mischief at large

Discussion in 'General chat' started by mischief, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I like that idea, much better than first mandala bed1 etc...
    Was Nelson married? maybe I could do Nelson and (?)Betty,Elizabeth(?)

    I finally decided where I wanted to plant the rest of the Avocados.
    We have a Nectarine tree that has never produced ripe fruit due to Brown rot every year inspite of using all the reccommended cures.
    It has high spreading branches that let in dappled light thru in summer.
    I have planted the Avocados infront of this in an L shape.
    To the north is an old brush wood fence that I put up when I was going to put the chook pen in the North back corner behind this fence.
    This area is already well mulched with leaf fall and lawn clippings. It used to be a flower garden til they were expelled.
    I have sort of used the high density planting method and have them at 1 metre spacing(approx) which is further than I was told to do but I cant help it
    I will prune them wider than deep so they will join up as a loose sort of hedge at 6 or so feet high.
    Before I planted them I checked to make sure which were type A and B so they could be planted alternately.
    These 2 rows are behind the bed I didnt have anything to plant into and are about 2-3 feet outside the bed so I should be able to get to everything without damaging anything.

    I will use this bed as a composting site and maybe a place to put in the offsets from the strawberries and cuttings from the currants and gooseberries etc...

    The Nectarine branches should give protection from any frost we might have... I have never seen 'white' under this tree so I figure they should be safe.
    I have loaded the area around the young trees with old horse manure and lawn clippings to give them a good start.

    I figure that come midwinter I will have worked out where I want the soft fruit to go and will have transplanted them and have chook food growing there for when the chooks are back to this bed.

    I have gone around all the tomatoes and taken off all the leaves below any fruiting clusters.
    I dont know if you do this but here we do it to get the air flow thru the plants.
    It can be quite humid and windless during the day-mid summer and you get browning leaves and fruit otherwise.
    It seems to help the plants concentrate on their fruit and as I start off with good intentions and remove the laterals, but forget til they have flowers and/or fruit; I dont want to remove them.So taking the leaves off helps slow down (AH cant remember the right term for it-transperation-losing moisture thru the leaves).Also helps them not be so overcrowded due to too many laterals I see with lovely fruit on.

    I have decided that jam packed planting isnt working so well and have thinned things out abit. the peppers for one are far happier and dont look so scrawny and now have lots of flowers and fruit starting.

    All the Rocket plants I harvested have dried out and I have put them head first into an old chook pellet sack and wacked agains the side of the fence to thresh out the seed.

    The potatoes I planted along the top of the rock wall on the front road side died back except for two that are still green and flowering.
    Out of 50 plants so far we have got just over 50 kgs of mainly med to large spuds. There are afew kgs of wee ones but thats okay cos I like them boiled and then smothered in butter and parsley.

    My small sowing of the last 6 peas I had from some other time, has resulted in enough seed to do a more reasonable row next year.

    I have dehydrated some tomatoes and have a jar sitting in olive oil now.
    The rest seldom make it to the kitchen as I am usually munching on them as I weed or water the garden.

    The Choko plant was slow to get going this year and is still inflower with afew tiny fruit.
    I will be picking them at around 2 inches and pickling them. I will try the lactofermentation method.
    So far, my lacto-ferment pickles have gone really well.
    I did do a couple of jars of normal vinegar style pickles so we can do a taste test later on.

    I have been reading on the net that I cant grow enough food for one person on a 1/4 acre section.
    This person is in Hawaii and is very insistent about it.
    Makes me laugh.
    So far I am not even using half of a 1/4 acre and we are eating all our own vegies and some of our own fruit. and have done so for since Xmas.
    Okay so its eggs, vegies and some fruit but I can see I have room for alot of rabbits and guinea pigs, more fruit trees,vines and shrubs; more grains and legumes.
    The only thing I dont have room for is a dairy animal so no milk or cheese.

    I have been comtemplating where and how I can get some nut trees in for nuts and coppicing for firewood AND garden stakes- my garden stakes are too puny and not long enough!!
    I have been told to look at Hazelnut and chestnuts for nuts and coppicing; and paulonia and black wattle for firewood.
    If anyone is growing a coppicing woodlot I'd really like to know how you are getting on.
    I'm thinking of planting a single row around the perimetre, including along the road front garden.
    I should be able to grow pumpkins and pop corn there with them.
    Why popcorn?
    well... If anyone pinches my corn for dinner, it wont be sweet, they wont like it and I guarantee that they wont be back for more.

    I have been wondering what to plant along the north wall of the house.
    It makes sense to me to put up a trellis and plant some kind of vine, but thats as far as I have got with that area.

