Friday, 31 October 2008

My Spot

This is my favourite spot in the garden...I sit on that log and count all the sunflowers and straw flowers, the cosmos and calendulas, the nigella and alyssum that are popping up all the time.

I watch the yarrow and tansy, the rosemary and lavender, the correas and arctotis, the erigeron and oregano, the golden marjoram, borage and wallflowers that I've planted as they settle in and start to flower.

Even the clovers and dandelions flower and attract the beneficial insects that take care of my garden.

In the evenings and first thing in the morning this area is alive with busy garden friends...damsel flies and honey bees, the native bees and ladybirds, the dragonflies and hoverflies...and scurrying through the undergrowth are skinks and geckos.

Common Bluetail Damselfly - Ischnura heterosticta

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Chilli Peppers Live Again

Last year in a tub in the Dog Pen Tank Garden I grew two Jalapeno Hot Peppers. They were still growing well in early April this year when we had to move their tub to make way for Doc's Cob Oven area re-vamp. wink

As they still had fruit on them I stuck them into a couple of tyres where some Raspberries no longer grew by the gate. During the tidy up I popped some rocks around the base of them as mulch.

As winter wore on and the frosts came,
they looked like they were dead. rolleyes

Just as I was about to pull them out the other day I thought I saw some green...sure enough they are sprouting to life again. I've heard of this happening to others before but never had it happen here with all our frosts.

It's just as well they will live again because I hadn't planned on planting any this year.
Now I don't need to. mrgreen

Growing requirements
- similar to Capsicums.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Then I Can Plant!

Garden Log 26 Oct 08:

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 1.9C Ya! No Frost Again!
Lowest Max 21.2C
Highest Max 33C
No Recorded Rainfall

Three Wicking Box Gardens that were built earlier this year were sitting on the Pergola bench not doing a lot. When I watered them I noticed they were still working well so I topped them up with some more worm castings and planted some Salad Greens. The Shade cloth 'blind' has been re-attached to the North (sunny) side of the pergola as the weather has started to get seriously warm already. These greens will do well in this position.

Speaking of greens...I trimmed back the greens that were going to seed in the Greens Tank Bed and have put in a couple of Ida Gold Tomatoes...these are very yummy, yellow cherry tomatoes that grow on a bush that doesn't grow very tall. I've popped a couple of Purple Basil seedlings in as companions.



During the week I mulched some fruit trees in the Northern side Chook Run, behind the Main Veg Garden. It's quite overgrown with Tagasaste and Acacias in there so I chopped my way through these trees and used the trimmings for mulch.
Both these trees are Legumes so their foliage makes a useful mulch and it's free! wink No doubt the 3 old girl chooks in that area will get stuck into it but they will be moving to the other side of the block soon.

At last I've covered the little shade house with 50% white shadecloth. This little house started life as the Pot-on Dudes Hothouse last year. The frame has survived well and now this has become my little shady pond house. housing the bathtub water garden, and boxes for now. Growing water food plants Water Chestnuts, Kangkong, Watercress, Lebanese Watercress and Duck Potatoes.
The shadecloth has been added to cut down on the evaporation of the water from the 'ponds'. It has provided a great little micro-habitat for growing these plants.

Saturday's forecast of high temps (up to 40C around here) and strong North winds (over 30kph) meant we had to put up some extra protection for the young seedlings...more shadecloth on the Northern side of the benches to cut the wind force down!
As is turned out the top temp only reached 33C but the winds were still quite fierce.

This week's first job is to attached the new shade cover over the three Main Vegetable Beds I was hoping to plant them out before having to do this but the temperatures are up around 30C already so I might as well get it all up now.

Then I Can Plant! mrgreenmrgreenmrgreen

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Antz Attack!

I normally complain about ants hanging around in the garden
...they bite ouch! cry

But this morning I found these three guys hauling away the body of a Cabbage Moth Caterpillar. I don't know whether they had killed the little grub or not but they are welcome to take as many of these caterpillars as they like!

