Eco's Lodge

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by eco4560, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. macey

    macey Junior Member

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    Now that sounds like a good day Eco!
     
  2. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    What a lovely birthday Eco - well done.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Qld Garden Expo

    Gee I've had a great weekend! I spent 2 lovely days at the Garden Expo with my daughter. She tried her best to empty my wallet, while I dragged her from guest speaker to guest speaker. I got to hear Costa Georgiadis speak about the importance of good soil, and of knowing where our food comes from. I like that he is obviously espousing permaculture philosophy but never once did the word permaculture get mentioned. It's just the RIGHT way to do stuff. The local newspaper ran a story on it today.
    I also got to learn some lazy gardening tips - some I knew already (like making your compost pile on top of your vege garden rather than having to move the compost there) but I didn't know what a Dutch Hoe was before today. And reinforced what I knew about making compost and growing subtropical veges (got to taste test roast arrowroot) and making ponds to attract frogs and birds to the garden.
    I hung around the Big Kitchen Garden (a permies paradise) in the quiet moments and soaked up the atmosphere.
    I've come home with Shiitake mushroom logs, a pomelo tree, ylang ylang, miracle fruit, pandan, cacti (my daughter collects these), carnivorous plants (that's my son), hippieastrum bulbs, and some herbs that I didn't already have. And a big smile on my face.
    Now to plant it all.:clap:
     
  4. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Oh wow that sounds like it was a wonderful weekend. I didn't get there unfortunately and now I'm really annoyed about it. Hope all your booty grows well!!
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Your garden is filling up so fast with plants. I'm envious. On sugarcane, my first crop is ready to harvest. I'm looking forward to that but its got to wait a bit while i have so much else on at the moment. I"m going to try using some of the cane cooking iwth my duck. Most of this crop i will replant in a block, as you do for corn. I think it will look better than a long single row. At least two rows would look alright but i like the sound of a block.
     
  6. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Wow, Eco, lookt at all the work you've done! how nice! Six months for the chooks to migrate, that's wonderful. I love the rock walls. It's so much easier working on level spots than trying to balance on a hillside. And thanks for all the pics. I love to watch other people work, hahahaha. When you put the sweet potatoes under the rotted hay bales, was that it? You just piled them over the sweet potatoes? You don't have any problems with mice getting into the bales? Interesting guild under the citrus! You should be really proud of all the work you've done! Thanks for letting us see :)
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks sweetpea. I've looked back to try to see what you are referring to about the sweet potato and I'm not 100% sure which bit you are talking about? You mean the new plantings around my dome to keep the sweet potato out? I cleared the vines away first, and then sheet mulched it and planted it up. I'm still waiting for the gingers and sugar cane to pop up through it all - but it hasn't started to warm up yet so I'm not worried yet.

    I do get mice in the hay mulch - particularly in my raised potato beds. But they make nice snacks for my cat.....

    The potato beds I make with 4 bales set up to make a square. I fill the middle with green waste, shredded paper, and top it up with compost. The potatoes get sat on top. I found that if I buried them they rotted before they sprouted. The potato beds also function as weed killers - I put them over grassy spots that I want to clear so I can plant something else, and as soil improvers because everything eventually rots down after I have harvested my spuds and I have a lovely patch of weed free soil to plant into.
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Eco,have you got any fruit off your Pawpaw trees yet?
    How long did it take for them to get to the point where they started flowering?
     
  9. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    Mischief - do you have something dead hanging in the tree to attract pollinators? or are you self pollinating the paw-paw?
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    No the seed has just come out of the freezer and is now in seed trays where hopefully they will soon sprout.
    I collected 3 half fruit over the space of 6 weeks to try to make sure that they were not from the same plant-should be safe there.
    I'm sure I saw these growing up in Titirangi,Auckland when I was a kid and from memory they just grew themselves.
    Its only recently that I found out that they are deciduous and should grow this far south,heres hoping.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    There are little baby fruit looking very tantalising... Hopefully as the weather warms up they'll get big and ripe. I'm battling black spot on them still. Fertilizing, fertilizing, fertilizing... it seems to be getting better, but that could be wishful thinking.

