Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rains mean growth

Lots of things in the garden have started to spring to life and start flowering after the couple of big rains we have had in the last month or so.

The frangipani's are starting to flower, their smell is just divine, it’s a smell that I have always adored. It reminds me of lovely sunshine filled days when the weather is warm and great to be outside. I have picked some of the flowers and put them in some water to hopefully make some floral water to use as a room spray, or mix with some other essential oils.

The Agapanthus are starting to flower too, I love their blue colour.

This is a plant that I am yet to identify, but it has pretty purple/blue flowers on it, and it has heaps of buds that are just waiting to pop open.

Here's a close up of the leaves and flowers.

This I believe is a Hippyastrum which has just started to flower

My Battle with Three Corner Jacks

In both my back and front yard, I have three corner jack's (or caltrop) which means that going outside without shoes on is just asking for punishment. It has decided that now is a great time to start to grow, personally I think it knows that this is a busy time of year and it has a good chance of being left undisturbed and allowed to grow, flower and set seed (in the thousands) then die off and pretend it was never there, with the seeds lying in waiting for an unsuspecting foot to come along (OUCH!!).

And a close up of one that is just about to flower:

I'm going to beat it at its own game, I have made myself a rule that if I go outside and see a group of plants at least a few of them need to be pulled out and fed to the chooks, and I also have my "sacrificial thongs" which live by the back door.

A simple walk around the back yard will result in the base of the thongs being covered in three corner, rub the thongs together over a bucket and "tada" another hundred or so plants that will not grow.
Eventually I will get them to a manageable level.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Moon Planting

Recently I have been looking into moon planting, while my knowledge is by no means extensive I thought I would share what I have been able to pull together from various sources and what I am trying to work to in my garden. Some people may think that this is a load of hogwash, but my thinking is that if the varying gravitational pull of the moon can affect things like the tides then why shouldn't it have an effect on other living things which are made of a large proportion of water, in this case plants.

The moon cycles through four phases as shown below, each of these phases has an influence on different parts of the plants and their growing phases. It has been noted that on the day of the change of the phase (new moon, first quarter, full moon, and third quarter) planting, or taking cuttings should be avoided for that day (12 hours before, and 12 hours after the time of the change). The times I have put in are South Australian time

Generally energy is focused either above ground or below ground. From the new moon to the full moon (waxing) energy is focused above the ground and from the full moon to the new moon (waning) energy is focused in the root area of plants.

New Moon

Fri 10th November 2007 9:34 am

Leafy plants, green manures, liquid fertilisers, mow or trim to promote growth

First Quarter
Sat 18th November 2007 9:03 am

Fruiting plants, green manures, liquid fertilisers, mow or trim to promote growth

Full Moon
Sun 25t
h November 2007 1:01 am

Root crops, also a good time to take cuttings as this requires good root development

Third Quarter
Sat 1st December 11:15 pm

Barren time.
Have a rest from sowing. Concentrate on weeding and pruning to restrict growth. Apply solid fertilisers.

New Moon
Mon 10th December 4:10 am

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The start of my Veggie Patch

This photo was taken at the beginning of April this year and is what my Veggie Patch looked like at the beginning. During summer (I think it was the end of January) we had huge rains which caused flooding in some areas nearby, leading to national highways being closed and many floodways being washed away. This also sent all the plants in the area into a state of confusion, thinking it was spring, rather than the middle of Autumn. Hence the weeds shot up and set seed before I knew it, and the tree in the background started to flower and grow leaves (about six months too early). This did however show me that the tree was deciduous and not dead, and from the type of leaves and the flowers on the tree I assumed it was a plum tree, but could not be sure until it set fruit, if indeed it was a fruiting variety rather than an ornamental.

I decided that since this garden bed was close to the house, received morning sun and afternoon shade and had a tap readily accessible, it would be a good site for my veggie patch, and looking at the layout I would guess that at some time previously it was set up as a veggie patch. I set to levelling out the mounds that had been created, a rather slow process using a nail rake, (I was being lazy and not really wanting to shovel piles of dirt, cause I know my back would let me know about it afterwards, and not in a good "I've done some physical work" kind of way) but I eventually got there. Then the peastraw went down and I started to water the start of my veggie garden.

After a few weeks of watering my peastraw garden I had pea plants starting to emerge, at least now I knew that things would grow in what I had created. At the same time some seeds that I had planted had now transformed into seedlings and so in they went in to the ground along with some corn seeds along the fence, partly for the corn cobs (hopefully) but also to create shade from the reflected heat from the iron fence. In this picture from left to right is silverbeet, chinese greens, corn seeds, italian parsley and tomatoes. The italian parsley didnt get planted because I ran out of room in that little bed, which was the one with the best soil and there for my main focus for the time being. My plan: Start with a small bed and once that is up and running move to the larger one.

This is what my veggie patch now looks like today, we have had a few pretty hot days this week (35 degrees +) and so the tomatoes are starting to wilt but they will get a good soaking tonight once the weather cools down a bit, and they will perk up again. Also I have let most of the weeds grow as I am aiming to have them work as a living mulch and also as a constant supply of green feed for the Chooks. So all in all its a bit messy, but its a natural, "organised chaos". Each morning I go out and pull the flowering tops off of the canola weeds and the chinese greens that have decided to flower rather than being leafy and any tops of pea plants which might look large enough to cope with it, and maybe for a treat a couple of leaves of silverbeet or chinese greens. I have discovered that the chooks don't like the purslane that is growing so that just stays and creeps. I am also discovering that with a bit of water the three corner jacks (or caltrop) are starting to come up, so at first site they get pulled out completely, I have enough of those seeds in the back yard to last me a lifetime.