In the time it took me to take the photos
they had dragged him over a metre. eek

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Ladybirds to the Rescue

Last summer was very dry...so far this year we have only received around 125mm not nearly half our yearly average of around 360mm...and it's nearly November!

Needless to say most of the perennial plants here are rather stressed!

Some of the fruit trees are under attack from a black aphid and I was tempted to spray with something...I did. eek

I sprayed them all with a diluted liquid seaweed mixture. That should help the trees build up their immune systems.

As for the Aphids....

The Ladybirds have arrived this week to sort them out!
mrgreenmrgreenmrgreen

Along with these tiny wasps I think they will have the place clear by the weekend judging by how many there are out in the garden.

Thank you my garden helpers

By the looks of this there could be a few new ones arriving soon!
winkwinkwink

idea Another hint from Grammy is that Nasturtiums will attract aphids away from wanted crops to allow for a soap spray to be used!
I'll remember that for later in the season when the Nasturtiums are flowering!
Thanks Grammy! biggrin

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bird Babies!

Garden Log Oct 19 08:

So that's why the Magpie Larks have been so stroppy with the Black Ninja lately...a baby one out for her first forage in the mulch. Poor Ninja can't even go into the front garden without being attacked by these birds and the Wattlebirds! rolleyes

Temperatures this week:
Lowest Min 1.2C Ya! No Frost!
Lowest Max 19.4C
Highest Max 33.1C
No Recorded Rainfall

Planting:
Potted on some perennial cuttings taken last month.
Potted on a few seedlings.
I was a bit busy this week for more than that this week will have to play catch-up later!



Lot's of flowers are starting to bloom on the Pond Edge...The papery petals of the Everlasting Daisy Helipterum roseum don't seem real. The 'Mauve' Pigface Mesembryanthemum looks more pink to me but it is lovely.



The grey leaved yellow Yarrow Achillea is just bursting into flower.
Even the Water Lilies in the pond are flowering.

The Ladybirds have arrived
to help with an Aphid problem on the plum trees...

...and they are visiting the flowers while they are here.

The Greens Tank Bed is ready for a haircut...
some Ida Gold Cherry (bush) tomatoes
and Purple Basil will be going in there very soon.



As for fruit there are Strawberries only days away and the Stella Cherries are getting bigger...they'll be netted as the fruit changes colour as those pesky Blackbirds eat the fruit before it's ripe enough for us.

The idea of planting at the edge
of the propagation bench is working
with this display of flowers and herbs
enjoying the excess water they get.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Catching Earwigs!!!!

It's the time of the year when the European Earwigs (Forficula auricularia) start eating everything in sight. They can destroy young seedlings overnight! If you go outside with a torch after dark they will be there. You can squish them but wear gloves coz they nip at your fingers with those nasty pincers they have! They absolutely love mulched gardens.

While allowing the chooks to scratch through last seasons crops and mulch works at reducing numbers of these creatures I can't always time that right. My friends the lizards eat these nasties too and sometimes the chooks eat my little lizard friends eek so I find other ways to deal with them!

You can trap them in old tuna tins filled with cooking oil and water but these need to be emptied regularly or they start to stink! I've also accidentally caught lizards in these pots too. cry

My favourite way is to get some old hose pipe and cut it into 30cm lengths. For some reason the weepy hose made from recycled car tyres seems to work the best. I have plenty of this as I've replaced all mine and refuse to use them anymore because they go brittle after about a year and split easily. They also leach chemicals so are not recommended for use in vegetable gardens!

I place these lengths of hose around the garden partially hidden in the mulch. Each morning I go out with a bucket and shake the hose pipes into it

...out roll the earwigs into the bucket.

Then it's down to the chookies for their morning treat!
They love 'em.

Only one problem...after doing this for a short while there are few earwigs left for the chookies now! rolleyes

I should stress that these are European Earwigs not Native Australian ones...these native ones are mainly predators (some of the Codling Moth larvae) so that makes those ones my friends! wink

Catching the European Earwigs while they are alive means that I can remove any of the Native 'Good Guys' (they are easily identified) so the chooks don't eat my friends! cool

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