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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    Ducky observations:

    This morning I went down to see how they all are. btw I have left them in their spot by teh side of the forest. So far so good and i haven't noticed any predator birds around except hte first day. Today they were all out, snapping at green things and fluttering about. They can move damn fast those little monkeys. Mum had had a bath. I left the bathing bowl out for her last night. She hasn't had a bath since the babies were born. Several times a day i go and change the drinking water. And i give them all some fresh crumbles for the ducklings and pellets for mum. They all seem to know how to eat and what to eat by instinct. perhaps they can smell it.

    Then i saw Bertie and two of the girls heading down towards this area and I decided to introduce them all to the ducklings. Not a great idea actually. Best to leave creatures to their own devices when it comes to newborns. I know that now. Anyway Bertie didn't even look at hte ducklings. He immediately made chase after Maude for a route. I guess he was asserting ownership rights. He hasn't seen her for a while and might even have thought that she'd ran off with someone else. Anyhow. The little ones ran back and hid in the nest. The other two girls didn't notice the ducklings either and i just shooed them away and waited for mum to come back. I still wasn't able to catch a little one without being too pushy about it.

    One other thing i noticed. Ducks really do have quite good memories and seem to feel things. I've noticed this a couple of times. This morning it was about old eggs. yesterday I took out all the unhatched eggs from Maude's nest. I thought it seemd they weren't going to hatch since she wasn't being dilligent about sitting on them and they were just in the way. For some reason, i put them on the ground near hte duck yard and this morning Bertie and the girls found them and showed quite a bit of interest in them. So i picked them up. I don't know how traumatic that was but its like how they were keen to go back to their old pen after i'd taken them and put them in teh duck yard. I am sure too that if i took them back to the farm, they'd be thrilled to rediscover it and any of their old brothers and sisters if they were still about.

    So that's it for the ducks.

    Yesterday I did the following.

    I planted 7 comfrey and watered them all in well as a barrier plant on the outskirts of the vegie bed. I kept one out to grow in a pot for future plants.

    I put the vanilla next to a tree in the vegie patch> I will have to cut the top of the tree off sometime but for now, its providing shade. It was great to see the one that helga had. I have read though that I am going to have to hand pollinate the flowers which is a good reason for not letting it grow up a tree.

    I planted 3 passionfruits in the vegie patch. Did i mention that on my drive up to Julatten i passed a passioinfruit farm. They were growing on a sort of grid of wires, not a trellis. I thought this might be a good idea to incorporate into the vegie patch for some shade, especially during the hot dry season at this time of the year. I haven't got the full amount of wires but the posts are in place and some wires.

    I put marker posts in the ground where some fruit trees are going to go. I’ve changed the planting plan. and figured out where the second winter vegie mandala will go. I did that in the scorching hot sun, sweat pouring off me.

    I unloaded the trailer of mill mud. not quite finished. And i remembered that the chickens need to eat all the maggots before i can plant the paw paw seedlings. The chickens would only dig them up and mince them with their feet.

    I staked the tomatoes. I had put stakes in the ground off the first tomato bed and all thsoe have since died to bacteria wilt but now the onesn in the other bed need staking so i had to do that. I used my sister's old bikinis to tie them up. Oddly she told me that old swimmers are good for tying plants to stakes. (oh that's one for the recycling thread.)

    One disappointing thing i noted is that i won't be able to plant six trees in the vegie mandala but only five as i put the entrance in teh wrong place. In the second vegie manadala i will only be able to plant 4 as there is already a big mango there and an oil palm, neither of which an be moved. I am having to squeeze in this mandala and work around what's already tehre including several large logs and a poinsianna tree. Down the track i might want to chop down the poinsianna because of the roots. It would be a shame though because its one of the best ones we've got.

    About this vegie mandala. I am glad i've pegged it out because now i can get onto improving the soil. It needs it. This area was where i began my first vegie bed this year and it wasn't particularly productive. I got a few things but there was a bit of stunting. So now the plan is to throw everything at it. Lots of sheet composting is what i am to do. And if i can get a load of mill mud for it, I will do that too because that mill mud is damned excellent. I will fence it off at some point and keep the ducks and chickens in there for a while to poo as much as possible. With the wet season about on us, I don't know how much of what i do will be retained in the soil. that's the only concern so I will mature some horse manure in a separate spot and put down just before planting. I'll put some fresh manure on to help with the composting process. Manure seems to be the best things for getting things going. I will, however, plant all the trees as soon as I can.

    Helga told me to plant all the fruit trees iwth mill mud. I might have mentioned that already.

    Oh and the rain has finally arrived. Its quite light at present but I am sure it will only get heavier. I am glad the rain is here for so many reasons.
    1. it cools everything down
    2. it means i can start pulling out the long grass again because it loosens the soil
    3. I don't have to water anything by hand
    4. Everything grows beautifully
    5. The grass comes back to life.
    6. I can get the lablab going and be sure it won't die
    7. The peanuts can take off finally.
    8. The waterlillies will love it and so will the ducks. I better go and see how the ducklings are enjoying their first shower of rain....:)
     
  2. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Yesterday:

    oh and about pictures... It looks like my two memory cards are corrupted so I won't be posting any more pictures until i buy a new one.

