Sunday, December 4, 2011

Onion Harvest & the Bath Pond





Today I harvested 2 beds of Onions and was pretty impressed with the yield. Counted over 100 Onions! Think we will be having onion soup for the next few weeks! I can't possibly store that many Onions so I just tie in bundles and hang up around the veggie garden, doesn't matter if they get wet as they soon dry again and don't seem to go off.

Also thought I would show you another picture of my next bath of dog poo compost, it's going great looks nothing like it's former self but a rich compost with billions of worms coursing through it. I am still not game to go directly on the veggie bed although I desperately need something to add to the old now weeded Onion beds I will transfer it to another compost to break down over another 6 months.

We have been renovating our bathroom and have a super deep cast iron bath not the claw foot type but just as heavy, I would estimate the weight of it at 150 kgs as we had to move it about 20 metres up 3 steps to the position I wanted it in the garden. We had tried to sell but no luck and I decided I would rather give it a second life as a pond. It took 1 hour to move it 20 metres with the entire family helping. We then brought some river stones, washed and filled, I found a guy that sold water plants and managed to score 5 plants in 6-10 inch pots. Today I brought the fish and water conditioner so all up the project cost me about $70. Possibly going to cost me time in massaging Kens back for the next 6 months also! I am really happy with it, I will be popping some pots and strappy plants in front of it, can't directly put plants in the ground because there is a brick path under the bath.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Open Garden - Ercildoune

We also went to another open garden today called "Ercildoune" this is a massive property intially 73,000 acres, then sold in 1872 and sold off and I believe it is now about 28,000 acres, the gardens seem to be about 10-20 acres? There is a large walled garden on 1 acre, and many old and dilapidated houses on the property that the owners are doing up. But the gardens are stunning and the owners that have owned the land now for around the past 12 years have done a fantastic job in restoring this garden to it's former glory, it has also a hydro electric station on the property - no longer in use. I have included the link explaining way more than I can of this magnificant property and taken some pictures of out day and the gorgeous garden, we ended up taking a picnic lunch and they had people selling tea and coffee which we took advantage of too. I found the brickwork to be intricate and believe they had a kiln on the property and the initial house was built by the sons at the time in their teens!!! They also had at one stage their own hydro-electric plant on of only a few private ones in the Country and it did actually work although is no longer working to this day. http://www.ercildoune.com.au/ Enjoy the pictures, this place is simply amazing and I hope sometime you get too visit the lovely gardens too!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Open Garden No 1 - Ripon Cottages










Today we decided to take a much needed garden break and visited a couple of open gardens. The first was a 2 block Bed & breakfast place in Ripon Street, Ballarat called Ripon Cottages and the second I will need to do another post for it was massive and we spent the entire afternoon there after packing lunch and afternoon tea! Anyway this place had some lovely idea's on re using containers for the garden I would never think of such as an old pair of boots and a suitcase with the centre cut out with plants inserted some lovely wrought iron pieces and they were selling Water Irises for $2 per plant so after trying to sell our very good condition bath and not getting any nibbles I have decided to turn the bath into a pond and buy up on the Water Irises but a pump and make a decent water feature from it. Stay tuned for pictures of that conversion over the next few months!

Here are some pictures from the first open garden, they also had some chooks and ducks and looked to be running them on a section where they are going to possibly put a veggie garden? Had a chat to the owner too who was very garden savvy and funnily enough I knew many of the people wandering around the garden from gym - not really such a coincidence as I did pick the flyer up from Fernwood! The monies raised all went to a Relay for life - Children's Cancer cause so your always left feeling good you've not only gotten to look at a lovely garden but also helped with a great cause.

Here is a link to the cottages; http://www.ballarat.com/riponcottages/index.htm

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Putting snails to use!









Hello all and hope you had some time in the garden! As you might recall I have been growing some Sunflowers from seed, I had hoped I would get enough to share with friends however after planting the first lot out the front I see the snails have been busy and pretty much eaten 3/4's of the leaves and completely ruined many of them. I decided it was war and have been out at all hours collecting snails popping them in a pot and after wondering what the heck I was going to do with them and getting rather a large collection I decided maybe just maybe the chooks would like them.

They went mad for them the first day but I did notice they coped ok with the small baby ones but the large mumma's not so good so I am now having a snail crushing session each day I do this in the chicken pen it's totally against my animal ethos to be crushing something live but I figure it's recycling and that has to be good! It's also somewhat remedial to the mind almost therapeutic in fact to crush a few snails daily......
Something I was excited about whilst looking for the snails was a little frog hiding under a plant I took a picture of him in in situ and on the letter box see if you can spot him in the ground pic he's quiet well hidden.

Ok back on track the Zucchini is SO ready to be planted it's huge but the moon has just moved into the gardening phase of resting so I cannot plant for about another week - I like to use the moon gardening cycle planting guide so will just wait it will be enormous by then.

