Thursday, 31 May 2007

Onions In May

Last weekend I prepared Bed 5 for onions. Some Brown Seedlings and Gladalan White home grown seedlings.
I still had enough inline dripper hose (15cm spacings) left to make 3 rows. I just moved aside the mulch layer and hoed the soil with the 3 pronged claw hoe in 3 different directions and watered in the evening.

Next morning I planted out almost 60 onion seedlings into bed 5.
This is an experiment as Brown onions (long keepers) aren’t usually planted till after the winter solstice but when I did that last year the onions didn’t grow very big or well at all. This year the weather is still being crazy but it is cooling now. It also has raining this week so I am trialling planting purchased seedlings now. If they fail to bulb up I can always use them as Spring Onions…

These Red Odourless Onions planted last month in Bed 3 are enjoying the rain and growing well!

A Photo A Day - No. 151


Savoy Cabbage
These have enjoyed the recent rains
and the cooler weather means not so many moths around.
Looks good for a nice crop this year!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 150

Number 150
Time for another collage.
I'll have to learn to crop all the photos to the same size.
Putting this collage together was a bit awkward!! :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 149


Lavandula canariensis (The Canary Island Lavender)
Not as hardy as other Lavenders
And doesn't smell as nice either!!

Monday, 28 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 148


Galahs
These noisy guys were up in the gum tree out the front this morning.
They are a real problem when farmers are seeding crops.
Go here for a Fact Sheet about them,
you can even download a sound file of their "call".

Sunday, 27 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 147

Grapevine Leaves
The wonderful colours of Autumn!
Doc loves the contrasts of foliage,
being colour blind he can't appreciate colours.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

First Frost Today

Yesterday's minimum temperature fell to 0C and this morning's went down to -2C so it looks like the frosts have started.

This is the thermometer under the back pergola. It is usually 2-3 degrees warmer there than out in the open. The bottom of the blue line indicates the minimum temp.
We've been expecting this for over a month as our usual first frost can be expected any time after ANZAC Day (25th April).

It was cold enough this morning to put a thin layer of ice on any container holding water, in fact that was the first I knew of it. The mornings have been getting chilly all week and being Saturday I wasn't up as early as usual.

It was after 9 am when I noticed the ice in the water bowl I leave out for birds and other wildlife that visit the vegetable garden.
The only damage I noticed was a small Basil plant that was bravely growing on Bed 6 but Basil season has finished now and although the Tomatoes under plastic in Bed 3 survived I shall pick these and see if they will ripen indoors now.

Luckily I have already started putting the plastic tarp covers over the windows of my hothouse so everything inside was snug with the temp only dropping to about 5C. While this is not very warm it is enough to keep the frosts off.

A Photo A Day - No. 146


First Frost
It's official 0C yesterday morning and -2C today!
Here's some ice on one of the water bowls in the garden!
(Just to prove it)

Friday, 25 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 145


Ninja and the Broad Beans
The warmer Autumn has meant the Broad Beans have really grown well.
Here Ninja is showing you how tall they are!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 144


Dapple
The 'Old Girl Chooks' all have new feathers now.
Their early moult means they have their new feathers
just in time for the colder weather!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 143


Achillea millefolium - Yarrow
This hardy pink yarrow is flowering at the moment,
I also have a very tough yellow flowering form.
A good beneficial insect attracting plant.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

A Photo A day - No. 142


Toadstools
Autumn in Australia means mushrooms on farms
and toadstools in my garden!

Monday, 21 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 141


Calendula
These plants come up like weeds everywhere
but some of them are very beautiful!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Garden Log 20 May 07

Two very loud early morning thunderstorms this week dropped 20mm of rain on the garden and just as well because until that we hadn't had any rain this month. Looks like more to come this week too.

The nights are really cooling down now and minimums are around 5C. So we still haven't had that first frost. In his latest Long Range Weather Forecast Kevin Irvine said that "temperatures for the next three months will be two degrees above average" so that should make for an interesting winter this year.

He also indicated that there should be more rain than last year. Our total rainfall for this year to date is 182mm which is more than twice our average for this time of year of 84.9mm so it looks like a good season for the farmers. They need one after the last few very dry years.
With the rain and warm(ish) temperatures still hanging round the garden is growing away happily.


In a sheltered Tank Bed the Lipstick Pimento Capsicums are still forming
and very slowly ripening.

Under the Back Pergola there is a tub of Strawberries
that are flowering and setting fruit...

the new bed out in the Main Vegetable Garden was mulched
with some old straw last week to keep in the moisture from the rains,
they are nicely tucked up in their little plastic tunnel.
So I'm hopeful of some fruit from there soon too!

Leaves are very slowly turning colour and falling this year
and the Asparagus is just turning yellow,
waiting to be cut to the ground and fed and mulched for winter.

