donna (10)

Donna's Garden - September 2011

It's been a long time since I got back into the garden.  Not a lot growing in the vegetable gardens I cleared a month or so ago... planted heaps of seeds but none of them seemed to want to grow with the exception of beetroot and a lonely kale plant.  After going to a heap of effort and drawing a map of where I planted what, this time I just planted willy nilly without taking notes - so am expecting everything to germinate lol!



I went to the green shed and bought a few seedlings (always hate doing this as they cost as much as a packet of seeds) as well as some dynamic lifter and fine sugar cane - supposedly for the chickens bedding.  Have now removed all the weeds from two long (2.4 x 1.2m) and one square beds out the back, given a boost with dynamic lifter and planted lettuce, silverbeet, italian parsely and basil seedlings.  Then numerous seeds of a very wide variety, as I mentioned I didn't write them down but there were some chinese greens, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, lettuce, zuchini and likely others that came to hand.



Awhile ago I dug up some of my comfrey and tried to propagate it by just planting bits of root, this worked really well and I have now some in two of the garden beds as well as underneath the new banana grove.  I will be doing this again and putting them in a number of other locations to use as mulch - probably ring the new banana grove as well.


The almond tree is starting to get leaves and I notice a couple of flowers (edit.. looking for photos to add to this blog I found it also flowered last October but no fruit, fingers crossed but it did say 7 years).  Searching back through my blogs, this was first planted in September 2008 so is only three years old.  Check out how much it has grown...

December 2008



September 2011



During the floods I lost one tamarillo, but the other one is starting to flower so hopefully will be able to propagate some more from seed as they are so tasty and take up so little room.  


The dwarf peach was planted in the ground last year, but after a number of relocation's of various garden beds it ended up in the middle of one of them so it has a collar to keep the dirt away from the graft.  It has a couple of fruit, but not as many as I had hoped.  Two years ago I got a bumper crop, and last year none so was hoping for more... 




Since severely cutting back the two guava the citrus have come back with a vengenance, they must require sunshine to thrive.  In the past I have had lots of problems with any new growth being attacked by aphids and ending up dwarfed but this year they have doubled in size!  Will have to see how they go as the guava's start to grow back - pretty sure that guava will grow from cuttings so might have to look at trying this and growing them somewhere else.  On an aside, should guava had red leaves in this season?  I will look it up but if anyone knows then I don't have to ;)


I have had a huge problem with paw paw this year, the two out the front have just died.  The leaves got tinier and tinier then there were non left and the fruit fell off.  Not sure what happened there, will plant another one soon and hope that it does a bit better!  


But the babaco that Lissa managed to strike cuttings of and gave me two, one is growing really well and even has three flowers!!!  It is under a couple of banana plants so quite sheltered.  The one in more direct sun is still alive and healthy but nowhere near as good as the other, I plan to plant another tree near it anyway since Ashely expanded that bed so hopefully that will give it a bit more shade.



It is only September and we have a new banana flowering.  It is one of the full size ducasse.  There is also two over wintered bunches that we are waiting to ripen.



I chucked all the out of date seeds in this bed and will wait and see if anything comes up before planting anything else.  It is a new bed and has a layer of chicken poo enriched dirt so if I don't get anything I will probably plant some corn here.


The herb garden isn't doing all that well, although I have just given it a boost with dynamic lifter and a light sprinkling of mulch so hope for better things soon.  It has rosemary, garlic chives, curly parsley, italian parsley, heaps of self seeded dill and fat hen and a sick looking lemongrass that I chopped and divided (out of season) that hopefully will come back soon.  Also a self seeded chilli plant.



On the animal side, two of our three chickens are laying again after a good dusting for mites... not sure what the other one is waiting for but am optimistic that means she will lay longer into the next season when she does start.  We have three remaining quails from Joanne and at least one of them is a girl as we are starting to get quail eggs as well.  Since our Alaskan Malamute Cody passed away last December the house has been a bit lonely, but about a fortnight ago a kitten adopted us and we have since named her Marley... hopefully she is a great mouse hunter as we have mice again.


I am hoping to host a Garden Visit in October, so if I get my butt into gear and finish making the place respectable again then you can all come and see for yourselves how it is growing :)

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Donna's Garden - October 2011

With a garden visit coming up, it was time to give my garden a huge make over... so I decided to mulch.  After ringing around they all seemed to have a minimum order of 10 cubic metres so I finally buckled and ordered it to be delivered on Thursday morning.  Now, I love a freebie as much as anyone but they >nicely< delivered more like 15 cubic metres!  Gee thanks, I was struggling to use the 10 and would have preferred to order 5 - so they deliver 15, thank you very much.  