    Yesterday I went to Joe's farm to get another load of mill mud - this one for the fruit trees i am about to plant. We sat around in his kitchen drinking tea for a bit. He has lovely interesting old fashioned furniture and his kitchen is bright yellow and red. Can you imagine. I do love these old houses in north queensland. He told me its the same as when his mother owned the house. The kitchen that is. The lounge had a lot of bright green soft curtains and cushions. The colour his wife liked. So we talked a bit about artistic flair in his family. There seems to be a bit. There was a good picture of canna lillies on the wall done by his daughter who's never had any training. She painted it on paper and a local gallery owner pieced it altogether and they got it framed. It looked good.

    Back to the garden. It was good Joe was there so that i didn't have to load the trailer with my shovel like last time. I had not expected him to be there, thinking he'd be out amongst the cane.

    So we talked about custard apples and he had a couple of ripes ones in the fridge. He gave me things from his fridge and garden to eat - some passionfruits, native yams, a very pretty spiky cucumber.

    From his garden i asked for some caladiums as I had admired them a lot last time. He calls them flowers and says he doesn't grow flowers. He's got no interest in them. They are his wife's thing. Anyway i got a couple of different sorts now. He gave me some variety of custard apple plant in a pot. I am a bit afraid to plant it in case its not something i want but i had better do it justice. He also dug up some grumichama seedlings as I told him that my seeds hadn't germinated yet. He was impressed that my malay apples had germinated though. to make room for all these strange and wonderful fruit trees, the only solution i can see is to bring down the damned golden cane palms. It must be a bit heartbreaking for dad to see his plants come out though he does admit that many do need to come out. I think his garden has done well for 20 years but its not very productive and many of the plants - not the canes - have not grown into good specimens. And there is a ton of grass of course.

    Ducks - this morning i lost patience with the last duck sitting on her nest of one egg. She was off it having breakfast and so i took out her egg and am going to try to get her back into real life. She's been there for a long time. I think she was the first duck to disappear.

    Joe told me that the next batch of chickens should hatch in about a week's time though he is a little doubtful that they will hatch. At some point it looked like something may have upset the hen.

    It didn't rain last night to my surprise and slight disappointment. The sky is clear today too.

    House news:
    Yesterday I had a chat with an architect friend and also a couple of exchanges with council. The council told me that i can build a second home on our place if i call it a granny flat and to do that one only needs to build one less facility into the house ie a laundry. So that's easily doable. But also i am probably not going to have a toilet. I don't want a septic in or near the forest. I could only have a brief chat with my architect friend about my house. I told him my design ideas - he said cement roofs are expensive as you have to build a whole wooden floor first. Yes i can see that but i thought maybe i could do that part myself, thereby saving a huge cost. And i also wondered if plywood would be the go for the form sheeting there. Maybe i can get my architect to be my unofficial project manager. It would good if he would do it officially as he's retired and i wouldn't have to do courses and jump thorugh all sorts of other council hoops. He said to get have the designs engineered which sounds like a good idea. I wouldnt' want a cement roof falling on my head. He will probably know who i can get to draw up my designs and which engineer to submit to as well.
     
  3. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Todays labour:

    Completely contrary to this mornings stated goals, i planted the front boundary up with 30 hibiscus - two to a whole. I planted them three holes white (leaf not flowers) and then one red. But I am anxious that they won't grow fast enough or thick enough to provide adequate screening. Its mostly a problem if i start building down there. I don't want passing traffic and school children who catch the bus there to be able to see in as they currenlty can. I also planted two raintrees. And as backup for the hibiscus one varigated cassava. I know they grow fast. I am not sure how they will go with a bit of shade though. All this lot will get the morning sun. By midday they will all be in the shade though. This will probably mean fewer flowers but its mostly for the foliage that i wanted these plants. I like the white shrub against the backdrop of green trees. I will need to plant more varigated cassava or something else that grows fast and bushy and preferably in the shade - perhaps happy plants would be the go. Anyway that task, watering the vegie garden and potplants and feeding the fowl took all afternooon. Its good that i have shady patches that i can work in when the sun is overhead. Its still quite cool down in the forest, or anywhere there is shade actually which is a blessing.

    I was reading up about growign oranges this morning. I have made a mistake. I've got a washington naval it says these are not suited to lowland tropical areas. Either i give it to a friend or just muddle on with it and see what happens. I love eating oranges so i am very disappointed with this. It said they are actually a subtropical fruit. Its hard to find a good eating orange that is not this. It seems like all the other citrus are fine here.

    Yesterday i planted a mandarine as well. At least they will grow well here. I ran out of steam for more fruit tree planting today. More tomorrow perhaps.

    Last night had dinner with the architect. He said my house is too expensive. He said it would need a lot of engineering. I haven't even shown him the design. I just told him some of its facets and features. There is bound to be an affordable way. But perhaps for this next year i need to concentrate on learning how to work with concrete and building my unapproved forest bedroom.

