Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gardens, May 2010

This year got off to a crappy start. Everything was going well in January, then the firemen came and torched the place (they called it backburning, but i've never seen anyone backburning 30-odd acres all at once. Including half the irrigation, our waterbike and nearly my husband). But anyway, the bushfire didn't burn the house down, so all was well in the end.

Then the skies opened. And it rained, and rained, and rained. And everything died and died and died. While the temperature was perfect, it was too humid and mould was rampant. So we just green manured everything, and now we're back to dry the gardens are just getting up again. The malabar spinach lived, as it always does, so i'm making more of an effort to source tropical vegies, as insurance against it happening again.

 OK, vegie garden. There's now five beds 1.5 wide and around 8m long.

Sweet potato, which loved the wet. The vine is from the common orange one, and there's now a patch of one with white skin and purple flesh down the left hand end.

The kids beds-there's four sections seperated by a couple of rows of garlic. There's a bit of everything here, from broad beans to chia.

his one has the malabar spinach, a 2.2m tall Giant Russian sunflower (and growing), and a bearing Tommy Toe tomato. Coming up is more garlic (pick the couple with European blood), strawberries, Thumbelina carrots, loose leaf lettuce (Lollo Rosso and Darwin) and.....stuff. I've gone blank here.
There's also a bed with Balinese corn and a couple of tomatoes (Thai Pink Egg and something else), and a bed with cassava canes planted and an empty end.

Passionfruit, which have certainly thrived.

Fruit trees, which mostly liked it. But the grumichana died so we stuck in another ice-cream bean for more nitrogen fixing. We've also added in a tamarillo and pepino and now the chooks are away will start on an understorey. Pulling the tyres off is on the to-do list, again now that the chooks aren't out to bare-root them.

This bed is unfenced, so we've only just planted into it now we've imprisoned the chickens (seriously, their run is about 1/4 of an acre, but they mope around like battery hens.) Lots of zucchinis and pumpkins in here so far, and sunflowers-I want a wild ramble of food and to discover massive fruits completely by accident. What i'll probably get is an outbreak of mildew and everything rotting and dying on the verge of producing. And that's a lemon tree in the middle, ringbarked repeatedly by the geese (now banished to the dam) but fighting back.

Mulch pit, still charging along. Surely there'll be some edible action soon, it's been a year now?

The inside-the sheer volume of mulch required to keep this filled is mind boggling. Especially as we don't buy mulch (except to begin the food forest off as the ground resembled concrete.) As well as the spent banana leaves and suckers it seems we're constantly throwing cardboard, palm leaves, gum leaves, weeds, old bedsheets and sticks in there, and the next day it's sunk a foot again. We have some red pawpaw seeds germinating so should be able to fill the gaps soon.

An example of our version of an ornamental garden-we stuck a heliconia and bromeliad in there, but then couldn't resist a pineapple and a pawpaw. Food! FOOD!

My sad-looking herb bed-it's producing really well and survived the heat with minimum casualties, but i've been too slack to fill the gaps. Shorty has taken to eating garlic chives raw, his breath is truly revolting afterwards.
Plus there's a feral pumpkin on the fence (the only sort we can grow).

Phew, that was exhausting. And i'm not doing it again until i'm drowing in food, it's rather depressing to see how much the rain slowed us down. Although the soil improvement from the green manure was probably well worth it, and great to see. Considering the gravelly, dusty, impermeable stuff we began with it's very satisfying to see lots of worms and be well on the way to good soil in such a short time with very little imported.


  1. It looks wonderful from here Kelly! Lots and lots of food growing, which is so so so good. Will have to come see it in person one of these days! You still planning on moving back here though?

  2. You know you're welcome anytime :)


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