Thursday, April 13, 2017

front fence hedge - loquat

Must remember that I have a loquat seedling (full size, grown from seed) and it will go nicely by the front fence!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

All The Trees Are Brown...

So, gardening. Mum called this morning at 8:30am to say she'd be coming around with her garden helper to help put in some fruit trees.

We got the avocado (grown from seed) and the two apples (my birthday present this year) in the ground, and moved the apricot over. We also discovered a large chunk of cement in the front garden - too large to lever up. So we just planted the apricot a little beyond it.

The avocado - planted out just in time. It's been getting entirely too big for its boots, and had just started leaning to the side in the teeny tiny pot that it's been growing in the last, oh, five, six years...

Two apples up against the fence - I'm going to espalier them, probably in a fan shape - and the apricot in the front, looking like an umbrella blown out the wrong way...

The big sprouty thing to the left of the pic is an eggplant. I've done really well with eggplants this year (compared to previous years).

The apples a little closer up:

I also put in some sweet potato (we'll see how that goes, but I had the length of vine), and started clearing space in prep for the attempt at autumn-winter corn.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I just spent three hours in the garden.

I was not expecting time to pass quite that quickly.

On the plus side, I got the seedlings transplanted and covered up for the first day in the sun (so they don't transpire so much), moved the smaller seedlings to larger seedling pots or planter trays, and prepped the seed trays for seeds.

I want more bok choy and asian greens, cabbage and cauliflower, and, oh, it's time to plant peas (sugarsnap and snow) for the end of winter, isn't it?

Interesting. This planting guide for Sydney says to plant sweet corn in April! Full sun, of course...

I wonder if I should try planting it in the front bed where the fruit trees are. There's probably space. Hm. It would need extra nutrients and mulching, but I've got a decent amount of worm castings and quite a bit of compost... Might give it a try. Depends on whether we have a cold or a mild winter. Last year was cold. Year before was mild. At the worst, it won't grow or it'll grow stunted.

Friday, March 24, 2017

front yard plans

The first thing that I want is a hedge rather than a fence. Mostly with citrus and nut trees - maybe some pomegranates, but otherwise, mostly non-fruiting ones that people might be tempted to steal.

Garden, March 2017

I have four citrus in the front garden bed - a lemon, two multi-citrus, and a mandarin. None of them are doing very well at all - I haven't gotten a fruit out of any of them, and they're pretty much the same size as they were when I planted them, and it's been two years. So I think it's safe to say that they're not liking that bed. The fruit salad stonefruit tree on the other hand is growing GREAT GUNS, while the persimmon is doing nicely, also, and the dual stonefruit trees are holding up. But the new apricot doesn't seem to like the bed so much:

Garden, March 2017

I'm more than a bit worried about that. It's got good leaves, but no new shoots happening.

I also have an avocado in a pot, grown from seed about 7 years ago, so it should be right about ready to start producing. I just need to get it in the ground, because it has seriously outgrown the pot. And my mother just gave me two apple trees for my birthday.

Garden, March 2017

To say that I have an abundance of trees is something of an understatement, I believe.

current plan:
1. plant the apple trees right up against the lattice fence between the front garden bed and the side lawn, and espalier them to form a hedge
2. plant the avocado where the camellia used to be
3. extract the citrus and plant them along the fence, letting them dig deep and grow out

Also on the books for this year is getting chickens - for eggs, for pest control, and also for mulching and manures. I have the geodesic dome hubs, I just need to buy the struts and set up the chook dome. The only question is size; I want a slightly smaller dome for the backyard, and I'm thinking that I might set it up so that the triangular hutch in which the chickens come opens out into the dome, so they can go out there during the day, do their thing, and come back inside into the warmth in the evening and lay their eggs. At least to start with.

Many plans, most of which wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't been made redundant earlier this year (with warning late last year). It's made me appreciate not only cash flows, but garden time, too!

While homesteading isn't something that I'd do unless it was dire, I would like to develop a self-sufficiency in fruit and vegies and eggs, through chickens and a garden that is both productive and pleasurable. At some point (nuclear war, abrupt end of the petroleum society, dire social breakdown) I may decide to start a Linda Woodrow circular permaculture garden in the front yard, but I feel that's a few years away right now...

In the meantime, we tinker on!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Autumn 2016

So I pretty much skipped all of summer there...

So far I have two pumpkins that have set, another two that are up in the air. Also struggling to set fruit is the passionfruit vine which has flowers galore but nary a passionfruit to show for it. I think I need to trim it down pretty savagely come winter.

I have several tomatoes setting fruit - whether they actually ripen nicely is another matter - there was a brief fruit fly infestation in the garden and I haven't seen any decent tomatoes since January, although there are some growing on the vine now. The 3rd planting of corn looks good, but whether it manages to pollinate is another matter. The 2nd planting wasn't very thoroughly pollinated and the cobs look like gappy teeth. The 1st planting I lost entirely to mildew and insufficient growth, alas - I think it needed better soil and mulching.

This is part of the learning cycle of gardening for me - working out what goes where and how to make things grow - at least somewhat by trial and error.