I lost count of the number of wheelbarrows within the first hour, at the end of that first day I had moved just under half of the pile.  At the end of the second day we had started to get more creative with Ashley deciding to cardboard and mulch an area that we had planned (at some distant time in the future) to make into a garden.  This will be dug back to the tank and a retaining wall built.


Now it is day three and I am getting desperate!  Each garden has mulch piled up at least a foot over the level of the ground and I still have about 1 - 2 cubic metres left.  Now I am on the warpath looking for more spaces that can take a wheelbarrow or two to store for later use!  


Even the herb garden got mulched and I am eyeing the vegetable garden beds as well.  I am determined to find a use for every last wheelbarrow just so I can say 'I told you so' to my doubting husband who was not very happy when I told him I had ordered 10 cubic metres of mulch.  Ironically I could have used up the 10 cubic metres reasonably easily, it is the extra 5 that I am having trouble with.





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Donna's Garden - October 2010

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.






Italian Parsley





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!

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Donna's Garden - 16/08/09

Well finally got me off my bottom this weekend, I have planted seeds in an old concrete tub at the back door with hessian over it to keep it moist...hopefully. While a lot of them were supposed to be planted direct I decided to try it this way so I don't forget to water them if they are randomly scattered in different gardens.I planted celeraic, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, globe artichokes, kohl rabi, lettuce, luffa (my last two seeds of angled luffa - hopefully get something to save this year), okra - red & green, pumpkin, radish, rockmelon, sunflower, tomato & watermelon. The plan is that in another month I do the same again and hopefully will end up with successive planting this year!In the bed that had nematodes (finally used the molasses thanks Florence) I have tried planting direct corn, rockmelon and snake beans so if they come up will have a guild going for summer.Along the front fence the new asparagus are coming up (thin spears), and one of the potato boxes has come to life - the other one isn't doing anything yet and there is still one more box to go when the potatoes sprout a bit more. This bed has been fertilised so hopefully the acerola cherries and remaining jaboticabas do a bit better this year. The peas/ beans are already producing even though they are barely 10cm high and not tall enough to climb yet.The brussel sprouts and squash are coming along well, although *sigh* have powdery mildew again - will have to give the squash & zuchinni up the back some bugs and try to get rid of it.Asian lettuce (mizuna, mibuna & red mustard) are doing well, and my capsicum from last year is still going with one normal size capsicum just turning red. No asparagus yet from last years crowns - can't wait for spears, this year I am allowed to eat them!Still have cabbage, kohl rabi, spring onions, and garlic doing really well in one bed. Tomatoes, asian lettuce, nasturtium (huge) and sick zuchinni in another. Seedling sized (grown from seed) beetroot, silverbeet, asian lettuce, zuchinni, chilli plant in another. The little bed around the clothes line still has chilli and some self seeded tomatoes as well as a couple of stray basil plants. The herb garden has curly and flat parsley, coriander, garlic chives and a few stray lettuces - couldn't get coriander seeds or basil seeds to take so will try them in the seed box next time it is empty.Have just created a blueberry bed and have five different varieties that are supposed to fruit at different times so if I can keep them alive should have blueberries for about five months (next year or the year after when the grow a bit anyway). Any ideas what I can underplant in this bed that likes a low ph - must also remember to ask hubby to go to Bunnings and get me some stuff to bring the ph down, the opposite of dolomite, placenta brain will have to look it up before I ask lol.Went to Beenleigh markets today and have planted a yellow fig, pepino and pear guava in the side garden that was just concreted/ green mulched - scraped away the compost and dug into the dirt, it is looking pretty good actually considering it was only about a month ago - saw a couple of worms in one spot!The fruit trees are surviving (or most of them anyway - lost one jaboticaba for sure. The grumichama, one citrus and mango died but look like they might survive with new growth coming on. The bananas are all growing really well and three out of four have new baby suckers, so hoping for fruit this year. The almond is still looking great and grew heaps last year (doubled in size) and the giant avocado is also doing well as are two of the citrus trees.My bright idea of espalier isn't quite going to plan but the apple is doing heaps better than the nashi - which to be fair was nearly killed by David last year when he snapped it off with only a couple of inches above the graft. The apple is missing one set of branches but if it doesn't grow them this year I will try my hand at grafting and maybe even a different variety. The nashi only had one lateral after its mishap which I let grow tall last year and then cut it right back to about a foot above the previous cut so hopefully will get a couple of branches this time.The tamarillos both have a couple of fruit which should be ripe soon and the big (for my yard) paw paw has heaps of fruit and new flowers although the lower leaves are looking a bit manky and might even have rust on them - sprayed bugs today on it.One of my citrus has been attacked by aphids which I have hopefully finally gotten rid of these by watering with soap, but the new leaves are very small and I am thinking whether to prune them back and give it another chance. The lime and the dwarf peach both have little baby fruits so will see how they go - probably have to thin out the peach as it is totally covered.I am still trying to find a source for dwarf banana trees, it isn't as easy as I thought it would be as they have to be certified. Also on the lookout for some more self pollinating paw paw trees, they seem to be the most prolific and easiest to grow in our climate with almost a guaranteed supply (at least in Scarlett's garden).Happy gardening!
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Donna's Garden - June 2011

