A few pictures…..

…..just to show how things are going.

Looking from the edge of the bush across into the food forest. The sticks in the foreground are part of a hugelkultur bed in the making. Between the two stakes is the thornless blackberry bed, raised up and built on contour. The green groundcover on the right is a native, Swamp Mazus (Mazus pumilio). That area always seems to be wet for some reason, so the Mazus does well. It’s possible there is some sort of underground water seepage from the sloping area behind. The black pipe in the right hand corner is coming from the tank overflow up by the house and takes water to the three pools just to the left of the blackberry bed :

image

I put a vigorous form of the Native Violet (Viola hederacea) under the blackberries. It’s taken off in the damp conditions and the rabbits haven’t touched it. This is the second year for the blackberries and there are many more flowers than last year because I pruned heavily to make them branch. Hoping for a good crop. I’ll need to get a net up soon :

image

In the food forest itself there has been so much growth due to the wet winter we had. Borage in the foreground, much loved by the bees. Nasturtiums under the plum in the background and the apple (under the polypipe arches), which is a Cox’s Orange Pippin. This is it’s third year. First year it did nothing; last year it set two fruit but they dropped off when quite big. This year it’s had masses of flowers, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some fruit at last :

image

Another view of the food forest, looking up the path towards the house :

image

And looking down the same path, away from the house :

image

Yarrow in flower. The rabbits love the flower stems, so I can’t get it to flower unless I put a circle of wire around the clump :

image

Lots of hoverflies around this year. I hope they’re pollinating, because I’m not seeing many bees now. I’m not sure what this little guy is, but he’s not a hoverfly :

image

Quince is setting fruit :

image

A good crop of loquats but most of the fruit is covered in black patches and spots. I assume it’s fungal. I’ve bagged a few of the better bunches :

image

The self-sown poppies are in bud :

image

And the first flower appeared. It’s a frilly, double form and is attracting what few bees there are :

img_3356

My little Australian Finger Lime is in bud and a few flowers have opened :

image

Redbor kale is in flower in one of the planter boxes :

image

The leaves are frilly and an intense purple. The familiar grey-green, crinkly leaves of lacinato kale are on the left :

image

Up on the deck, this tub of strawberries is doing well. There’s a tomato in the rear :

image

The strawberry wicking buckets have all been topped up with fresh compost and are raring to go :

image

I’ve planted tomatoes and alpine strawberries in the second of the two planter boxes :

image

More tomatoes in tubs and wicking boxes :

image

Endive in a wicking box. This lot was direct sown. So much easier than sowing seed and potting up seedlings :

image

Dandelions direct-sown in another wicking box. The chooks will get most of these :

image

I bought this mini Cape Gooseberry at Bunnings, although the label says it will get to a metre in height, so not that mini. I’m already growing the large form in the garden. Judging by the size of the flowers on this one, the fruits will be no more than pea-sized; it will be a bit of a novelty at best. I won’t risk it in the garden; I’ll find a large pot for it, so I can be sure to collect fruits and sow the seeds to get more plants, then I can try it in the garden. They grow easily from seed :

image

image

It has been a strange year in the garden so far. Rainfall over the last six months has been double the average for Melbourne. There have been very few cabbage white butterflies, but hundreds of little hoverflies. The redcurrants have not flowered and fruited, but all the feijoas are covered in flowers which has not happened before. We have had warm days followed by freezing cold ones. I wasn’t game to put my tomatoes out until early November, the latest they’ve ever gone out. I’ve planted beans three times and they’ve all rotted before germination. My neighbour tells me he’s had the same problems with his beans. Usually I plant the first batch of beans in early October and every month thereafter; no way will I get beans before Christmas now. Has all this just been due to the extra rain or what? As the saying goes…..we live in interesting times. In the garden, anyway.

Advertisements

9 Responses to “A few pictures…..”

  1. narf7 Says:

    Lovely photos Bev :). My strawberry wicking bed boat should technically be renamed a “weed wicking bed” as after I dug up the poor little grafted ballerina apple that Steve grafted back in 2009 (that Earl mangled when he launched himself at full speed into the strawberry wicking bed last week…sigh…) and replanted it next to a much larger (but this time “green”) ballerina apple that a good friend gave us what remains in the wicking boat is about 99% weeds and 1% gotu kola that is VERY happy as the bed is next to sodden at any given time lately.

