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need help with gardening-I am lerning the QLD way

good morning everyone. I am new to this site and hope to find my way around [with your help], growing flowers and vegetables. growing up in Germany on a small farm, the growing of fruit and veggies was sooooo easy. so I started to [try] to grow them here as well [I am in Australia for 33 years] so, 12 or so years ago I got some vegie beds and filled them with growing soil failed terrible in growing anything. begged my husband all the years for an rainwater tank. got one now but not connected!! yet. I am watering religiously every day if necessary. the herb weeds are doing OK so far my strawberries are a big disappointment. my spaghetti squash was sick and died. my Avocado is fruiting at last after I found out it needs a lot of water..but I killed the dessert plants around it in the process. I am learning the hard way. as a pensioner [now] I have the time to start again. sweet potatoes are almost ready to dug out and other little bits and plants are still alive so far. NOW to my pledge does anyone has a choko, white [I would love one] and a green one? they are not available on the internet, only for later in the year and even May 2020. if you have one or two I would love to exchange for some of my plants or buy it from you. plants I can give away: Plantain, dandelion, Angels trumpet cutting, I have some good spaghetti squash seedlings, there is also a small curry leave tree for cuttings, elderberry cutting, probably a Stinging nettle, and some others that I just cant think of their name. Thank you for reading and hopefully someone can help me with my chokos.

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Comment by mon on August 6, 2019 at 15:47

hi Susan, I read all your beautiful tips and how you grow your vegies etc. I am trying for more then 10 Years and nothing was gained. now I diged my heals in...and I will have a rainwater tank going this summer season. I have 7 veggie beds and my compost bed is twice the size of one bed.                                                                                    I like the idea of wicker beds but as I am almost 70 Years old, I don't think I have it in me to start with a new form of growing my veggies.                                                                                                                                     with my strawberries, I got the wrong once from Bunnings, all I got was: runners and 2 berries , out of 20 or so plants. I kept 15 plant, the rest went into the compost. I am tidying up the garden and hope that from now on my vegetables and fruit trees are growing better. I just ask for help and do as I been told. as soon as I take some photos of my garden , I will try to put them up in here.

Comment by mon on August 4, 2019 at 20:19

Susan, thank you for you long answer. it is late and I can not take it all in as it deserves. I will read it tomorrow after a cupper. I am sure I have my chokos covered. I will contact Sophie tomorrow as well and see, that I do the right thing with. talk more tomorrow. good night all.

Comment by Susan on August 4, 2019 at 19:07

Hi Mon, welcome to the site. I would love to help you out with the choko ‘s but I have never managed to grow them successfully. I know Sophie has grown the green ones with great success in her yard.  She is on the site intermittently so you might want to pm her.  I am a firm believer in manure covered with sugarcane mulch for your trees.  Also, use a hose on soil wetter in summer.  Trust me, my soil is pretty good - 10 + years of adding poo, mulch, wood chip and I still find that it’s best to go obver the whole yard with a soil wetter followed by seasol at the start of summer. 

Strawberries, I have to grow in self watering pots on the fence line. Even those come down mid December and just “survive” until mar/apr when I repot the runners. I had some spare runners this year so I chucked them in the ground where I get morning sun, afternoon shade and so far they are doing ok.  

My vegie beds beds are all now wicking beds 1.8m x .8 m that I’ve had growing for almost 4 yrs now.  I swear by them.  Even then, mid summer with no rain can be tough and I generally only have corn, eggplant, tomatoes and perennial capsicums going then.  Originally, they were a mix of my garden soil, poo, compost and Searle’s premium potting mix.  I’ve found that now, I mostly add coco peat to loosen up the soil and heaps of compost (homemade).  I’m pretty successful with most things bar melons, pumpkins and ordinary zucchini (trombonccino do great though and taste so much better)

im trying to get more self sufficient so now my Poo is mostly from the chook pen.  They are also my main “composter - everything from the house goes in there, along with hedge trimmings, banana leaves, lawn clippings, and everything I put through the wood chipper (today it was rose pruning. ). I still have other compost piles near the vegie patch where most of the vegie garden scraps go. I add council grass clippings (im fortunate to back onto a large park) and horse poo when I remember to get some and the concentrated chook poo from their sleeping area. Still use fertiliser - I couldn’t grow as intensively as I do without it, but I now stick to rooster booster, seasol, and seasol powerfees .  Can you believe the other day, a lady from Bunnings was trying to tell me to get urea for my veggies “because they like a lot of nitrogen”!!! As a novice, I bought a bag of urea, it is still in my shed as their is no way I’d add that to my veggies ever.  I did use it to kill some weeds the other week though :)

hope some one of this helps and definitely make it to some garden visits - it’s amazing what i’ve Learnt from these lovely people over the years. 

Comment by mon on August 4, 2019 at 8:50

thank you Valerie, I have a bird bath, but it is on the ground. our neighbour has lots and lots of bird cages in his yard and that attracts around 50-80+ pigeons. my guess is, the native birds stay away because of them.

Comment by Valerie on August 3, 2019 at 21:38
Too many grasshoppers apparently means not enough birds to eat them. Maybe install a bird bath or house to attract them.
Comment by mon on August 3, 2019 at 17:13

Dave, I am trying to get to the next Garden Visit near me. scouts honour.  xo

Comment by mon on August 3, 2019 at 17:12

Thank you Valerie, I have a big Compost Bed and a worm Farm. my problem is the QLD summer and no slow watering, not to forget the green and brownish coloured grasshoppers who eat everything in sight. I was out every morning and handpicked them,  [for the kill]   but there were too many of them.     I hope my husband is getting the watertank ready soon and then I can figure out the pipes. And yes, I bought coir peat, the dried block one, going into the soil  as well as a lot of compost. I will check out olla's post. the next Garden visit, not too far from Durack I will visit. as soon as I can, I take some garden photos and try to put them on show. xo

Comment by Valerie on August 3, 2019 at 16:45

Mon, The best thing is to supplement your potting mix and nourish your soil. You can't rely on any potting mix nowadays. Compost is your best asset.

Worm farm definitely helps. In-ground is a good option if you remember to feed them.

Beware not to water too much. Consider Olla pots. 

Diversity is what makes an ecosystem. Plenty of flowers among the vegies. 

Mulch your heart out. Some of us use coir peat. 

And above all, come and meet us at a garden visit!

Comment by Dave Riley on August 3, 2019 at 16:10

Best option is to attend a garden visit and swap there.

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