My goodness, time just flies!  I have been having trouble finding time to garden, what with David who is now 5 and at 'big school' and Brendan who is coming up to 2 - my boys are growing up so fast!  With working full time as well I always struggle to find time to garden, but hopefully when it is all nice again I'll find the time to maintain it...


Every time I looked at the gardens recently I shuddered and it got to the point that I was too scared to even try to do anything because I knew just how big a task it would be... so I bit the bullet and took two days annual leave so that I could have a big chunk of time to get through the worst.


After the last garden visit I pulled up the pumpkin vines that had taken over the backyard and even started to climb the almond tree.  I rescued the pandan and pit pit which were underneath the mess.  I also weeded one garden bed and used a heap of banana leaves and trunk for mulch which I am waiting to brown a bit before planting out.  On the same weekend I cleared a heap of sweet potato vines and dug up a washing basket full of sweet potatoes, in the process creating two huge piles of waste to turn into compost which are strategically placed in spots in the garden (yes in full view but then the banana circle compost pile is already overflowing!).


Today was my first full day to devote to cleaning up my garden, and I started by pruning all the fruit trees out the back yard.  My gosh, the guava's were ginormous.  I also gave the almond a prune, along with the feijoa, coffee (who knew it would survive my extreme neglect), mulberry, cherry, chocolate persmimmon and a few citrus trees.  One tamarillo was dead, so it was pulled out along with millions of weeds, some yakon and more sweet potatoes.


Thank you to the lovely seed saver members who have shared planting material with me in the past - it is amazing how much you get out of a small amount in very little time.  It's great to share planting material, especially considering the cost of buying commercially!  I am so glad that I am now in a position to be able to share planting material of so many things that are suited to our climate because of these generous souls :)


As my garden just eats mulch, I separated my lemongrass (which was less than two years old) into 25 separate bits and planted them in a really dry garden along one side of the house.  I also separated the arrowroot (again less than two years old) into at least ten sections and replanted.  These will be my mulch plants, along with the banana leaves... I am still thinking of planting a couple of square metres of lucerne somewhere and just mowing over it every so often.


On the topic of mulch, when I pruned the guava I got so many branches that I decided to cut the smaller ones and strip the leaves off the larger ones and have created a discussion on the best way to use these as mulch beneath the fruit trees.


The herb garden has been sadly neglected along with the rest of the garden, but the rosemary, garlic chives and lemongrass were all still doing well.  When pulling out weeds I discovered a heap of self seeded dill seedling so separated some of these.  The biggest weed in my gardens is horrible running grass which I absolutely hate grrr.


There is now a huge amount of soon to be compost in the middle of my lawn along one side of the house which I will find a spot to pile it up on and let it compost gradually.


Tomorrow I will continue... hopefully the front garden and the gardens outside the fence will be tidied up - along with the big veggie garden.  And the big piles of waste I am creating be moved into a pile on a garden somewhere in need of compost sometime in the future.  This will be a huge task as there are some trees/ shrubs that have never thrived where they are so will need to find homes for and the passionfruit and beans that currently cover the fence and climb over 10 metres into the canopy of a huge tree on the verge will need to be demolished - well maybe the bean will live but I have given up on the passionfruit ... at least in that location as it never fruits just produces masses of beautiful flowers!


