September update

Good things finally started happening.

For one, the spring equinox occurred on the 21st. That means the sun will speed up on its return to the southern sky and that means more generation from the solar panels (it doesn’t really speed up, what changes is the rate of change. Or something. Don’t worry about it).

And those aforementioned little darlings (the solar panels) turned 1 on the 18th. I forgot to wish them happy birthday or otherwise mark the occasion, because the smart meter wasn’t reconfigured to show solar exports until the 1st of November and all my spreadsheet calculations in regard to solar credits start from there. But I was recording what the panels produced every day up to then, so I know that over the year they produced nearly 4000 kWh and that’s a daily average of 11 kWh. Much more than I would ever use from the grid so it’s not surprising I’m in credit moneywise and expecting to stay there.

It warmed up, too. How nice to be able to shed a few layers of clothing and not have to trek daily to the wood pile for firewood.

The new chook run is finally finished, the coop is ensconced within and all awaits the new occupants :


The first run had one wall protected by being built against the polyhouse; this new run, although covered with a tarp over the top, was open on both sides. I was really pleased to be able to re-purpose some pine panels (the remains of the original vegetable planter boxes) from down in the back corner and use them to cover one of the sides. They were treated pine which concerned me a bit (the reason for abandoning the original beds), but a neighbour, who’s a vet, said he wouldn’t worry about the chemicals in possible contact with the chooks :


The various varieties of kale in the big planter boxes suddenly took off. I put a few plastic butterfly look-alikes in amongst them to see if they had any effect on dissuading egg-laying females. I watched as a butterfly hovered near. It flittered and fluttered over the plants, dithered and dathered, hither and thither and finally flew away. Success! I smirked to myself for a couple of hours afterwards until I suddenly thoughtβ€”maybe it was a male looking for a bit of what you fancy and was so bemused by the multitude of potential lovers that he couldn’t cope with so many to choose from and departed the scene in utter frustration. I haven’t found any butterfly eggs or caterpillars yet, so maybe the phoneys are doing their job :



Blueberry futures :


This dark purple variety of kale called Redbor has been in a wicking box on the deck for ages. It’s finally flowering which means I can collect seed :


The strawberry buckets are covered in flowers. Can’t wait for fresh strawberries on my breakfast cereal :


I started planting out the first of the tomatoes. Most are going into wicking boxes where I don’t have to worry about constant watering :


This is Senposai, also called Japanese Greens. It produces huge amounts of foliage which is great for stir fries. Being a brassica, it has the obligatory white butterfly look-alike to guard it :


The plants in the old wheelbarrow have really taken off. I’m not surprised as I filled it with compost from the bin where I put the stuff from the composting toilet :


I’ve made a new bed behind one of the rows of wicking boxes. The dwarf nectarine had been there for some time and also some sage and I’ve added some garlic chives and a couple of strawberries. The rabbits don’t usually come this close to the house, but if they do, it’s easy enough to put up a wire fence :


I’ve planted a Heritage raspberry into one of the hugelkultur beds :


Down in the food forest, the tamarillos that didn’t ripen earlier are starting to colour up :


There are a couple of odd coloured ones that look like they’re going to ripen yellow and orange even though all the others on that particular tree are turning from green straight to red. I know a yellow-skinned variety exists; I’ve grown a single plant of it from seed, but it hasn’t flowered yet. I’m wondering if there’s been a gene mutation somewhere in the development of these two fruits. (I’m doing an online genetics course at the moment so my mind is full of mutations…not literally though, I hope) :


The yacon is starting to appear :


The comfrey is shooting up again. The Girls will be glad; they love it :


The basil mint is running rampant. I don’t really like it that much, but I can do the permaculture chop-and-drop thing with it and use it as mulch :


The redcurrants have come into leaf and there are lots of tiny flower buds forming :


The cherry is flowering for the first time :


The Bartlett pear is covered in flowers but its pollinator mate next door doesn’t have a single flower on it, so I’m not sure if it will set fruitΒ  :


The flowers are so pretty :


The rabbits love nasturtiums and I can’t grow them unprotected, so I throw a few seeds inside a circle of wire which is protecting a fruit tree. Somewhere in there there’s a Cox’s Orange Pippin apple :


Yep, there it is :


Plum futures :


Apricot futures :


And possibly, apple futures :


Chokos sprouting :


The passionfruit that was hacked to bits to get a new trellis into place around the water tank seems to be none the worse for its ordeal. There won’t be any fruit this year though :


But there are flower buds on the one over the old chook run :


And plenty of oranges for a vitamin C hit until the tomatoes ripen :


The egg situation has been the only flaw in the month. The Girls laid 4 eggs between them at the beginning of the month and haven’t laid since. So I’m buying eggs. Not pleased Girls.

