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Exciting News and April clean up

Hi Everyone,

Well, you have all heard me lament about my lack of space and the fact that I have run out of room on my tiny 560 square meter block of land.  Don't get me wrong, I pack a lot in but I have to be very strategic with my plantings and I'm now at the stage that if I want to plant anything new, I must first rip something out.   Case in point, my large apple tree was removed 3 weekends ago because I want more flowers, a pond and a rose garden.  Here is the progress on that so far

"So what is the exciting news", you ask?...  I bought a FARM!!

I've been daydreaming about a farm for a long time.  An acre or two where I can build my retreat from the world and have all the space in the world for whatever I wish to plant.   Well, these holidays, I have made progress on that dream.  I have bought 2 acres of land up near Gympie!!!  It will obviously be a long time before we can build (kids, mortgages, work etc) but I am so happy to have secured the land so in the future, my dream will be a feasible reality.  The plan is to put a caravan on there and use it for camping holidays for the next 6-8 yrs or so and then slowly start building an eco cottage and getting serious about planting some fruit trees.   Even if we never live on there full time, it will allow me enough room to "play" with permaculture design and give me a sense of security for the future.

On to the clean up part.  I have had a very busy 2 weeks.  In between multiple dentist appointments for my 3 children (2 of whom, have started the process of teeth extraction and braces these hols), real estate hunting and looking after my niece and nephew, I had lots of things I wanted to achieve in the garden.  The first was laying down stone for my old woodchip pathways.  My dog is an absolute psycho and will run up and down the length of the yard barking at anyone who passes by.  Great for security, bad for woodchip mulch which he would push out the way and cause it to disintegrate leaving my red clay soil exposed.  With all the rain and him being allowed inside, it was driving me up the wall with all the cleaning I was doing. 400kg of stones later and a barrow of soil moved, this is the end results:

Side of house with new shade garden planted out on the right.  Notice the asparagus jungle on the left - such a decorative plant as well as edible. 

Front of house to driveway.  

I also headed out to Turner's garden center as they are in there final days of closing to see what else they had.  Didn't have any plants I wanted but did have this gorgeous water fountain marked down to $100.

My massive jungle out the back I started to tackle today.  I am going to remove my muscadine grape vines from the fence to the vegie patch.  I don't like them that much, they aren't very sweet, small and very seedy and they also go nuts!.  Here is a sample of the overgrowth that is happening.  Keep in mind this has 5 roses planted in front that I hope have survived. 

As I was cleaning up, look what I spied.  I will be letting this go to seed now and have fresh trombonccino seeds. 

I have bought a Carolina black (seedless) and pink Iona to go along the back fences this time away from all my other plants.  The carolina black I bought back in September and is along a fence that gets shade in winter - just look at it now.

The Pink Iona is a recent purchase from the Daley's visit and is still sitting in its pot waiting for me to prepare its bed.  Both these grape varieties are mildew resistant and cope better with humidity than other standard grapes so hopefully will have a successful (and edible) harvest soon. 

My poor cumquat tree has suffered badly.  It was absolutely laden with fruit and I was thinking WOW - bumper crop this year (not that it ever has disappointed me really).  To my dismay, after one particularly torrential downpour, I went out and found that the two main trunks had split down the middle.  Even with the weight of the fruit and the rain, I thought that surely wouldn't be enough to cause it to split so I investigated further.  The whole tree was covered in, what I later discovered, white louse scale.  I am currently smelling like rotten egg because I have sprayed ALL of my citrus with lime sulfur to hopefully get rid of this pest.  

This is 1/2 of what I had to prune off

This is what remains with a bit of shade cloth to hopefully prevent sunburn.

Need to finish all that clean up, get the winter vegie patch going and do a honey harvest before I go back to school next week.  Whew!

What's coming in from the vegie patch - not much really.  Herbs, shallots, tromboncinno's (obviously) and corn.  Last of the cucumbers are done, new tomato's aren't ready and lettuce, beets and pea crops failed.   Corn harvest is AMAZING - 14 more cobs to come in from the garden and they are so large and sweet.  When I planted these, I dug through a bucket of chook manure from the pen (not composted) - They LOVED IT!

