Thursday, August 31, 2006

More Daffodils


This daffodil is so different to the others that have flowered so far. It is making a striking statement out in the front garden. I bet this one was one of the dearer priced bulbs and we only bought the 1 bulb due to the price.


Totally beautiful...........

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Today Pat & I went for a drive up near the Adelaide Hills. The sun was shining, birds were singing and the weeds were growing.

One of those weeds was the Arum Lily. A beautiful lush green bulbous plant that when it gets into the water ways..... it goes feral. Going from the 2 photos I have posted, you can't get much feral than these.


To a non gardener the beautiful drive to Waterfull Gully was stunning and on a hot day, the trip would make you feel so cool. Camellias flowers and magnolia trees in flower, gardens with green lawns and spring annuals flowering.

But to a gardener who is wise to what plants turned to a feral weed in the water ways or can do on the landscape its sad to see.


How can we stop this happening???

By learning what can grow and not grow in your garden. I have these bulbs in my garden and the flowers once finished, are removed before the seeds form. Because when these seeds drop on the ground or are washed into a water way, its a license for them to take root and spread themselves around.

It was sad to see the trees choking and dying while these feral plants that have become a weed thrive in the water way.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Battle With Birds


These are meant to be radish seedling, not that you can tell. The birds have taken a great delight on eating all the fresh leaves.

So what I can I do to stop them??? I can cover this with some wire to help keep them away from wreaking them completely.

Though this could open up other areas for attacks as I have Snow Peas just up and Blue Lake beans starting to germinate.

If the birds start to attack other seedlings, I'll have to cover them as well.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Daffodil Of The Day


Isn't it a beauty? Pat & I are watching another variety open as well. The front yard is starting to look so pretty and I am sure when people walk past, they are enjoying the spring showing as much as what we are.


Something about a clump of flowering bulbs.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Corn & Pumpkins

I've started to prepare the area where the corn & pumpkins will be going this summer. Doesn't look to be a big area but both will fit in there nicely together.

Using a pH soil kit I was able to see whether I needed to adjust the soil pH. Pumpkins love a pH of between 6.5 - 7 and corn is between 5.5 -7, my soil was 6.5. Very happy with this reading.

Next weekend I will add a tumbler of compost I have and some blood & bone. This will then be left to break down even further and then later on when the weather has warmed up as well as the soil, in goes the pumpkins and corn.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yeehah's Rhubarb


I am what I call a serial rhubarb killer. Each year I buy a crown from a nursery and bring the plant home, plant it out...........And then kill it.

Each time I buy a new plant, I try a different area in the vegie garden. Each year it dies.




I had pretty well given up buying anymore crowns as when I walk past them in the garden nurseries, I am sure I see them trembling with fear. As my hand reaches to pick one up, just to hold the crown close to me, I am sure I can hear it screaming with terror.

So Yeehah has taken pity on me or is it to save the crowns at the shops from certain death. She has sent me two big crowns for my birthday.

Are they not the most wonderful looking crowns??? I really do hope these grow and not die under my care. It was suggested that a bigger crown may do better than a small crown from the shops.

So here is hoping after 7 years of murdering a plant that should be grown in every vegie garden......I have broken the cycle with help from a fellow gardening friend.

Thank you Yeehah, for you kindness of giving me such a lovely present and the faith you have in me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

We've Had Rain

This morning we were woken to the sound of heavy rain on the roof. It was wonderful to just lay there and listen to the splash of the car tyres as the cars went up the street.

Rain gauged measured 5.5 mm of rain. Much welcomed and the garden is looking fresh and happy.

Yesterday it reached 20 degrees but it was the wierdest 20 degrees. One minute it felt cold and then warm and thundery.



As it was a quiet day here Pat & I sat out the back and watched the ducks wander round on the people side of the fence dabbing in the lawn and empty areas of the garden. It's comical to watch them as they know the vegie areas are off limits, but they do try and sneak over there for a nibble of the leafy greens.



