Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Raspberry Canes

I can't believe its 12 months and time to prune back the raspberry canes again. Just seems like a month or so since I last tackled this job.

I started cutting back the canes yesterday morning and ran into problems.

For starters most of last years cane have died. This could be to do with that long hot record breaking heatwave we had last summer.

Pat & I had a chat on how we wanted to handle this set back and came up with the following plan.

Pat's idea is if the canes are stuffed, plant a fruit tree there. lol

My idea is the following.

  • Tidy the area up and remove dead canes and weeds.
  • Found 4 live canes and will treat these with seasol and tender words of love.
  • Place something between the trellis and the "people fence"to reduce the summer temps against the canes.

All tidied up and look at that poor cane all on it's own. The other 3 canes are too small to show up in this photo.

I had to stop gardening at this stage and get ready for a trip to the dentist. eek Found out we have been visiting the dentist for 10 months now. Its taken this long as we're on the Government scheme and to get us both to see a dentist the same time..... its longer wait between visits. I had 2 teeth removed, one being a wisdom tooth and the other was its buddy next door.

Today is a lazy day as I have a very sore mouth, very stiff body as I was so tense in the chair yesterday.

Now back to gardening in the raspberry area. My plan tomorrow; to feed it a dose of seasol and some old aged sheep manure. Then mulch it with straw. Babysit the area for the upcoming summer season.

Do some research into how and if I can spit up the new growth canes this time next year and spread them out.

Not expecting any fruit this year and if I did, that lovely cane will fall over in shock lol. If the whole project is a flop over the next 12 months, I'll move to Pat's idea and plant a pear tree there and espalier it.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Harvesting Goodies.

Even though Pat & I have been playing hard out in the garden, I still found time for harvesting food for us to eat.

Growing food in the backyard and then harvesting it, has to be one of the most rewarding past times.

In the basket on the left is bloomsdale spinach, spring onions, loose leaf lettuce and baby silver beet leaves. In the right basket is more rocket.

I'm getting between 7 to 9 large eggs a day from my Isa Brown hens. Couple of bantam eggs and 1 duck is giving me an egg almost daily.

We had rain showers this morning and my body was telling me, please no gardening today. So I did my next favorite thing, cooking.

With 7 dozen eggs in the fridge, I decided a lemon meringue pie was in order as a treat. I've posted the recipe I used over on my "Garden to Plate" blog.

Now having a lovely big fresh lemon pie in the house is dangerous stuff for 2 people. So I rang my brother and asked him if he was interested in a slice. Then I emailed our good gardening buddy "Pepe" and he was interested as well.

Once the pie was ready for transporting we headed off to do our pie crawl. Taking with us a few extra goodies. Dozen eggs for my brother & his wife.

Pepe received a couple of extra gifts. More worm wee for his garden and 2 dozen eggs as his chooks aren't laying as much as what mine are.

Check the egg out that was in Pepe's 2 dozen. It couldn't fit into the egg carton very well and the weight was 86 grams. Bet the chook's bum hurt for a while after this one was laid. lol

Both Pat & I enjoy catching up with Mr. Pepe & Mrs. Pepe. Love looking around their garden, seeing what they are growing food wise.

I came home with Italian parsley for the kitchen, more celery seedlings, English spinach, marjoram and lemons from their tree.

Check it out eek lemon on the left, its one from Pepe's tree, weighing in at 457 grams. One on the right I bought at a green grocer and it weighed in at 89 grams. I used a teaspoon to give you more of an idea of size.

So can't wait for my tree to produce lemons.

While visiting the Pepe's place, I got to ask questions about Pepe's compost system, like the one we have just build at home. Looked inside his hot house, saw the rooster we gave them a few weeks ago. Aspro (means white in Greek) has 6 or 7 wives and is looking stunning in his new home.

Talked about our plans we both have for the up coming spud season. Then we shared the lemon meringue pie over cups of tea and coffee.

We left on dark to come home, talking about how great it was calling into their place again.

Until next time....

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Espalier Trees

This afternoon I tackled the job of espaliering the nectarine and one of the 2 plum trees. The idea of espaliering trees is to take advantage of small spaces and using fences and walls that other wise are not doing a lot in the yard.