19 Responses to “September update”

  1. narf77 Says:

    I LOVE this post Bev! We just finished off our fencing marathon. Our fence is the better part of 1/4 acre. We had a small existing fence around the immediate house area but wanted a proper back yard (and I wanted to get to the clothes line without having to go bush) for the dogs. I suddenly realised that now I can plant out my carob trees, my hazelnuts and my loquats and the wallabies can’t reach them WOOT! πŸ™‚ Aside from that, Steve had to strengthen the little original fence back in 2012 when Earl worked out that he could eat through flimsy chook wire so he used 200 treated pine fence panels. We reused as many of them as we could on the front of our new fence but we still have lots left. You just gave me an awesome idea for using the rest of them. I LOVE blog shares, intentional or not πŸ™‚

    Your kale looks amazing and your blueberries…are berries! Mine have only just started to flower and put on leafage. It just goes to show you how far behind the mainland our Tassie season really is doesn’t it. AWESOME on the solar. Still no funds to get hooked up ourselves but if we ever come into some fast money (hear that universe…we are after some fast money! πŸ˜‰ ) I will consider solar. I am still teetering on a wind turbine because we have plenty of wind here (most of it generated from our moronic politicians).

    I am going to copy your butterfly idea. You have me fooled looking at that image and I am in the know! If “I” think it looks like butterflies (with their own plinths πŸ˜‰ ) then I am sure fellow butterflies are going to think “oh NO I am late to the party, I am heading off to find better odds” much like me by the time I get to most garage sales πŸ˜‰

    We have to lug the duck/boat up to Sanctuary so that I can get it started as a huge water wicked strawberry bed. I am thinking that I might plant Steve’s tiny little Ballerina apple that he grafted back in our early TAFE hort years and that is never going to be taller than 10 inches (lesson learned about scions and grafting πŸ˜‰ ) but is covered in flowers. I have (ahem*) 4 incredibly healthy little pepino babies that are bright green and raring to be planted out when I am assured we are past our last frost date. They are currently living inside Steve’s music room on a bar stool right next to the window where they get almost constant light. Happy little pepinos πŸ™‚

    I am SO looking forward to growing tomatoes properly this year. No forgetting to stake them (laziness is it’s own (lack of) reward 😦 ) and I WILL attempt to propagate more from cuttings like you taught me last year. I learn so much from your blog. I eagerly await your gardening posts because they are full to the back teeth with new stuff that I can grow here because I reckon we have similar growing conditions.

    Steve and I took the dogs for a walk locally near the river (over the other side from where we are) the other day and they have a rabbit plague. There were rabbits zooming across the road in front of us, rabbits watching us from people’s gardens, rabbits all OVER the place. I have never seen as many rabbits apart from an old movie about rabbit infestation in black and white about our Aussie past. We have none. I saw some rabbit fur down at the bottom of the church and knew exactly what had become of that rabbit! No need to eat birdies when you have rabbits out the wazoo to catch πŸ˜‰ We have NO rabbits. Nada. By the way…The possums are learning that the new compound area (and thus my small battle scared orchard) is a NO GO zone. Earl trotted out there the other day at 4.30am and we later noted a possums fur on this side of the big farm gate we installed to allow us to get the car in and out of the area near Sanctuary. Earl must have chased the little sod and it squeezed through the holes in the gate but not before Earl gave it’s tail a decent nip. I hope it spreads the word. Lord Earl the terrible is in residence! πŸ˜‰

    I LOVE genetics and how things grow, breed etc. It was the best bit about Human biology back last century when I went to school. Very excited for you learning about it online :). We spent a lot of time hunting out “sports” on pine and other conifers locally. They are the means by which new plants are created and we found several interesting specimens. One was in a local pine forest (cheers forestry πŸ˜‰ ) that was a bright yellow branch on a normal pine tree. That’s how amazing things start but there is a lot of work and trialing to see if you can get a bright yellow conifer from a normal pine branch. MUCHO fun and possibilities πŸ™‚

    My yacon got left in the ground. I wasn’t very happy with it and thought that it would die so just left it there (in a huff) but it (along with lots of spuds I must have missed) are all back with a vengeance so I am going to let it grow where it wants this year. Now that we have fortified Sanctuary against the possums (used plastic coated metal clothes line) and they can’t get inside any more (HOORAY! πŸ™‚ ) things are safe now and the little sods can’t bounce up and down on the top to get the netting to flop down lower as the metal hasn’t got the give that the plastic clothes line (we used last time) had. I can imagine furious little frustrated possums bouncing up and down on top like a trampoline and getting nowhere. A most excellent result πŸ™‚

    Cheers for reminding me to dig up some comfrey from my daughters house in the city. I keep forgetting to do so and know that it is great for chooks, the garden and soil and compost etc. I am going to write myself a note now so I don’t forget. In the diary!

