Monday, June 26, 2006

Nibbles V Brussels Sprouts

Some people find that feral rabbits come into their gardens and eat all those lovely vegies. This can be a problem, but trapping them and making them into curried rabbit is a great way to solve this problem.

Now what do you do with a cute cuddly lop bunny who has you firmly under his paw???

Sunday, June 25, 2006

No-dig area ready

All finished and now resting until the spring sowing.

Today I finished the area off by removing the last of the asparagus stalks. Weeded around the bloomsdale spinach, garlic, spring onions and chives.

Compost was added the area and then sheep manure on top along with a few handfuls of dolomite lime, then watered in.

So here's hoping come this summer I get a bumper harvest of sweet corn and tomatoes.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Gardener's Gold

This is gardener's gold, aged sheep manure from under a shearing shed. Last night just after 11.30 p.m. my sister and her family called in with these 4 bags of sheep manure for my garden. They were here if I was lucky for 15 mins before they headed off to their daughter's place. I wasn't expecting them until today but at the last minute they decided to come down the night before. This then allowed me to work a day earlier out in the garden.

Already one bag has been used and is spread across the no-dig garden that I am preparing for the summer crops of tomatoes and corn.

One bag equaled just over a wheel barrows worth and opening the bag I was greeted with the smell of my childhood. Funny how back in the 70's as a kid I used to hang round the shearing shed at times when dad was working sheep and my younger sister and I would help out. Sure beat a day at the school table. To think I was standing on a mountain of gardening wealth.

Sheep poo already starting to break down. To get the manure to break down quicker, mix it in the soil or mulch. I have left it on top for the time being and as the weeks go past, they will be mixed into the straw and compost.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Resting Beautifully

This area was the last part of the garden I converted to a no-dig area, over some lawn, back a few years ago now.

Been a long time since I have had an area looking this empty. The other day we pulled out the capsicum plants due to the cold weather and frosts slowing the plants right down. Just to the left of the spring onions you can see the garlic and plain chives. Poor chives are feeling the cold, but come spring they will reshoot and take off again.

Usually I add to the area when I think it needs it, even though there are plants in the soil. But thought this time round it could do with a good power boost before I decide what I am going to be planting into this area.

I do the rotating of plants but depending on what I am growing to what goes after the last harvest.

I am thinking of planting corn at the front and pumpkins behind it. That way the duck water from the ponds can be used to water the corn easy enough, with out climbing all over the pumpkins.

I didn't get round to planting pumpkins last year due to an ankle injury and being on crutchers. The corn too was a flop and was fed to the animals and the stalks cut up and placed in the compost bins. So this year I am looking for a bumper crop from both.

Tomorrow my sister is bringing down some sheep manure from under their shearing shed. Not sure how much I am getting but hoping its enough for me to boost up the soil with a feed of manure mixed with straw and compost that I have made.

To get a good harvest it's the soil you must feed and this in return will feed your plants and that in return will feed you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Preparing for the spring sowing.

Last couple of days I have been cleaning up around the food gardens. Fruit trees pruning and removing spent plants from the vegie patch.

With all the frosts we have had the Blue Lake climbing beans had come to an end and so this afternoon I pains takingly removed all the climbing beans from the trellis. While doing this I had a great idea of instead of removing the trellis and packing it down behind the chook house. I'll leave it where it is until needed down the track.

Weeded around the leeks and lettuces and noticed Nibbles has been living up to his name with the lettuces and snow peas on the other trellis. Pat said I'll have to have Nibbles in a play pen once the seedlings go in. This saddens me as Nibbles loves running round the backyard.

Pat pulled out the capsicum plants as they too had just about given up with the frosts. These plants were cut up by hand and added to the compost bin. Yesterday I dried 3 trays of capsicum and a tray of chilies on my electric dehydrator, for winter cooking.

Also the area that is resting down the back is now being prepared for some beetroot and carrots seeds to go in with in the week. Soil was turned today and any weeds were removed. After all the compost and gypsum added to the area back a couple of months ago it has broken up the clay and the soil looks dark, rich and full of worms and that is wonderful in my books.

