30 November 2012

Our own little salad bar

You may remember the tomato cuttings I took from the aquaponics bed, which was a Green Zebra heritage tomato variety.  Well there is a veritable forest of tomatoes growing there now and in the row behind, cucumbers.

29 November 2012

My food forest

I love the idea of a food forest as a perennial food source, with hopefully a lot less work that the annual veggie patch.  I was turned onto the concept some years ago by Geoff Lawton's DVD and ever since, I've wanted to try it.  I did a small scale version when we lived in Sydney but I was keen for a greater variety of trees, so when we moved here, it was one of the first things we started.  I've been showing you updates on the swales as we've gone along, but since I've got the irrigation in, things have really taken off (surprise, surprise, trees need more than an occasional bucket of water, but in my defence, those buckets get bloody heavy).  So now with my trusty 18mm hose, its on.

28 November 2012

Wasn't expecting this

We brought a lot of garden stuff with us when we moved up from Sydney and one of those things was a tomato pot with water collector underneath. So I put it by the kitchen door and potted up a Roma tomato in it.  It hasn't done great things but the basil I've put at it's feet has.  I don't think the tomato gets enough sun and the basil doesn't get too much.  So now its become my basil pot with a leggy tomato trailing out of it that I ignore.  The other day, as I was giving my kitchen garden pots a bit of a water, I bent over to put some on the tomato/basil pot and was met with this

27 November 2012

A pretty shitty weekend

You know your life has changed when your idea of a hot date with your man is to head on up to the mountains for a beautiful drive to a dairy and you're more excited about the cow shit and straw you're going to collect that the amazing views.  So yes, life has changed.  But for all those gardeners out there who would feel the same, we got a huge ute load of beautifully rested straw and cow poo - I know right!

So we drove home with our treasure and decided to off load half of it into patch 5 which is currently being rested and worked over by the girls.  We thought they'd appreciate the gesture.

26 November 2012

Wait no longer

I've been showing off my corn patch but it was time to put my money where my mouth was and pick some.  Well that and trying to get to them before the rats do.
I picked this basket full and then a few days later, a whole large bucket's worth.  So despite my fears, there are still plenty for us and I've hardly made a dent in the crop.  Corn is one of my favourites but last year I didn't have as much luck with the end result.  I excitedly opened our first ears only to find there were just a few kernels on each.  So this year I planted a bigger crop and much more of a square than the rectangle I did last year.  Then I piled the rows up much higher, laid down the irrigation pipes and then mulched the hell out of the whole patch.  Clearly that's the way to go, as when I opened this year's first ears, they were perfect.  And poor Shaun, I've been insisting that we eat them everyday (he did draw the line at breakfast though).  What's wrong with corn fritters??

25 November 2012

Last weekend's storms

Though we were lucky just to get lots of wind and rain, rather than hail and other forms of destruction, last weekend's storms were still pretty scary.  Check out these pics from our driveway

Those two shots are over 180 degrees span of the horizon.  They weren't kidding about a super storm cell - and we had four of them in two days.  Hello climate change!

24 November 2012

Wonderful surprises!

As you may have realised, all I seem to have done for the last few months is travel for work.  The only real pleasure of that punishing schedule is the joy of coming home.  And particularly when you have a fabulous garden that pushes on ahead without you.  My first task when I come home, before unpacking, is to take a walk around and see what's changed.  Its always a delight, but last night's meander was the best yet.  Here's why

19 November 2012

kitchen garden

The main act of our veggie growing is a gentle stroll down the hill to the veggie patch, but we did put in a kitchen garden for herbs so I could dash out when I'm cooking and grab some.  I do have herbs down at the patch, but rarely get my act together before its dark to wonder what I'll cook for dinner.  The soil near the house is ordinary as its cut into the hill and therefore no real topsoil, but we hope this will improve over time.  So the growth of herbs here is a fraction of what it is down in the patch where the good soil is.

17 November 2012

Can't wait for corn

Its one of my favourite summer crops and also one of the first home grown veggies I ever tried, back when I made my first stumbling attempts at growing my own.  At the time I was living in the townships of South Africa and many families had a little patch of corn, or mealies as we called them.  So I decided to give it a go and they were spectacular.  The variety that is common there has a larger and lighter kernel and I think, more flavour.  However, last year I loved the corn we grew and have put a larger plot in this year.

16 November 2012

All mulched up

As promised, here are the pics of my now well mulched raised garden bed patch.  It feels weirdly spongy to walk on but I'll take my hat off to any weeds that get through the cardboard and the fat layer of mulch.

10 November 2012

Rain at last!

Finally, after months of drought, its raining.  It started yesterday afternoon with a little teasing shower.  At the time, I was unloading a ute load of mulch to put on top of the cardboard in the raised garden area.  I knew that if it rained too much, I might not get the ute off the grass and back onto the driveway.  But thankfully, it only drizzled for a few minutes but was still promising more later.  So I worked like a maniac and got the whole load into the raised garden bed area, laying it about 20cm think at least.  I'm sure none of those pesky weeds will get through now.  Once that was done, the rain started in earnest and really hasn't stopped since.  I'll take a pic once the rain has stopped so you can see how nice it looks now.  So let me show you this patch instead...

09 November 2012

So happy!

Shaun has installed a series of taps for me on the swales, so no more carrying big buckets of water to my little trees.  The weight of the buckets was starting to rip my elbows apart (and yes I know I could have carried less water but that would mean more trips up and down the hill, so....).  He also got me an 18mm hose, so it really delivers the goods and I can get round to all my trees in no time at all, and the hose is one of those "no kink" varieties.

08 November 2012

Spring Growth

Despite the big dry, there is still plenty of new growth in spring.  It's wonderful to wander around the garden after I've been away for a while (which I'm doing a lot of at the moment thanks to a run of work trips) and see what tenacious little plants are popping up and getting stronger.

06 November 2012

Boys time out

I wandered down to the veggie patch the other day to find Shaun chilling out with the chooks after letting them out for their afternoon stroll.  But what was so funny was seeing him sitting on the old trampoline (that came with the property, though hidden in the thick grass) and Bruiser the rooster staring up at him.  I wasn't sure if he was thinking "I feel you man" or "get the hell out of my patch - these babes are mine", but I think it was the latter.

03 November 2012

Colour is in the air

If you stop and look, even a food garden is full of colour (besides green that is).  One of my favourite edible flowers is borage.  We plant it for a number of reasons - bee attractor, companion plant to strawberries and ridiculously beautiful flowers.