    I found a source of polystyrene boxes. One of our local fish and chip shops onsells them very cheaply and I got his last 2 for $2 each, with lids.
     
  2. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Nelson Mendala (not mandala) has had three wives. The first was Evelyn, the second was Winnie and the third is Gracia. His fathers name was Henry and his two kids with Winnie were Zinni and Zandizi
    I am not sure what you intend for the styro boxes? They would no doubt smell fishy.
    Keep up the inspiring blog entries - mosy enjiyable
    regards Mark
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Neat idea to use the less than successful nectarine as berry protection rather than ripping it out.
     
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yeah I dont really like pulling out trees and have had to take out heaps this year so we can re-do our driveway and parking.( couldnt get a trailer up the drive so it had to have the grade cut back....long story...)
    The only good thing about that is that they were peach trees that just never fruited because of the dreaded brownrot.
    They were cut up for kindling and fire wood so no dump was frequented in this excerise.

    I will be planting more trees again soon.
    Just got to work out what we need /want and how/where to put them.
    Putting the Avocados in has been a relief, I was starting to worry about them being out of the ground for so long.

    I have to remind myself constantly not to just jump in and bung things in.
    Its been expensive.
    I want Hazelnuts and was told coppicing chestnuts produces great stakes and still give chestnuts at some point (when they grow up).
    I Have to replace the 2 Olive trees that did not survive their transplant last winter.

    Afew years ago I had to cut out 2 huge walnuts because they were starting to die and had big trunks leaning over the neighbour's carport.
    I have found 2 little seedlings and have been wondering wheter or not to transplant them somewhere away from the garden and/or try the high density technique on them and kep them small too.
     
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    The styrofoam boxes are to grow my seedlings in so they dont have to put up with the temperature/light fluctuations.
    I have been doing direct sowing for now, .... no seed sowing mix for one thing, abit short on funds for things I really dont have to have and this time of year I have found the seeds sprout quickly.
    Thanks to the chooks I dont seem to suffer from insect attacks on them.

    Now the Brassicas are looking really Punk rock with their holey leaves.
    I did start to squash the caterpillas and restrained myself.I did think that might have been a mistake but there is a wasp- I've only seen one- that has been cruising the chinese cabbages in particular and zooming in on some hapless victim.
    Wish she'd bring her mates and have a PJ party.

    We had our first watermelon today. I grew Golden midget because there are only two of us and the bigger ones would be too much.
    Plus they were supposed to take less time to mature.
    I think I will start them off alittle later next year, maybe the end of spring- Nov, rather than trying to get them in the ground by then.
    Having said that I probably wont and will try to push my luck again.
    If new seedling box idea works and I can get them off to a better start then pot them up till they Are 6 inches or more they might do better.

    I'm getting alittle worried that the Rock melons are not going to get to ripen up before the cold starts to set in.
    This morning when I went out to feed the chooks, I thought it wasnt far off being a frost, which would be really early.
    Apparently there was one half an hours drive south of us.
    Might have to rig up a mini green house over the most promising plant.

    I finally got to taste Okra for the first time.These were really slow to take off then did a growth spurt then stopped( I think due to lack of water).
    Now they are getting more regular watering they have been flowering and all 4 flowers have produced fruit.Two down, I think I'd better keep the next two for seed for next year.
    I'm sure I had 4 plants but I can only find two and one is not doing that great even though its only afew feet away from the other.

    Most of the Eggplants are starting to fruit up too and I have had the odd one or two.
    These are the long skinny type-Tsasoniki.
    I think these taste fantastic, no bitterness, lovely and sweet, no need to salt or soak just chop up and stir fry.

    I have some dill seed and coriander seed all dried and sitting in there jars on the bench waiting for awhile before they go in the cupboard.
    I learnt from losing my chamomile flowers not too put them in the cupboard straight away.

    My bunches of leafy type herbs are still drying and I cant help touching them and smelling them to make sure they are okay.
    I had been told you could dry parsley but after a winter with none I decided to do it anyway. So far they have retained their flavour.

    The hull-less seed pumpkins are starting to die off and will soon be ready to bring inside.
    I cant wait, I absolutely love pumpkin and the seed of this type (Austrian Oilseed Pumpkin),are larger than I get in the supermarket and much more tastey.
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yesterday I decided to bring the pumpkins and squash even tho they hadnt fully died off.
    Its been getting quite cold at night and I didnt want them to get frosted.
    Just as well I did cos this morning we did have a frost.