I am very sorry that there are no photos in this blog, I am at a loss as to the location of my camera.  Last seen it was on the kitchen bench with no batteries... hopefully Brendan has posted it somewhere inside but after a number of pretty exhaustive searches am beginning to come to terms with biting the bullet and buying another - just one of the joys of children I guess.


Hope everyone is well and I look forward to seeing you at a Garden Visit soon!  :)

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Donna's Garden - 19/07/09 August Garden Visit

Finally hosted a Garden Visit, should have done it months ago - it was such a good motivator to get things ready in the garden!My husband (the 'Infrastructure Manager') concreted up the side of the house enclosing the already existing gardens and screwed second hand tin to to the fence before filling it with free green mulch sourced from a nice local tree lopper. This meant that we didn't have to dig up the grass and are hoping that the nitrogen draw down kills it, then it will be ready for planting in about three months.

Anthony Foo gave a talk on Bio Dynamics which everyone found very interesting.

My banana grove is thriving, three of the four trees have suckers so hope to get some fruit next season. Have taken Scarlette's idea and piling up green waste in the middle so hopefully this will help feed them and maybe produce some excess compost for the rest of the garden.

I have one bed that is almost ready to harvest with Kohl Rabi, Cabbage, Kale, Garlic, Bunching Onions all growing really well. I have some little seedlings that replaced the peanuts - look like more kohl rabi but can't remember what else I planted...

The garden beds out the back:* On the right has a zuchinni (ever hopeful), more garlic, baby asian salad mix, beetroot & silverbeet seedlings* On the left has four black russian tomatoes, asian salad mix ready to harvest (cut & come again includes mizuna, mibuna, tatsoi and red mustard), self seeded nasturtium going crazy and another baby zuchinni.The garden beds down the side:* Brocolli seedlings, mature capsicum & chilli (finally got a real size capsicum ripening!), baby asian salad mix* Empty bed treating with molasses for nematodes, will plant out next month ready for spring* Brussel sprouts, broccoli, squash seedlingsHave planted a four pack punnet of very small rhubarb right next to the house to see if they do better than last year but am not holding out much hope. Also in this side garden is a number of self runner strawberry plants that I am hoping will provide a harvest.Most of the fruit trees I planted have survived, although there have been a few casualties and a couple are still not out of the woods yet... One of my paw paw trees is going really well and has a number of fruit ripening at the moment and heaps of flowers while the other (think it has nematodes) is definately in ICU - have treated with bugs, molasses and given a really good feed so hopefully will make it through lol.The self pollinating almond is growing really well and more than doubled in size. The two citrus on the left hand side are doing really well and look very healthy as is the black sapote, tamarillo (have a couple of baby fruits yay) and the avocado. The two citrus on the right aren't doing so well - one was being attacked by aphids/ ants/ black stuff and I have pruned it back and given it bugs and fertiliser to help it. The other citrus had died but a small shoot from above the graft has given it another chance at life...I will do another blog soon to document my spring attempts and efforts - I find these blogs are a really good source of information for me to go back to and see what I did when...
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Donna's Garden - 30/10/09

It has been awhile since I got out into the garden and I only have one bed planted and growing at the moment. In saying that it is *very* planted and has heaps in it because it was the only bed ready when the seedlings came up! There is red okra starting to flower, angled luffa (last two seeds so hopefully get some this time!), rockmelon with two babies, stars & moon watermelon, black carrots, corn with cobs starting to show silk and snake beans starting to flower and a couple of kohl rabi that was the last of the bunch.


There is also a mystery plant, I guess the flowers will help but maybe someone will recognise it anyway - I am pretty sure it is either a weed or else marigold is the only thing that has been in that bed for ages as it was the nematode bed...


Unfortunately the other five beds are sadly neglected and before the rain were as dry as a bone and no matter how long you watered them with the cane mulch on top it didn't go into the soil. I have bought some mushroom compost and lucerne hay to replenish them and so far have done two beds that I plan to sow seeds into this afternoon. The other beds will hopefully be done in the next couple of weeks then all I need to do is maintain them and practice successive planting.The paw paw is *still* green and there are heaps at various sizes, we are no longer checking it daily - that dubious honour has gone to the pepino which has two big fruits and masses of flowers. We have had two tamarillo and there is heaps at various stages on the trees. No flowers on the bananas yet but three have pups now and they are getting really big! Two of the citrus and dwarf peach also have baby fruit.


I think I have given up on big tomatoes, little green caterpillars got to all the black russians but there is a self seeded cherry tomato behind the baby paw paw producing masses of fruit despite sprawling all over the ground and totally neglected!