The no-dig garden is very popular as I am sure its full of worms and slaters and other organic rotting material bugs that love mulch. Duchess made it to the asparagus area for a few seconds for the photo and then was shooed off. The other day Rhett broke an asparagus spear with her foot.

So I laid on the lawn and snapped off about 94 photos of them waddling round enjoying the warmish rain feeling afternoon.


Roz is a funny duck, sometimes she's in like Flynn with the other ducks and then the next time she hangs back and does her thing on her own.

Today I am setting Banjo with some duck eggs as she is well and truly broody now. The ducklings will be sold and the monies put into their feed bill account.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another Daffodil


This daffodil opened fully late yesterday afternoon.

We have woken to an overcast misty day. Forecast is 20 degrees but I don't think it will reach that far.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beautiful

First of the daffodils to flower for this season. This along with future daffodils still to flower were ordered at the Adelaide Show in 2005. We were able to see the actual flowers and choose from dozens of varieties. Then in February this year the bulbs were sent to us.

We ordered the bulbs through J.N.Hancock & Co

Monday, August 21, 2006

Free Free Free

It's just over 4 weeks that I set 3 tyres up as a worm farm to recycle some of the animal litter. So I thought is was time to revisit the worm farm and see how it's coming along.

Using Bundy's tyre as the base I rotated the tyres and the last tyre is now Bundy's for him to play in.

I couldn't get over how much the animal waste had broken down. Also the amount of worms that were inside the tyre rims area was amazing. Lovely big fat adult worms, so they should be starting a breeding cycle, if not already.


I went and got my camera to take a photos of the compost and found the supervisors had decided to take a look at how the farm was coming along. Problem was I think they retrenched a fair amount of my workers while I was gone.

At one stage Twinner was running with a pile of worms hanging from her bill, with Duchess in hot pursuit.


This is what I am always talking about. Garden waste, animal litter & bedding, kitchen waste and house hold waste, like paper, toilet rolls and garden weeds. Leave it for the worms to turn into free compost and then use it in your garden.

Not only are you feeding the soil for plants, there is less waste leaving your yard for land fill.

I don't know how this sort of composting will go in the summer months. But by that stage this will be finished and I will be using the 2 compost bins and tumbler in a 3 week system and will not have excess waste from the house & garden needing to be composted elsewhere.

This tyre system will be used each winter from now on.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

First Blossom


Pat found the first blossom for the season this morning on the apricot tree. I can't help but get excited with the promise of what I hopefully will be harvesting this spring & summer. Makes me almost like summer.

This little blossom is not the only change happening in my garden.

Banjo has gone broody and so I am starting to save duck eggs to set under her. Not in too big of a rush to set her so soon into going broody.

The daffodils that we ordered at the Adelaide show are starting to form flowering buds. Oh I can't wait to see them out in flower as when we ordered them, we looked at the actual flower not a photo and could see the true colour of the flower.

Magpies in the area are starting to pair up as well. We watched yesterday about 12 flying high up and what seemed like fighting amongst themselves. We put that down to the males fighting over the females.

Its been windy lately as well and the winds have been on the warm side. This tends to dry out the front garden and so yesterday I emptied 4 wheel barrows of mulch from my compost tumbler into the front garden.

I have a new project for the backyard espaliering fruit & citrus trees. I have added a page to my main web to keep you up to date on what we do and how it's progressing.

Last but not least, those seeds I sowed are starting to germinate. Tomatoes, egg plants and lettuces so far have popped their heads through the seedling mix. Not long and I'll have to find a home for the spring onions in the vegie patch as they are responding well to the warmer days.

So even though I am not as busy out in the garden, the garden is picking up speed with growing and changes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

More Jonquils

Pretty sure this is the last variety of Jonquil to flower in my garden. My sister Debbie only has the yellow variety and so when the bulbs have died back, I'll give her some of this one and the Excalibur variety.

There is just something about bulbs that to me, that make the spring season so exciting and welcoming when walking past gardens and these lovely flowers.



