Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bay Leaves


Bay Leaves
I'm being plagued with pantry moths at the moment.
So I've picked some leaves to put on the shelves.
They're supposed to keep the pesky moths away.
I'm hoping they will!
smile

Monday, 25 February 2008

The Rhubarb Lives


This is one of the Rhubarb plants
that was saved earlier this year.
They have both grown well
since having the shadecloth cover over them.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Garden Log: 24 Feb 08

A promise is a cloud;
fulfillment is rain.
~Arabian Proverb~

After 9 long, hot, dry weeks it finally rained on Friday!
It was great to hear water trickling
into my empty water tank again!
After soaring temperatures during the week
the rain heralded a cool change.
Friday's max of 17.5C was a pleasant change
from Tuesday's top of 39C.
Total rainfall was 1.6mm..better than nothing wink

After the long, dry summer I didn't think I'd have much of an entry in the "Harvest Basket" competition at Garden Club this year but when I went out to scrounge in the garden I managed the entry in the photo above...



A quick photo update...

Lucerne ready for planting...
...some has been planted on Bed 8.


Celpar (parcel) sprouting new leaves
with silverbeet seedlings at rear of tray.


One of the Yellow Tommy Toe Tomato seedlings
destined for the hothouse over winter.


Red Sisho's beautiful colours

Wicking boxes take off
with just a bit of a top up after a hot week


Oh and for Kate...



...already there are signs of new life
around the clay pots in the tank beds!!!


Sunrise


Yesterday's sunrise.
Taken on an early morning trip
to 'The Big Smoke'


Friday, 22 February 2008

Harvest Basket 08


After 9 long, hot, dry weeks it's finally raining up here!

After the long, dry summer
I didn't think I'd have much of an entry
in the "Harvest Basket" competition
at Garden Club this year
but when I went out to scrounge in the garden I managed the entry in above...
This was last years.

A lot of room was taken up with a pumpkin
grown on the wicking bed
but I found Silverbeet, NZ Spinach, Basil, Bronze Fennel,
Chives, Parsely, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber, Zucchini,
Capsicum and Chillis, Eggplants, Red Onions,
Grapes, 2 kinds of Plums, 2 kinds of Apples,
2 kinds of Almonds
and of course some eggs from the girls.

...I won first place again. smile

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Almonds by the Bucket

Bucket loads of Almonds off the ground!
The birds knock them down.
We have to be quick though.
Lucky Dog loves to crunch them up!



Other photos of my Almond trees include:
The Blossoms
Bees in the Blossom
Galahs in the Almond Tree

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

What's all this for??


Clay pots, sealer, and coins???
Go here to find out

Clay Pot Waterers

Kate at Hills and Plains Seedsavers group/blog
has finally talked me into doing this. lol

Making a clay pot waterer:
I've been collecting terracotta pots from garage sales and squirreling away any that come my way from Garden Club members. I've been planning this for a while, this post from Kate made up my mind .

I wasn't sure how to block the holes up in them but Kate's notes suggested coins. I found some 'olympic supporters' coins/medallions that the kids collected from newspapers when we were living in 'pre-olympic games' Sydney some years ago. I doubt they are of any real value now. But as seals for these pots they will be valuable to me.

Doc bought me some sealant a while ago so I got that out. I plugged up those holes and thought about what to plant and where.
I'm not ready to plant anything in the veg beds yet as I'm still planning the re-vamp there.



I made up a small batch of planting mix with moist coir, compost and some potting mix. This went around the edges of the pots to help draw out and retain the water that percolates through the terracotta pot.



I chose a shady spot close to the potting area and another near the end of the potting bench (in more sun).
The larger pots were put there with Kale and Silverbeet around the edges...the one in the sun I've put NZ Spinach and Bronze Fennel.
Filled them the pots with water and covered them with a piece of slate to stop evaporation. They are covered with chook wire to keep Mrs Houdini out (we really need to do something about that chook!)



In 2 of the Tank Beds in the Dog Pen Garden I've put the smaller pots, 2 into one and 3 in the other. Around these I've planted seeds to see if they will grow. I've planted Spinach, Pak Choi, Wong Bok, Coriander, Fenugreek and Queen Anne's Lace just to see how things germinate in this watering system.


