Monday, March 27, 2006

Visiting other animals

Isn't she beautiful? This is Echo my nephew's female eclectuc parrot. Pat and I called round this morning to drop off some organic vegies for both Echo and Buddy to feast on for the next few days.

Echo loves coming out of her cage.

Buddy is the male ecleltuc parrot and he's a funny thing. Loves to talk to you through the wires but not too keen on coming out of the cage. He is well known for tipping out the fruit and veg from the bowl onto the floor of the cage.

Do you think he would do it today for me, no......he waited until we had left.

This is Bear; she a pure bred Boarder Collie. She's a lovely dog and loves to play and play some more.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Seedlings in for winter harvesting.


This plant is from the October 05 sowing. There are quite a lot of tomatoes on the bush and here's hoping for a fresh organic tomato in the cooler months on my dinner plate.


Loose leaf lettuces planted out last night into a mixture of soil, dolomite lime, worm castings, compost and chicken poo pellets. Watered with some seaweed solution to help with transplanting shock.

Rainbow chard was also planted last night, most of this will be winter pickings for the animals as I am the only one in the family that eats it. Once again treated the same as the lettuces.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chickens first dust bath


Today the little chickens were moved from the nursery pen over to the poultry run. Before we let them loose we clipped one wing, as this lot tend to get excited and fly a bit.

First thing they did was start dirt bathing and were they enjoying themselves. I was sitting there watching them for awhile.

On dusk I'll collect them and pop them into their box and into the shed for their own safety at night. Still too little to be penned up with the chook all the time as I am sure they older chooks will take great pleasure in picking on the babies. Also if there is a cooler night, I would be worried they were not warm enough.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Big "Z"


I am always saying how I tend to harvest my vegies when smaller as they taste sweeter and have more punch with the taste.

These 2 zucchinis somehow snuck past me and I picked them today. Thought I'd use a pen to show you the sizes.

  • Left one weighs 1566 grams
  • Right one weights 1200 grams

These will not have a good flavour on their own and so I will use them to make about 3 zucchini slices in the next day or so. At the same time I will use up the surplus duck eggs in the house as well. Then into the freezer for eating when the zucchinis are out of season.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fungi


After tea tonight I was out turning my compost and emptying out the tumbler for use in the vegie garden.

Giving the compost a good going over and making sure there was no dry spots I was able to see what was going on in the bins.

I found worms, slatters and other compost friends that help to break down the waste.

Fungi was also present in the compost bins and the above fungi caught my eye. Growing among the newspaper bedding from Cadbury's hutch.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Beans



Blue Lake beans are starting to crop now. Nothing is nicer than fresh beans on the dinner plate the same hour they are picked.

If I keep harvesting the beans they will keep flowering and I'll keep picking. Hopefully I'll get a good size harvest before the cold weather comes in.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Stock Loss

My brother in law tells me if I have animal stock, I can expect to have losses as well. This might be true but when a loss happens it is heartbreaking.

Today has been one of those days. If I could go back and change what happened I would. But I can't and this in itself is the hardest part of excepting what happened.

Just a busy day first thing in the morning. We had a state election and not being well at the moment, the idea of going out and voting was not my idea of a great day. We just wanted to get it over and done with and get home again.

So when we arrived home I started to go about my day and this included taking the scrap bucket to the ducks and chooks.

This is when I noticed the baby ducks weren't with Banjo. Oprah was with her mum Bonnie, but no baby ducks. I checked the shed and around near the compost bins and inside the chicken run, just in case they has squeezed through the chicken wire.

Then I thought of the duck pond down the other end of the poultry run. The gate was open and yes, they had climbed into the adult pond and couldn't get out.

They had drowned.

Through me not checking the gate properly, the ducklings paid with their short little lives.

I showed Banjo her babies, but she wouldn't come very close to them and so I am guessing as she guarded them so closely she knew what had happen.

I cried tears of sadness at the loss of the ducklings and at my carelessness of wanting to go out before I had checked to make sure the gate was closed and they were safe.

I cannot stress how important it is to make sure not only baby ducks but also adult ducks have a safe way out of any water container.

Friday, March 17, 2006

No-Dig Gardening Soil


Isn't this soil beautiful??? This is an area that I have set aside as a no-dig garden. I wanted to cut down the lawn area a few years back and at the same time increase my vegie growing area.

On the left is common chives and on the right are some spring onions I have grown from my own seed saving plan.