I used an old pillow slip to tie the branches in the direction I want the branches to grow. At a later stage I can adjust the branches if needed. This is a learning curb for me in growing fruit trees this way. As time goes by I am hoping my experience in espaliering trees will improve.

Also I can replace the strips of pillowcase if I find a "more pleasing on the eyes" way to tie & train the branches.

Nectarine tree, looking at it side on. The branches pointing to the left and right will be removed and only the side branches will be left for fruit to grow on.

Nectarine tree now espaliered against a trellis. I had Pat hold up the tarp for you to get a better look at the end result. More branches on the left, but in time I hope this will change and even out.

Ruby Blood plum before it was pruned.

All pruned and in time these branched may be lowered further if I want.

Side view now both trees are finished. I have also mulched the soil leaving the tree trunks free of straw.

While Pat was cutting up the wormwood and placing it in the new compost bin. I finished off the fruit tree area, harvested 2 cane baskets of greens from the garden. Fed the leafy greens some organic manure tea and mucked out the chook house & duck house putting their bedding into the compost bay.

Tomorrow I want to prune the raspberry canes and mulch this area and hopefully get the green manure in as well. Time will tell.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Compost Bays & Wormwood.

Carrying on with what we did yesterday leads me to talking and showing you my final attempt to prune back that wormwood and how it brought about new open compost bays.

One thing I do find when I have planned a full day in the garden, is you can't rely on sticking to the planned list for that day. At times I found myself going off in another direction as this idea came into my head or what I was working on needed modifying.

With the most beautiful sunny day came lunch outside as well. Pat was going to cook the BBQ, but in the end I was chief cook. Pat was still preparing the area for the fruit trees and so I took a break from gardening and fed us.

With the day being 100% outside, I let the girls out to roam in the duck run. If I'm not outside all day in the garden, the girls can't come out of their run. I have a couple of egg laying freaks, who love to raid the vegie patch. With all those new plants in the vegie patch..... no way they are getting even a sniff at hopping the "people fence" and having a grand time.

The girls were well behaved and didn't hop the fence one. Ducks also enjoyed the chance to check the chook run out and see what they could eat.

The wormwood shrub, lost count of how many times I have started to prune this plant back and not finished the job.

I have everything I need for planting out a green manure crop and so nothing was going to stand in my way from cutting this monster back.

Took me over an hour to cut it back. As I cut, over the fence the branches went. I was going to use my wheel barrow, but I soon found out that idea wasn't any good. Had lots of quacking supervisors helping me and giving their opinion on how to tackle this bush.

Once the plant was pruned back as far as I could get it. By this time I was so over the plant, I said to Pat.... it's going......out of the vegie patch.

I started to dig around the base of the plant and after a while Pat took over and had it removed so much quicker than what I would have. It took an iron dropped and a paver along with the shovel to remove the roots from the ground.

The root system of a wormwood plant. I have no idea of this is normal for a wormwood plant or mine was a freak of nature. One thing is for sure....... don't plant one of these babies in your vegie patch. Took both Pat & I to carry the last of the plant over into the duck run. Ducks had a grand time going through the roots of the bush, looking for tid bits.

I got Pat to break off a good size piece for me and after a trim......

I planted it in the chook run. Wormwood is great for repelling fleas and I figured if it grows, the chooks will keep it under control. If it dies, I'll pull it up and compost it.

Look at all that space I now have for putting to good use, growing other things. Thinking of popping a boarder of comfrey on the fence line. Nothing can be planted in a duck bills length, so why have weeds growing there. Making the compost volume I do, a few more of these plants won't go astray.

Okay, now I have no wormwood plant in the vegie patch, just all in the duck run. A whole pile of it and what to do with it.

I can do the following

  1. Chop it up by hand and place it out for council green waste collecting this coming week.
  2. I can leave it there until it all dies back and then chuck it out for collection.
  3. Or I can compost it and over fill my black compost bin and leave heaps laying around.
  4. Make a new composting area.
Number 4 seems like a good way to go.

So late yesterday afternoon we set about making an open bay compost bin from those pallets I was given.

Main question was. How do we keep the pallets upright without costing us too much?