Monday, 18 February 2008

Elderberry Flowers





Despite the heat the Elderberry is still flowering!

Garden Log: 17 Feb 08

As I said last week the temps are on the rise...
...around 35C all weekend
and until Wednesday this week.
We also have the best chance for rain this week,
that we have had for 8 weeks now.
Fingers crossed.

Doc has had enough of the birds (including the pretty Ring Necked Parrots) stealing his fruit so one night we spent wrapping fruit trees up in net curtains. Only to have the wind pick up over the following few days and blow all the curtains off! rolleyes
They are being replaced now and more securely attached.

Fruit harvesting is coming along well...early apples are being tested...sometimes a little too early! Figs under the curtains are nearly there, and buckets of Almonds have been collected from under the big tree, smaller than normal this year but plentiful.



The Wicking Boxes are looking good but the surface is very dry...this is ok but some of the plants I put in still have shallow roots systems so these I have minimally watered from the surface. I shouldn't need to do this once their roots have grown further into the growing mix.

Last weeks planting of Lucerne Sequel has germinated well and I've begun preparations of the bed (8) to plant this out soon. I've replaced the in-line dripper hose to the bed and moved the surviving 3 cherry trees (still small) onto this bed.

I intend to keep this bed fenced, from the chooks and grow Lucerne under the Cherry trees which hopefully will survive long enough to be grafted next spring and then trained as per the Spanish Bush method.

The Lucerne can be cut for chicken feeding or for mulching around the garden. Once established it only requires light watering hopefully from rainfall!

This is part of a major re-organisation of the main vegetable garden area.

More about this later...

Monday, 11 February 2008

Wicking Box Gardens

Wicking Box Gardens
I had to plant some of these rapidly growing brassicas so I decided on a few wicking boxes.
The concept of these is the same as the in ground Wicking Beds.



You need a container without drainage holes, it's sides need to be at least 30cm tall.
Here in Aust broccoli is packed in polystyrene boxes that are just about right for this.
They are 600 mm x 300mm in size and will need a hole made in the side about 100mm high for drainage. Experiment with the height of this hole.

If you only have boxes with holes in them use these but line the base with plastic. Only the bottom 100mm needs to be covered as it's only to this height that will need to hold water.



For these I'm using up some hose that is sold for distributing grey water from washing machines.We're not using this in our grey water set up so it's been sitting in the shed. It's a 22 mm hose and has holes the length of it.
I had some of the larger drainage pipe left-over from making the in-ground beds so I tried some with this too.



The ends of the small hose were blocked with some of Doc's leftover dowel bits. The larger hose was able to be wedged against the edge of the box.
These hoses were placed in the bottom of the box and covered with some chux-like cloth (thin cleaning cloth) off a roll from the cheap shop.



The covered pipe was surrounded with chopped pea straw and shredded paper to hold the water. This was covered with a thin layer of chook house bedding a mixture of wood shavings shredded paper and chook poop.

Please Note:
These early boxes had straw and paper in that base layer but as it broke down this mixture became very smelly. I now use sand or a sand and gravel mix.
I might add that doing this has made these boxes very heavy so it's best to build them at the site where you intend to keeping them.




I used Max Mixer to make up a mixture of potting mix, compost, blood and bone, coir soaked in Seaweed extract, Charlie carp, Epsom salts and potash.



An important part of this system is to add some worm bedding including some of the compost worms.



A tube of 50cm drain pipe was cut and had 15 mm holes drilled into the sides of it. This is where the worm food will be put and the worms will enter it to eat.
This saves having unbroken down food scraps in the box. The scraps are blended up and put into the tube of which about 1/3 is buried.


These boxes have been planted up with Mini Cauliflower, Broccoli, Lebanese Cress, Parsley, Kale, some companions Egyptian Onions, Thyme; later some Celpar and Coriander may be added if there is room.



I've used lengths of small conduit pipe from a cloche kit, to hold up some 50% shade cloth while it's still quite warm, later this will be replaced with a curtain to keep the cabbage moths and aphids off the growing brassicas.

Updates:
Wicking Boxes and The Heat
Wicking Worm Bed Questions?

More info:
Wicking Worm Bed Basics

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