    I think we got a reasonable haul from them. There was supposed to be 2 waltham squash/butternut, 2 Austrian hulless oil seed pumpkin and 2 rock melons(in this set).
    Somehow (its my mums fault cos she grew the seedlings for me and lost the labels), we wound up with 4 hulless seed pumpkin, 1 butternut, 1 rock melon and what now appears a marrow. Its definitely grown marrows but Im dont know where they came from cos I didnt have any seed for that to give her????
    Out of that lot we didnt get any melons, there might be one still to come if we are lucky, but we did get 7 butternut, 13 marrows(?) and 24 pumpkins.
    They are now in the porch on the shelves drying out abit while I figure out where Iam going to store them for winter.
    I have to say I was impressed with how quickly they grew, produced and matured. In the case of the butternut is was all in the space of 3 months.I wish the tomatoes etc would do that well. Im growing these again!

    I checked the popcorn again to see how the cobs were coming along.
    I forgot that the heirloom type was black popcorn. Last time I looked they were still creamy now they definitely have that veiny blue look to them.
    Lots of cobs that seem to be filling up well.They do look small compared to the supermarket ones tho.
    The supermarket packet ones are alot larger so I may just have to keep growing both in separate places so I can get big cobs and still help keep the black one going.
    BUT.... if the farm down the road is growing Maize about a Kilometre away, is the pollen from these going to be blowing on my corn too?

    I was supposed to harvest the sugar beets today but took longer than I expected to sand down and paint the entrancehall of the house.
    Hopefully I will be able to do this tomorrow.

    The girls are now on the last bed of this rotation then they move onto the very first one.
    I have noticed that if they fill their water bowl up with scratchings, they dont lay so well the next day.
    I havent figured out how to stop them doing this.
    I am hoping that when they get onto bed that were garden previously, that the leftover plants will get in the way.

    The heirloom popcorn has alittle more than a week to hurry up and mature so I can harvest them.
    I suppose I could cheat and put them straight onto the second bed, or just bring them in and hang them up somehwere out of the way would probably be a wiser thing to do.
    We'll just have to see how it goes.

    I checked the Avocados to make sure they didnt get hurt by the frost.
    Only one in the front yard by the big tree got afew burnt leaves.
    I think it will be good idea to get some frost cloths for the front yard ones, the trees there arent going to be enough in a hard frost.
     
  7. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Thanks for the update mis
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Hey Mischief - you might want to have a look at the pictures of my watering system over at Mandala Town. Even if you don't connect it up to a tap, you might like to try out the milk bottles suspended from the dome to stop the chooks tossing stuff in their water.
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yes I will.
    So far the sprinkler system is working well but I think it does need to be up higher so that the water reaches the back part of the beds.

    I harvested the pop corn afew days ago, both varieties.
    The heirloom one is really dinky with minature cobs and grains and dry to a dark blue.
    The supermarket ones are long and slender with much fatter grains.
    I cant wait for them to dry out so I have a taste test.

    Im still getting tomatoes although they have blight.
    Next time I will either take off all the laterals or make very sure that they are all tied up and off the ground, they seemed to be more likely to get blight when they are down amonsgst the shrubbery rather than up with good air flow.

    My Purple king beans are still going, the bamboo pole of one fell over and doesnt seem to want to stay upright anymore.
    My last sowing of green bush beans for the year is starting to produce well, they took abit of time to get started and I am starting to wonder if having alot of lawn clippings is putting too much nitrogen down so plants are growing leafy rather than reproducing.

    I am again getting six eggs from the girls, so think my idea of taking out the nestbox that they preferred with the smaller entrance and leaving the one with the more open entrance was a good one.
    Now the lazy hen is out and about and laying along with the others.
    I have stuck the nestbox under their perch, which they now all use.
    I have a brick placed between the box and their perch to give the perch abit of support as it was looking alittle saggy.
    I need to get anothe tarp to cover the dome with too as the existing one is dhredded and bedraggled looking.
    The beds that have been started during the summer months Are more weedy than the spring ones, whether this is because the lawn clippings have more seed heads in them or the weeds have just grown faster than the direct sown vegetables, I dont know.

    I discovered a Jalepeno with fruit on it that I thought wasnt going to do anything.I swear you turn your back and things happen sometimes even good things.
    The yellow capsicum has been doing brilliantly all season and is still going strong.This is my best capsicum.I didnt know that they grew yellow straight away, I always thought the coloured ones went from green to whatever colour they ripen too.I want the orange next year too.
    There is a little one with chocolatey coloured fruit now so it will be interesting to see how they taste.

    We did get to eat a rock melon, I found one hidden under some leaves.The tiny little flies hovering around above it alerted me to this.Very small but oh... such flavour.
    Also got afew watermelons.These are the Golden Midget ones so they dont grow that big, I'm looking at one now thats a third bigger than a rock melon.That's one of the smaller ones the larger ones are about the size o a small pumpkin.
    I didnt grow the big ones because being two of us we would be able to do a large one justice.Along with the fact that I didnt think our growing season would allow a large type to mature properly.

