nematode (2)

My new secret weapon is very exciting

Wow - I think this could be the beginning of a new age: I bought a pump for our watering tank. It is extremely exciting to think about using the hose any time I want instead of carting watering cans. It really has restricted the frequency and amount of water I put on the garden. This should hopefully give me some impetus to really get this garden moving. Hooray. Now I just need to rig it up...Could take a weekend or ten, what with everything else going on (as usual).

So, duly terrified by the prospect of people coming around to inspect my poor neglected garden (which has suffered several chook scraping events recently, including the two times I had succesfully germinated seed sprinkles, grrr), I have spent the entire afternoon in the garden, and planted lots of stuff.I planted seedlings of coriander, beetroot (again), peas (usually I use seeds, but I went mad), brown onions, leeks (I have germinated seedlings of these that have survived, but leeks are great and you can always eat them young), english spinach (I've never germinated this by broadcast, it requires seedlings or fussy germination - which I don't do, no time - I guess), cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries and lettuce.Then I threw the following seeds around: carrot, turnip, swede, pickling onion, spring onion, more leek, chives, bok choy, dill, rocket, bush beans, broad beans, scarlet runner bean, chinese cabbage (I think/ hope) and wheat (because I happened to have some from making grassy head puppet things and I hope it will look nice - maybe the chooks will eat it).The chooks were eating the ripe grain heads that are around the place today - perhaps their fluff brains have cleared momentarily.I still have to clear quite a few old plants to make room for some more things, but I've held off so there are some plants to look at on Sunday.I planted the leeks and onions all together this time and will separate them once they get bigger. They transplant very well, so why not (although the onions might object). Usually I carefully prick them out and cosset them for a while, but not this time.I still need to plant celery and silver beet - the last lot of celery got scraped out by the chooks - I'll have to get some. I'm really looking forward to celery - such a great base for lots of slow food. I put our first slow food on tonight - yay :) See you LATER eggplant heh heh.

I dug around under the old sweet potatoes to see what's going on under there, but didn't dig anything up. It looks like there might be some action. We have heaps of potatoes a friend gave us, so I'll refrain for the moment - although it all might shoot again... Still, the patch needs to get bigger and stronger, no worries. I couldn't see or feel anything under the yam plant, it's hard to know if there's anything under there without disturbing it much - but it can't be a whopper, they stick right out of the ground.One parsnip I pulled up had nematodes - erg. It was planted where the tomatoes were. Will have to plant more marigolds to trap them and make sure I have no tomatoes in the same spot for while.

I scattered blood and bone and probably need to scatter some dolomite too. The problem with no dig gardens is they do run short on magnesium and this one seems to be running short on calcium. I've pulled so much out of it I probably need to be a bit more vigilant with the feeding thing. I've added worm castings (there are lots of big fat worms in some spots now, which is very pleasing), organic pelletised chook manure, blood and bone and dolomite, but obviously need to do more, and more often.I'm looking forward to seeing people on Sunday - apparently the weather will be fineSJP
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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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