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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    Actually purple this bed, in the dinghy, is full of cow poo though not completely fresh. I put in a wheelbarrow full before i planted the seedlings. All the plants went really well. It was interesting to compare how well compared to the the beds i've planted in other parts the garden. I've had very limited success with those others as reported above. Perhaps the best things that i put in the ground were the packet of asian greens - about 5 species and i don't know their names. They all did well straight into the ground but with a few added things. Meanwhile all the rest have have ended up pretty dismal even when they started out well. Last disaster was the ducks eating the corn. I can see i am going to have to keep the ducks well separated from the vege patch and maybe even from most of the garden. I' might have to park them near the pond i will dig and leave them there to become a poo factory. (mostly kidding). They delight me but also cause a bit of heartache. Maybe they will prove themselves more valuable come the wet season and slug invasion.

    Because of all this failure, i am not planting much in the way of veges now. I have to watch things. And just work on my compost heaps, my garden plan and growing cuttings. This is going to be a slow thing to get off the ground i can tell.

    The next big labour investment i am thinking about will be planting legumes and manure crops but i have to wait for the rains to come. Even with those i don't know if the soil is going to be good enough to support them. At $50 a bag of seed, I am afraid to see a big failure there. I"ve got to figure out the best way to maximise success from those bean seeds. I want to try peanuts, pigeon peas or cow peas, i can do lab lab and soy beans. One of those is a dry season crop i think but for that i will wait till next year.

    I've got all these man-type jobs which are bothering me at the moment. Both the mowers need wheel work and one has a starting battery problem. I need my father's cooperation for all of this. He knows how to do it and isn't a very good teacher. The water pipes are busting and leaking all over the place. I know these should be simple to fix but i find myself in knots over them. And i need him to help me finish the chicken shed. He's been busy housebuilding and so i haven't been able to use him much but i really need to get him on side for all the jobs i want done now.
     
  2. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update;

    I haven't been doing much of late. But its raining now and the weather is ideal for being out in the garden, ie its cool.

    My father had his hand operated on so he is still unable to help me finish the duck pen. However, the ducks having free reign in the garden has started to bother me since they've been eating some plants that i have spent time on and enjoy looking at so i've decided i need to limit their movement after all. I went down the nursery with the intention of starting to dig them a duck pond. I'm going to fence them in with the pond and the banana trees and see how they like it. Anyway i didn't dig 1cm of depth because i had to start by digging out long grass, and removing other garden infrastructure and rubbish first. Next I have to tackle the weedmat and then i can start on the pond.

    But anyway, every time i set out to do a chore or start a job, i get distracted by something else i see that needs doing and so i go from one side of the garden to the other doing little bits of lots of thing. I find it hard to be systematic and focused.

    With all the rain i am wondering if i should be planting my legumes now or should i wait till the usual time that the rains are supposed to start. I am eager to plant legumes everywhere.

    I've just read through Leonie Norrington's tropical food gardens and really enjoyed it. I've made a start to buy some exotic seeds for a wet season vegetable garden, along the lines of the things i read about in Penny Woodwards Asian Herbs and Vegetables.

    I've been enjoying eating my tomatoes of late. Its not going to be a bumper crop but what there is are yummy. They are better than store bought after all and i think its about ripening on the vine. Meanwhile the cherries i still eat daily for a dose of vitamin C and simple pleasure.

    I've started trying to make a garden design on a grid. I've had to go out and measure things on foot. But its good to get things put down on paper. Unfortunately, apart from the odd pond, I don't see that i can do much in terms of earthworks to slow down the water run off. My father terraced the site when he bought it but it still slopes. There's the odd drain which encourages water to pour off to the sides. I don't even know what would be the best way to tackle the water run off here anyway. Everyone says to slow it down but does that take into account torrential rains for a monsoon. We get 90 inches (i think) here annually and most of it falls in about five months. Actually sometimes most of it falls in one month with the rest spread of the remaining four of the season. At the bottom of the block, there is a large hole in the ground to direct the water runoff under the highway. I am thinking of damming this up in April or May so i can trap any more runoff and use it to irrigate the shrubs i want to put down the front. It would save me having to put in pipe and sprinklers and a lot of bother.

