July update

Despite the cold and the rain, I managed to get a few jobs done last month. The first was to get the dwarf Stella cherry ready for the new season…..its second year of growth. I dug a small swale behind it so I could keep the water up to it in the summer :

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Then I installed a support for a net :

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I picked only about eight cherries last year and I’m hoping for a bigger crop this year.

I bought a dwarf Granny Smith apple and planted it on a hugelkulture mound. I’ll eventually put in a couple of posts and a wire framework and have a go at espalier :

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It will get more TLC here because I’ll be planting my zucchinis on the mound when the weather warms and there’s a sprinkler system from the tank in place. The original Granny Smith I planted is right down the back where I never seem to want to drag the hose and the apples are always small. It’s too big for a net, but I try and protect a few with bits of netting, otherwise I generally leave them to the birds.

I also bought 5 bare-rooted, thornless blackberry canes and planted them on a new hugelkulture mound I’d been building up for a few months, with raked leaves and sticks from the walking tracks in the bush :

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This mound is on contour and on the slope that leads to the first of the three pools on the property. Although I haven’t yet dug out a swale in front of the mound, water is already collecting there and running underneath the mound and into the pool.

I’d love to have nasturtiums growing everywhere, but the rabbits love them as well. The only place I can keep them is inside a wire circle. These are keeping a Cox’s Orange Pippin apple company :

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Fortunately, the rabbits don’t like Warrigal Greens, so they’re doing a great job as a ground cover in the food forest :

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These climbing peas have just started to flower :

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Attractive foliage of Jagallo Nero kale :

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And Red Russian kale :

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I’m not picking much from the garden at the moment….just some greens and a few yellow tamarillos. The red variety has produced very few fruits because of an aphid attack last spring when they were flowering and most of the flowers dropped off.

On the chook front…..two of the New Girls have started laying again and I’m getting about 8 eggs a week from them. For the first time since I started keeping chickens, I went through the winter without having to buy eggs. Good one Girls!

I gave the pepino in the wicking box on the deck a haircut :

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It will be interesting to see if it recovers.

The blueberry in a pot on the deck is flowering :

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In the bush, Victoria’s floral emblem, Pink Heath (Epacris impressa), is flowering :

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And a large patch of native Nodding Greenhood orchids :

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Meanwhile, I’m hoping for spring and some warmer weather.

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4 Responses to “July update”

  1. narf77 Says:

    Don’t hope too hard Bev, I hear it is going to be a stinker this year! Love your winter shots and your fruity possibilities. Our girls are laying in force and the dogs are happily eating the excess. We are full of a stinking cold but working through it. Better start thinking of rat proofing sanctuary. The only thing they haven’t had a go at is perennial leeks 😉

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  2. kmfinigan Says:

    I struggle with the darned birds and my fruit trees every year. I had to buy special netting online to make sure that I keep them away from my apples! Hopefully yours works for the cherries! http://bit.ly/15RcdOK

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  3. Chris Says:

    My pepino looks exactly the same as yours, but I have yet to prune it. And while the rabbits love your nasturtiums, the hares have been eating my poppies. I was so hoping to get some this year. They also avoid the Warrigal greens.

    I actually cooked some up recently, and it tastes really yummy. Kind of like a cross between spinach and silverbeet. I’m going to cook some more.

    All the round pots towards the end of your post, are they wicking pots. I know you use wicking on the rectangular tubs, but wasn’t sure if the round tubs in these images were converted to wicking. How does it compare to regular pot culture? Does the soil still run dry, except for the bottom, closest to the water?

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  4. foodnstuff Says:

    I’ve been trying the chooks on Warrigal Greens, but they’re not overly enthusiastic about it. Pity, because there’s so much of it.

    Yes the big round tubs are meant to be wicking tubs. They’re just ordinary black plastic plant tubs with drainage holes in the bottom, so to get around that, I cut out circles of black builder’s plastic, larger than the tubs and pushed it into the base so that the edges came about a third of the way up the sides of the tubs, thus making a reservoir in the bottom. They worked OK at first but I have a feeling roots might have perforated the plastic now, because I can’t seem to ever get a permanent layer of water in the bottom (seen by looking down the tube that goes all the way down to the bottom). I water them regularly from above, so they’re functioning as ordinary tubs now. Containers without drainage holes are preferable, so you can drill them where you want. Live and learn.

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