So we will have a glut from the one garden then a famine until the others catch up - one day I will have a regular supply of food *I hope*...


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Donna's Garden - December 2010

Well it has been the rainiest December in history and everyone is getting very sick of it.  My yard is very wet and you squelch wherever you walk... unless it is mud then you slide.  The chicken pen is a slurry and a fair few spots are underwater.  Lavendar looks especially bedraggled compared to the others.


I'm worried that if the rain doesn't stop soon some of the fruit trees will end up dieing from being waterlogged but nothing has succumbed yet although the new growth on the citrus is terrible, pretty sure it is a mite - they always get it when new growth appears unless I give the plants a light spray with Neem oil... but it was too wet this time so I will have to prune the new growth if it ever stops raining.



There are now four banana bells - the original two should be ripe soon I hope, but will have no idea of how to tell until they go yellow unless I wait for Ali's to be picked and then wait a few days.  They are putting out heaps of suckers and are loving the rain so far although one of the new suckers was in a huge puddle for a day or two but it seems to have drained for now.  No matter how many suckers I cut off they keep throwing more and they seem to grow within a week!



The yakon, arrowroot, ginger, tumeric, pit pit and comfrey are all going great guns and have turned into an overcrowded jungle.  That's what I get for forgetting that I left some tumeric and ginger in the ground when I harvested then planting pit pit and yakon there...


The back bed has carrot going to seed it in there so I threw a heap of alfalfa around and will use it as green manure.  I'm not sure what variety the carrot is but will be keep to try and save seeds as they don't readily go to seed in our climate usually...




My stupid passionfruit still hasn't put out any fruit, flowers galore but nothing/ nada/ zip.  I didn't fertilise it except a handful of potash and some boron black gritty stuff from Anthony - humate? It's living on borrowed time at the moment I might take Lissa up on some of her seedlings.  Of course Ashley's is doing really well...


The sweet potato just gone totally crazy and invading the whole place now!  Doubt there will be any tubers think there is way to much vines!  I will get in there and chuck some shovel loads of dirt around on top to see if I get get them to root.



The tamarillo's have got heaps of fruit that I have high hopes will ripen and give me a decent crop of something... imagine what it must be like to get a 'glut' of something... although the banana's will be too soon.  There are some limes and the guava's are both fruiting as well, starting to get some real benefit out of the fruit trees.




There is one pineapple that is fruiting but the others are all growing quite fast - for pineapple that is.


Good luck to everyone's garden and hope that the rain doesn't do any permanent damage to our plants!


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Donna's Garden - 07/06/09

Well finally got back into the garden and sorted out most of the mess. I didn't plant any seeds before my holiday as I thought everything would die - hindsight is a wonderful thing, the rain would have had everything thriving.Finally gave up on the pumpkins, the vines were all over the lawn and looked really untidy with grass growing through them and I wanted the beds back for this seasons planting! I think we got about fourteen pumpkins, although a few are quite small and may not be ripe. This bed is the one with mainly mango tree chips, I am planning on planting clever clover next weekend and leave it to finish breaking down.


I only have one bed mostly planted, just have to fill the blank space from harvesting the peanuts. Bunching onions in the front, kohl rabi, cabbage, kale with garlic on the right. Don't look at the weeds around the fruit trees (lime & avocado) in the background - maybe next weekend!


While the ferns weren't completely yellow, I trimmed them all back (should they be cut all the way down?) and laid a good bed of almost rotten cane mulch. As they were three year old crowns I am hoping for a little harvest this year. The tree on the right is a black sapote or chocolate pudding tree.


Still haven't got around to getting molasses to deal with the nematodes in one of my beds - they don't seem to be very picky as both silverbeet and pumpkin were affected, of course the weeds roots seemed to be fine. Now it is empty of pumpkins I will have to get to it this weekend so that I can use it for successive planting *hopefully*.My banana grove isn't big enough and wish I had made it bigger so I could interplant with paw paws like Scarlett, oh well lets hope the suckers stay on the outside lol. We thought they were never going to grow and that one was in fact dead but over the summer they all burst into life and while no bananas, one does have a sucker so hopefully next year.


Well hopefully I find time to plant all the seeds I want to this coming weekend, now that the beds are ready and will be able to show a productive garden when it is my turn for the garden visit.Happy gardening.
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Donna's Garden - 14/06/10

The mustard and marigolds in the nematode bed have grown heaps in the past month and look to be ready to use as green manure - is it best to chop and drop, or should it be dug in?