    Meanwhile most of my activity has been making compost (i'm starting to tire of carting and chopping stuff) and digging out long grass in preparation for planting the legumes. I"ve also been making cuttings from other tropical inedible shrubs for planting up the boundaries.
     
  3. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update:

    I've finally found where the ducks lay their eggs. There were 12 in the nest. I took out 10 and left two. They are beautiful smooth things. My father said, not knowing how long they've been there, best not to eat them in case of salmonella which seems common in duck eggs. On his advice I marked the other two and hope that in the future I will find some more that we can use without fear of poisoning.
     
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Congrats on your eggs!!!

    I find lists are a good way to work out what I want to achieve and from there sort out what I feel up to actually getting done.
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Mischief i am good at lists too. I have so many files going and a number of diaries on the go, pretty much all reporting the same thing. I can't help myself. I am always looking for the perfect format. Actually what does help is a list telling what to try to do TOMORROW. I did this today and was quite successful at it.

    Update:

    The last few days my mind has been occuppied with ornamentals. I want my garden to be not just edible but beautiful, not to provide just nourishment for the body but also for the soul. I know some poeple might find enough of that in growing only edibles but I also want a lot of pretty things too. I think i can squeeze them in anyway.

    I read most of Tropical Garden Plants with a view to learning the names of the plants i know and have already in the garden. It makes it easier to talk about and share what one is up to. For instance i can say today i dug up and transplanted some Raphis or Lady Palms down to the border of the rainforest patch. I want them to act as a screen. This will take some time to get it thick enough as digging the plants out is hard work. I put seven in today. These pretty palms like shade, they don't grow very tall ( https://www.google.com/images?hl=en...arch+Images&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai= ) and I've put them under the rubber tree where nothing much else that's useful will probably grow. That is only one example i can rabbit on about. I have a two page list of things i know by name now that i didn't before.

    The family went to the Mossman markets on the weekend where i found some raintree seeds. ( https://www.google.com/imgres?imgur...t:429,r:0,s:35&tx=110&ty=113&biw=1280&bih=626 )I have always loved raintrees for the hugeness and lovely domed canopy. As kids we used to climb in them at school and build cubby houses. Once when i was playing at being a monkey, i fell out of the tree and broke my wrist. Anyway yesterday i was able to pick up some seeds that were lying by the road at the markets. There are about 8-10 lining the northern of the town. The branches are covered in pencil orchids. They are such a glorious sight from beneath. Well, i am fixing to nurture these seeds into lovely little plants and stick them in the ground along hte highway where there should be plenty of room for them to grow and create a canopy. They won't disturb anyones houses or rip up the road but in many years time, they should provide drivers passing by a lot of pleasure.

    On the corner of the block i am going to plant a golden shower tree (cassia fistula) which in spring is covered in large racemes of yellow blooms. https://www.google.com/imgres?imgur...&ndsp=16&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:38&biw=1280&bih=626 The seeds have sprouted and i just have to move them to bigger pots now. We've already got one of these but its totally swallowed up by a fig tree planted not far away from it.

    I've been trying to draw up planting plans on a grid of the property so i can figure out where to put the fruit trees as a start. Its a difficult task but i've found that doing that in combo with plant research and mucking about in the garden really helps with the planning and decision process. Ideas emerge. Others you've been mulling reveal their disadvantaages when you're moveing about the garden. Some become clearer. Our block is a corner block. On the northern side along which a road runs, I want to plant all the tall fruit trees, about 11 species 10 metres apart. But they will not provide any screening from the road. There are a couple of mounds built up on either side of the driveway but the plantings have been neglected. While some things have survived, much must have died and there's been mainly long grass providing screening until now. I want to chop out this grass and I have just realised i can plant happy plants as a quick and temporary solution to the screening problem by putting them along the top of the mounds until all the other bushy things along the front side grow up, and they wont be in the way when it comes time to plant the fruit trees. https://www.google.com/imgres?imgur...&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:20&biw=1280&bih=626 We've already got lots of happy plants around the place and they could do with chopping down to enable lower tops. So I've done that to some today, chopped off the tops and put them into the top of the mounds. They are easy to propagate so I am hoping they will sprout roots right in the garden without losing their leafy tops. There's still more to do. With the other bits i will try to root and shoot them as cuttings. (Happy plants may be about one of the easiest plants to grow and their flowers smell delicious). I am very excited about this little project with the happy plants as our place looks completely wild, but not in a good way, from outside and until recently was like that on the inside too.