By using an iron dropper and placing it between the top and bottom slats of the pallet. We were able to use only 4 and not 8 iron droppers to make our first compost bay.

All ready for use and a recycled garden trellis to keep the compost in and the ducks & bantams out.

Now I am ready to recycle the wormwood and other items on a larger scale. So I can now get rid of those leaking duck ponds I have been using for compost bins in bare ground. So holey now, wonder the Pope didn't come visit them.

I'll have to do some research on how to run an open bay and what and how to use it at it's full potential.

Going from this photo, I have a lot of green waste for starting the compost off. Better go and get it all started.

Still to be sorted out in my backyard are

  • green manure
  • plant out 1 plum, 2 apple trees
  • raspberry canes cut back
  • fruit trees espaliered
  • spuds planted out
Stories for another day biggrin

Until next time....hoo roo

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Fruit Trees & carrots.

Today's plan was to get ex amount done out in the garden, though the main item to be done was 2 of the 3 fruit trees planted out.

I'm sitting here filthy and smelling so much like my soil and garden. Pat's having first shower and while I wait for my shower, thought I'd start posting what we did today.

First off this morning, while Pat was taking all his medication. I started out in the area where I wanted to sow some more carrot seeds.

This is the area where I have parsley & chives growing and the carrots seeds were to go in. First off I weeded around the parsley & chives, then removed all other weeds and lawn that was creeping into this area.

To save opening & shutting the "people gate" I left it open. Ducks took advantage of the opening and were happy quacking around the yard.....doing duckie things. This would be the last time they are able to come out as once the seeds are sown. Their favourite area is where the carrots are going to be sown.

Found this weed growing in the tiniest amount of soil in this piece of paper that hadn't broken down properly. Weeds will grow anywhere in the smallest crack or the most amazing place. No wonder we can think battling weeds is an endless task.

Ducks doing their best to help weed, remove bugs, slugs, worms and curl grubs.

The area is still teaming with worms, even after the ducks had be banished to their run. Worms were coming out of the soil like there was no tomorrow.

Managed to sow 3 rows of "all season" carrots once the soil had been prepared. Next sowing will be end of September in line with moon plantings.

We did a trip to Bunnings before we got too involved in the fruit tree adventure. The whipper snipper needed to go back as it doesn't work. Only had it a month too. Needs to be sent away to whipper snipper hospital, gone for about 2 weeks.

As I needed some bird netting for the green manure area. Also I bought some gypsum and blood & bone while at the shop. I had to wait 20 mins to get the bird netting cut and priced. Didn't make me a happy gardener as I wanted to be home, in my garden with the sun on my back.

While Pat got himself organized, I harvested carrots for the kitchen.

Couple of little carrots along with the tops went to Cadbury & Flossy. Rabbits so love to feast on freshly picked carrot tops.

Once Pat was ready to start getting 2 of the fruit trees planted we stood round and chatted about what we wanted and how to get the best out of the project.

One thing we noticed was the area wasn't wide enough from the fence to the pavers. We were thinking of ex amount of years down the track and the size of the tree trunk. Using some wood to mark the area, we decided to go out a pavers length. You can see how sunny our day was from the brightness of the photo and the darkness of the shadows.

Once the extra soil was removed the pavers were placed against the new edge and then the soil was prepared for the nectarine & plum tree was planted out. We added a good amount of gypsum to the area to help with reducing a clay build up. I had already added old manures and compost leading up today's planting.

All planted out, nectarine on the left and Ruby Plum on the right. I gave them a good drink of rainwater with seasol mixed in to help with transplant shock and strengthen the root system.

Notice in the back ground the new compost bays and the worm wood what happened to that massive bush???

That is tomorrow's story as I have a date with the shower. Make sure you bring a hot drink when reading tomorrow's post..... sure worked up a thirst removing the wormwood plant/tree.

Until next time....hoo roo

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Amy In New York.

Here are some photos Amy took while she's in New York. She went for a helicopter flight and a baseball game. Plus a "Sex & The City" tour and still there for a couple more days.

Also noticed she has some new clothes...... good on her.


Amy said she knew the Statue Of Liberty was small.... "but not that small" lol

Until next time.... hoo roo