    We are still just eating vegetables from out of the garden with the exception of onions which I will not do without for any reason.
    Onto our last lot of garlic too so next month I will have to buy a bulb cos I cant live without that either.
    I have to find a decent supply of cloves for next years crop.This year the supermarket ones just didnt do that well.Usually when I grow garlic from shop bought cloves they do really well.
    No I dont need to buyt garlic yet...I've got some in a jar of saurkraut juice and brine doing their lacto ferment thing.
    I hope it turns out, its supposed to make them still garlicky but not as anti social. Not sure what exactly that means or what it does to the flavour, I just hope they are edible.

    In a months time I'm pretty much going to be working 24/7 so I'm not going to have much time at all to put into the garden, so for this year I will be sowing a green manure cover crop to suppress the weeds, starting with the last two beds.
    I will put in some vegies tho- cant have none!!
    I've got a month or so yet to go before then so I will have to make sure I have everything organised by then.
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Ok so I wont be working 24/7, that might have been abit of an exageration, but 7 days a week feels like it.

    I got the supermarket popcorn off its cobs(?) and wound up with 2.6 kgs from 25, I think, plants.
    I think thats good.Might not be a years supply but its a good start.
    The heirloom popcorn still seems well stuck to its cobs so I've left them to dry out abit more.
    I hope they come off as easily as the supermarket ones did.

    This weekend was move day for the girls.They got to go back on the first bed ever and went absolutely nuts, scratching and chasing insects.
    There were two main groups and one running backwards and forwards between them to see what they had,priceless.
    It was interesting to see that they didnt go straight away for the silverbeet or other greens first which I thought they would but instead went madly scratching for worms and ground insects although I did see one cotton onto the fact that there were green shield bugs in the brassicas and tomatoes.
    It wasnt til the next day that they stripped the silverbeet.I will leave this and the celery in place, if the chooks havent managed to pull them out, that way I will get either the regrowth from them or they'll bolt to seed which is good too.I need silverbeet seed and I like using celery seed in my casseroles etc..as a flavouring.

    We cut back a grape vine and afew shrubs around it, winding up with a huge pile to deal with.So, we have made a big compost pile in the last bed.
    Its under the shade of a tree growing in the hedge.

    The Jerusalem Artichoke is just about finished for the year too so these will be cut up and put onto the pile as well.
    Once I decided not to get upset that they had moved in, I found I looked at them in a completely new light.
    Instead of seeing a really hard thing to get rid of I could see all that lovely leaf mass for the compost, then those incredibly long stalks that I wondered if they would be any good for stakes for next year, but something tells me that they will have gone soft before I could use them.
    And then there was the really Yellow flowers that in the midday sun were almost to bright to look at.
    They dont seem to last very long, but I could see them from the high bathroom windows and they certainly started each morning off well.
    I wanted to see if the stalks would be good to leave as a wind break but they seem to starting to fall over so I'll have to cut them up and put them on the compost where they wont get in the way.
    Then I supposed I should find a good recipe to try out the tubers.

    There was a blackberry, growing under the fig tree this season that I let go just to see how it went.
    Hmmm, the blackbird got the fruit except for the huge bunch we both missed that looks like the berries just dried out.
    That also got very carefully cut up into little pieces and put in a bucket and thrown on top of the compost pile.
    Yes I know it can take root from cutting but its on top and there isnt anything to take root in.
    I wont have any lawn clippings to put onto the pile for a couple of weeks so they should have dried and and shrivelled up by then.

    I harvested the Black turtle beans.
    I was told to leave the pods on the plants and to pull the plants one they had dried off, which I did.
    Now I think there must be a better way of doing this as some of the pods went moldy after the last lot of rain we had and at least one pod looks like its started to sprout.Not good.
    I didnt get as many pods off the plants as I thought I was going to, which is another reason why I makes better sense to me to pick the pods as they are filling out rather than leaving them.
    Beans seem to stop producing when they have mature pods on them and the idea is to get mature beans but in such a way as to let the plant keep producing more.
    Timing?
    Or should I look out for a pole bean that is specific for dried beans.
    It seems to me that alot of the beans reccommended for shelling are bush beans and I can see me running into the same problems with them.

