Well, I am too scared to check just how long it has been since my last blog - it certainly feels like forever! Working with two little kids never seems to leave enough time to do anything... as my garden can certainly tell you!
We are about 3/4 of the way through putting an irrigation system in which will mean that my poor plants won't be subjected to so much stress by non watering... surely I can find enough time to turn the tap and timer on ;) At the moment there is two systems with most of the veggie gardens having drip irrigation, trees having their own drippers and the side and front garden having microjets - I'll keep an eye on it (if it ever stops raining long enough to need it) and see if that is enough.
I have a fair few things flowering at the moment and will be busy collecting seeds to share including broccoli, radish, italian parsley, mustard for green manure, mizuna, dill, coriander and marigolds for nematodes/ green manure.
The main (original) asparagus bed has done well, we have picked heaps and am now leaving the rest to feed the roots up for next season. The ones that were planted last year haven't done very well as I haven't looked after them or watered them, plus the chickens scratched up one bed... hopefully a lot of love and affection this year will bring the ones that survived back to health.
There is kale and brocolli still going strong, these will have to be pulled out in the next few weeks although I am hoping that the curly dwarf kale will go to seed, it was a winner in my garden this year! There are also a few beetroot and carrots still to be harvested.
I am trialling lettuce in the orchard under the trees in styrafoam boxes to be used as a baby mescalin size for salads. At the moment there are two, but I think I'll get another one as they are usually cut and come again... hopefully this will mean that there is heaps of lettuce for salad this summer. I will also keep planting in the main beds to see if I can find one that is truly 'heat tolerant' to grow to full size, also the chooks love it even if it bolts to seed.
Speaking of chooks, they are doing well. Bubbles has already gone broody and finally given up on the eggs, now one of the white sussex (Betty or Flossie - can't tell them apart anymore now they are the same size) has gone broody. They all seem to lay really well and we are probably getting six eggs a week each when they aren't broody - heaps of quiche/ egg dishes, the favourite at the moment is omelet with a kale/ dill/ fetta filling yum! I find they are no trouble, we have a 5kg feeder which I check weekly when I change their bedding, there are two home made waterers with special cups which are checked and filled at the same time. Daily we get 3-4 eggs and they are only on the cheap pellets which is about $13 per month... I don't give them kitchen scraps but give them something green pretty much every day from the garden - I am thinking of growing them lettuce along with mine to put in once a week as a special treat. They get let out on weekends when the dog is shut up inside but I have put temporary fencing around nearly all the garden beds so they can't scratch/ eat my veggies. I wish we had got them years ago, they are great and I recommend them to anyone!
The trees (that haven't died) are all going really well with the exception of the sole remaining blueberry, the apple and nashi espalier attempts. Think I am going to bite the bullet and rip these out soon, the blueberry is in a pot so it can soldier on for another year. There were a couple of blossoms on the almond, there are flowers on Ashley's passionfruit (his wasn't trimmed but mine was - his is flowering and fruiting but mine isn't - they weren't fertilised at all except with potash), the tamarillo is flowering, heaps of paw paws coming on, heaps of pepinos coming on. The citrus most have new fruit, the avocado and guava are growing huge and most of the trees have new growth. The fig looks great at the moment with heaps of lush new leaves.
I cornered Annette McFarlene at the BOGI fair and asked about my banana grove. I had four Ducasse that were neglected and struggled with lack of water/ competition from grass and took a year before they started to grow. I let a few suckers grow on thinking that would be the 'baby' for when the mother produces fruit, but these are now as big as the parent - nearly four metres! So each one of the originals has at least two plants, and one has four at differing sizes. In addition to this I was keeping them tidy and cutting leaves off as soon as they started to get a bit yellow not thinking about the job they do getting nutrients from the sun/ retaining water etc. And to top it all off the leaves are shredded by the wind/ clothes line/ tree so not getting as much leaf area! I have been dumping the chicken bedding in the middle and compost too as well as trying to keep the water up to them. She has assured me that they are *not* ornamental and advised they are likely to flower in November (fruit in January) so eagerly watching to see if her prophesy comes true!
My sandy soil just seems to be a nematode trap, I get it in at least one bed every season despite rotating them and in the weirdest things too like silverbeet?! Anyway there have been a couple of green manure crops at the end of winter and now the big bed has marigold seedlings coming up to do it for nematodes now.
There isn't much new growing at the moment but I will hopefully get out there next weekend and plant a few seeds for summer. Probably try the last of the winged beans (the other ones didn't come up I don't think), corn, okra, purple king beans, snake beans, cherry yellow pear tomato, and a few others that I can't think of right now.
The side permaculture/ orchard style will also be where I try eggplant, chilli and capsicum this planting - they just seem to take so long and I feel it is a 'waste' of my veggie bed space :) There is yakon, taro, cassava at the moment as well as a couple of sweet potato patches. I noticed there are a few self seeded things coming up including a stars and moon watermelon so they will be good ground cover too.
My herb bed is chock a block but a lot of it has gone to seed - I will get in there and thin out some stuff and get some new seeds in soon I hope. I planted some fat hen seeds that were given to me by Jacqui at the first Garden Visit at Jane Street and these look to be going to seed, I will have to look up what to do with them!
New things I am going to try and get crops off are wheat for wheat grass which is really healthy for you and tastes okay if mixed with apple juice. Also chia as it has really high levels of omega 3 which is lacking in most peoples diet nowadays.
Interestingly I have had both boys tested at a naturopath recently for intolerance/ sensitivity and deficiency. They are both lacking int he B vitamins as well as potassium, magnesium and silica - I laughed and said I could easily make up a watering can and sit them outside for a dose :) Apparently these are often deficient in a modern diet with non organic and processed food. Brewers yeast is supposed to be really good so am trying to add it to their diet. Poor baby Brendan has had a bad run with his digestive system over the past few months and as a result he has yogurt with chia seeds, digestive enzymes, probiotics, slippery elm and brewers yeast morning and night - he loves it weirdly enough! David is another matter, I have to hold him down and syringe his into his mouth - hopefully he gets the idea that it is easier for him to just drink it - his is a really yummy chocolate milkshake with whey isolate, pysillium husks and brewers yeast. Nearly everything I cook has ground up linseed or chia seed included in it for the omega 3 content.
It was interesting when labelling my photos that a large number of my plants are from other people thanks to the Brisbane Seed Saver group and the monthly garden visits. It is a great way to meet new people and talk about our gardens and I would like to thank everyone for participating and sharing so much knowledge, seeds, plants and information. It is a great network and hopefully it will continue to grow as new members join. Thanks again to everyone who has given me things for my garden!
Anyway, that's more than enough dribble about my garden - hopefully next time it won't be so long between blogs... and I look forward to reading about *your* garden!