All I did was drag the 3 prong claw hoe over the area and now the garlic bulbs have been sown here and I just sit back and wait for them to sprout and grow.

No-dig gardens are a great way of gardening if you have a bad back or just want to be lazy and not turn the soil before hand.

To turn the lawn area into a no-dig garden all I did was........

  • Cover the lawn with old sheep manure and blood and bone.
  • Placed over lapping 8 sheets of newspaper (no glossy paper though) on top of the sheep manure and wet the whole lot down.
  • More sheep manure.
  • Then straw and plenty of it.
  • Once again more sheep manure and blood and bone.
Then I let it settle for about 2 weeks and then made some holes in the straw and popped some seedlings in surrounded with homemade compost.

Over time the straw will have broken down and the newspaper will have rotted away, the lawn is dead and a past memory and I just keep adding to the area with old sheep manure, compost and rabbit bedding.

No-dig areas can be used anywhere and on or in anything, old water tanks cut down, on clay-pan soil, wheel barrows, old boots, tennis courts.... your only limited by your imagination.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sowing Garlic

I've used a 10 cent and 5 cent coin to show you how big my garlic cloves are that I grew last season. The best yet in size and flavour in my books.

Now it's time to sow this season's crop and the cloves in the photo will be the ones I will use.

This still leaves me some cloves left over for use in the kitchen and as a natural worming agent for my poultry.

Garlic should be grown in a sunny position in a well drain sandy loam rich in compost. The pH should be around the 6.0 mark. I don't need to add any blood & bone or nitrogen to the area as where I am planting out the cloves was done at the beginning of spring.

These will be harvested when the leaves and flowers die back in the late summer

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Free Strawberry Plants


My strawberry plants have been sending out some runners and about a fortnight ago I potted 6 of the runners into pots and cut any remaining runners off.

I checked the pots and found the strawberry roots have come through the bottom of the pots into the soil below. So now it is time for me to plant them out into the area I have chosen.

I now have 6 new plants and have saved myself $24 as the going rate near me in nurseies are $3.95 per plant.

So now I have 15 strawberry plants as I had bought 10 in the spring last year, though 1 did die.
The variety I am growing is called Zdana.
Zdana is a new strawberry producing abundant, exceptionally large fruit very early in the season. The tasty berries have a sweet fragrance and a low acid content. The yields are up to seven times the size of some traditional varieties.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Permaculture at its best.


This part of the garden had been fenced off for a few years now and today I removed the corn stalks and with Pat's help we opened the area up for the ducks to graze and remove any bugs and weeds in the area for me. At the same time they will be fertilizing the soil.

In a couple of weeks I'll take the area back and plant seedlings in the soil. But until then the ducks can have this part of the vegie garden.

Permaculture at its best as the animals do the hard work for me and then I just walk in and take over.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Black Russian Tomatoes


Its only a little tomato plant but at least I have 4 of the 6 seeds germinated. Last few days have been hot and today we have a north wind thrown in for good measure. March here in South Australia is known for having hot days.

So I am making sure the little seedlings don't dry out and die.

Well at least I have gotten this far with the experiment. I did have visions at one stage of nothing happening. But I am excited now that it is up off the ground.

I am sure this will be a worth while and fun experiment in finding out if the Black Russian tomato plant prefer the cooler months in South Australia, as I know it hated the hot months.

Don't forget I have the whole experiment on my main website

Lucky's Duck Farm

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Banjo and ducklings


Haven't they grown? Gone is the little tiny ducklings wobbly on their feet. Replaced with 2 little sure footed ducklings than can run so fast. I took so many photos today of them, to get a good photo to put here.

Banjo is very protective of them and is only tolerating us when we go into her area. Mind you she doesn't attack us though.

They love their little pond and are thriving on chick starter and some wet food from the kitchen.

More photos can be seen on my main web Lucky's Duck Farm and click on "Nursery" on the main page.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Little Chicken



The first hatched from Bonnies eggs. There is another egg with a crack started and so I'll not look now until later on this afternoon. I do hope its a hen.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Worm Wee Results



Lovely lush rich green leave on my Mr. Lincoln rose bush.

I firmly believe these results are from the worm wee from my farms, sprayed on the leaves of my plants in my front garden. I collect and strain the worm wee and use a snap on bottle with my garden hose.

I use a 2 litre snap on bottle and I spray the garden until the bottle is empty. The garden has transformed from a garden that looks okay, to a garden that is lush and rich in colour.