    The lavendar seedlings I have growing in one of the beds are starting to get to a decent size and should be ready to plant out in a couple or three weeks.
    But I'm starting to get cold feet about doing the path edges with a lavendar curve.
    I redid my calculations and I will have to move the beds back and to one side...and then plant them out in a larger circle, which will mean all the beds will have to move around the mandala by the wideth of the fully grown lavendar plants.
    I might start off by making the centre bed alittle smaller ( the one that has the clothesline on it),plant this bed with the lavendar seedlings, and play with the beds in the first mandala over winter.
    I can take cuttings from these plants to do the other beds and if there still isnt enough to go right around then I can grow afew trays of french marigolds till I do have enough.
    I cant see me growing alot over winter this year apart from cover crops and afew cabbages and caulis and peas broad beans which will give me alittle leeway in working out where these things need to go.( will have to plant the vegies away from the edge so I dont upset myself by having to pull them out to plant lavendar when I've figured out how it should go.
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    The Lavendar has been planted out around the central bed of the first mandala.
    Well 75% of the bed got planted out, there are things still growing on each side of the little path to the clothes line which I dont really want to move til it cools down alittle more.

    I Hate brushing against wet plants or standing on something that has grown out over the path... so my solution to this and the fact that the chooks are chucking out my lovely mulch out of their dome... is to edge along the paths with something low growing that doesnt really need to be trimmed too often.(as well as staking those things that like to slump over onto the paths,like peas and beans)

    I marked out the last bed the chooks were on and moved it slightly to accomodate the edgings and hoed out the path around this bed while I was at it.
    I was alittle lazy with the paths in the second mandala and just sheet mulched the whole area heavily with lawn clippings.The hoe cut thru the composted grass and the few grass plants that had survived.These have been collected up and put in the compost site next to the bed.

    This bed I have edged with Santolina.
    I'm not sure how these cuttings will go with the heat but if they dont take I have a couple of plants I can raid and not sure if I will be able to keep it at 30cm max, we'll just have to see.
    I used to have a hedge of this years ago that was on the perimetre of my old garden.
    They say it doesnt grow very high, but I got it to grow a metre high so my poor neighbour wouldnt have to look at my messy garden(my side was higher up than theirs).
    Apparently there is a type of Santolina that does only grow 20cm and is green leafed not grey but I have never seen one.

    Just finished marking out the bed that the dome is currently on.
    I had to clear the edge so I could see exactly where it was and measured out the wideth that I want to keep the edging to.
    This bed got moved over towards the last bed and away from the central path.So hopefully as I move around the mandala, there will be enough room for the space the edges take up.It would be easier if I just happened to have a slightly smaller dome but I dont have a personal genie and Dearheart didnt look all that keen on making another dome.
    Does this sound odd and complicated? Its not really, I rediscovered my old hoe in the shed and found that not only was it great for cutting out the odd clump of grass, it was also around the right wideth to clear around the beds to help me mark out the space for the edges.

    I have a packet of Common Thyme seed, which I think will be even better for the edges than the santolina or the lavendar.
    When I checked the calendar for best time to sow things it says not yet except for root crops till later on..hmmm

    Well thats not really going to work cos I also need to sow the broad beans,I dont actually like broad beans but they grow huge see compost and ground cover... and I just happened to find a packet of seed that is supposed to be mild flavoured so it might wind up in the pot yet.

    We have been eating melon salads.... watermelons and rock melons.I am so glad I disregarded the advise not to grow them cos our season was supposedly too short.They are here to stay.
    I might even try out another type of melon next year that is supposed to be a good keeper with a hard rind.
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Not liking broad beans!?! Have you had freshly grown ones that you eat within an hour of picking? They are like spring on a plate - lush and green and full of promise. If I lived next door I'd nick 'em off your plants when you weren't looking! The frozen store bought ones are no comparison at all.
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Okay, so they have always come in a packet.
    I'll gingerly look forward to them till I get them on my plate fresh from the garden and find out they are as great as you say they are.
    LOL.
    I still see compost and cover crop!
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I knew chooks like to scratch around but never seen them dig before now.
    There was a point I thought they would dig an escape tunnel right out of the dome.
    Seriously this last bed has holes over 6 inches deep all over!!!

    It was move day again today.
    This was alittle tricky as the next bed had quite afew tall bits of plants to get over and the last still had afew stalks of popcorn in the way.Still we managed.
    I think the girls must have been greens deficient this last week because they stripped the silverbeets plants almost straight away where as last time they didnt touch it til the next day.
    The soil they have left behind is just lovely.
    All the clippings have been turn thru the soil,the weeds have all gone except that last little patch of summer grass I took out with the hoe.
    The old tomato and broccolli stalks are still there and I have left them to break down on the bed.
    I managed to find the parsnips and a carrot that I couldnt pull out cos it was stuck inside the popcorn....The girls did a great job of dislodging the corn roots.
    There is still one remaining celery plant and one parsley plant which I will leave in place to go to seed.

