Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shhh!!!! We're hiding

While sitting outside taking a break from weeding around the fruit trees I spotted these two "never before seen" peaches. I was certain I had looked over all the trees after they had finished flowering and had grown leaves, but it seems that I missed these, but maybe if I couldnt see them then the birds cant either?? Hopeful thinking I think I might have to organise something before the birds do spot them.

Then I thought I should take a look on the other trees and see if there were any others that I had missed, and what do you know there are two apricots too, wow our own little Noahs Fruit Ark, at at least if they survive to be ripe there will be one of each for both DP and myself.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Whats happening in the garden

Well the last week we have been lucky enough to have a bit of rain, the garden has appreciated it but so to have those pesky weeds, I have just been outside to identify a few little boxthorn seedlings I had thought might have been some sort of useful plant, but no just a noxious weed, green and healthy but a weed all the same. I also noticed that the caltrop is starting to germinate around the place so I will have to keep ontop of that and pull them out before they flower and set seed.
I have planted some tomato seedlings (a Black Russian, 4 Big Beef, and a Cherry tomato) and a capsicum seedling where the rocket was in the middle, and because I let it go to seed there is now little rocket plants coming up amongst the tomatoes but they will stay there if they survive past the two leaf stage, I'll just have to make sure I keep them pruned back the last lot ended up quite big. Things are a bit messy and need a bit of weeding, but thats life, no airbrushed photos around here.

The plants in the native garden are powering along, especially the acacia argyrophylla which I want to use as a screening plant, its about halfway up the fence now and its only been in for around a year, and that was as a tubestock, so I am quite impressed.

The lawn has magically truned from being dry and brown into being lush and green, helped along by a very timely (not at all intentional) application of blood and bone (by DP) a couple of days before we got rain a couple of weeks ago

Wicking beds from Broccolli boxes

About a month ago I (finally) got around to making a couple of wicking beds from Broccoli boxes I picked up for free at one of the local supermarkets. The idea of a wicking bed is that water is stored at the bottom and is "wicked" upwards to where the plants need it in the root zone. I have seen on a few peoples blogs that the idea is begining to take off, in these times where we all struggle to keep water up to our plants (for more info have a look on this site)

I thought I would try two different methods and see which worked better.

The first I filled the bottom with some gravel I had around the place, then placed a 2L milk container upside down, in the corner, with the bottom cut out (for watering) and the lid off and then filled the rest of the box with potting mix. Into this I planted a coupe lof Everlasting Lettuce seedlings, a Spaghetti Squash seedling and a couple of Purple Pak Choy seedlings

The second I decided not to use the gravel but instead I used a juice container cut in half length ways, and placed along the bottom to create a tunnel to hold water, then I filled the box with potting mix and planted it out the same as the first one. I gave them the same amount of water each and left them to do their thing.

Almost a month later and the one on the left (no gravel) has definitely performed better than the one on the right (with gravel). In both of them the Pak Choy has not survived (on the right of the boxes), and in the gravel one the squash died, but the lettuces seem to like both.

Just look at them now, I was considering replacing the seedlings that died with some more of the Everlasting Lettuce since that seems to be going really well in both, or maybe something like some rocket. It really is nice to see things so green and lush without having to constantly water.Justify Full

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our new arrivals

After heading to Adelaide for a weekend, two weeks ago, we came back with four 7 week old chickens. We had recently lost another of the four originals, Miss Bossy, which left only two, so while running some errands there, we came across these girls, I had thought of getting three more but there were four there and I couldn't leave just one alone there, so they all came home with us.

They had the delight of coming visiting with us and meeting the family, complete with a short stay in the rabbits cage (with the benefit of being able to eat the rabbits food, scratch in his bedding and drink his water) while he was out exploring the garden, much to his disgust when he arrived back home LOL.

We got home late at night and so put them in the roosting area with the other two with the hope that they would all wake up together and not realise anything had happened. Well that wasnt quite the case, Big Mumma decided she didnt like these little teenagers coming into her home and would chase them away if they came near her, or tried to eat. This meant that during the day they would hide together in the roosting area then at night when we went to check on them they would all be huddled together in a corner of the run, so for a few nights after it was dark and they had settled for the evening, we would pick them up one by one and put them into the roosting area and then go back and check on them to make sure they hadn't been kicked out by the other two. It took a few nights but now they are all putting themselves to bed, and sleeping together.

We had to do something about the feeding situation, so each day after work I would let the older two out, and shoo then out of the roosting area, then lock up the run so the older ones couldnt get back in, (and block of the roosting area so the little ones couldnt go back in there and hide) and let the young ones have free run of the place . As soon as they realised that the older two weren't around they pigged out on the food and water, so I think they were hiding out for most of the day not getting food or water. Now two weeks on, they still get chased but they are getting a lot more confidence even sneaking in with the older two to grab some food, they get their grower pellets in the frypan and the older two get scraps put in another large saucer away from them.

Yesterday I gave them all some kangaroo mince with garlic and an egg mixed with it, half in the scrap container and half in the youngsters frypan, the older two were straight into it, but it took the younger ones a little while to work out that it was tasty. But once they did they were into it, chasing each other if they didn't swallow it straight away, a couple of them even ventured over to the other two and stuck their head in (until they got told of by the crabby old chook) I think they should end up sorting themselves out.

I cant wait until they start laying and we have an abundance of eggs!!!!