We have many, many Broccoli florets and oh boy will I need to think of some uses for cooking it! Maybe LOADS of stir frys! Soup?? Not sure but the crop is bountiful this year!

Have about another 3 weeks and then I would like to plant the corn I have grown from seed and looks like I should have a good 20 plants to grow this year, it's sprouting and looking very healthy.

I have tons of Lemon Balm too growing all over the place (Melissa) this herb is traditionally used for stress - oh how appropriate right now! You make a tea from it so I have certainly been using that a lot of late! Very calming at night and way better than my normal choice of coffee.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spring Gardening








I have been busy over the school holidays in the garden weeding the veggie beds and the entire rest of the garden. I have a cottage garden at the front of my place and over Winter I planted a ton of Daffodils, a little late really but most have done their best to get their little shoots up and flowering for me and with the Freshia's, Jasmine and Lilac bushes out (we have 3) it has just been a delight to be in the garden with the mild weather and lovely flowery perfumes.

I have weeded the Lemon and Lime fruit trees, added some rabbit manure to the bases and then some pea straw I had in the shed for some nitrogen and as a weed suppressor. Have planted some Zucchini in the greenhouse and also some Sunflowers they will be great to attract the bees and hopefully look awesome too. I have included the 3 step process in the pictures of weeded/rabbits manure added and then finally pea straw on my Lime tree.

My tubs of Potato's are doing well and starting too shoot madly and I cannot wait to see how many I will get out of the 3 barrels. Over the last few days my youngest son got involved in the gardening too and planted about 20 seeds of sweet corn into the greenhouse, we don't as yet have a bed for them so hopefully by the time they are ready to plant the Broccoli or Pak Choy will be finished.

I have a massive bumper crop of White Radishes too, and I really don't like them so they are being given to neighbours by the truckload, It's a shame the things I really grow well are the ones I really don't like that much! Not too worry we have a ton of Broccoli coming up and this year I planted loads, the rabbits can eat the leaves and we really do use the vegetable a lot.

I had a little area out the front that I used last year for some Sweet pea's, I think the soil will have lots of added Nitrogen from that and so I brought 2 punnets of Strawberries and planted them there with the hope of getting some nice fruit in Summer. Also put some more Sweet Pea seeds at the back of the Strawberries.

I have just previewed this post and see the photo's are all over the place! Sorry about that I have no idea how to change it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rhubarb and Rabbits







I thought I would post an update on a previous post from this year on the Rhubarb. I moved from a pot where it was doing badly and really not growing at all. I transplanted it and it had no leaves at all on it was just starting to sprout really and now only 6 weeks later it is huge!! One exciting thing is that it's literally 2 feet from where the chickens sleep at night and I wonder if perhaps the manure is playing a part of the health of it. I like to think so, fortunately the wire is small and the chooks will never be able to get their beaks through to peck at it!

We also transplanted a huge Elderberry which snapped at the base in the process and I wondered firstly whether it would even transplant at all and secondly how well it would grow once broken. Well both parts planted in different parts of the garden are growing well and now Spring is here the are both shooting lots of leaves, very excited about that!

I other news, we have new kits all pretty much sold the lovely Chocolates and Lilac colours go quickly have included a picture though as they are gorgeous, kits always means loads of readily available manure for the garden so that is super especially when so much is about to flower and the fruit trees are about the get leaves. In very surprising news after a good 6 weeks we found our beloved Pepa the free ranging rabbit! After advertising over the radio and at the Milk bar he was found only 2 doors up the road where the owners had caged him as they are right into self sustainability too however they were going to eat him! We brought him home after quibling with he owner that he was actually mine and now unfortunetly he will have to remain caged, he did live inside again for a bit and slept in my room and totally demolished my fairy light cord he is now outside again! Tomorrow we will buy a couple of really large new cages from Melbourne and he will be housed out the front where I can get to him easily and bring him in at night for cuddles and he can go out once we go to bed.

Our Backyard Blitz!








Over this Fathers day weekend we decided that too much dust was coming onto the veranda and completely coating everything and mostly responsible for this was the dogs running around in area large made up of dirt. They had their kennels in this area which is partially undercover but considering they mostly sleep on their hessian stand beds which are undercover I wasn't too worried about shifting the location of their beds and turning the whole area into a herb and garden patch. We had previously fenced on an area near the chooks so I knew I was able to build a good enough fence to keep the dogs out.

In the area I planted Boronia, Geraldton Wax Flowers, Lemon Balm, Paper daisy's, Bay Tree, Comfrey, Feverfew, Coriander, and Marjoram. Some things I just transplanted from other parts of the garden, also brought a water plant for the pond pot and will get some goldfish too accompany it tomorrow. I am really pleased with the result, it was my sons idea to add a table and chairs from an overgrown and unused part of the garden and with some solar lights and a few ornaments from the garden it looks professionally landscaped, so easy to do and so much fun! Please enjoy the before and after pictures!

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