    Dont under sow popcorn(corn of any sort?) with root crops... its almost immpossible to get them out from the corns roots.

    After a quick hoe to level the bed over its already for planting.
    I have a feeling that I will be getting alot of wheat coming up in this bed from what I could see that they had left behind.
    They really have left some lovely soil behind for me to work with.
    I have left the last few corn stalks where they are in the bed and let the dislodged ones to stay ontop of the bed.
    Perhaps I should be putting them on the compost.

    The santolina edging I did in the earlier bed did die, I thought it might but thats okay cos the stubs left behind will tell me where to plant out the thyme when its ready to go in.
    I might see if I can find some different sorts of thyme to do the edges in, hopefully some Silver lemon, or orange thyme.I'll have to see which ones actually grow upright rather than carpetting and spreading.

    We tried out some of the sugar beet.This was put thru my mums juicer.3 big roots gave us alittle over 2.5 litres of juice which then was boiled down to a syrup and the grand total was just over 375mls of 'molasses'.
    I know this cos there wasnt quite enough to fill a 375ml jam jar.hmmm.
    There are quite afew more roots to be harvested and it was fun juicing them.
    Now that its starting to get cold, we're lighting the fire so the next lot we do will get cooked onto of the wood stove.
    Its not really a wood stove but a firebox that has a usable cooktop.(I would love to be able to afford a real woodstove).
    The sugar beet syrup does taste sweet and has started to crystalize.
    However, I have informed DH that he has to learn how to keep bees because at 15kgs per hive this seems alittle more productive.

    I'm glad I decided not to eat the last Okra pod(?) the cooler weather has meant that the last 2 flowers didnt really open properly and so didnt produce anything,which still leaves me with one pod to take seed from and try again next year.
    This is a fasinating plant to see grow.
    I thought it would be like a tomato and flower in clusters, but it grows its flower from the join between the stem and leaf stalk and looks just like a hybiscus flower.

    I cut open the first of the seed pumpkins yesteraday and got quite alot of large seeds to dry. I couldnt resist nibbling on afew of them as I was sorting them out.I love pumpkin seed. I grew these last year, one of the few vegies I did grow and liked the fact that the seeds are so much larger than the ones you buy in the shop.
    (Austrian oil seed pumpkin)
     
  15. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    We are down to the last 4 rock melons in the garden.
    The girls will be moving over them on Sunday so hopefully they will have been eaten by then and not get trampled on.

    I'm glad I left the santolina cuttings around the bed I edged.
    I moved the dome out from the central path to give me room to organise that beds edging forgetting that the chooks can and will find any little hole and escape.
    I was greeted by five of the six one day and they had completely scratched over one whole newly planted bed.
    Other areas in the garden had been visited but not to this degree, so I have to re plant the whole thing.
    The mulch had been thrown right out of the garden and the only way I knew for sure where the bed was was because of those dead stubby little cuttings.
    It took ages to carefully scrape the mulch back in and circle it all off again.

    We visited my brother the other day and it was a real buzz to be able to take a couple of shopping bags full of vegies and eggs for them.
    We had so many beans cos I seem to plant too many,I thought what the hell we'll pick as many as we can, so half a shopping bag full of those a couple of huge beetroots, afew kgs of really good sized potatoes and 1 butternut cos we dont have that many but I know he loves them and a hulless seed pumpkin cos I know he's never tried these before.
    He is into his garden too but hasnt been able to do much with working long hours, I think I've re-infected him with the gardening bug again.

    In the second mandala, I didnt scrape the turf off for the paths cos I was not sure where they would wind up and just sheet mulched this whole area, plonking down the dome where it seemed to be best.
    This had the result of being quite messy with weeds springing up all over the place. Didnt help that Iwas alittle lazy on the weeding front, so for the last couple of days I have gone out for abit and hoed out the paths clear of weeds.
    Upside of this of course is that i have alot of lovely green for the girls who are starting to need it now and also provided enough to make a couple more compost sites.
    I need to be on the lookout for some more mulched up tree piles on the roaside to cover the bare earth or will have more weeds etc..

    This current bed is the first time I have not religiously fed the chooks.
    The day after I moved them I noticed that they had not eaten the wheat I gave them the night before and showed no interest in me at all- where they would normally run over to meet me crying that they have been grossly underfed-I was ignored.They were far too busy doing their own hunting.
    In fact for the most part I havent fed them pellet(cos I ran out and so did the shop) or wheat cos they jsut werent eating it.I think I may have fed them 3 days so far this fortnight.
    Yesterday, I cleared the ground of long straggly tomato stems and big left over plants that they showed no interest in.
    This set them off madly scratching for their own dinner again.
    We are still getting between 4-5 eggs a day.