    People came and put glass in some panes of my sister's house. I feel evil towards it. I hope when the cyclone comes, a branch will fly out to break it. Then i will tell them they should get lourvesmade up for this spot. I am sure the house will actually need the fans now because of these panes of glass. Last night was hot and I was tempted to get up and turn on my little fan but instead I just opened the louvres that are behind me. Made all the difference. But its true we haven't as yet had a real stinker of a day yet but then on such a day say 39 degrees up here, i am sure only airconditioning or sitting in a creek would be comfortable.
     
  4. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    UPdate: I"m so exhausted after today's planting efforts. Two of the fruit trees i tried to plant were in large tubs and weigh a ton. I hope they will come good. They've had a fairly rough life so far. They are a lime and a grapefruit. There's also a lemonade tree. In about June or July we were chopping off half of the poinsiana that was shading the solar hot water system. It fell off early and landed on two of the fruit trees that hadn't been moved. They were split down the middle. Amazingly they did not die. I was about to plant hte grapefruit this afternoon and realised that there was a plastic tub wedged in amongst all the dirt and roots. I think it had been put there to stop the tap root from emerging from the pot.

    I've decided that if there's too much shade in the way of my fruit trees, i will chop whatever it is that's causing the shade rather than let my fruit trees die. Dad has lost good things in the past. I think its not worth it.

    There's a patch on one of the top corners which is quite nice from the roadside. Its a bit wild wtih big trees, a few natives and provides good screening. However there are three or even four very unruly beach almonds and i've decided to chop them down, or chop them right back so only the upward branches can continue. In this corner, I want to make it more rainforesty and priorities spice trees if possible - such as cinnamon and nutmeg perhaps. I think i can also grow several vanilla plants on one remnant beach almond and i think that would look fabulous. Think of it as one large multipronged post.

    I"ve realised the mill mud i've been using is still pretty warm/hot. I hope it won't kill anything. I've started wrapping the plants in their own soil before continuing to back fill with the mill mud now.

    Today I did a bit of pest control as well. I made up some white oil and tried to spray all the citrus for leaf miner. i am not sure if i am meant to spray the trunks. I also sprayed the beans and pumpkins iwth milk spray. the beans have a white stuff on the leavse that looks like the fungus you get on pumpkins. Lots of my little pumpkins seem to be dying. I am not sure why. I've been hand pollinating.
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update: duck yard extension

    I've started writing up a list of jobs to do on my goal website and today i ignored almost the entire list and went and dealt with the duck yard instead. Actually i had the goal, fix the fence by which i meant secure the spot where everyone was getting out and running off into the bush to lay their eggs. Instead of doing that, i did what i have been planning to do for a while which was to tear down the shade cloth and extend the area of the duck yard somewhat. Its now about a third bigger. Its quite large. About 20 metres by 13 metres all up though some of htat is still fenced off bananas and some is the dinghy garden and some is the cuttings bench. However, its large and the new extension is all shade so that will be good come next hot season and when i want to keep the ducks in during the mornings till they've laid. The fence itself is only temporary. I just pegged up the shadecloth to the trees and then used some mesh to connect up with the other mesh side of the yard. I like it.

    I was going to build a big pond down here now i've decided against that. I will just make them a little one and build hte big duck pond elsewhere in teh garden where we can enjoy seeing them and where they will be encouraged to poo in the garden. Unlike chicken poo, duck poo is hard to collect especialy over a large area. At the moment i am now keeping hte ducks back in with the chickens at night. I think they like the security of feeling walled in too. But in there i put sawdust on the ground and its easy to collect up the duck poo and then i can add that to the compost.

    not quite finished but i've just remember i need to lock the door on them.

    ... back... Its raining a lot today so that's a good excuse to come inside. I got cold out in the rain but also i felt like a break from the heavy task of digging holes and planting things, so i've been reading a book called Dry Gardening Australia by Jonathon Garner. Its good in some respects but he assumes that one has plenty of money to spend or that one's jobs are small and so won't cost too much to do. But never mind. So far its helpful and interesting.
     
  6. ebunny

    ebunny Junior Member

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    Ha Ha. Sun Burn - your duck yard is larger than my garden!!:p
     
  7. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    That bears thinking about too.
     
  8. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update:

    When you are tired after a hard day in the garden, its tempting to eat out, isn't it. I wish i had a wife to cook me dinner from garden. This morning i made an omelette of duck eggs and put in it, kangkong, ceylon spinach and chopped up okra. It wasn't that great because I got distracted by feeding the jakfruit seeds to the ducks and chickens which i was trying to do whilst cooking my omelette. I did add ginger and garlic. Still i needed some vitamins and it was good to eat something from my garden. I need not to be exhausted nor distracted to do a good job of cooking.

    I worked damned hard today. One can achieve more in this cool overcast rainy weather too. It rained lightly this morning but not enough to stop me. Here's what i got done - in addition to the usual of feeding every body and my vegie patch round during which i killed at least 10 grasshoppers and two caterpillars.