Thursday, August 17, 2006

Spring Has Sprung



Apricot Tree

Spring is well and truly here as the apricot & plum tree buds are swelling. I can't believe that already the trees are on the move. Seems like yesterday that I was out pruning them with ducks under my feet.

Now it won't be long and there will be blossoms and then leaves.


Plum Tree

One of the most wonderful things about having the ducks & chooks is the fruit trees are in the duck run. So from a permaculture aspect, this is permaculture working at it's best. As any rotting fruit is cleaned up by the poultry and also in Autumn the leaves are also eaten by the ducks and chooks.

We don't have fruit fly where I live and the use of the poultry makes the chances even lower by cleaning up any fallen fruits.

Once again hoping for a great harvest so I can make jam. Down to my last jar of plum jam.

Might even look into making some plum sauce this year. My Nanna made a mean plum sauce when I was a kid and I loved eating it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Lemonade Tree


Isn't it a beautiful tree?? Pomolo came to visit today and she gave me this lemonade tree for my birthday.

So now when ever I look at this tree and use the lemons, I will always remember this kind lady who is a very dear friend.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quiet Day

For the first time in a while I had a quiet day in the garden. Taking a bar stool outside & using the garden table to sow the last of the seeds I wanted sown into punnets.

So here is hoping the seeds germinate and Nibbles, Banjo or the FABLESS 4 don't dig or eat the lettuces like last time. I have had a bad run with my lettuces started from seeds. Seem to be eaten by others in the place.

Today I sowed the following.

Cabbage January King
Red iceberg lettuce
Sweet basil
Freckled lettuces
Green Mignonette lettuce

The seeds list below were sent to me in a seed swap on the ABC Gardening Australia Forum.

Long white bunching shallots (kimmy's Mum)
Giant Ford silverbeet (Edible's seeds she sent me)
Drylander's Loofah seeds

Into the soil went some radish seeds.

There are still more seeds to be started but they will be done later next month or early October.


Oprah is now laying and isn't she just so pretty. Still a little hen and so small against the full size hens. So she will be running with Bonnie & Clyde and the ducks.

She had developed this idea of perching in the fruit trees in the afternoon. Wait until the fruit arrives, I bet Pat soon starts telling her off. Me, I think there will be enough fruit for her as well as us.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wattle Tree


Yesterday while out gardening in the front yard I noticed how pretty our neighbour's wattle tree is. The sun was shining on the flowers and this seemed to make the whole tree look so golden.

Yellow is my favourite colour with flowers and wattle trees are just breath taking when in full bloom.


I have no idea of the species of this tree. All I know is I never tire of looking at this beautiful tree each time I am out in my front yard.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Carrots

Nothing beats a carrot fresh from the garden and on the wooden chopping board with in seconds of being pulled.

I'm getting better each sowing with the carrots. I am now thinning them as they get bigger and in return am getting a bigger and straighter carrot. The thinning ones are either eaten by Pat or shared out between the rabbits & guinea pigs.

These were grated and eaten raw with our lunch outside as today was spent in the garden.

I can't get over how much the vegies are moving with the warm days we have had of late.

The chooks were out on parole while we were in the backyard pottering round. Pat was busy servicing the push bikes. But two of the FABLESS 4 kept jumping the people fence. So once we moved out into the front garden, they were sent home in disgrace. It's a shame that they all had to be shut in their own run because a few chooks don't know when to quit hopping over the fence.

Front yard is looking really tidy and so many bulbs are getting ready to flower. All the sour sobs have been removed, roses finished being pruned and any annuals were tidied up or pruned back.

Finally planted out Pat's corn flowers, hoping they will improve as when I left them in the garden, they looked pretty sick. I tend to not plant flower seedlings out as quick as the vegie seedlings. The corn flowers spent a couple of weeks hoping in and out of the bird bath to keep them alive.

I finished my gardening day off by pruning the native rose tree.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Iris

I love these bulbs and this one is special because my sister gave them to me.

I have a blue one now from a friend in Melbourne and I can't wait to see that one flower. Not expecting any flowers for a couple of years though as the plant is so small.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Free Worm Castings

Today I sent some time in the sun harvesting worm castings from my 2 worm farms. This will be used when I plant out the summer crops.