    I harvested the kumara today.
    I knew it was not going to be all that great after the fiasco with the parsnips planted under the heirloom corn.
    I had the kumara under the supermarket corn, thinking that the corn would like the ground cover and the kumara might appreciate the alittle light shade.
    They didnt.
    I did get some kumara but these were mostly fromt those planted on the edge of the corn not in the middle.
    I was told not to waste my time on the kumara becaause our soil is so soft and that kumara prefer hard clay soil to properly form up tubers.
    The jury is still out on this as I did get some decent sized tubers, although nothing spectacular.
    This area is also right next to the courtyard and is 2-3 foot bank down to the courtyard.
    So I was alittle relieved that I was not going to have to dig out the bank to get the tubers.

    Afew weeks ago we tried our heirloom popcorn and were disappointed that it did not pop.
    My irrate hubby threw it out luckily onto some corro iron for the birds to eat.
    He wanted to make sure that the dinky heirloom popcorn was worth the effort of taking off the cobs and didnt want to waste his time on it when it was so disappointing.
    The next day we decided to try the supermarket popcorn- same thing it just did not pop that well and tasted doughy.
    Luckily I suggested that perhaps it was not dried out enough and tipped the 2 tins of pop corn into one of the polystyrene boxes.
    Just as well as one of the tins showed signs of rust!!!!
    I quietly gathered up the heirloom ones and put them somewhere safe to dry out too.
    They have been sitting either in the sun or in the porch for awhileand when I weighed the supermarket sort again, it had lost 600grams in weight ( I dont think anything has been eating them although I cant be sure).
    Last night we had another go at popping them.
    This wasnt completely successful with alot that didnt pop.
    Not sure now if this was because He likes to pop them in sunflower oil and had to use butter (wouldnt use pork lard) or because they were still alittle damp.
    I tried some tonight and use the lard.Tasted great, alittle too much salt but I did get quite afew un/under popped ones.
    I'm pretty new to pop corn so I dont know if this can be caused by too many kernals put in the pot.
    They did taste great,I'm home alone so I got to eat them all.

    One of my experiments, now that I have a lifetime supply of Rock melons seed, is to disperse these around the garden to see if they will sprout when they are good and ready like pumpkin seeds tend to; and to see if they do which area they like best.I dont mind tiptoeing around rock melons.
    I have however thrown the seed where I know the chooks wont be after late spring/ early summer.

    I visited one of my ol dears today and as usual gardens came up.I told her that I had sown my broad beans and peas amonst other things and was promptly told to sow the peas on Anzac day or thereafter to make sure I got peas for Christmas.
    So this year we will be sowing peas on Anzac day.I asked her if this was the same for the sweetpeas(trying to catch her out) but she said, no sweetpeas get sown on the shortest day along with the onions.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thank you to all those who put us back on line, I think you're Magicians!!!

    We had a visitor today that we tried valiantly to capture and add to our dome.
    A Rooster appeared at our front door.
    We tried feeding him not interested,
    we tried out our fishing net, definitely need practise.
    If we cant catch a rooster with it I dont think we are going to catch any fish either, they seem just as fast as he was.

    On the up side I think he lives 2 doors down the road.
    I have never heard him so maybe we can go ask his mum if he can stay with us for abit so we get live eggs to hatch out.
    If he stays quiet maybe the neighbours wont notice at least til he's gone again.

    The last of the Principe Borgese tomatoes have ripen and been eaten.I was kinda hoping that they would stay green so I could have ago at pulling the whole plant out and ripen the fruit in the porch, never mind.

    We collected our first wool pack of leaves last week.There werent that many on the ground so I think we'll leave it for another week when they should be drifts of them to pick up.
    Some I will leave in (?)something to break down as leafmold and some I will use to blanket the garden and paths that arent mulched yet to supress the weeds.

    The purple king beans are still going.
    One has slid gracefully down its pole and I thought that was the end of that one, but no off it started flowering again.

    We had our first meal of Kumara.
    I love Kumara.
    I steamed potatoes squash and caulifower with it(added at different points to allow for the diferent cooking times needed for each) and then smothered it all in a rich cheesey sauce.
    This used to be one of my kids favourite dishes.
    We called it a luckydip meal cos you never really knew what the next bite was going to be with everything coated in the sauce.

    The black radish-winter radish/spanish radish have grown beautifully, such a strnage looking root which looks a matt black colour, inside is crispy white, firmer and not so watery and without the really harsh radish bite-lovely.