    Planted 7 boundary shrubs in proper holes - and realised that i had made a mistake of leaving too much room between the pineapples and the shrubs so closed the gap form 2m to 1 m today. Now i have finally reached the end of the back road side of the block. I've turned a corner and that's going to be exciting because I am going to change my planting design from two green/yellow acalypha then three red ones to three green/yellow ones then two red ones of all different sorts. I've got quite a few varieties down at the cuttings bench.

    Planted out 10-11 new pineapples between the first batch which had been a metre apart. I hadn't noted on my information site that she'd said to plant them a foot apart for a hedge. I went on the size of them. This time, i didn't dig big holes. I just made a little one for easy route penetration, back filled and sat the pine on top then filled it around with mill mud a bit because they seem to like that. The first lot are about a foot high already.

    Planted 4 varigated cassava on the corner of the block. I actually want to grow red exora here but my cuttings haven't taken and as these cassava are pretty and grow easily and very fast, i thought they'd work well as a temporary filler. Whatever goes in there i want it to be a flowering shrub. I thought today that i could transplant our current pink exora as they will have to be moved at some point anyway to let the pool in but i had been intending on red for this corner because I was so taken by some scarlet exoras i'd seen this year.

    I finished putting two of Dad's extra large and heavy citrus in the ground. The grapefruit needed to have a tree especially cut down to let the western sun in. I did that with an axe and halfway through realised it could fall on the power lines. So i got dad to instruct me to get it to fall in the right spot. Then it nearly broke a lovely tree that i can't think what's name it is. But that was fine. It fell in the end between two lovely close-together trees. Almost literally a close shave. I will have to remove it later though. For mulch i used one of my composted palm frond piles and it looked pretty good inside. The other tree was the lemonade tree. I put that in the mandala garden. I noticed its not going to get much western sun either so i might have to chop down some miscellaneous thing growing in the sun's path. I am glad there are only three of those big buggers to plant because its backbreaking.

    I experimented with feeding the ducks and chickens jakfruit seeds.
    Went and asked for more jakfruit from my neighbour because its so delicious. I took some eggs over but as i was preparing them, dad said that B, another neighbour takes him eggs. I offered him plants. He didn't want anything. He is happy that someone wants them. I think i am so passionate about this fruit that i will have to have more than one tree. If anyone in the subtropics or tropics wants some seed, i am happy to post you some if you want to have a go and you are reading this around the time of writing. They don't necessarily grow true to seed but I think its worth a try.

    It helps that i didn't have to water anything today which reminds me, i have forgotten to water the boundary plants and pineapples i just planted. I have to do it by bucket. On the other hand, it might rain tonight so I will do it tomorrow if it doesn't rain.

    Down in the vegie patch, the sunflowers are flowered. I wish i had planted a lot more. They are so pretty. Next year i will plant them really thickly. I think there's not much point doing them now as the rain will pelt them. Perhaps.
     
  9. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    UPdate: Vegie Mandala #2

    Today, without any planning whatsoever, i found myself starting preparation of the soil for this garden. I am going to sheet compost it since its apparently ok to do that here in the tropics since it all breaks down so fast. As usual i didn't think it through properly before i began and so i've just scattered things everywhere but i think from now i on i had better try to do it patch by patch until the whole site is covered.

    Today I got four barrow loads of hydroponics lettuces from my neighbour and invited the chooks in to have a chew on them. I think they found better grub over in the extension to the duck yard as they didn't hang about for long with the lettuces, though i know there are quite a few caterpillars in amongst all the frilly leaves. But i am sure they will be back for more. This afternoon I saw the ducks were there.

    I've also got palm fronds and leaves to go on.

    I don't know whether to put what i collect from the chook house on now or let it age somewhere else so it doesn't get leached away with the rain. It's mixed up with hay. Also i think i should leave any horse manure til later also. Get some and age it separately rather than let all the goodness get washed way with the rain or chewed up from below by various tree roots.

    I also think that at some point, i might try covering as much of it as possible so it can cook better. I will have to wait till i've finished using the plastic on the long grass at the top of the block though. And wait till i've got plenty of stuff on it.

    Other things...

    I needed a break from digging holes and planting today. I started out by doing cyclone preparation and then mulched the fruit trees. It was this that led me onto the mandala project.

    A friend dropped in today and brought me seeds for coffee, soursop and cape gooseberry - the latter are surprisingly yummy i thought when i tried them a while ago. We compared notes on our amaranth. She said hers looks fantastic while mine looks more like a crotcheted doily - white and lacy from insect attack. That's what happens when it rains here although its been getting chewed for a while. I shall try agian with it at some point but perhaps now is not the right time. The okra is almost decimated. I think i will leave the fruit on them to dry off and make me some seeds rather than try to eat any more.

    My father is impressed with the clarity of the lilly pond. they are obviously doing a good job.

    Did i mention the sunflowers are blooming now. Next year i want to plant them a lot more thickly.

    The duck family went out for quite a distance this afternoon. Somehow they got into the duck yard into the new extension, about 30 metres from the nest. Later i went down and the little ones were on side of the fence and the mother duck on the other. I had to go and open a space in the fence to let her get through. They were all having a bit of a panic when i got down there. I am sure not to be thanked for it though.