    I am going to plant my potted redcurrants in among the citrus that we planted inside Sanctuary recently I think they would work well together and they were grown from cuttings from old shrubs at TAFE (back in 2009) that were dug out and I couldn’t bear to see that possibility go to waste. We have the same problem with our pear tree. Our bartlett is out en mass in flower but the other pear tree is being stubborn. Sanctuary is full to the back gills with nasturtiums. I could never grow them before but a friend gave me 2 small plants last year and they adore living inside Sanctuary for some reason. They are pretty much the only thing in there at the moment along with the small citrus, our potted edibles and a large pineapple sage that carried on regardless all through winter inside Sanctuary’s safe zone (no frost gets inside there)

    Another awesome idea! I am going to put trellis up the side of our water tank and grow passionfruit up it. It’s right next to the house and our bedroom so good luck to any possums who think they might pinch a few passionfruit. Earl sleeps in our bed and has very good hearing ;). I so wish we lived closer. I have 10 dozen eggs at any given day and despite me trying to give them to anyone who will take them they just keep coming. I am not ungrateful, just overwhelmed.

    Sorry this comment is almost as big as this post but you have excited me beyond belief with this post. I was just trundling along and starting to get a bit excited about the possibilities that we have created by building that fence but now I am buzzing with excitement thanks to all of the ideas and possibilities you just filled my early morning brain with. Thank you SO much for this post Bev πŸ™‚


    • foodnstuff Says:

      It WAS a long comment!! Almost as long as one of your blogposts!! πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to make it. So glad this blog is helpful to SOMEONE out there.


      • narf77 Says:

        It is helpful to anyone that gardens Bev and that’s why I reblogged it. Everyone needs to see the possibilities. If we can do this in harsh Australian conditions, people just about everywhere can do this. Bright posts full of possibilities like this NEED to be shared so that people can get hope. You just filled me with hope and I know about this permaculture lark. Imagine how much more hope you could put in someone’s mind who doesn’t know about it? It’s hard to get our blogs out there for the word to be heard. If we all share these kind of delicious posts, there is a better chance that it will get to the ears and eyes that could really do with seeing it πŸ™‚


  2. narf77 Says:

    Reblogged this on theroadtoserendipity and commented:
    Bev is my permaculture guru. What she can do with her property makes me buzz with excitement. Take a look at what a middle aged woman can do all by herself with a whole heap of determination πŸ™‚


  3. narf77 Says:

    Just reblogged this post. If it can motivate slothful old me, it can motivate anyone! πŸ™‚


  4. narf77 Says:

    Just got told about this plant by an American blogging friend. A most interesting big of info was that she grows it, she eats it and it tastes good but the best bit is it is apparently from Queensland…you have any ideas about this?


    • foodnstuff Says:

      No, never heard of it. If it’s a tropical species I don’t think I’d have much hope with it down here. Already failed with ginger and sweet potato. Oh, and the lemon grass looks like it’s died over winter too. 😦


      • narf77 Says:

        I thought that my Jerusalem artichokes had dissolved in the ground as no sign of them sprouting etc. and so I started forking over the soil today and dug up a whole lot of them that were putting out roots and shoots. I carefully transplanted them to where they can grow with impunity from now on along with my rhubarb so that they won’t get covered over by pumpkins etc. You must get it colder than us if lemon grass died. That’s one tough plant. I planted a sweet potato and it either dissolved or was scoffed by possums (my guess is the latter as it was before we fixed Sanctuary’s top netting). I think Steve is hoping to retire from the fence building lark, at least for the immediate future ;). I hadn’t ever heard of it either but it has the most protein in it’s leaves of any plant source. Sounds like something a vegan like me should be growing if at all possible. Might have to look into it further methinks.


  5. Sue Dreamwalker Says:

    What a beautiful Veggie garden.. Loved your post and your images.. It makes me so happy that so many of us across the world are growing our own.. πŸ™‚
    I came via Narf’s reblog.. πŸ™‚


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hello Sue, thanks for visiting (Narf is my greatest fan πŸ™‚ )

      Have just looked at your site. The painted churn collection is beautiful…esp the owl. I love owls.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynda D Says:

    Me Too, i’m one of Narf’s disciples and guess where i live, Melbourne, so we are talking the same climate. Great post and i’ve hit the follow button.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      It’s great to have another Melbournite on board. I’m collecting Melbourne blogs. Thanks for the comment and the follow.


  7. brymnsons Says:

    Great blog Bev. Thanks for sharing some great ideas.


  8. kayepea Says:

    Inspiring as always Bev, thank you.


  9. Allotment adventures with Jean Says:

    I’m over from Narf’s blog. Really enjoyed reading this post and looking forward to following it.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Welcome aboard, Jean. I’ve added your blog to my bookmarked collection of Aussie food blogs. Always nice to see what other people in the country are achieving.


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