Saturday, 30 June 2007

Compost Making Update: 30 Jun 07

It's been nearly 3 weeks but today was the first opportunity I've had to turn the compost.

We've had very little rain over here and it was quite dry in places but most of it is breaking down nicely.


The dryer sections were placed to the centre of the heap and sprinkled with blood and bone and watered with diluted seaweed extract and fish emulsion.


The only recognisable bits left was the straw and that is well on it's way too.
I covered it up again as the nights are still cold, but if we ever get more than 1 mm of rain in a day I'll take them off to give it a good soaking!


It's already smelling very composty, not offensive at all.

Click Here for the 'How To' on building this Compost Heap.

Winter Strawberries

Today is the last day of June. As one of the warmer, sunnier days we've had in a couple of weeks I've been out in the garden.
The compost has been turned again, a little weeding done and the strawberry bed was tidied.

When I removed the cloche from the strawberry bed look what I found!

 

And some more coming too!

 

Even the feverfew cuttings are growing well.

 

Considering these plants have had very little water applied
and have been covered to the measly
7.5 mm of rain we've had this month,
I'm very pleased with the growth here.
They only needed a quick tidy up
before a drink of very diluted seaweed extract in rainwater.

 

Then their cover was put back on to keep them warm.

 

Only one problem now!
Doc just saw the photo of that strawberry and has claimed it for himself.
Argh!!

A Photo A Day - No. 180


Lucky in the Sunshine
It's a beautiful sunny winters day here today!
Lucky Dog is making the most of it.





Friday, 29 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 179



Ivy Leaf Geranium
This is one of my favourite forms.
With variegated leaves and pink flowers.


Wednesday, 27 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 178


Pruning Time
The fruit trees are nearly ready for Doc to prune now.
Here the Stella Cherry will be pruned to fit the net cage.
Ready for the netting to go over in Summer. See Here.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 177



Fog
We woke up to a foggy morning today.
This is both ends of our street.
Should clear quickly to a sunny day though!

Monday, 25 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 176


Island
During heavy rains in the north of our state
this 'lake' would be full of water.
Now it's a dry salt pan with an island in the middle.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

June Garden Club Meeting

At our June Garden Club Meeting we discussed a very timely topic; FROST
We started with our roll call of which plants were killed by last years bad frosts and which if any of these had grown back.

Several of us had lost Pelargoniums and Ivy Geraniums but like mine most seemed to grow back as the weather warmed.
A few members told of damage to Myer Lemon trees but that these too had grown back but were noticeably ‘set back’ in their growth.

Even the tough old Daisy bushes suffered last year and only some of these re-grew. Another surprise was that a few Lavender bushes succumbed but after discussion we realised that these were the newer hybrid plants with the fancy, coloured flowers and not the tough old originals.

Other people had lost more tender plants that had in previous years grown quite well in the sheltered areas their owners provided but last year we had several frosts down to -8C or below and few of the more tender plants survive that sort of cold.

Later during the meeting we discussed our methods of frost protection;
many of the members admitted to resorting to praying that their plants would survive and doing little else... also that swearing at the frost doesn’t help either!

We all agreed that it is easiest not to grow frost sensitive plants in our area but there are always a couple that you feel you must have; so on a more constructive note ideas included:
  • Covering tender plants with blankets, towels or newspaper for a short term remedy
  • Mulching quite heavily with pea straw (almost covering the plant)
  • Foliar feeding plants every 2 weeks with seaweed mixtures to help strengthen the plants at a cellular level making them more resistant to the damage frost can inflict.
  • Potting up more susceptible plants and sheltering them by house walls and even in sheds seems to help
  • Also spraying with a fine mist of water first thing in the morning before the sun strikes them can lessen the damage caused but as most members said the hoses are often frozen solid, we agreed this is probably a job for a pressure sprayer or even a watering can with a fine rose spray attachment.
Ideas about the flow of frost and sheltering plants beneath tree canopies were also discussed.
Also using tyres, rock walls or straw bales in an arc on the south side (the cold side) to trap the warmth from the sun and also using water in containers to lessen the impact of frost. I included my use of 44 gallon drums of water situated beneath Apricot trees to stop frost damage after flowering in Spring.

This worked in my garden last year when a late frost wiped out most of the commercial Apricot crops in SA and Victoria.

This active discussion proved yet again that we don’t always need guest speakers as everyone shared information and we all learned a few hints I think. I know I did!

A Photo A Day - No. 175




Long Road Home
We left Roxby Downs this morning to travel nearly 500kms home.
It's a long , long road with very little for kilometre after kilometre...



...until we saw this...



... which lead to this.

These massive pylons carry power to the mine site at Olympic Dam,
just north of Roxby Downs.

A Photo A Day - No. 174

Maggie
We have been visiting our Son and Partner in their new home this weekend.
Meet his cat Maggie.
Don't let the sweet facade fool you; this cat is a fluffy monster!!



