I am still having problems with Codling Moth and as the mad Bantam insists upon escaping everyday, she isn't patrolling the bases of the fruit trees as well as she should.

I had to bury poor old Tippee yesterday so that leaves just 2 old girl chooks in the Fruit Tree area with about 9 trees. I think Chippee can return to that area with the big chooks, I might even bring the other three into this enclosure too. Of course the mad Bantam will have to have her own house put in the other run but that won't be too hard to manage.

I intend to band the Apple and Pear trees this year and replace the pheromone lures (see here or here) next season to combat the Codling Moth but I'd like to get some helpful plants growing there too.
From some books and charts I have found the following plants that grow well here. I leave it up to you to decide whether or not they make a difference to your fruit crops.

Companions to Fruit Trees:

Apple trees - Wallflowers, Yarrow, Calendulas, Roman Wormwood and Chives and Nasturtiums in summer.

Pear Trees - Southernwood, Yarrow, Mustard, garlic and Chives, Tansy and Nasturtiums in summer.

Plum trees - Southernwood, Yarrow, and Tansy and Chives in summer.

Cherry trees - Like Yarrow, Garlic, Onion, Tansy and Nasturtium.

Southernwood: Artemesia abrotanum

Tansy: Tanacetum vulgare

Calendula: Calendula officinalis

Wallflower: Erysimum cheiri

It should also be noted that Pear and Plum trees don't like grass growing around their roots. Also that Apples don't like Potatoes nor do Apricots who also don't do well with Tomatoes nearby.

My other fruit trees are Peach and Nectarines who like the same things, as well as each other, namely Southernwood, Yarrow, Mustard, Spinach with Tansy, Garlic and Chives, Nasturtiums, Lemon Balm and Marigolds in summer.

Apricot trees like Southernwood with Basil and Tansy in summer.

Chives: Allium schoenoprasum

Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium

Grapevine companions are Lucerne, (great cut for mulch too), Geraniums, Oregano, Hyssop and Mustard (which I need to try again) and in summer Tansy and Basil.

Scented Geranium:Pelargonium graveolens

Lucerne: Medicago sativa

Oregano: Origanum vulgare

Strawberry Plants like Borage, Pyrethrum (I use Feverfew that grows better here) Spinach, Lettuce But not the cabbage family.

Feverfew: Tanacetum parthenium

Raspberry Canes like Tansy, Marigolds and Rue (but I don't like Rue so I don't grow it near them) but not Potatoes.

Rue: Ruta graveolens

My new Citrus Trees this year have Guava (Strawberry) and Lavender planted nearby but I also have planted other fast growing plants nearby for frost protection.

Lavender: Lavendula officinalis

Books helpful on this subject include:
Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little
Jackie French's Guide to Companion Planting in Australia and New Zealand
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Companion Planting Chart by Southern Holdings, Tasmania.

Go here for Food Gardening For Beginners Part 9 - Compost Making

Saturday, 24 March 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 83

Spider No. 2
Here is the other spider
who was busily working on his (or her) web
in the Main Vegetable Garden

Friday, 23 March 2007

No Not Frost Already!!!

We've just come out of some pretty yucky humid hot weather to see this on the latest 7 day weather forecast.
For next Thursday 29th March a SLIGHT FROST RISK.

They have to be joking not this soon!
Anzac Day (April 25th) usually marks the start of frosty weather here in Northern SA and that's still a month away!!
I only hope this forecast is as wrong as they usually are.

I have just dug up an Eggplant plant?? and potted it up to go into the hothouse over winter.
Looks like I had better hurry up and get it tidied and ready to use.

I'll have to move the new Tomato seedlings and take some cuttings from the Cherry Tomatoes and the Capsicum in the garden this weekend or they might not be there next week.

I'll also have to move some of the plants from the shade house into the hothouse too.
If I do all this on the weekend they're sure to be wrong with that forecast.

A Photo A Day - No. 82

These spiders don't often come out during the day.
There were a couple out fixing their webs today.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Garden Log 22 March 2007

The Moon Planting Guide for today said:
Mulch with seaweed if possible or treat mulch with Seasol or fish product.
I live too far away from the coast to collect seaweed (not that you're allowed to in SA) so I watered with these seaweed mixtures and CharlieCarp.

Everything is just about jumping out the ground with this recent rain and warm temperatures. The Perpetual Spinach is ready for first pickings.

While this netting continues to keep out the blackbirds and the cabbage butterflies the plants are just about out-growing it and I will have to remove it soon!

I am noticing a few Aphids on 2 of the Brussels Sprout plants so when I find these little guys around, as I'm clearing the beds, I move them to Bed 2

I can just about sit and watch the Early Purple Garlic growing!

This Moon and Stars Watermelon is trying very hard to reach picking size before the cold weather hits us and the rain is helping.

This Rondo De Nice Zucchini has decided on one last try at some fruit, just as I was going to clear that bed too!!


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