    I had flowers within the first year.
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Going away soon....

    I'm heading off to Cambodia this weekend for 2 weeks, to do some volunteer work with Life Options. Please take a look at their website and make a donation. Every tiny bit makes a big difference.

    Over the past few weeks I've been getting stuck into the garden to prepare it for not having me around for 2 weeks. Lots of seeds have gone into seed trays and pots so hopefully they'll be ready to plant out when I get home. The 'nursery' collection of plants that I have propagated has (mostly) been planted and mulched. The fruit trees have had a bucket of compost each, been watered with worm wee, and mulched heavily with hay.

    The not so productive dry bed in the middle of the garden has had a top dress with compost and also been mulched really heavily. I've planted alliums, hippeastrums and gladiolis around the day lilies that are doing OK in there.

    I've tossed lime everywhere as I have planted - I've decided that I don't have enough calcium. The chooks eggshells getting thinner each year was the give away... I've read that you shouldn't put lime in compost piles because it makes the nitrogen turn to ammonia and gas off. But I've also read and seen videos of people who are pretty expert at making compost and they add lime. So lime is now one of my regular compost additions.

    I've made a new compost pile under the second stand of bananas. The first stand has had a compost pile under it for almost 2 years and is doing really well, while the other has struggled a little. I did get a HUGE crop of bananas off them recently - it was so heavy that when the rain and wind started at the end of winter the tree fell over! So the new compost pile has been made with 3 star pickets and some dog wire to make a cylinder - and I've filled it up with cardboard, weeds, crotolaria prunings, coffee grounds, shredded paper, cow and horse manure, and anything else I could get my hands on. The plan is to just use it to feed the bananas rather than to generate mulch so I'll just keep adding weeds and paper waste to it now that it is started.

    My main compost pile has been rebuilt as well - it's HUGE. It's a little sad that the end result is about 1/4 of what you start out with..... As a result of all this composting the weed population has been reduced substantially, but there are still plenty out there for the next compost pile when I get back.

    I've finally stopped procrastinating about the new chook house and run - I've been putting it off because there are skills that I don't have that I need to learn and it seemed too hard. But I'm proud to say there are now 9 posts cemented in place. None of them have fallen over yet and they are (mostly) vertical. 'Within tolerances';) as they say in the building industry. It's the first time I've put in posts and dealt with cement. The rest of the construction will now have to wait until I get back from Cambodia.

    There's rain forecast for the next few days - which is good because all the tanks are just about empty! And the freshly planted plants will get a water and the hay will start to settle into place. I had 50 bales delivered and there are still about 35 stacked by the driveway.... Hopefully the tarp they are under will keep them dry until I get back to do more weeding and mulching and compost making.

    There's been lots of produce from the garden over the past few months. Peas peas peas and more peas - which have now succumbed to the fungal thing they get as son as the humidity comes up in spring. Really yummy broccoli, cauliflower and kohl rabi which the cabbage moths failed to notice until just now. Lettuces and endives, kale and bok choy, silver beet, warrigul greens - no shortage of green things. The potatoes have done really well this time, but as soon as spring arrived so did the 28 spotted lady beetle. The trick is plant them earlier than the books say for here so that the get to maturity before the pests arrive. I have more sweet potatoes that I know what to do with. Not as many pumpkins this year as last, but the wet winter stopped them from being pollinated.

    Now it is broad bean season - I planted a lot because I love them and there is a veritable feast of them out there ready for eating. I've also harvested my first coffee - it was really literally about 43 beans worth. The speaker at this months Transition Town is a local chap who grows, roasts and grinds his own and he explained how to do it. He's got some fancy bits of equipment that make it really easy that I don't have.