What's doing really well? Eggplant. I have three plants producing, and while they're not going great guns, they're doing pretty solidly. Oh, and the basil. The basil is going NUTS. Everywhere, NUTS.

And I finally have a harvest of fruit; my fuyu (sweet) persimmon tree has branches laden with fruit, and has kept them for the last three months as the fruit fly came and went... It's pretty delicious, actually!

The biggest problem right now is that I'm running out of space to plant things. It's actually rather annoying; I've got loads of root vegetables that I'd like to grow through the winter, and the current crop sets are beans and peas (and some brassicas, which will soon need to be planted out). It's going to get crowded...

A look at the garden in March 2017 (compare with September 2016):
Garden March 2017

I'm seriously thinking about those chickens again, too - to keep the grass in check.

Monday, September 19, 2016

spring 2016

I don't even know how long it's been since I posted here. Some of that's because I didn't do much gardening from January through to midwinter; not enough time, not enough physical health, not enough enthusiasm.

However, now it is SPRING! And there are PLANS in place. And a bit more than plans.

The fruit trees are in full bloom and bud; the bi-stone is in full fruit, and the dual-stone (two trees planted in the same hole) is a little less enthusiastic, but still doing pretty well. I bought an extra apricot, because I really like apricots, and because the avocado I tried to plant just died. The citruses aren't doing so well, though - in a year and more, I haven't had very good harvests. Think I'm going to have to take better care of them - I've actually mulched them this year, and added compost/"council mix".

Bizarrely, I've just realised I don't have photos of the front bed.

However, I do have pics of the back. I've given up on the whole 'pathways and beds' idea - at least without chooks. It's not doable, and until I work out chooks (I'm thinking the space under the house might not be bad for keeping chickens, so long as it's a solid cage that the cats can't get into) then we're probably going to have to just live with the grass. But the beds are going to be pretty crowded with stuff this year...

From the west looking east:

Garden, spring 2016

There's the multiapple, the cherry, the donut peach, the multistone, and a bi-plum. The middle bed is pretty full of Warrigal greens which is a kind of native spinach somewhat high in oxalic acid. However, it grows like crazy - so does mizuna. There's a lone cabbage, some potatoes in the terracoloured pots, a 'salad box' which will probably mostly be greens and suchlike, and a box of garlic. There's a box of spring onions behind that, I think. And possibly carrots... They're rather closely planted, which may have been a mistake.

Detail of the plants in the containers:

Garden, spring 2016

From the north looking south:

Garden, spring 2016

The passionfruit is the big spreading plant, there's an avocado that hasn't yet set fruit (3rd year, now), and a kaffir lime tree that a friend gave me for my 40th (next to the lavendar pot).

I thought these were brussel sprouts, but it looks like they're broccoli!

Garden, spring 2016

Asparagus bed, with a couple of leeks tucked in there. There are also nasturtiums growing there - under the apple.

Garden, spring 2016

The apple tree above the asparagus:

Garden, spring 2016


Garden, spring 2016

Corn (and bok choy, and Tuscan kale):

Garden, spring 2016

Multi-stone, some beetroot left in the ground, and the mizuna to the side. Also, a slightly dead borage plant.

Garden, spring 2016

There are a couple of stepped beds from the carport down to the porch, and last summer I got a garden helper to dig the rocks out, then planted green mulches in one box, and tulips in another, while leaving the third bare.

Tulip bed - not too many tulips, unfortunately - four. And a mignonette that seems to be thriving quite happily there...

Garden, spring 2016

Then I had a crop of bok choy and (I think) cabbage or cauli seedlings, so I'm growing them there. There's a bed one down, which I think shall be the tomato zone...

Garden, spring 2016

Finally a VegePod that I acquired off someone online. The problem is that it's mostly undercover and doesn't do water too well. So I'm thinking something like carrots, perhaps. I have lots of carrot seed, although it's pretty old, so it may not germinate. Baby carrots galore!

Garden, spring 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

a year's garden retrospective

What a difference a year makes!

facing east Nov 2014


facing east Dec 2014

four beds

facing east Jan 2015

Garden in January

facing east Feb 2015

Garden February 2015

facing east March 2015

Sunday late march

facing east Dec 2015

House for Bonnie

facing east Jan 2016

Garden Jan 2016

There is unfortunately a big gap between March and December when facing east, largely because the weather was pretty wet and pretty miserable, and so I didn't take any photos during that time.

Anyway, this is the aspect of the garden when facing south, starting with the first day I made a garden bed, mere weeks after we bought the property.

facing south Oct 2014

No dig garden, day 1

facing south Oct 2014

Quite contrary: Bed 2

facing south Jan 2015

Garden in January

facing south Feb 2015

Garden February 2015

facing south March 2015

Sunday late march

facing south July 2015


facing south Sept 2015

Borage, potatoes, avocado, geranium, cherry crepe myrtle, oats, mizuna apple. You can't see either the asparagus or the strawberries... #garden #gardenofsel

facing south Oct 2015

Garden in October

facing south Nov 2015

Garden November 2015

facing south Jan 2016

Garden Jan 2016