Archive for December, 2010

Grey water line working well

December 26, 2010

The grey water dispersal system I put in last January is working well. I know we’ve had lots of rain this year and that must have contributed to much of the growth that’s occurred, but it’s still good to know that all of the wastewater that leaves the house is being put to use growing more food and not being wasted by being piped to a useless septic tank like most of my neighbours have.

There’s a difference in the growth along various parts of the system and I wonder if that’s due to the volume of water and how far down the line it actually reaches as it soaks into the ground through the slotted pipe.

Here’s the beginning of the line. The growth here is lush—mainly native mint (Mentha diemenica):

Past the mint there’s a line of 3 Feijoas and 3 Redcurrants and in between those  some Yacon tubers (with the large leaves) and 3 Reisentraube cherry tomatoes. They’re doing particularly well and are covered in flowers:

The final section contains another 3 Feijoas and 3 Redcurrants, with 3 Red Pear cherry tomatoes in between. The growth in this last section hasn’t been as good:

I always save up washing clothes till I’ve got a full load in the machine, so if there’s less water getting this far down the  line, maybe the solution is longer showers!


This week’s harvest:

  • Dutch Cream potatoes 3206 gm
  • Yellow Zucchini  335 gm
  • Butter Beans  480 gm
  • Blue Lake Beans  159 gm
  • Lebanese Zucchini  328 gm
  • Desiree potatoes  362 gm

Plus lettuce, silver beet, sorrel, wild rocket, kale, and a variety of herbs. The lemon tree finally has lemons and there are still plenty of Valencia oranges.

First harvest

December 8, 2010

First harvest for the 2010/2011 planting season—a kilo of Dutch Creams and a golden zucchini—a bit on the small side to be picked, at only 230 gm, but I  wanted it for dinner. It was delicious—lightly cooked with salt & pepper and butter.

Last year I started weighing all my harvests and will do so again this year, just to compare year-on-year yields. Of course things like alpine strawberries don’t get weighed; they’re generally picked and eaten on the spot. This morning I managed to get a whole cupful to have with my breakfast mueslii. They are so much more prolific than conventional strawberries; they don’t put out runners and don’t seem to be subject to any diseases. They’re smaller, but packed with flavour, not like the tasteless supermarket giants and easy to grow from seed.

The rain this year has been phenomenal. Today we had a thunderstorm that delivered 22 mm; it was just a week ago that we had the mother and father of all storms that delivered 27 mm in only half an hour. I’ve never seen rain like that before.  Only that morning I’d spent some time deepening all the swales, so a lot of water was retained in the soil instead of running off. I’m fast becoming a bit of a swale fanatic.

The tomatoes are loving the rain, but I’m worrying about fungal diseases. I’ve been spraying the foliage with Seasol each week, assiduously picking off any suspect yellowing leaves and generally removing the lower leaves to improve air circulation around the plants. Fingers crossed! There are already small fruits forming on most of them. I’m hoping for a Big Tomato Year!