    So - I popped the beans out of the pods by hand and left them to dry for a few days. Then I peeled off the 'skin' by hand. I didn't realize that there was another layer until I started to roast them... never mind! I dry roasted them in a frying pan which took longer than I thought - about 15 mins and they were not really dark, but I had other things to do than roast coffee! I put them through my grinder and into the plunger and got enough coffee for a cup and a half. I wouldn't be inviting friends over to share it just yet, but it tasted like coffee. The speaker reckons that 5 plants will make enough coffee for a couple of adults all year, and they are supposed to be really easy to grow from seed. So that's on the to do list....

    When I get back I'll be planting beans (purple and green climbing, madagascar, snake bean, yam bean), corn (sweet and popping), tomato and basil (lots of basil so I can make pesto), cucumber, squash, zucchini, and hopefully watermelon and rockmelon - I haven't had any success with these so far but hopefully this is the year for it!

    I've finished the day off today with a session of 'chopping and dropping' pigeon pea and crotolaria. They are both covered in seeds that I'm tossing into the corners of the yard that are under utilized because I could do with a forest of legumes for mulching.
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I am so green with envy, you grow bananas And coffee.
    I'm sure you are going to have an absolute ball in Cambodia.
    You are taking your camara arent you?
     
  14. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Eco you are an exemplary permie woman. I am the epitome and unexmplary permie woman but its lovely to read your experience. My problem is that i am lazy and get preoccupied with things but mostly because i am lazy. You evidently are not. Great

    Enjoy you holiday.
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Yes Mischief there will be photos to share when I get back.
    Thanks Sunburn - no one has ever said that about me before!
     
  16. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    eco, legend.
    I would suggest avoiding lime in the compost, that ammonia stuff's true.
    I'm assuming you have a low ph? I know various people aren't into soil-testing for various reasons, but I'm a fan. I ask mainly as you could be like me and be lowish in calcium, but with a high ph. If I added ag lime, my soil would be in be in all sorts of trouble. Getting the balance 'right' is part of the fun for me!
     
  17. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    I hope you have an inspirational time in Cambodia Eco. and may your garden thrive in your absence. take care. Annette
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Cambodia!

    As promised.... I have uploaded photos to my photoblog here. There are 2 weeks worth - use the arrow or the calendar to navigate through them.

    It was an absolutely amazing experience. I feel that I only just scratched the surface and am hoping that I can get back in a years time, with my kids, for a longer stay.

    Living without ready access to electricity made me aware of how I take it for granted.

    Living without a rubbish collection system - and watching the pile of plastic being burnt in the yard each afternoon - made me very aware of how I put crap in a bin and never think about it again.

    Living with a tank of water that you have to ladle over your body to wash made me aware of how much water it takes each day to keep yourself clean. The WHO apparently say 16 liters is the absolute minimum for survival. I don't think I could get by on that. And I hate to think about how much I let run down the drain at home waiting for the shower to get warm....

    Living with a pig through the window (look at the photos and you'll understand) reminded me that animals are for eating, not being friends with. (apologies to the vegetarians...)

    Living in the shadow of high rates of maternal and infant mortality reminded me that I take my health for granted, and that simple health interventions make a huge difference, and anything is better than nothing. But sometimes nothing is the only thing you have to offer, and that can still be good enough.

    Living with high petrol prices has given me a glimpse of the post Peak Oil way of life, and reminded me that learning to ride a motor bike might be a good idea.

    Enjoy them. Feel free to ask me for any details that I have missed.
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thank you for the pics of your Cambodian trip.
    Very sobering though, we take so much for granted, I knew we do but was shocked at just how much more than I originally thought.
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I just worked out what petrol actually costs.... Given that the average weekly earnings in Australia is $1300 a week, and in Cambodia the ANNUAL income is $830 - if a dollar in Australia was as hard to come by as it is in Cambodia, then petrol here would cost $97 a litre.

    I don't think I'd still be driving my car....
     

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