So over the next few days I'll finish pruning the apricot tree, pull out more weeds from around plants. Check my seed bank and write down what I am in need of and order from an organic seed club I am a member of. Make a list of seedlings I am wanting and seed raising mix for the seedlings I will germinate myself for the spring/summer seasons. Plus a list of organic fertilizers such as Blood & Bone, gypsum, dolomite lime and liquid seaweed emulsion.

People think winter is a quiet time in the vegie garden, but to me it's one of the busiest times of the year.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pruning the plum tree

It's that time of the year again where fruit trees need to be pruned. I am first to say I am not the foremost expert on tree pruning, but I do get large fruits off the plum & apricot trees each year. So today I pruned the plum tree completely and started on the apricot tree and gave up for the day at the half way point.

Pat gave me a pair of ratchet secateurs for my birthday last year and with using these I was able to prune for longer.

I had Pat take a couple of branches out to open up the plum tree a bit and I removed the branches that were crossing over and then cut the tree height by a third.

It was lovely out in the winter sun gardening and we had animals everywhere. Ducks were watching what I was doing and I had the Manny & the chooks out on parole. Amy let her guinea pigs run around on the lawn for a while with Nibbles before being put into the playpen with Flossy.

Flossy and Cadbury were in their outside cages. The birds were each positioned on a corner of the clothes lines enjoying the sun and talking and chattering amongst themselves.

I took a break for a morning cup and then once the BBQ was ready to be eaten.

To me pruning is relaxing and rewarding and when finished can stand back and say I did a great job. The only thing that was disappointing was I don't own a garden shredder. So I have to send the tree pruning off the place to dispose of them.

Who's got contacts with Management??

Cadbury's babies were sold yesterday, so she's a single bunny again. Flossy is camping over with Nibbles for about 3 weeks and then she'll hopefully be well and truly pregnant.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

100th posting.

One job I always like to do every weekend is my compost heaps. Not only is it a great work out for me, the process of turning the compost bins weekly helps to keep the turn over for my vegie garden a regular source of food for the plants and soil.

I had just started when my niece and her partner phoned to say they were calling in for a coffee and chat. So I left the bags of bunny litter and shredded paper from my office area near the compost bins until I was ready to use them later in the afternoon.

As I was out the back I let the chooks out to run with the ducks for the afternoon. This was lovely as I was able to watch their antic while working on my no-dig area for this coming season's tomatoes.

Well Paddles and Rhett and a couple of chooks were busted raiding the bags to see what yummy goodies were inside for them to eat. Somehow I don't think they got what they were looking for and I was left with a mess.

When it was time to transfer compost to the no-dig area and more compost from one bin to the next, I suddenly was a pile of chooks and ducks best friend. As they know inside those bins are a whole lot of yummy worms.

So while I forked around them, moved chook's bums out the road and tried not to step on webbed feet, I managed to move 1 bin full of compost to my composting tumbler and the other bin across to the then empty compost bin.

So what did I have after the afternoon's fun and games out the back?

An area more ready for summer tomatoes, compost bins air-rated and moved to the next stage and some protein filled ducks & chooks from feasting on plump worms.

So we all got somethig out of the composting area this afternoon and that's heaps better than going to landfill in my books.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Adding to a no-dig garden

I have been adding to the first no-dig garden area I started about 4 years ago. Tomatoes will be planted here this coming summer and so a preparation for this area is in need.

So far duck bedding and rabbit hutch waste has been put here. I will be adding a tumbler of compost this weekend and hopefully before spring is finished some sheep manure.

This area has over time had straw, compost and sheep manure added to the area. But I am hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer season for making pickles with. So I am taking some extra care in getting the area ready.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Steaming cold mornings

Pat took this photo of our neighbours fence as the sun started to shine on it. The mornings here in Adelaide are making weather records and we're seeing some amazing footage on the news at night from the Adelaide Hills.

More photos can be seen on my main website

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Coldest day in 17 years

This morning at about 7.30 I was outside taking photos of the frost as it came down. Even though I wasn't dressed for such a frosty morning, it was fun looking round to see what was frost touched and what missed out.

Top of the chook house was looking white in places and I did so feel for Manny & his wives as I crunched round the yard.

Boy sure am glad we didn't leave the rabbits outside overnight by mistake. It was weird touching the lawn where the frost had settled. I could hear it crunch under my feet as I walked.