After a lull in planting anything, finally am starting to see some results from my direct in bed plantings out the back. I made holes in the mulch, but the naughty chooks keep getting in and scratching around and covering the poor little seedlings so every few days I am forced to go and gently uncover them again :) I didn't label anything - at the time it was plant or write labels so I figured I could figure it out as they grew. There should be a huge selection though as I know there parsnip, turnip, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, kohl rabi, carrot etc - next months blog should hopefully help me identify what came up.


The specialist seedling tray didn't work very well for some reason - I will be buying some better quality seedling raising mix, this was just a coir block - ironically I prepared two long pots at the same time and thickly sowed lettuce and mizuna which are going great guns.


The frangipani bed also has some seedlings coming up, again I can't remember what but think there was some mustard and lupins as well as a few others.


The fruit trees are doing pretty well despite a few minor problems, with the exception of the poor fig tree whose leaves have about ten different problems - hopefully as they are decidous they will fall soon and next year will be a lot better if I pump it with seaweed and bugs. The best growers so far are probably the paw paw, pepino (although suffered dreadfully last summer from being stung by moth/ fruit fly - will cover this year with mosquito netting I think), avocado, almond, guavas and bananas. I took the labels off the guavas (china pear & thai white) so I will label the photos with the type so I don't forget. The poor thai white guava had a twist tie label which cut into the wood a fair bit, hopefully it doesn't let any fungal infection in and heals properly.


The herb bed is going really well, and a lot of new seedlings are starting to grow bigger although hubby is still not allowed to harvest them yet - coriander, dill, fennel, italian parsley. Will have to try again to get some of the mexican coriander started as I don't think they came up or the normal chives.


I have planted a whole heap of chicken seedlings in the clothesline bed and they are starting to grow, think there is millet, sorghum, wheat and a few others. The idea is that I will successive plant and always have some green and some seeding to give them as a treat.


The cubby house bed had some late planted snake beans which I cut off and left to decompose, and as it was looking very empty and dry I tried to transplant a few of the mustard/ marigolds from the bed next to it for a bit of green manure. I really need to pick up a whole heap of lucerne bales and add more to all the beds, top off the piles of compost laying around to help decomposition and put at least one bale in the chicken run for them to sit on - hopefully next weekend!


The front new garden is doing well, and finally the banana pup has produced a new leaf (IM had given up and wanted to rip it out and try again). I pruned/ decimated the two passionfruit next to this bed and dumped them on the top as a mulch and will cover it will lucerne when I get more. Amazing that they are still green as that would be at least three weeks ago now... think that is what finally helped the banana pup as it now gets a bit more sunlight.


The big bed has self seeded cherry tomato growing almost to the top rail, almost ripe millet for the chooks/ seed, garlic, eggplant (didn't get around to potting one up) some sort of peas (had problems getting them to come up - this is the third time, and now have no idea what kind ended up growing). There was another tomato that I think is likely to be self seeded principe borguese which is for drying, it was sprawling everywhere and we picked it up and put a trellis around it so hopefully that works to contain it a bit better - I am slack at staking and tying so hopefully this option will be a winner, in summer I could also throw over mosquito netting for fruit fly if it works.


In hindsite all my beds should have been green manured the first growing season and would be a lot more productive by now - but at the time wasn't willing to 'waste' the beds by growing non productive stuff - duh! Think this is the most important thing to do when you have poor soil and not much money. In addition to building up the soil, I was amazed by how much more moisture the plants create and act as their own living groundcover - the nematode bed is lush and green, moist black soil while the one next to it is dry and degraded as it was almost fallow with little mulch for a couple of months - yet they both got the same amount of water (rainfall only).

Anyone in a fire ant area interested in growing pepino let me know as ours is doing well - they are related to the tomato and very easy to strike cuttings from as they have those little root nodule things on the branches and you just have to dump a handful of soil on them where they touch the ground - in fact the initial plant had about five branches that had done it by themselves which I have relocated to the old blueberry bed along the driveway - planted heaps thinking that I would lose a few but of course all took and are now growing really well despite the neglect they get there with no water and poor soil.


I have now been a member of Brisbane Local Food for two years, and ithas been an amazing journey, thanks everyone for your support, help and friendship during this time and I look forward to many more years as a part of the BLF family!

Note there is a separate blog for my chickens as they have just started to lay and I figure deserved their own this time :)
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