Dianthas and alyssum



Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lazy day out the back.

Most of today was spent sitting out in the backyard having a relaxing day. I don't get to do this very often and as I let all those hours just slide by, I was taking in the sounds around me.

The amount of wild birds that either walked around on the lawn or called to each other from trees in the park behind our back fence was music to my ear. Much more relaxing listening to birds and animals that cars and trucks.

The chooks were out running with the ducks today, first time since Banjo's babies were born. I am sure the chooks were happy about having the whole poultry area to roam in. Ducks weren't too fussed about having to share their area with the chooks.

At one stage the ducks had taken over the chook run. Lots of quacking going on as they started to push soil round to see what they could find. Nothing like eating stolen food from someone else's food bin.

I had Nibbles running round under my feet for most of the day. He was just so excited to be out in the backyard and I only saw him a couple of times eating the broccoli leaves in the brassica area. Somehow I think I missed a few of his visits.

Cadbury had to stay in her hutch on the lawn. I wasn't in the mood to chase her down at the end of the day. Where as Nibbles is like a puppy and comes when called. Also I don't need baby rabbits at this time of the year.

Today has been just so nice out the back. Must remember to make time and do this again really soon.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Banjo and her babies


Only tiny but Banjo is now taking them for walks in their area of the duck run. I have supplied a small dish for the ducklings to paddle in.

Baby ducklings can become tired and drown if they can't climb out of the dish. As they clammer over Banjo and hide under her wings, their little bodies will become water proof.

Its going to be a few weeks before these 3 will be running with the other ducks, due to the bigger ponds.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Organic foods for the future.


Today I was busy sowing more seeds for the vegie garden. Starting these off in a good seed raising mix will give them a good start in life. Once they are big enough, they will be transplanted into an area prepared to the needs of each variety sown.

I have sown bunching shallots, leeks, mini caulies, broccoli,3 varieties of loose leaf lettuces & spinach.

Later in the evening I am going to remove the cucumber and tomato plant as these have come to the end of their life. I'll be planting some all season carrots, purple carrots and rainbow chard in this area. As the trellis will be free with the cucumber removed I'll use this for sowing snow peas.

Did you know that purple carrots were the only variety grown once? The orange carrots came later on.

So as you can see its a busy time here in Luckyland and the promise of fresh organic food down that track is just mouth watering.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Lucky's Duck Farm

I would like to tell you about my main website that can be access by clicking on Lucky's Duck Farm

I love gardening and more so vegie gardening and am very aware of the health benefits of eating organic foods. So when we started looking for a place to call our own 7 years ago. I was taking a lot of interest in how and where I could put my vegie garden.

Started off with a small patch of soil and just one worm farm. A few months later we had our first half dozen hens for eggs and manure for my first of 3 compost systems I now use. Over a couple of years ducks, another worm farm and rabbits were included in helping to make my own compost and cleaning up the garden waste and bugs that go with gardening.

As the years went by the vegie patch grew and increased including cutting down the lawn area by using the no-dig garden method. Raspberry canes were added to our fruiting list. So now we have not only fresh raspberries, but also apricots, pepino and plums.

I am now trying an experiment with Black Russian tomato seeds to see if they will grow better in the cooler months. Mine died with the first heatwave that hit us this summer. So I'm thinking is it a cooler type of plant? So I am recording and publishing the results as I go on my main web.

I have started to swap my own seeds I have saved, with fellow gardeners in Australia. There is nothing more thrilling than giving the gift of organic seeds or receiving them and helping someone start a worm farm or giving away the excess roosters.

You have seen the baby ducks just born this week. Next week I am hoping for a good hatching rate with eggs that Bonnie my silkie is sitting on.

Last but not least, my backyard is a hit with animal lovers all ages.

So I am inviting you to click on the link to see more of Lucky's Duck Farm.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

4 baby ducks


This morning I was greeted with 4 baby ducklings. A 5th one was still wet from just hatching. Still another 4 eggs to either hatch or be removed due to not being fertile.

Pat and I removed them from under Banjo for a paddle in the dish and so they could have a drink, due to today being in the high 30's. After a swim and some photo snaps taken, back to mum they went.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Baby ducklings


Born overnight one of two duckings born so far. The other one is yellow and there are eggs piping this very minute. I can't say how many times we have experienced this here, but each time it's just as special as the last time.