The bird bath was fill of ice and it reminded me of one of those icy slush drinks kids like on a hot summer day.

  • Today was the coldest morning here in Adelaide for 17 years.
  • When I was out taking these photos is was -1.9
  • At 8 am it was -0.5
I love winter and for those minutes out the back taking these photos it was most exhilarating moment in time.

What a wakeup call.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Manny up close

Yesterday I sent some time out cleaning the poultry area out. All the chicken litter was collected and mixed into the compost bins.

Fresh chicken manure is very hot and should never be used fresh around any plants as it'll burn the roots and most likely kill the plant.

Chicken litter is a great heat activator for the compost heaps.

Manny is feathering up into a handsome rooster and only needs his tail feather now. He's not big on crowing and this is great after Henry who used to crow at a anything day or night.

Manny is a Plymouth Rock.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Yellow-fly Traps

Being as organic as I can be in my backyard I used to buy a product to combat against white-fly. These were a very sticky yellow trap, bought in nurseries and some hardware shops in packets of 5.

I have been noticing though these traps like chemical sprays don'’t know a good bug from a bad bug. Over the times I have set these sticky traps out in my vegie garden I have found some good bugs getting caught on the glue. Namely bees and also noticed the odd bird feathers. Also I have read where a gardener had a gecko stuck on a trap and needed to know how to remove the gecko without harming it

So I am making my own with some yellow A4 paper cut down to a manageable size and laminating them. A hole puncher will be used to give me a spot to thread a bag tie through it and hang on a trellis out in the garden.

I am going to smear the trap with Vaseline to make it sticky enough to catch the white-fly but hopefully the bees will be able to escape. It must be yellow paper as this colour attracts white-fly to the sheets.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My name

It's tough being inside while it's nearly freezing outside at night. The gas heater sure makes it hard to stay awake. But someone has to do it.

This is my cat Lucky and it's where I got my handle from. She's nearly 10 years old and so spoilt.

Lucky lives up to her name, as she was found abandoned at an interchange near the train track; eyes not even open.

Taken to the local vet and a nurse there was taken with her and was hand rared. At 6 weeks of age a notice was posted in the vet waiting room and 20 mins later we walked in with our 17 year old Siamese female who was having a check-up.

The rest is history.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Out & About

Its quiet in the garden and so I thought a few zoo photos might go down a treat for today.

Adelaide University Bridge along the Torrens River.

We walked around along the river and under the bridge to get to the zoo. This is about the area we were at when we saw the family of swans.

So many people walk, jog, run, cycle, or relax along this area and why not as it's a stunning place to be and enjoy.

I love these little Mandarin ducks with their
feather colouring.

The tiger has a new enclosure with a swimming pool which has a viewing glass for us to see him swimming.

Also with the new area we are able to take photos from a viewing platform with no wire between us.

I love the big cats and could take hundreds of photos of them in a visit to the zoo. I have this photo as my desk top picture.

Unlike the tiger the lions are behind wire and the trick to taking the photo is not having any wire showing.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Baby Swans

Today Pat & I went into the city to the zoo. We walked along the River Torrens and came across a pair of black swans with their 5 babies. This is the first time I have seen the swans at this age.

Black swans are so graceful as they glide along the water.

Black swans are so graceful as they glide along the water.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sinders checking out Harley.

Sinders & Smoky are getting on Cadbury's nerves a bit now. We have noticed she seems to be weaning them off her more now.

So today we put some food down for them in the way of apple slices, rainbow chard and carrot sticks. Well besides a quick nibble it was off to explore the room and harass Harley the Siamese.

So we will need to think of another way to get these 2 babies to sit still and have a feed. Maybe a bit of food on our laps at night will be the way to go.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hello from Smoky and Sinders

Hello aren't we getting bigger now?? Starting to run round and explore our home. Also we are trying out solid foods now.

Hey my mum has been taking our photos again and putting them on her main website and there is a photo of me Smoky eating a pear my dad gave us.

It was raining here the other day and we were safe inside our home, with the TV on and a gas heater helping to keep us warm.

My bunny mum Cadbury is outside in the nursery run soaking up the sun today and so we are running round our hutch having a ball.

Anyway time for a nap so hoo roo until next time mum sticks a camera in my face.