    We finally finished installing the dripper hose in Sanctuary and it is still so damp here that “I” was able to dig a trench to hide the pipe and remove all of the ensuing rocks from said trench by myself. Normally by now, the soil is so hard it’s probably harder than the rock quotient so I was amazed. After we finish filling the last of the fridge wicking beds today I am going to dig 2 holes to plant out 2 carob trees that have been languishing in pots for years now. We grew them from seeds years ago but haven’t had anywhere to put them till now. I dug up a poor little mandarin and my Lazarus almond that appears to have been stripped naked of all leaves by a swine of a possum and replanted both of them inside Sanctuary. I doubt the almond will grow, let alone get tall as half of it is dead. It was covered in almonds this year too! Possums are such bastards!

    In the holes that they vacated I planted 2 chestnut trees (with suitable armour as the possums love them). I feel an awesome sense of achievement as most of the potted fruit and nut trees we just planted out have been in pots for a long time and I had no idea where I could plant them. There is only so much space inside the house compound area and everything outside this space is possum and wallaby central. Turning Sanctuary into an espalier and fruit orchard has removed all of my conundrums about these pots at once. I have even decided to start potting up edibles and growing them and maybe even selling some at markets. Much like my crochet habit. I have nowhere to use/put most of what I will grow but I just love growing it so that would be a great way to do both and make a bit of spare change on the side of the equation.

    I LOVE this post Bev. It’s positive, incredibly informative and very interesting. Sharing what we are doing in each others gardens is a great way to feel like we have an online community and that we can learn from each other. I have learned SO much from you. You truly are my guru 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks Fran, nice to be a guru to someone!

      I have gotu kola in a wicking box, too, where it goes berserk, but I don’t seem to use it. I tried it as tea but didn’t like the taste. Do you use yours?

      I haven’t got an almond yet. Must investigate if it will grow OK here. You seem to get plenty of fruit down there, despite the possums.

      Liked by 1 person

      • narf7 Says:

        We are surrounded by orchards and vineyards so the possums have lots to choose from 😉 We bought the almond back in 2009. It has officially died twice and resurrected itself, thus the monika “Lazarus”. It only has one side that lives but we figured Steve is the grafting king and he can graft some scion onto it but the possums stripped all of it’s leaves (and almonds) recently so fingers crossed old Lazarus has another life left in him. I quite liked the gotu kola taste, sort of like parsley on steroids but then I like Vietnamese mint. Luckily, both of them are in confined beds as I am sure they would both have run riot through the garden by now if they weren’t contained. I wonder if you could use gotu kola in pesto? That might tame the flavour a bit? I wouldn’t have ANY idea about wicking beds or how to create one if I hadn’t found you and I dare say I would have given up on planting or producing food on our property by now. Last year was very depressing with the amount of water that we had to pour into Sanctuary and we got 4 small tomatoes and a rat chewed pepino and a handful of cucamelons for our troubles. I almost gave up but then I decided that it might be time to tweak the mix. The fridge wickers are a real “Eureka!” moment for us. Everything that we have planted in them is going mental but that is hardly surprising as we had to empty one out as it had a slow leak and when we got to the bottom I thought “anaerobic conditions “PHEW!”” but then I suddenly realised that when you put soil that is predominately aged horse manure and rotten oak leaves into an enclosed bed and add water to the mix you are making your own liquid fertiliser! The worms are guzzling it like it is Dom perignon and were actually giving me stink eye for digging their bed out and relocating them!

        Liked by 1 person

        • foodnstuff Says:

          Ah, but then I don’t like Vietnamese mint either! Must be all in the taste buds! I’ve been thinking of drying the gotu kola leaves and just adding them to casseroles, etc. Be careful that you don’t have anaerobic conditions in the wickers though, as that will kill the roots. Those in the top section should be OK if they’re getting enough O2.

          Liked by 1 person

          • narf7 Says:

            Cheers Bev. I think that the smell was the heinous mix of manure and water to be honest. I made a perfect manure tea in the base 😉

            Like

  2. Chris Says:

    Lovely garden update Bev. Great to see lush greenery, where ours has slowly turned into a brown mess. But that’s okay, because the summer storms have recently arrived, and it won’t be long until everything starts to green up again.

    Enjoy the fruits of your labours. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Thanks Chris. We haven’t had much rain lately and a few warm days, so I think about the time you’re starting to green up, we’ll be going brown 😦

      Like

  3. Irv Mills Says:

    Your place is certainly looking good. I take it that the season is late spring there? It’s late fall here. One of the warmest and driest falls we’ve had in along time.

    Like

    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Irv, yes late spring here. We’ve had a very wet winter and the growth has been amazing. Now things are drying out. Summer is always worrying because of the bushfire threat. I’m hoping it’s going to be a cool one, but I think cool summers are not going to be part of the future. Hope you get some winter rain there. Do you get snow where you are?

      Like

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: