Latitude 14 Eastern Australia

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by sun burn, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Hi

    I'm from North Queensland. I'm so new here, I haven't even looked around yet. It's exciting to find this forum, I must say. I hope to meet and learn from other tropical gardeners especially. Here in the north, we have a monsoon type of climate. My home is by the sea so it gets quite humid. Our winters are mild and tend to be dry.

    Like the crazy cellist, I am also a cycle tourist. I'd love to meet any others peddling through the forum too.

    I'm just starting out on my first vegetable gardening experience. We have one hectare of land here. Its already planted up with lots of unproductive things and to start off with, I am just planting whereever there is sunshine. As things go on, I will chop down other things cluttering up our patch that are not doing much except preventing the grass from growing and replace with fruit trees.

    I hope to grow chickens and ducks but I have to rely on someone with know how to build the house first as I am pretty useless at that sort of thing. I'd have a go if i had plenty of money but I am working on a limited budget.

    Today I put in a lot of seeds for the first time, except a few coriander which i noticed have just started to show their little green tops. Which is very thrilling.

    I look forward to meeting and mixing in here.
    Cheers
     
  2. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Welcome:)
    A sunny hectare is enough to keep you out of trouble!
    Yes see my post on what i destroyed today

    Have a go at the building thing. You may surprise yourself-- I did.
    When I was a kid I couldn't hand my dad a hammer the right way. He could build or make anything. But i quickly got sick of being yelled at and lost interest and confidence in my building ability. When i did build in mud bricks i got advice help, asked a lot of questions, and read a lot. i found that when I had a problem i went of to research an answer,this could take some time. When I got " professional builders" to help me and they ran into a problem they banged a 6" nail into it. "She'll be right" -of course it never was.
    You can't do a lot worse than most Australian " professional builders"!

    Yes, every snail will be watching too!.
     
  3. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

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    Welcome , I find gardening in the tropics so rewarding . SOOO many things will grow very easily , put in bananas and plant any seed of unusual fruits in, as most will grow well and bear fast .
     
  4. seed savers

    seed savers Junior Member

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    All you have to do now is to wait till your coriander seeds fall on the fertile ground and a portion of them will come up in their own time or you can just pick them when they are dried to the touch and brown like the one in Indian shops.
    Just replant some for plant sake, just to observe what happens, or/and dried them further in an enveloppe with date and name and from how many plants you harvested from. ( will tell you why later) You can share the seeds with friends.... all valuable.
    continue the drying process one more week in shady ventilated out of the rain place.
    Put in jar if you want for next year IF and only if it is fully dried as they could end up composting in the jar ( it happens) . Will tell you more about storing seed later theory and practices. Michel
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    See if you can beg, borrow or steal a copy of the Permaculture Home Garden book by Linda Woodrow. I too am totally useless at building stuff, but even I managed to make her basic chook dome.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    all right I shall look for it.
     
  7. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    If I use this as a blog, I expect I will be the only person who will read it but I shall do it anyway. You never know.

    Tomorrow I will be a mummy! This morning when I left home, I was not expecting. But before I got home from my trip to town I had decided to buy five muscovy ducks which I shall bring home tomorrow. I am so excited. I have been wanting chickens for quite a while. I have been putting it off lately because I wanted my father to build us a henhouse first. But today when I saw the advertisement on the board for the ducks, (which I had also decided I wanted beforehand) I thought well if I come home with ducks, he will have to get on with it. Of course I checked with the current owner of the ducks and he thought they'd be all right without a proper henhouse for a while, unlike chickens. But this afternoon, we rigged up a fenced yard for the ducks in which they will live for a few weeks to get used to their new home before i let them run about.

    As a consequence of that visit, I will be getting some banana suckers too. And some sugarcane to plant. (I want to make my own sugarcane juice). And today I brought home a skirt full of passionfruit to eat from the farmers vine. He doesn't like them. I was tempted to bring home the man's dog who was a lovely staffy thing which the farmer doesn't care for much because she's not a working dog. I tried to persuade him to make a friend of her.

    What a great day. :)

    Furthermore, this afternoon, during my gardening session i did mighty work felling trees with a little axe. I'm always waiting for my father to get out his chainsaw to deal with the nuisance rubbish trees we have around here. I need them removed to create sunlight. Yesterday i began by trying to ringbark the big branch of a tree that shades our solar hot water system. Winter is upon us and we need more hot water and my father has been too laggardly dealing with this tree that we have talked about for ages that needs lopping down the middle. Somehow i got the idea that, although I couldn't chop it down myself, I could probably kill half of it by ringing barking. He didn't say so but I think my father was impressed. Several others that are doing us no good around the place hit the turf as well.
     
  8. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I've got the ducks home now. Everything was going brilliantly until one duck flew out of his pen and we managed to chase it down the street until it disappeared instead of chasing it back to its pen. I've been looking all over but I can't find it. I think i've had my first casualty. Its a consolation that I have a drake who can make babies. Also apparenlty because the weather is cool now I shouldn't have to worry about snakes too much. I hope that true. I hope the snakes stay away long enough for us to build a safe house for them at night.

    I also got some sugarcane pieces today and some banana plants.

    My neighbour has a big pile of vegetable rubbish which I can have to add to my compost. His business creates the stuff so that's a good find.

    I just sad about my duck. I hope we don't lose anymore. I didn't want to clip their wings and now of course I realise it would have been a good idea. We've put a roof on the duck pen so no more will be able to fly out at least.

    My zucchini seeds have sprouted already. I must say that was very fast. Only a few days.
     
  9. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    bad luck about the duck.., it probably won't know where to come back to either, since it was so new..
    sounds like things are going well! keep it up
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Hey sun burn - betta watch out - you are officially hooked now. There's no turning back once you start with ducks and compost heaps and growing your own zucchini. You'll never be "normal" again. Welcome to the "edge" with all us other permies!
    I got a nice surprise when I got home today - my Mum has dropped by and left me 4 rubbish bags full of coffee grounds and 2 of shredded paper. My brother in law works in a big hospital and scavenges stuff for me and my Mum brings it down when she visits. You should see chooks dust bathing in dry coffee grounds. It's like a Day Spa for my feathered friends!
     
  11. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Eco my sister will be home soon and she's always making coffee so i guess i will save her coffee grounds for the chooks that i will be getting.

    So yesterday i got the ducks home. Lovely they are but a bit frightened of the move. They've obviously never left home before. We put them in the pen and not so long after one flew out of the pen. I hadn't wanted to cut their wings before because i was afraid of snakes and thought they might need to fly out of the pen to escape. But this was a mistake because now I've lost a duck and secondly its too cold for snakes at this time. Anyhow, I will keep hunting for the lost duck and she might come back. My farmer who sold me the ducks just phoned me today about something else. He said if the duck doesn't come back he'd give me another. Anyway after the ducks flew out we thought we had better cover the pen after all. We put greenhouse mesh on the top and pretty soon i realised what a good solution to snakes it would be. My father agreed and said it would be the cheapest solution also. So that's what I will do when we build a proper hen and duck house. Because we have lots of greenhouse mesh around here. But even if we had to buy it, it seems to be cheaper than wire mesh and its a lot easier to handle.

    So when the farmer phoned up just now, we chatted about this and that and we got on to the topic of chickens. He's got lovely black ones. He said he'd breed some up for me. I love it when people give me things. I offered to pay for them but he doesn't mind. He said he only wanted money for the ducks because he'd spent such a fortune on feeding them up.

    I bought a back of feed for them yesterday. It cost almost $20 for 25kg. That will only last a month if i don't supplement their diet with fresh things and free range roaming and that is what I intend to do of course. I certainly don't need pets for the sake of pets. These are going to be working ducks and they have to earn their keep!

    I can't wait for the beautiful black chooks though.

    The farmer also gave me some bits of plants to have a go at. It was wonderful visiting his farm seeing all the wild things he's got over there.