    We had a huge lot of rain last night. No idea how much but it was a lot. So i didn't have to worry about watering yesterday's plantings today. That's got to be a permaculture sort of moment or principle. Perfect timing to save labour.

    I am sort of hoping i won't need to use mill mud on it as i don't want to have to depend on it in case there is none left.
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Update: a planting day

    A big day in the garden today. 2 fruit trees, 8 boundary shrubs, 11 pineapples. It was a lot more work than it sounds but i will leave the details except to say that for one of the trees i got out the axe and had a go at several overhanging branches. I wish the chainsaw operator was better but I can't wait till that happens so I had to make do with the axe. One branch was as big as a tree trunk - about 12 inches across. I couldn't afford to leave it because it will only come down on top of the breadfruit tree were I to wait for the chainsaw man to do it. More will have to be done at some point though. I am trying to resuscitate the bush lemon we rediscovered yesterday too so a branch came off from the neighbouring umbrella. There will have to be one or two more beach almond branches come down to really free it up. I am starting to get callouses on my hands, despite gloves. My feet are a mess.

    The other fruit tree to go in was the avocardo. I was surprised to read on the label that it is a sub-tropical tree and not a tropical tree. I wonder if that's correct. Anyhow, i planted it where i had put the plastic to kill off the grass and noted that that tactic had worked well. The nearby citrus can come out down the track. Dad said it had reverted to the root stock. I think i want to put one of the mulberries there instead. They are not ready to be planted yet though.

    I almost got to the lablab today. I wanted to but other things seemed more pressing. I did phone up the shop where i bought it from and got the advice that i only have to mix up a little bit in water and coat the seeds in it. Seems easy. He was surprised by the instructions on the pack too. Maybe tomorrow i can plant some.

    I also planted in pots the seeds i got yesterday for soursop, coffee and gooseberry.

    I put out some parsely seedlings that have been waiting for this for a long time now. They've been neglected but i do like parsley so i hope it goes. I planted it in shady spots.

    I also planted out some sage seedlings. Thinned the marigolds and put those in the dinghy.

    I shoved a few little paw paw seedlings in the hugelkulture bed too. I am not so happy with the seedlings. They had to wait too long. So I don't know how they will go.

    It was lovely to see all the ducklings together in the new drink/bath water dish - a large lid from a worm farm. ITs still only 2 inches deep so a good safe item for them.
     
  11. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    How does your sage do up there? Mine just dies and I think it's because it's too warm and humid and I'm WELL south of you. Maybe I should try again because I do like cooking with it...
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Its probably a bit early to say eco. I sowed the seed ages ago and managed to put a few in little pots. They grew to about 6cm and stayed at that height. I watered them daily and had them in the shade in the vegie patch. Now i've just put them in the garden under a shady tree. Up here I think a bit of shade is important for herbs if they are to have any chance. I will keep experimenting with this idea that i picked up from other more experienced gardeners. However, when it really starts raining day after day i think they will probably succumb. The funny thing is i don't cook iwth sage much at all. But i like to grow anything and everything at this point. And maybe if it is does hold on, i will use it more often.

    All the herbs we've had in pots before have died. They were in the sun and/ or rain. Basil and mint are the exceptions though i just lost our mint which was huge. Not sure what happened there.

    I've got this shady tree in one of my mandala beds. I intend to chop it down at some point but i thought i'd keep it this year and see what happens. I haven't planted it up properly as yet and probably won't get around to it either. There are a lot of roots in there too. I've got one coriander that is doing well, a couple of capsicums that seem ok, some lettuces that seem to be just holding on, and i've just the put the parsley in. It looks brighter this afternoon than this morning. Its quite well mulched and has a layer of mill mud (not thick) and a layer of half decomposed compost. I've also put my vanilla plant at the base of it but dad said it would need more sun. I put it there for when i chop it down and might just have ot thin out the branches a bit.
     
  13. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    update: mulch for the chickens, more cuttings,

    I spent most of today in town, so no hard work. I bought a bale of mulch hay for only $6 and had pleasure in giving that to the poor deprived chickens tonight. The hen has been laying every day but the ducks are still a problem. I think only one is laying but she prefers to lay outside and at this point, i don't want to keep them locked up inside all morning. I will work this out in the long run. Its probably not hard to sort out but i haven't yet put my mind to it.

    I got some more cuttings for boundaries today - varigated cassava, a bit of red exora and hope this lot works, snowflake hibiscus, more acalyphas but the shop was out of potting mix so... The great thing is i can put the cassava straight in the ground. This stuff grows so fast that i might put it around wherever i think the boundary plants are going to be slow growing. I think might have to thicken up my boundary wtih another row too. I might put in some crotons - sometimes they get quite big. Back grow will be auralia and now i've decided to put of them in too. Dad was worrying yesterday that with chopping down the long grass and wanting to take out the dodgy citrus tree that my sister won't have enough screening from the road which is nearby. I don't want to put anythign really big in because i am trying to preserve a view of the hills at the back - which at present is very available anyway. I am sure all this will work out well though and they are not moving back for a couple more years so there's no need to panic.