Using the bathroom digital scales comes in handy now and then:)

I harvested 15.9 kilo of castings for free. Not bad for a bunch of little worms and a bucket of kitchen scraps fed to them. Sure beats throwing the scraps away.

These castings will be sealed and stored in a cool place until I am ready to transplant the capsicum, egg plants & tomatoes into larger pots. Then once ready for the garden bed a bit more added to the hole in which the seedling is transplanted into.

I tend to call this sort of use of manures a "power boost" for the plants.

The trays that I now have empty were given a scrub and placed on top of the feeding tray that holds all my worms. The process now starts again. Next year about this time I will harvest the castings again.

These warm days seem to have the worms more active as well. So with the farms all sorted out they are ready for the feedings over the warmer months and into the next year.

If your thinking of a worm farm for your garden or just for getting rid of your kitchen scraps, I hope I have helped to sway you towards starting one up.

I have been farming worms now for over 7 years and I hold them very high up in the organic gardening system I have in place in my backyard.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Magpies


I didn't know which of the photos to pop up for you to look at, as the magpies were looking so happy in all 3 photos.


The water is laying on top of the lawn as it's about the third time this winter I have put the sprinkler on to water the lawn.

In some places the lawn is nearly just soil. It's been a very dry winter here in Adelaide.


So the water is used 2 fold, birds had a bath and the lawn was watered.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Gardening & BBQ's

In my books gardening & BBQ's go well together any day of the week. Some people say that they have been "working" out in the garden, me I "play" in the garden as I enjoy gardening so much.

Due to Amy having day surgery on Friday just gone, we are at home caring for Amy. So I figured while keeping an eye on her, I'd spend the other hours in the garden.

So at 9 o'clock this morning I started out in the front garden. Removing some tired plants like alyssum, pulled out weeds, tidied up under 4 rose bushes and pruned them.

All the waste was either composted or fed to the ducks & chooks. Rose pruning were placed in the green waste bin for pickup. Couple of the FABLESS 4 snuck out the chook run while I was emptying a bucket of greens in their run. So I gave up trying to get them back in and let them all out as it was such a lovely day.

With the chooks out I move to the back yard to keep on gardening and keep an eye on the chooks.

I just pottered round weeding little patches that needed doing. The Pak Choy was going to seed and so I collected that and fed it too the guinea pigs & rabbits.

Then I moved onto the strawberry plants and made sure the straw was around the plants again, as the wild birds like to spread the straw round the garden. Then I collected the old chicken manure and this was sprinkled round the strawberry plants but not near the base of the plants.

As it's the weekend I wanted to do the composting bins. I emptied the tumbler in an area of the vegie patch Pat had turned over for me last week. Then I rotated the bins and the eldest compost bin was emptied into the tumbler.

With Amy out of action I needed to clean out the guinea pig hutch for her. I cheated by taking the hutch down into the duck run, removed all litter waste and cleaned it out by using the hose on jet spray. All their bedding litter was added to the compost bins. With the hose in the duck yard, this made for some very excited ducks.

With the guinea pigs cleaned out and new bedding in, time to start packing up everything and everybody as the night air was coming in.

So the chooks went home to hot mash, guinea pigs to a fresh hutch and organic broccoli plant for tea. Nibbles & Cadbury into their hutches, all the birds onto their hooks in the house.

So yep I played in the garden today and after all I did, I think I played hard. I know my body feels like I did.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bulbs flowering

Sour sobs are such a pretty weed when flowering and the bees just love them for buzzing in and out of. Shame that the bulbs and flowers are going to be removed this week, as I am sure the bees will miss them.

Early in the year the Garden Australia magazine in conjunction with "Garden Express" offered readers a packet of 40 free Blueberry Ice anemone bulbs.

I took them up on the offer and this is the first flower I have in my front garden. Usually I only have ranunculus, jonquils and daffodil bulbs in my garden.