    The other day i went to town to buy duck food and discuss legumes at the agriculture shop. We've had a bit of rain lately and I was wondering whether I should start planting legumes now. There i met the farmer who i bought my ducks from. He's quite a sweety. He was wearing bare feet, something you don't see much these days but he's a relic, almost as old as my father and his brother gave my father his first job up here, cutting cane when my parents came up to buy a farm when I was just a toddler. Joe, the farmer, thinks it highly amusing that I am growing sugarcane. He told me his wife had recently accidentally killed one of their roosters that had got out by putting it in a feed back and leaving it there for bit too long. They had thought the bags were breathable. Poor thing suffocated. Next week i can get my chickens. Or this week rather as its monday now. (I still haven't finished the chicken pen and will probably do it when they arrive. ) Anyway as a consequence of all that I have decided to concentrate on growing lablab as my main legume. I only learned from Joe that legumes don't like acid soils and so i found a legume that doesn't mind it. Lablab seems good on other fronts too. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/field/field-crops/forage-fodder/crops/summer-legume-forage I also bought a soil testing kit. I've used it twice and both patches had a pH of 5.5.

    So, I've moved the ducks to the nursery. They tend to escape in the mornings to go and lay eggs but i am gradually filling up the gaps. Our fence is still only temporary until i am sure i know where its supposed to go. I will probably leave off digging the pond for a while but they've got enough water to bath in for the moment and because i am down there often, I am always filling it up with fresh water as they tend to empty the baths out when they get in. They started on the banana leaves so I've fenced those off until they get bigger. I had to lift up most of the seedlings as the ducks walk over anything in their path. I thought perhaps that this patch could become the winter vegetable patch, having been fertilised by the ducks all summer but it would still be nice if there was a bit of shade from the western sun. I need to plant a tamarind somewhere and put a peg in the wrong corner this morning. Only after I'd done it did i realise what a mistake it would be to have shade in the south east corner. So now i've got two problems - Where to put the tamarind tree (and the coconuts) and what to plant to provide afternoon shade for the ducks. It has to be something that can tolerate soggy ground, or i have to build a bed above ground for it, as this patch is very wet during the wet season.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    https://www.photoblog.com/shangrila/2010/07/01/#comments

    I've finally given up on a proper blog and started posting pictures to my old photoblog.

    The top paragraph is about the picture and a summary of my vegie patch to date which you could skip if you've been reading the above posts.The Second comment is some background for any readers who come to the blog from outside this forum.
    The comment is a recipe for pasta with salad.
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Oh I enjoyed reading about somebody elses doings.
    I was hoping you'd come play at Adams' Place (members systems subforum).
    Its really interesting seeing what other people are doing and what differculties they have to overcome and how they do it.
    Please reconsider.
     
  8. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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  9. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update:

    Wow today was the best $10 bucks i ever spent. The $10 was for a hen but with her came four chicks, a trailer of mill mud, seeds for cumquats and a seville orange, an armful of cuttings for pinto bean, and other asian things. Some sweet potates and a cassava plant which i only decided I would take when i remember how yummy the cassava cakes i had eaten at the markets on Sunday were. Also i got to see some exotic fruit trees in their mature state and eat a fruit i never ate before, and got the seeds from it - a star apple. I can't remember the names of the other things. I will have to look them up. Some pretty trees. One was a type of cherry that the farmer - who was showing and giving me all this bounty - said were delicious. One was lovely tree that begins with G and a german sounding name i think.

    I got home, ate a quick lunch and got to work fixing the door on the chicken pen. We haven't put the roof on yet. That's a job for tomorrow. But she won't get rained on. I've made a nest inside a laundry cupboard and mum seems to have accepted it. The kids were put to bed at about 5pm while dad and I were still working.
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    That's a chook and a half that is!
     