    This morning i rearranged my cuttings bench. Put all the sorts together so that are easier to find and watch.

    The doctor tells me to use a urea cream for my hands and feet. She's not convinced that the pumice stone is a great idea. I"ve used this stuff before but you have to be diligent which i find hard. I think this is a side effect of having hypothryoidism - dry skin is a side effect. I noticed that my farmer friend who wears bear feet all the time has nice clean unproblematic feet - no cracks and he's over 70. The cream i got today is 26% so toes crossed it works.

    My farmer phoned yesterday to tell me that only 2 eggs hatched from the recent batch of chickens. So i decided not to take them. I think it will be too much extra work for only 2 chicks. I said i could take them with the next batch if he likes. We think something may have frightened the hen off her eggs for a little while and only two survived her absence. There were original 10 eggs.
     
  14. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Tropical Agriculture link excellent & Lablab planting begins

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_agriculture

    I like this link from wiki. I like the treadle pump idea and the list of tropical crops to grow. I should look back at it again down the track.

    Yesterday i started planting the lablab. Not a lot. I will try to do at least 100 seeds a day. I think my bag contains a mixture of vine (black seed) and bush (brown seed). I limed the soil hoping it will help improve the growth of the plants a bit. I'm just waiting for it to rain properly again and soak the soil.

    I planted several small patches. Around the avocdardo tree, around the orange tree, near the peanuts and in the paw paw bed. I'd better get on with it though if i don't want to waste my $60.

    I did a lot else yesterday but nothing particularly new in the garden. The weather was good for it but today its a bit warm and sweaty.

    I've started on eating another jakfruit. This one is enormous. I've filled a large mixing bowl with fruit though 3/4 of it will be seeds in the end.

    House design:

    I've come up with a new approach since the architect told me that the other one would be very expensive in engineering costs. This one is all on the ground but i hope to have at least one roof area strong enough to go up on at a later date. Basically what i'm doing is designing the shape of each room to fit in a space between the existing trees and this will make each room shaped not square - i want to avoid square rooms. I will have them straight sided though. These rooms will connect with each other and because i am following certain parts of the forest, starting with a sunlight spot near the vegetable patch, it is all going in a sort of bend or arc. I've got it in a bendy line starting outdoor dining, kitchen, pantry, indoor dining, lounge/office, bathroom, dressing room, bedroom, tv room. I think i will avoid having a solid wall even on the road side. I figure if i can make the plantings dense enough I won't need it from the point of view of privacy and if i do need it for noise control, i might do it later. I will have two rooms that need solid walls - a pantry and a dressing room. The roof is still the hardest part. I still would prefer a flat roof that at the least can be walked on. A house should be a lot cheaper if no walls are needed and also if the roof of most of it does not have to support a great weight of another floor. This house should collect a great deal of rainwater. It could water the whole of my forest area through the dry season and keep it lush which it is not at the moment. At the moment the forest consists of rainforest trees mostly and only long grass and saplings for undergrowth. I intend to plant it up properly with any edible forest plants and ornamentals.

    I designed a wall to screen my fathers fairly unattractive shed which is located between the vegetable garden and duck yard. It won't block the breeze. It has a cement footing and a cement bar across the top. Cemented in between are sticks ( I read to use saplings) about 2 inches diametre and spaced say abut 6-8 inches apart. I want to keep as much airflow going as possible but just cut across the sight. I should be able to grow these saplings from some sort of coppiced tree i think.

    IN the house that idea could be used or bamboo woven wall screens/panels, or a home made type of cement breezeblock. I am not sure which i am going to use yet. Maybe a combination but i have to avoid a mishmash of all of them.

    The idea of using sticks like this screen is something i saw in a village house in West Bengal earlier this year but actually I got the idea to do it from looking in a book last night called Hot Houses. I loved it when i saw it in the house though. It is mainly used as a security measure. The houses there do not have glass windows. They generally had wooden shutters to keep out the cold.

    There are so many brilliant and beautiful ideas out there.
     
  15. JoH

    JoH Junior Member

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    I love to hear your ideas. You have such an innovative vision - maybe you could go on the "Grand Designs Australia" show and educate people on lots of different aspects designing with nature. I spent 3 months in a house in Kolkata with that style of window shutter. It worked really well - just a bit dark inside if they needed to be closed. (If I am thinking of the same as you are describing). The shutters kept out the cold (and noise!) and thre were ornamental security bars with no glass and no mozzie mesh.
     
  16. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Duckling, House Design and other notes.

    Thanks Joh. I don't think i am the right sort of person for that sort of show. I think for me its better to document my ideas and progress and if it all comes off well then share it more widely.

    For my ideas, i try to look about a lot - books particularly help. I don't absorb as much as I could because i flip through things but it all adds up to keeping things jumping.

    Updates:

    Duckling - the little one which i've name Lucy has an eye problem. I am going to try to treat it with saline solution. It will be the first time I will try to pick one of them up and I am not looking forward to the stoush with mother duck.

    Citrus - some bugs have been attacking the growth tips of my orange tree. I think i should wrap it as once before I lost a lot of red cedars to tip moth. Though this is not tip moth but it does not bode well.