Very happy to have these little bulbs included in the spring display of bulbs.


First of what will be many jonquils flowers for the spring showing. I have lots of different varieties of jonquils out in the garden in white and yellow.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rainbow Connection

Top row from left to right......

Muscovy
Mallard
Indian Runner
Pekin

Second row from left to right..

Cross bred
Isa Brown
White Leghorn (fabless 4's)
Leghorn
Isa Brown

Bottom row

Silky bantam


Makes for a pretty rainbow of eggs each day when collecting them.

More Of My Garden Area

Raspberry canes have been in for a few years now and we get a great crop of lovely juice raspberries. The pavers used as a boarder were taken from the area below.

This used to have a little tree surrounded by pavers and I saw it as a future vegie plot. So the tree was removed and we found the whole area was just clay compounded down over the years. So with gypsum, compost and animal manure it's now a productive area in my garden. This winter I grew the brassica vegies and this summer it'll be tomatoes and capsicum. All that is left are the brussels sprouts.

That is about the size of the sprouts. I have never grown them before and have no idea if this is about the size they should be or bigger again, for the age of the sprouts.

Couple of plants are looking tatty and I will feed them to the animals. Mind you heaps of people are asking me what the plants are, as they didn't know sprouts grew like that. So as a talking point they are worth growing.

I have compared them to a couple of my fingers to give you an idea of the size of the sprouts.

If you can help me by telling me know if they will get bigger, please let me know.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Size Of My Garden

For the people who haven't visited my place in person, I thought I would show you my vegie garden layout. I tend to use a lot of trellis for the climbing plants where possible. This trellis is not moving from the area this summer as I will use it for the cucumbers.

In the foreground is my no-dig garden. As the seasons passed I found I wanted to grow more varieties of food and the only way to do this was, to cut back the lawn area. By using the no-dig technique all I need to do was cover the lawn with aged manure, water it in, thick layers of newspaper, over lapping so no weeds or lawn could get through and then add blood & bone, aged manure, compost and straw.
This is the "people fence" made from recycled tin from my brother who didn't want the tin anymore. The reason it's called a "people fence" is it's meant to keep the people one side and the poultry the other side.

The fence is not fool proof as the white hens nicknamed the "Fabless 4" are often jumping over the "people fence" to see what goodies they can dig up in the vegie patch.

I have plans with the fence down the track to grow citrus and fruit trees along the "people fence" and hopefully this will solve the problem of the Fabless 4 raiding my garden.

Until this is done, the chooks have supervised visits to the duck run for exercise out of their own chook run. I call them the paroles when out enjoying the extra space. Not that the chook run is a small area for them to run round in either.

Once again in the foreground is more of the no-dig garden.

The fruit tree is a beautiful apricot variety. Only problem is the tree was already established when we bought the place, we have no idea of the variety. I make the most wonderful jam each summer from the fruit.
This photo was taken standing back against the shade house area in the first photo. I have strawberries, wormwood, rosemary, carrots & beetroot., down behind the apricot tree.
I use wire a lot of the time to try and keep the wild birds from digging up the seeds or seedlings until they are big enough to handle birds scratching round in the soil for bugs and grubs.

So there you have it, the layout on the main vegie garden. There is another area where I grow raspberries and other vegies and I'll show you this tomorrow.

The vacant areas are being prepared for the spring/summer season of growing the most wonderful, fresh organic vegetables.

It can't get any better than that.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Another Zoo Trip


Okay yeah I know another big cat photo. At the zoo today we mostly photographed Australian animals and the tigers.

His name is "Tiger Boy" and he was very vocal for a change. We spent a good 30 mins watching, photographing and listening to him.



These Tammar Wallabies are little sweeties.


We stopped for some lunch at midday and while taking photos, the locals were taking hot chips. The pigeons are so cheeky.



We met this lady who volunteers at the zoo asked us if we wanted to help feed the deer. We had to watch the bigger deers didn't eat from the bucket as they are so greedy and won't share.


Kangaroo Island kangaroo


In the walk through aviaries there are some lovely water features.