The Red Cloud Tomatoes are still hanging on in Bed 3.
I have added a length of plastic over them too.
There are some tomatoes there but I'll have to bring them inside to ripen.

Autumn here means toadstools in the garden,
out on farms there are lots of mushrooms
but I won't be eating these,
just photographing them!

Not a great deal of planting happening at the moment
just some Coloured Loose Leaf Lettuces to pot up
and put in the hot house to move them along
until they're big enough to plant out.

A Photo A Day - No. 140


Mozzie Calendula
Snapped a load of calendula flower pix yesterday, (see here)
I didn't even see this pesky little mosquito sitting on the petals
until I loaded it into the computer!
So I zoomed in for you to see him.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Calendulas


Here's a collage of Calendulas in flower in the garden at the moment!

A Photo A Day - No. 139


Strawberry Flowers
Very strange weather this year.
These strawberries are flowering away and setting fruit.
It's nearly winter down under but there are very few hints of it!
It is getting chilly at night and we are having some welcome rain,
but it certainly isn't very cold during the day.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

A Photo A day - No. 136


Gumnuts
The seed cases for Eucalypts
come in many different shapes and sizes.
All keep safe the tiny seeds
which grow into very tall trees.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

A Photo A day - No. 135


Busy Dragonfly
We had a visitor the other night.
She was laying her eggs in the pond.
Sorry it's a bit blurry, but she was very quick!

Monday, 14 May 2007

A Photo A day - No. 134


Stormy Sky
Last night's stormy sky
wasn't as colourful as this one
but the storm it brought with it was much louder
and dumped 7.5mm of beautiful nitrogen boosted rain on my garden.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 133


Autumn Leaves
The leaves on the fruit trees are finally changing colour.
They will soon fall and winter will be upon us.
All part of the yearly cycle of the garden.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Autumn Dog Pen Gardens

When we arrived here we set aside an area on the south side of the house, for our two dogs. We called it the Dog Pen. Since the death of our beloved German Shepherd Pip a few years ago we have changed this area completely.

Pip

Lucky Dog doesn't need quite so much room now and the area under the old Almond and Mulberry trees is very cool in summer.
After planting this area with Tagasaste, saltbushes and other chook forage plants we extended the chook runs to include some of this area.
The rest of the area has been developed as a sheltered human food area. Close to the backdoor and Pergola areas (where Doc's BBQ lives) we have chosen plants that are grown for easy picking.
Two beds have been raised using old sleepers and another area with old water tanks that have been cut down. In these areas I grow herbs for frequent picking, Salad Greens, Spring Onions and soon will plant Loose Leaved Lettuces.

This summer we added the shade structure over the Tank Beds and also built a new Shade House near the Bedroom window to cool the air entering the house on this the Southern side.

The plants in these areas vary from season to season so I make a planting plan for in here.

Please click on the plan to read it.

The low vegetable bed the fence at the back is used as a trellis.

In between the two raised beds I have filled with tyres.

The 'dry herb' bed is close to a large Eucalypt that saps all the water so these herbs were chosen because they can thrive on less water.

The tank beds on the East end.

Tank beds on the West end.

A Photo A Day - No. 132


Huntington's Red Sage
The red doesn't show up very well in the photo.
A very tough plant that responds to a good cut back every so often.

Friday, 11 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 131


Viola - Tiger Eyes
I like to plant these little flowers
to brighten up the garden!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 130


Tank Bed Vegies
One of the Tank gardens in the Dog Pen Area
Silverbeet, Parsley, 'Gringo' Garlic
and a brave little Chamomile.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Chook House Fun

After the recent rain we've had a few beautiful Autumn days. Just right for getting out and cleaning the chook house out.
The last five days of dark drizzly weather meant the cover was over their window all day. It desperately needed some air!

With mud around their nest box gets grubby too.
Most of the straw bales are wet now or being used in the garden so I found a spare bag of shredded paper to use. This was dry and makes a good nest liner. It also breaks down fast out in the garden when there's rain around.

Autumn in the chook run also means moulting chooks. Poor old Gingy was feeling self conscious about being photographed in her present state!

She really isn't that bad, we've had other chooks lose many more feathers than that!

In their 'pergola area' where I make garden mulch in summer I am now making compost. After using the removal boxes under the crusher dust for pathways we had a load of packing paper left. When we knew the recent rain was coming we put some of this into the pergola area.

It's all wet now and able to be shredded up by the chooks. I'll add kitchen and garden scraps as well as some straw from the chookhouse and they'll turn it into compost fairly fast. Sprinkling the occasional handful of grain gets the girls interested again if I find they haven't been working.

It certainly saves me turning compost piles every few weeks!

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