    Planting legume seed sucks.

    The last two days the flying foxes took our first ever soursop. It was a big one too. Yesterday i noticed it was half gone and last night they took the rest. I need to protect the rest really.

    I ate too much jakfruit yesterday and thought i was going to be sick this morning. Twice but i got up and the mouth watering sensation that comes before vomiting went away. I will have to be less of a gutz about that fruit. Yesterday i said to dad that jakfruit would be good for the israeli army diet. Eat nothign but jakfruit for days, and for the next two days eat only jakfruit, continue with the same program for two days after that and finally fish off with two days of nothing but jakfruit. I think i could do that diet quite well. (I did this diet when i was a teenager - it was 2 days apples, 2 days cheese, 2 days somethign else and 2 days something else).

    House - yesterday I went down in the forest to measure up some rooms. Its very helpful way of designing this place. I will show it to my architect friend before I do too much work in case there are any major objections i need to consider. But i'm having a lot of ideas and things to explore further.

    Roof - polycarbonate? I hope this is not really expensive but i expect it is. It would make a good roof material because it will let in maximum light which i need because of all the shade form the trees. Maybe there are cheaper but similar options. I've emailed to get an idea of expense.

    I still want to keep one concrete slab roof.

    I've chosen a lovely spot for the bedroom. Although this house wont' get a view of the sea, from my bedroom i can see the hills in the west. There's a wattle in the way but that will come down at some point. This room is going to be kept separate from the rest of the house. I am not sure why i need to do that really.

    I seem to be designing all the main part to go in the darker area of the forest and the bed to go in the lighter area. I guess the advantage of this is that the darker area will be cooler - more protection from the sun.

    Collecting runoff - At the bottom of the block is a big hole in the ground before the water that runs off ours and a neighbouring block runs under the road. I am thinking of cementing this and daming it to use mainly on the plants during the dry season. I wonder though if this water is clean enough for drinking. It would be somewhat like creek water and I nearly always drink creek water. I should enlarge this hole if i am going to do this because massive amounts of water come this way. This could have a huge impact on the amount of water that needs to be pumped from the bore but only if i could make a big enough dam. Its important that i do something like this because with all that i am planting our water needs here are going to escalate enormously despite all precautions taken to make better water holding capacity in the ground.
     
  17. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Curramore, Blackall Range, S E Queensland, Aust.
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    Sub-tropical to temperate 2000mm rain, elevated 350-475m
    5 years ago I put my sage in old three bay concrete laundry tubs with 20mm or so coarse gravel 15cm deep, then local red volcanic soil mixed with some rotted sheep manure and a dash of blood and bone about 30cm deep. I planted the sage as seedlings into this , (but suspect that the current plants are a generation or two on from the first), and mulched the top with 10cm rotting lucerne mulch. Seasonal( 4 times a year) top up around plants with sheep manure composted 5-10cm. Trim off the little purple flowers on some plants now and prune a bit to encourage new growth. The tubs sit elevated on a besser block at each end and they face the NE with plants behind to the west as a sun and windbreak. They grow under the eaves of a large macadamia which, in mid summer shades the herb beds from noon onwards. The only downside is that because of the good drainage they need watering every second to third day here in high summer if it doesn't rain. The herb that I have troubles with is thyme, but I suspect my rainfall is too high for it. Curly leaf parsley, celery, fennel, dill, mint, basil and oregano all go gangbusters here. My galagal and normal gingers and turmeric have just sprouted from their corms this week. Horse radish kept in pots grows just like a weed, I'm not game to let it out. I think from my experiences sage may like very good drainage and maybe not too much direct light and heat in the middle of a summers day.
     
  18. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    lablab headache

    Boy those are some pampered plants curramore.

    Update:

    I bit off more than i can chew with this lablab and i have hardly even started. But somehow i must continue and try to get as much of it growing as possible without killing myself or getting too depressed.

    Earlier plantings have already begun germinating. What i left in the pot yesterday with some mill mud germinated overnight. I thought they were going to take 10-14 days to germinate. Oh well this is good i suppose.

    I've made planting this seed the first job to be done each day because otherwise i won't do it and i will feel guilty and bad.

    I mixed up some with the innoculant today. I am trying to figure out other ways to make hte planting eassier though i am not sure if what i am thinking of is smart of stupid. But anyway i am doing whatever i can to get it growing little by little.

    So today i put in a batch here and a batch there and then another batch somewhere else and then decided to try to start batch nurseries nearish to where i will put it in the ground later. This is because i tire of planting seeds after only putting in a few. I don't know if its becuase its hot or if its because i have to bend over to do it. Anyway my first big batch nursery is in a barrow full of mill mud that i tipped onto some shadecloth. I did that to stop it going into the ground where i am likely to damage the roots when pulling it up. I thought i can germinate it from here and plant the seedlings out. And each day put in some more seed in the mud. I wonder though whether doing this will mean that the bacteria will breed in the mud and i can save my innoculant. I am a bit concerned that i will run out of innoculant before i am run out of seed because of the way i am working. [i will ask this on the innoculant thread where someone might be likely to respond]

    Also i decided the way to plant the seed (or even perhaps the seedlings) is to use a garden fork and just make holes to put in the seed rather than doing the whole cultivating thing.