  11. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    https://www.photoblog.com/janec/2010/09/07/last-housebuilding-pics-for-the-mo.html

    Link to my sister's photoblog that shows pictures of the house under construction. Its her house not mine but its on this same property that i am gardening on. I will be living in it soon, well before its finished. There are some duck pictures too.

    Just click back through the blog by clicking on the top left thumbnail image to see previous entries.

    I've done a new post today too but its only pictures of books that i've liked for my gardening project. I took some shots the other day but I think the memory card is ducked cause i wasn't able to download them. I tell you what though, taking preparing pictures for blogging is a mighty time-consuming business. But it's probably worth it. I think i will avoid daily entries.
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    https://www.photoblog.com/ShangriLa/2010/09/11/

    I've put up a new post about my chickens. I've had them for two days and two nights now. So far so good.

    Update on the mandala

    Its going to take me at least a week i think to dig out and prepare all the beds. Today i completed one bed after levelling it. I added a mix of lime and dolomite before putting on two wheelbarrows of mill mud and then mulched it. I pointed out my efforts to my father who just looked quizzickly back at me. I had to point out to him that i know it doesn't look any different than before, but that i had done the work. Before i started i threw hay mulch all over the whole space to protect the soil and now the circle is covered in mulch again so it does look the same. I'ts prettier before i add the mulch. I'll show pictures some time later.

    I don't know if i've mentioned this before but i am in the process of changing my whole sleep routine to accommodate this gardening life. Now i'm trying to get up at 6 to start work. I stop at 10-11 and break until 2-3pm then back to work until near sunset. In the middle of the day i take a sleep if i can. In a month's time, i'm returning to work (Hopefully) and then may not get much time to work in the afternoon when its cooler. As it, the middle of the day is already too hot to be out working. The hard part is getting up.
     
  13. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    https://www.photoblog.com/ShangriLa/2010/09/12/

    Working on the mandala garden beds.

    PS. this thread is jumping all over the place. It doesn't seem to have moved permanently to the members forum yet. Can it be moved permanently there?
     
  14. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Doh! I just put 2 + 2 and worked out who it was that kept sending me messages on photo blog! You use a different user name. Silly me! For a moment I thought I was being stalked!!
     
  15. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    LOL. I used to have a separate name for every forum i went on. I will try to find you the link to my photoblog namesake. Hold on...
     
  16. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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  17. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I"ve been on a two day jaunt around the tablelands. What that means really is i went from Cairns to Kuranda to tolga and back home via Mareeba and Julatten. I visit a couple of friends and raided their gardens for cuttings. I came home with a carful and spent all afternoon today potting up cuttings. Then i had to extend my shadecloth because the heat is sweltering now and very hard on all the plants.

    But today I got something that i consider really special. I passed a house with a crimson frangipanni that was just coming into flower. I stopped, went back and asked the owner for cuttings. He said, yeah go for it, take what you want. Great! I even got some for the friends who've been giving me cuttings lately. I must be saving a fortune.

    I despair of my chook pen. My father's efforts on the door are completely hopeless. He clearly does not care about the chickens. I know he is capable of doing better but he doesn't seem to be bothered in this case. At some point, i am going to have to take the door off and do it again myself. At least this time I will know what i needs to be done but before I didn't have a clue about how to go about making a door. But for now, I am just trying to plug all the holes to keep out likely snake hunters and even this is taking too much time.
     
  18. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Just give it a go.
    If it falls down then it falls down.
    It probably wont and will 'do' til you can be bothered to have another go at it.
    You never learn if you dont try.
     
  19. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Yeah, I just did some fencing and somehow one post is way out of line with the rest. The perfectionist in me contemplated digging it out and resetting it. But in the end I figured that was valuable time, the fence was already functional, and within no time the grape vines will be covering all evidence of imperfection. I will probably never think about it again after that. But it really did bug me there for a while. You know how when you do some new work and you like to look at it, go out after dinner and look at it again and then check on it the first thing next morning? Once that phase is over and you move on to the next job, you usually never think about it again. ;)
     
  20. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    This is not a petty matter. Its a matter of life and death. If it was only about having a nice door or not, i wouldn't bother so much. But if the snakes can get in, they can eat my chickens. I would feel bad if a snake ate my chickens, or even one of them.
     

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