Monday, December 20, 2010

The gardening empire expands

After languishing in the shed for over a year the hot house was pulled out of hibernation and thrusted into the sunlight.
There was a little more to it than that. Rellos rolled up to help and direct and i ran around from hither to thither fetching different tools.
Clearing and flattening the  site took a little while with picks and shovels. The ground being riddled with privet roots didn't help much and then there was also the need to separate gravel from wood chips from the soil. Some of us thought that was important anyway. Then there was getting the width a bit wrong and expanding the flattened area a little more. While this was happening the kids went for a bush walk in the gully and could not be found where they were last seen. This necessitated one or several of the workers to leave and walk around with frown on face but unable to hear much to to bubbling stream which sounded a bit like kids talking. Of course the kids turn up where they should in the end.
continue working with plenty of adjustments then some final drilling a screwing bits down and the structure is done. Potting benches are put in place and someone gets very excited and transfers all his temporary nursery plants into their nice warm new home. AAAAH.

New animals on the farm include Turkeys and Ducks.
The 3 Turkeys are now happily free ranging in the orchard after we put up the fence to protect the vege garden. They are having such fun.

The Ducks

 which are egg laying snail eating Khaki Campbell/ Indian Runner crosses, are waiting in their "A" frame palace until they are big enough to not fit through the wire that surrounds the orchard. They are a bit shy and don't really like to be picked up at all.

Yes - there is supposed to be a hole in the wire! The new drill got a work out on this one.

There is a lot to report on as far as wire and mesh goes. The new electrified mesh arrived toady and will be rolled out over the next week when we work out what sort of power source etc is required.

However the pinnacle of the netting empire is the newly enclosed vege garden.

Now there will be no Bower birds nibbling leaves and fruit and seeds. Now life will be a little easier and plants that go in the ground will most likely survive and possibly even thrive.

Wildlife moments
A very lost grey Kangaroo hopped up to the house one morning - then went away again
The Potato Orchids started to flower

These potato orchids have no leaves and live off of Under ground funghi - which live in the roots of trees

A long list of Wombat moments. His new name is "Wally Wombat Peter Bush animal"
Rufus Fantails in the gullies
Red-browed finches on the driveway. I do love a finch.
Stumbled upon the mound where the Lyre bird does his singing
Got several leach bites ( they only itch and swell for 3 days)
"Giant" tadpoles in the dam

Lizard love in the orchard

blue-tounged lizards being amorous
 Finally because of our amazing rain here we are picking mushrooms. We mostly are finding them on forest edges rather than in the paddocks which is the norm for Autumn.
Mushrooms with a Lyre bird feather from the forest

Sunday, December 5, 2010

preparing beds, fencing and planting

I'm quite unaccustomed to the density of weeds that i have had to contend with when preparing a vegetable bed. At our old place preparing a vegetable bed was a breeze as long as there was no couch grass around. I have used several methods to try to fast track the soil preparation. One method we have use is to invert the top soil to the bottom in weedy chunks and line the bottom of the beds with chicken manure. I once read about this method as a way to convert a lawn to a vegetable garden.

inverted bed step 1 - dig out chunks and move aside

inverted be step 2 &3 - add chicken manure then place chunks grass side down on the manure.
 hopefully the manure will speed up the rotting of the weeds. We have also gone through beds the old fashioned way and removed all weeds. this is a good one for beds that you want to plant in in a hurry. we have also inverted the weedy chunks, piled more soil on top in the course of terracing beds and them piled on worm filled horse manure and covered that in cardboard.

Another project completed a while ago now was the reinforcement and repair of the chicken run.

The new and improved chook fence
 As there were many holes in the fence we raised the old wire and used it to make a floppy top on the fence that makes it hard for foxes to climb. We then used new tougher wire for the bottom of the fence and a small skirt. We also realigned the fence line so that it wasn't so close to tree trunks.

So what has gone in the ground?
A row of climbing beans (Dutch pole, Zebra) and peas (Sno and telephone)

 A row of dwarf beans consisting of Helens white seeded bush bean, Borlotti and Cherokee wax. These were hammered a bit by the baby grasshoppers. I have also been liquid fertilising in an area of the beds where wood chips had been dug into the soil by previous gardeners, resulting in a nitrogen deficiency.

Salad greens have gone in including Endive, Cos lettuce, rocket, Tat tsoi and Paak Tsoi and some Iranian Dill.

Lots of other things have done into pots in the temporary nursery.

A small sample of the pot plantings include:
Westralia climbing bean
Calico Lima bean
Fennel Zefa Fino
German scarlet runner bean
Tree lucerne
Raddicio red verona

Another bed has been sown with Parsnip, Beetroot, Coriander and Mizuma.

Then there's the potato bed. This has been planted with Dargo goldfields, Tasmanian pink eye, Kipfler, and King Edward.(All thanks to Graeme George at our first Yarra Valley Seedsavers meeting)

Rhubarb and Strawberries have gone in another bed.
Mozambique maize has also gone into a bed of nice friable soil on the orchard side of the garden but they are yet to peep their heads above the ground.