The new seedlings for the garden.  I will say that I have given the Erica Vale seeds 2 shots and they have all failed so won't be buying those again.  I have got Mr Fothergills and 4 season seeds and never have drama's with those so I'll stick with what I know works.  These are all planted into wicking pots with searles premium potting mix and makes my seedlings thrive. 

Planted out a carrot, beet, pea, bean and lettuce bed.  I decided to use Coconut Coir to plant into to see if that helps with keeping seeds moist enough to germinate in the bed as opposed to my wicking pots and had some beet seedlings from a wicking bed to transplant.  This is their second day and they are looking healthy still so hopefully a better success rate than the storebought ones from a month ago. 

The early brassica bed had 2 broccoli and 2 cabbage survive.  I've netted them now and the new seedlings will be going into this bed as well. 

Fruit wise, I'm still eating plenty of banana's and I'm getting about 3 pawpaws a fortnight plus the never ending lemons from my Eureka Lemon tree.  Big news is my other citrus is starting!  Doing my sprays of the citrus, I noticed the first ripe Ruby Red grapefruit.  If you'll remember my blog last year, I had my first fruit but they had splits in them.  Not so this year and there is about 10 on my little tree so YAY!.  Turned this one into grapefruit juice. 

I also might have another fruit set on the black sapote.  Here's hoping it develops and doesn't drop off this time.

The loquat tree is flowering like mad.  It also flowered last year but didn't set anything so I'm hoping this year is its year.  It's a grafted Bessel Brown from Daley's planted mid 2016.

Well folks, that's it from me.  4 more days until I go back to the grindstone so hoping to have the rest of my clean up done by then.  Happy gardening people.

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 15, 2018 at 13:06

That's true Jeff. Know a bit about that. We had to clean up old building materials and other junk at our expense. The block was just a standard house block in a suburban development.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on April 15, 2018 at 9:38

The problem with owning land  that is unattended is theft  and illegal dumping if someone dumps a load of asbestos waste can cost a fortune to clean up as its the land owners cost  best to have good fences and someone local looking after or a permanent resident

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 14, 2018 at 22:09

Most of the lawn/garden maintenance folks will happily dump their stuff in your yard Susan.  It saves them paying for the dump, you get to use the organics - everyone wins. 

Comment by Susan on April 14, 2018 at 21:27

I would like some goats and maybe some dexter cows but that will definitely have to wait for when it’s a more permanent residence

Comment by Susan on April 14, 2018 at 21:25

I hear you with the mowing. When I’m ready to start planting the food forest, my first step will be piling on loads of wood mulch to start breaking down. Sometimes you can find tree loping companies who will dump their loads for free.  If I can find one of those guys up in Gympie, they can start dumping piles of wood chip on there and then I can spread it out where I want the fruit trees to go and should also reduce the mowing

Comment by Dave Riley on April 14, 2018 at 18:32

As one that almost moved to Gympie -- we settled instead for Beachmere and a large block -- may the journey for you be fortuitous.

Much as I love the concept, 'on acreage' is synonymous , in my mind, with mowing.

Around here that's what  folk do if they don't run cattle or horses or sheep or goats or whatever. You can even agistment other folk's stock.

Comment by Susan on April 14, 2018 at 17:28

Thanks Everyone,  can't wait for the acreage but like I said, it will be years before I have the time to do anything with it.  My partner was saying we should wait but with prices increasing so much so quickly and this place was cheap as chips, I went Nope, this is something to do now.  Now it's just the waiting for settlement. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 13, 2018 at 20:05

I'm so jealous of the acreage Susan!  Your yard is going pretty nicely.  I did well with ruby grapefruit this year and lemonades.  

Comment by Christa on April 12, 2018 at 20:48

Great news about your acreage near Gympie,  I can imagine you in a food forest in a few years.

Your corn looks great and big cobs. The loquat flowers are a sign of fruit soon.  As I have mine in a wicking pot, it gets trimmed all the time to keep it low.   I bought a dwarf Cara-Cara orange at Aldos last week, it was about $10 less than Daley's.

You have done well with that stone path it must have been heavy work.   Very sorry to hear about Turners closing, they had a good range of plants and heaps of ornaments.  Keep up the good work Susan.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 12, 2018 at 12:55

You are so lucky, you have years on your side, you will be living my dream when you move to your farm. 

You garden is looking positively wonderful, you are a true gardener. Enjoy your dreams while you are able, life is to short to ponder.

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