Friday, 22 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No.173


Lucky "Licky" Dog
Our dog Lucky just loves to clean the chooks bucket.
On these cold mornings I leave her some Warm Mash.
Bucket comes up spotless!!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 172


"The Great Beanie Swap of 2007"
At the Aussies Living Simply site.
This is my beanie that arrived from P in Victoria.
It's a snugly warm polar fleece hat.
Just right for these chilly mornings we are having!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

A Photo A day - No. 171


Chooks Feeding
The chooks are having a great time with their winter greens!
They have Barley, Rye and Oats greens to nibble at.
They can't scratch the plants up with the crates over them.
See Here

Chicken Greens

In April when I planted the green manure seeds I had some leftover. I decided to plant some in one of the chook runs for greens for the girls. The chooks had been moved out of the area to allow it to regenerate.

The area chosen was rough hoed and larger stones removed. The seed was planted in blocks of Barley, Rye and Oats. Each of these blocks was covered over with old plastic bakery crates, to stop birds and any escapee chooks scratching up the seed. These blocks were given minimal water just until germination and none since.

By late May there was good growth from each block with only the Barley being nibbled regularly by Lucky Dog.

In June the chooks were let back into the run to enjoy some juicy winter greens.

They walk on top of the crates and can't scratch the plants up. The plants are able to re-grow for them to enjoy more greens.

A couple of weeks later and the tops are nearly gone.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 170


Doc's Toys
Some of the toys that Doc has been busy making.
The instructions for some are on his blog. Here
The others will appear shortly.

Monday, 18 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 169


More Ice
No frost today but this is from the weekend.
Not sure why this shape appeared on a container of water!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 168


Gecko
A close up photo of the gecko I rescued yesterday.
He was living in a straw bale that I had to move.
See here for more info.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Garden Log 16 June 07

My To Do list for this weekend included:
  • Allow the chooks entry back in the Almond area
  • Consider what to do to improve Bed 3
  • Cut down the now dead Asparagus tops and remove
  • Clear the Cherry tree leaves out of the Pond in the Main Vegetable Garden
  • Empty some of the litter from the chook house and replace with fresh wood shavings and shredded paper
Allow the chooks entry back in the Almond area:
I had a quick tidy and fix-up (fence wise) of the Almond area and noticed a number of Tagasaste seedlings emerging...the chooks would have scratched these up so I dug about 8 up and put them into pots to grow on over winter and be planted out (somewhere) in Spring.
With fences and gate secured it was safe to let the girls in and they loved all the grassy weeds and new ground to scratch around in.

Tagasaste seedlings potted up

Consider what to do to improve Bed 3:
This bed is where the Potatoes and late Tomatoes were supposed to be over wintering. The last week of heavy (for our area) frosts have finished these off well and truly.
After thinking about this I decided to leave the bales around the edges and build up the bed to make a raised no-dig bed.
This involved moving the trampoline frame away and clearing and hoeing the soil roughly.

This bed has been plagued with cherry tree suckers and feral Liquorice plants (to weed level) so I placed a large sheet of cardboard over the base.

I then proceeded to layer up as in compost making. First with some weedy Calendula plants.

Then I swept up all the grape leaves and dog fur under the back pergola and added that.

Which led to...

Cut down the now dead Asparagus tops and remove:
These were cut down to the ground and chopped roughly and added to a layer on bed 3. The Asparagus area will now have some aged chook house litter and cow manure put on them to slowly rot down over winter and feed them in Spring.

Empty some of the litter from the chook house and replace with fresh wood shavings and shredded paper:
This was used in the layers of the "compost" bed along with straw, shredded paper, nettles from the old-girl chook run and watered with rainwater and seaweed mixture between the layers.


I found a corner of the yard with long green grass growing so I pulled it up and added that too!

Clear the Cherry tree leaves out of the pond in the main vegetable garden:
I carefully raked out the leaves in the pond. They had mixed with them some algae and azolla which are both great additives for a compost heap. So after rescuing and returning to the pond any tiny fish that had been raked up with this mix I added that to a layer in bed 3.

Ended with a layer of nettles and thin 'biscuits' of straw

So now I have:
  • The makings of a very fertile bed; that has straw edges to keep in the warmth.
  • A clear Asparagus bed.
  • A tidy pond.
  • A fresh layer of bedding litter in the chook house and some new shredded paper in the pergola compost area.
  • A few less nettles in the old girl chook run.
  • And happy young chooks in the Almond area.
  • Oh and one very tired Scarecrow!
  • But she has a free day tomorrow! :)
Oops I nearly forgot that I rescued this small Gecko from a straw bale when I started.


A Photo A Day - No. 167


Ninja at the Bird Bath
Ninja likes to sneak a drink at the bird bath.

But not this morning at -5C,
The water was frozen solid!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

A Photo A Day - No. 164


Apple and Rhubarb Pie
Doc was busy on the weekend: see here
He made this very yummy pie.
Guess who got the big piece!!!

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