    I also though that if the ducks like the young plants i can make little patch of uninnoculated seed for them. I mean i don't need the whole bag to grow over the block but it would be good to use them and not waste them so if the ducks or chooks like the young plants that's a good idea. I can fence off a couple of areas to get them started and then let it grow. I don't think the birds are likely to eat it when its older. I know its a fodder crop but i've not seen it mentioned as fodder for poultry.
     
  19. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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  20. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Feeling happy cause a couple of things are resolving...and a recipe for okra

    First, my memory cards aren't corrupted. I don't know what went wrong with them but i've bought a card reader and i'm downloading the images as i type. Some of them are important snaps from my india trip. Anyway this means that soon i will be putting up more garden shots and I didn't have to lay out $80 or more for a new card. The memory card reader only cost $40. (if you've got a dslr or not even, these things are a good idea. Apparenlty they are the safest way to download your pictures and they can take all sorts of cards. A very simple gadget that doesn't cost much.)

    Second, I'm starting to relax about the lablab plantings. The little seedlings are growing well and my nursery beds are full of little leafy things. Today i put quite a lot in in a few places around the joint. I even put a few in my vegie mandala and will put in more. I also planted some seeds but i do prefer planting the seedlings. I am not sure yet if I damage them when doing this but we'll see in a day or two. The heavy rain we've been having is making this all go much better.

    Other updates:

    My first section of shrubs is looking fantastic now. Very healthy and growing fast. I am anxious to see signs on the others that they are settling in. I wonder if its the seaweed or if its just all the other factors that have made them grow so well. Anyway i want to get more seaweed for all the other shrubs. That said the vinca have something wrong with the leaves. They are all scrunchy. I wonder if its ants? I could check that easily i guess by pulling on up. I do like this idea of having all these layers of things growing close together.

    Vegie patch: i don't know if i mentioned the other day that I picked hte first new guinea bean and dad cooked it for dinner in a casserole with turkey which was pretty good. I forgot to suggest putting in the remaining yam as well though. Oh well next time perhaps.

    I came upon a recipe for okra in a cookbook yesterday. I think there was meat in it too but leaving out the meat it goes like this - sprinkle the okra with vinegar and leave for 10 minutes. Saute some garlic and onions and then add in tomato puree and the okra and cook for 30 minutes. hmmm not sure if that's all there is to it now. It might be nice to put in some potatoes or another vegie. Anyway it should be good enough for me.


    Here's a list of what i've got in the vegie mandala at hte moment including non edibles: Jap pumpkin ( i think htere's about 10 on hte vine at the moment), sweet potato going wild, comfrey, about five blooming sunflowers, about 5 peanuts, 6 rosella bushes struggling along but with fruit on them, okra with fruit on but being chewed quite badly by grasshoppers, thai pink egg tomatoes iwth fruit on them but struggling iwth the bacteria wilt, capsicums now growing well, basil going mad, thai basil also going well, taro, eshallots holding on, a bed of marigolds, kangkong starting to invade the pond, waterlillies, vietnamese mint, amaranth on its last legs, new guinea bean doing well, 2 yam creepers just getting going, the sage is doing fine, 1 healthy coriander plant growing in the shade, a few lettuces that aren't doing much, 1-2 kale that are just getting going, a bit of lemongrass that after a shaky start because i split up the plant too much is now doing fine, sugarcane which is not doing anything and probably needs some mill mud. Its never had any special treatment so that's probably the problem. I think that's all at the moment.

    Elsewhere i've got one watermelon on the watermelon vine which is not enough to grow the wine i was talking about. I guess I will have to plant some more vines at some point and prepare a good bed for it.

    In the mandala garden the only fruit tree i've planted at this point is the lemonade tree which seems to be doing fine. I've decided against planting in one spot becuase i want to keep the lane open to vision. I haven't planted out the second mangosteen yet but its got healthy new growth on the tip, unlike the one i planted out. I think the mill mud might have been a bit of a shock for some things. It was still warm so this might have upset them. The grasshoppers attacked the growing tips of my navel orange also. I am not sure what i should do to help it.

    Yesterday i bought some brewers yeast for the ducklings water. They don't seem to mind the change. Last night we had torrential rain. The ducklings should have been fine becuase they had good cover but i think the other ducks were a bit wet. I went down to see them during the night and they were all standing there looking very miserable and wet. They had made no attempt to go to a more sheltered spot. Today i put a tarp over a part of hte cutting bench so they can stand under there if htey want. Its near where they like to sleep at night. I also put a bit more protection up for the chickens though shouldn't be getting wet at all. The chickens are huge now. Must be all the catfood they've been eating. I'm getting duck eggs again though only from one duck. I'm getting the hens eggs. I think i will feed the hens eggs back to the ducklings and just keep the duck eggs for us and friends.

    Weeds and grass are going bezerk after all the rain we've had. It will be a major achievement to stay on top of it.
     

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