    Its so exciting growing things. I am well and truly hook already.
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I found my lost duck. She was in the creek across the highway. There's a puddle there. What a good girl. I must say it was hard to catch her and I couldn't have done it by myself. But I'm relieved that she's back.

    I've thought of names for them all. Bertie is the drake - after Bertie Wooster. The girls are called Mavis, Gertrude, Ethel and I can't decide on the last name yet. It needs to be totally unpretty. So harriet and henrietta and beatrice are out. Can anyone help me with one of those old-fashioned names. What about Maude?
     
  13. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

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    Murgatroyd ?
     
  14. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    What a lucky find! You could call her Miss Marple cos she like a bit of an adventure....
     
  15. Don Hansford

    Don Hansford Junior Member

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    You might call the runaway "lady gaga" - she's a bit outside the box :D
     
  16. Don Hansford

    Don Hansford Junior Member

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    We had a cat called Murgatroyd when I was a wee lad ... just realised how long ago that was :(
     
  17. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I'm afriad I have settled for maude because i don't to break the theme. Though I must say, three of the ducks look exactly the same so i don't know how i am going to identify who is who. Maybe after a while they will display some distinguishing personality traits.

    I did like the idea of Miss Marple, though. And murgatroyd is definitely unattractive enough to fill the bill.
     
  18. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I've started on the duck and hen house. I suppose I should write this post when i've finished rather than at the beginning but there could be benefits.

    Its going to be about 3-4 metres square. Does anyone know if i have to keep the ducks and chickens separate?

    We are using some heavy duty steel mesh for the walls. Instead of chicken mesh to keep the snakes out, i am going to put shade cloth over it all. I can't imagine the snakes chewing hole in it. The good thing is that there doesn't need to be any posts. The top will have iron sheeting. I will put sawdust on the floor. And try to find a nice big duck bath.

    The ducks seem to be settling in. They have their bath every morning. Today i saw two of them in it together! which is quite something as its not a very big tub. In fact, i think there was a little monkey business going on.

    The only thing i'm not sure of is how deep to bury the walls. Can snakes dig holes. A neighbour told me i should bury them 1 foot deep. That's damned hard work.
     
  19. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update: I've only minor news to report. I think. I am up to the second planting of vegetables. Most of the seeds in the first round came up. The main failure and the most disappointing to me were the rozellas. I was given the seeds a year ago. I probably need fresh seeds.

    Its been interesting to note the difference of growth in the different beds. The best bed by far has been the dinghy bed. The second best bed has been the old burning frond pile. Everything else is muddling along.

    Yesterday I was saddened to see that a bandicoot had dug up a squash or pumpkin plant. I was glad that it wasn't actually in a garden bed though. Maybe the little creature will not discover my garden beds for a while yet. The ducks have started trampling on one vege bed in search of munchies but in general I am happy with and loving the ducks.

    We've begun having visitors so my work has been interrupted a bit of late.

    Work on the chicken house continues.

    I had a visitor who has done a permaculture course and she pointed out some pesty problems and discussed treatments. She mentioned something called wettable sulphur for the citrus and all these fungicides that i then went to the gardening australia site to find recipes for but discovered that they are preventatives not treatment.

    I did some research on derris dust. Not sure whether i am going to use it or not. I do not find any merit in the notion of its causing parkinsons's disease if what was said about its being tested on rats is the explanation. I would be interested in getting hold of some derris plants perhaps.

    Friends have been giving me seeds and plants and so on. How lovely and how unexpected.

    I've already used up my first pile of compost. Since its mostly lettuce it breaks down fast.
     
  20. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Don't too hung up on pests. If you still get a crop to harvest who cares. And if some critters get to something first consider it chook food with added protein supplements (they LOVE slugs). Just plant more than you think you need to allow for losses and accept them as part of biodiversity. I'm promised that over time my garden will mature and the predators will keep it in balance (only a year old so far so I can't say yet....). But only if you don't kill them first. And make some predator homes - lizards, frogs, and maybe something like the Good Bug mix of plants from Green Harvest for good insects.
     

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