    I have replanted ther bed the chooks demolished. It has perpetual spinach,2 each of cauliflower, cabbage and broccolli, along with the broad beans and silverbeet.
    I've added some pansies and violas and have been thinking that perhaps I should just let those grow where they will seeing as they act as a ground cover.
    I would rather have them growing than grass or dock for example.

    The later ripening rock melon are defintely not as sweet as the earlier ones, taste like rock melons but not sweet.
    I saw some in the supermarket that were huge in comparison and felt mine werent so good after all. I almost bought one just to see how it stacked up and save the seeds from if it was any good, but controlled myself.

    The squash that was planted in ther roadside garden has died down and been harvested.These two produced larger fruit with no watering at all.
    They did just sit there for ages before they actually started to grow as did the gourds I planted with them.

    Funnily enough the long dipper gourds I thought I was growing appear to be something else.
    When I looked at the catelogue again they look like the edible Italian gourds.
    We will have to grow them again but this time either up a tree or fence so the fruit hang down and see if that makes a difference to them forming their bottle shape.
    Personally I dont think it will, I think the seed got mixed up after all butternut doesnt have to be trellised to form its bottle like shape so why should a gourd require that special treatment before it does what it genetically designed to do?

    No sign of the luffas though.Not a one.

    Our Chervil has self sown under the parkbench along the main garden path.I have religiously pulled out all the herb Robert that might compete with it so it can take over this spot.
    The orange berrry has also moved in here.
    I'm not sure I am happy about that one though as it produced no fruit at all inspite of being smothered in flowers.
    I was really looking forward to tasting these and got none.
    They make a great pair on the foliage front tho,orangeberry low, rough rugged, chervil light airy dainty ferny...
    I am more a foligae person than a flower person, unless there is an interesting contrast.

    Two sowings of peas are now in the ground and one lot already sprouting...
    The plan is to have an absolute glut of these this year.

    Garlic to plant has been bought from the supermarket, We made sure they had roots and were sprouting alittle.
    Pearl drop onions have started to regrow so it looks like we are a target for onion seed for my cocktail onions.
     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I have more loofahs than it is humanly possible to have. Picked 62 today and there's STILL more of them out there. That came from 5 seedlings! Just wait - when you least expect it they'll sneak up and cover you in vines. I can pop some seed in the post - if that is legal?
    I'm sure that you would have been sorely disappointed by the taste of the store melon compared to your own. I only got 2 this season - I must be doing something wrong. They were the sweetest things I have ever tasted though.
     
  18. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thanks eco, luckily I still have some seed left in my packet so I will try again with the luffas next year.

    NOOO!!!
    Please dont post anything,I'll get into trouble!!!
    They have sniffer dogs that check out the mail for things like that.
    I wish I could have some tho, I saw you were giving them away.

    I noticed that rock melons really took off when I gave them alittle extra water.
    I had them growing on a mound of manure and compost and now think that maybe it would be a better idea to plant them and then surround the plants with a ring of composty stuff.
    I'm going to try that next year too.

    I caught our visitor.
    I figured that if you want to catch a boy you need to use a girl, so I let one of our girls out and he followed her home.
    I did put him in the dome but now feel really bad about it.
    I tried to let him go again but by the time I decided to it was dark and he couldnt see where to go and wound up stuffing himself in a shrub full of minature roses.
    My cats werent that keen on another stranger so I thought I had better put him back in the dome til tommorrow morning, then let him go when he can see where to go.

    I wish I didnt feel so guilty about keeping him tho, he really quite lovely and doesnt have spurs although his toenails are sharp.

    We have been pigging out on popcorn,I love pop corn.
    When I was young and not so smart I tried to bring some into the country.Actually I didnt realise that you werent alllowed back then, I thought it was treated so that it would pop not that it grew that way.
    Luckily, customs were alittle more (alot more) lenient back then and believed me when I told them I didnt realise that it would grow.

    The heirloom type is about half the size of the supermarket sort but has a better popout rate.
    The supermarket type seems to have way too many unpopped ones still.
    I'll have to find a better name than 'supermarket type'.
    I have chosen the nicest looking cobs and saved those for seed.
    If I do that every year (making sure they come from the nicest looking plants) I should get my very own heirloom seed then I can call it MY popcorn.

    The thyme cuttings I took are all looking good, still alittle small yet, the thyme seed looks like its all coming up so perhaps I can have thyme hedge/edges everywhere.
     
  19. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I have the same trouble with men that you do with roosters. They look interesting until you trap one. Then I wonder how I'm going to get rid of it without it noticing... ;-)
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Thank goodness there are plenty of roosters out there hey Eco - a long a you never get sick of looking?
     

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