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Growing local

More work in the garden in July ~

The garden reno’s not progressing as much as I hope due to other less interesting but important commitments in life, I can only contribute a couple of hours a week on this project when the weather is good. Except for last weekend when I took a day off to move the 5 cubic metre DeCo I ordered, still some in the front though.

Two of the four veggie beds on the west side of the house are more accurately positioned parallel to the house, lined with black plastics on the inside, and bolted together. I’ve sprinkled & raked gypsum to the bottom and started moving dirt, coffee ground, and horse manure into them. One of these beds’ been earmarked as the nightshades bed in my rotation plan, and since you have to earth up potatoes as they grow anyways, I decided to chuck some seed potatoes in it.

As usual, the chooks get excited when digging started, and we had to lock them back into their run for fear they will get hit by the mattock or hoe…. But then, one of them came back anyways (must have flew out) and try to dig up the potatoes, so I’ve covered the bed with bird’s netting, so it’s more difficult for the chooks to dig them out.


While we are on the chooks, all four are laying now, and we are getting average about 2 eggs a day. The Araucana and the Australorp’s laying most consistently, although one is the smallest and the other’s a chook with disability. Here’s a picture of their temporary run made from four 2.4 metre sleepers for an avocado tree (still in pot until we can move the chooks onto another bed).

As usual, the chooks are not home...


Not much other activities, our mushroom kits not growing much mushrooms, getting occasional passionfruit, and that’s about it I think. Except a radish the other day... Oh, found a self-sown lettuce intact, guess the chooks don’t like red leaves. I noticed that they don’t peck the red ornamental sweet potato leaves much too when I give them both green & red at the same time ..

Daikon Radish

Self-sown red lettuce

My peach tree is still leafy in the middle of winter… it’s still retaining the leaves grown in late autumn… but covered with yellow spots and what looks like rust underneath... should I spray it with lime sulphur now? I think the tree’s confused, their buds swelling again.. and we still have a month of winter to go.

Mum left the tap of the tank on overnight again, lost our 5000 litres of rain water to one longan tree…. Guess that means even if we finish building the veggie beds, we won’t be able to grow much veggies without water… the good news is the longan tree’s not showing signs of being drowned… hope she won’t do that to the avocado tree in the future...

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Comment by Florence on August 13, 2009 at 10:22
I thought those wilted leaves caused by borers were leaf curls, so I researched for resolution and found I need either Bordeaux or lime-sulphur. I didn't know we had to mix Bordeaux ourselves before, and found a bottle of lime-sulphur (Yates) on sale, so I bought it. Apparently it's good for peach leaf curl, peach rusts, black spot and powdery mildew... it smells bad ^^"
Comment by Scarlett on August 10, 2009 at 21:47
PS what is lime sulphur?
Comment by Scarlett on August 10, 2009 at 21:46
yoiks. rust is hard to deal with. jackie french says spray with bordeaux when the plant is dormant (!? in your case), remove affected leaves (break the lifecycle), spray with strong camomile tea.
she says don't spray bordeaux in late winter as it also kills predators (eg ladybirds), so spray earlier, or every second tree and wait a few days to give them a chance to move
Bordeaux recipe:
90 g of copper sulphate (fine crystals if you can get them) mixed with
6.5 l cold water in a non metallic container (plastic, wood, earthenware, glass, never iron)

In a second non metallic container mix 125g slaked lime (brickie's/ hydrated lime, not agricultural lime) in 2.5 litres cold water. Make sure the hydrated lime is from an unopened container - it turns to calcium carbonate in the air and will damage your plants. You must use bordeaux within 2 hours of making it, and make it yourself - shop bought stuff is not correctly made (because of these problems).

If either is lumpy put it through a strainer. This will also get any sand from the lime out before it can block your sprayer. The copper sulphate must be dissolved or it will precipitate and clog stuff up.

Mix the two together. Stir well. Test with an old nail. Dip it in for 30 seconds. If it comes out blue you need more lime, or more mixing to dissolve the lime. Don't use it til you have corrected the problem, you will burn your plants.

This is the standard organic fungicide, very effective against a range of parasitic fungi and bacteria. It sticks very strongly to trees (even with rain) and has no resistance problems. Mucky, but what price peaches?
Comment by Florence on August 3, 2009 at 21:23
Thanks Donna, I originally wanted to build the chookhouse, but we don't have the skills, so I ended up buying ^__^ Next time I would build the garden beds first and do a tractor style on top of them instead. It's really difficult to control mites when the pigeons visit them everyday..
RE: the lining the beds with plastics (Polythene film). I had concerns about arsenic leakage and done some asking around. Some people said because they are pressure treated, there’s no risk of leakage at all, but some people were against using CCA treated sleeprs. I don’t know what to believe, but I've tried to get hardwood sleepers that are not treated anyways. It turned out that you can't sell untreated timber, and the only place I could found who could possibly sell supplies furniture timber, but buying those in sleeper sizes and the quatities I need was way too expensive, so we ended up buying the treated pine sleepers. We had received many suggestions about minimising arsenic leakage risk and one of them’s lining them with plastics (the fastest and the minimum) so that’s what we did to make myself feels better ^^, was too slack to line the fruit tree beds which I would probably end up planting herbs on the border anyways...
Here’s pictures of my peach, I seem to have a lot of problems with this tree, but it could be that it’s at eye level and my other trees are at best about waist level so didn’t notice as much ^^ I’ve sprayed with lime sulphur already yesterday, the bottle says it treats rust...


Underside

Comment by Florence on August 3, 2009 at 20:53
Thanks for the offer Mick, I'll keep that in mind ~ Still got heps to do in the backyard before I can really get concentrate on growing stuff ~
Comment by Donna on August 3, 2009 at 12:58
Love the chookhouse, it is so quaint! Everything looks like it is coming along nicely.
My dwarf (potted) peach tree is already blossoming and new leaves sprouting...
Can you try to get a picture of the problems on the peach and I will look up my garden pest/ disease book for you? I think sulphur is one of the two ingredients in bordeaux which I understand is sprayed in autumn/ winter for fruit trees, I will have a good hunt around tonight and let you know what I find out.
Out of curiousity, why did you decide to line the garden beds with black plastic?
Comment by Florence on July 31, 2009 at 14:12
Thanks Mick! My dad cooked it with pork and some dark coloured saurce, not sure what it was.. but was nice. I like them in steam pot with tofu too. My goal is to grow enough radish to make radish cake you get in yum cha... if only the chooks who insisted they have to be freeranged doesn't cut their lives short. This one only survived because it was in the front yard...

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