Sunday, January 30, 2011

Design Ideas from Ceres

Structure is what makes the large space of Ceres such a success - it was an incredibly hot day to be there - but provided the perfect day to appreciate just how important design is in maintaining a friendly relationship with the elements!

Some design features:

Particularly like the use of rustic with good quality materials.
Found objects are considered and used in with the environment.

Overcoming the Cabbage Butterfly and Companion Planting

Well I couldn't stand it any longer and have re-installed the cabbage butterfly traps - They have had a great munch on the Sunflower leaves - so at least those aren't edible!! I had to completely cut down my native passionfruit vine due to their infestation - that was it war was declared - here are some of my army - armed with skewers and a cleaver disguise (simply cut white plastic bags into small strips and tie as a ribbon around skewers, or if the plants are established on poles - I have even tied some to the actual plant - which I wouldn't recommend in very humid climates) - its simple - I'm not convinced yet how affective it is - I do believe that companion planting is the solution here - and am working at getting the combinations right. At the moment I have got the Sunflowers next to the Corn with the Pumpkin as an understory. The Blueberry and some lemon grass are getting on very well and are shading under the leaves of the pumpkin.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Summer 2011

Today was the first day in some while I have made it into my own garden!!

What I found is over whelming - produce just as galore as the weeds.

The tomatoes are going off - however - so too are the caterpillars - I have gotten slack with the white butterfly traps and watch as they descent daily over the garden - its a race - who will get to them first - hmmm with the occassional ratty also having his share - or can I blame the possums... it is any wonder I am getting anything at all.

Netting is a serious consideration for next year.

The tiger toms are most impressive - I have decided to pick them early early and let them ripen on the window sill.

I am in need of some more good compost - so did a huge amount of pruning today - which has piled up - it should break down fairly quickly in the heat.

I am taking the Spanish approach of working early morning - before the heat hits.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Diggin da Drive

Well the sun returned! The surge of energy to get in the garden followed.

Here are the remaining steps that saw the drive completeted.

1) Finish the ditch
2) Fill with first Newspaper then weed mat - I used the newspaper to anchor the weedmat down either edge of the ditch - in otherwords - the weedmat had something to anchor itself on and fold over and tuck down. It was made a lot easier by using a lot of newspaper (thick) and wet. Keep hosing on a hot day to keep it from shifting.
3) More twigs - oh now prep work (grab a cuppa, a chair and sit in the shade) = cut wire coat-hangers into 2 and cut off the rounded head...
These are pushed down over the twigs -which I am going to add to as I collect more cuttings - as I think they are just a wee bit too shallow at the moment - and likely to sink further over time.
3) Even out the remaining soil and add dynamic lifter / dolomite lime to the bed
4) I covered the bed then with more wet newspaper to keep the weeds at bay ... a tip of dear Peter Cundall - use a fork to aerate the newspaper - now make sure to lift your irrigation hose (if you have one) first - to avoid punctures!
5) Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

It was the most perfect conditions to complete the job as all of the rain was nicely trapped beneath the mulch. I am thrilled with the results - and most importantly it means that the front will be weed free - at least for long enough to get mowing and weeding the back garden - and so another cycle begins yet again!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

RAIN - I remember you !

It has been 10 years since Melbourne has seen it like this...

Not sooo gently rains today

fuzzy peaches and plums are on the ground - but they are not floating away! funny how everything comes into sharp perspective at the moment.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fruit and floods

The garden is thriving with produce and completely content with the gentle rain.

I took it in this afternoon and considered how blessed - to be safe. To have food, on the table and growing in the garden.

My thoughts and prayers go to the people, the pets, the livestock and the wildlife of Northern Australia.

We have prayed and prayed for the rains. Now we pray for safety from the floods.

May balance be found within and without and may we savour what we have.

Be Safe. Be Well. And ever humbled by mother nature.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dilemma of the Drive

The drive way has been on my mind for a while - then as I was walking past the huge pile of mulch each day - it occurred to me to pull up the ground cover and mulch - giving the plants more form, preventing weeds and keeping moisture in. Also I have a dream of putting edibles along the drive for visitors and students to pick as they wish.

Dilemma #1 If I were to mulch this bed it would most likely continuously fall off the bed and onto the drive way - especially with digging birds

Dilemma #2 If I were to edge the drive it would be prone to damaging tyres of the cars if they were to mount the bed - and also damage the edging.

Solution: The nesting method that I used in the Front Key Hole garden, using twigs and old cuttings to create a soft edge.

Dilemma #3: This edging method I have found if prone to weeds and being spread - the twigs don't behave and stay in one spot!

There were two solutions to this: Firstly I dug a ditch and lined it with thick newspaper followed by weed mat, creating a gutter like ditch. I placed the twigs along the gutter and then - my most genius solution to date... wire coat hangers were cut and bent to hold the edge in place - allowing you to simply lift and re-fill with more twiggs as need be.

This project is just getting started - a progress report to follow

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Home - Jack Johnston

I gotta get home there's a garden to tend.
There's fruit on the ground and the birds have all moved back into my attic, whistling static,
When the young learn to fly I will patch all the holes up again.

Well i can't believe that my lime tree is dead
I thought it was sleeping
I guess it got fed up with not being fed
And I would be too I need food in my belly and hope that my time isn't soon

So I, try, to understand, what I can't hold in my hand, and where ever we are, home is there too
And if you, could try to find it too, cause this place is overgrown into waxing mood,
Home is wherever we are, if there's love there too.

In the back of our house there's a trail that wont end
We were walking so far that it grew back in,
There's no trail at all, only grass growing tall,
Get out my machette and battle with time once again,
But i'm bout to loose because i'll be damned if time don't win

I gotta get home theirs a garden to tend, all the seeds from the fruit buried again
There own family trees teach them thank you and please as they spread their own roots they watch their
Young fruit grow again
And this old trail will lead me right back to where it begins

So I, try to understand, what I can't hold in my hand, and whatever I find, I'll find my way back to you
And if you could try to find it too, cause this place is overgrown into waxing mood
Home is wherever we are if there is love there too.

Plum Harvest

1/2 a green bag - and that was just what was at eye level - there is enough for the possums and the humans to each have their share! Last year I put in a ditch around the drip line and filled it with Agi-Pipe. I haven't needed to flood the ditch this year with the amount of rain we have had. We really didn't know if the plum tree would survive. But it has thrived!