mischief at large

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

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    This will be my last post on this thread so I can jump over to Adams' place for the next growing season.

    I have planted out a whole heap of strawberries in front and amongst the Avocado trees.
    This has been mulched with short branches from the cut down fig tree and a layer of pine needles.
    I got 2 shopping bags full thinking this would be enough but it wasnt and has only covered the space around three trees.
    I read somewhere that pine needles help make soil alittle more acid which the avocadoes need.
    When I tested the soil it read between 6 and 7, so I need alittle help for these trees. Hopefully pine needle mulch will tweak it just enough.
    It looks really cool and I hope the strawberries take off.
    There are bluebells starting to come up in this area as well which I will leave alone and let them help mulch this area too.
    I moved the gooseberries away from the fence, I decided to treat any rogue kids as part of the wildlife(they arent really that bad just come over to get their ball I think).

    I have marked out where the greenhouse will go with plastic tube things that were part of my mothers 3 tier laundry sorting system.
    (this made me wonder what other people recycle/reuse and reabuse as my daughter puts it, be interesting to find out).

    I discovered that I had to move the Kowhai tree which would be in the way which I did.
    This got carefully dug up and moved to the back of the next circle over along with the lemon balm that was growing with it.
    I also transplanted a couple of foxgloves that were next to the tool shed and the lambs ear thing.

    2 of the cabbage trees that got cut down have resprouted (hehe I knew they would), and I have so far managed to carefully separate 3 of these newbies which have also been planted in the area behind the circle but leaving enough space so I can still trim the hedge.
    My thought on this is that I really dont have enough garden stakes and these will grow a single trunk at some point which I can use to grow climbers up.
    They will also provide mulch with their leaves and if I ever need kindling the dried leaves will be good for that as well.
    I will try to get as many of these over ther as I can.
    There isnt enough room for fruit trees so these will do just as well and we'll have the fruit elsewhere.

    I had to move my garlic one at a time over to the fruit walk under the grapefruit tree, which seems to be the safest place for them at the moment.Good thing it rained the night before so the soil was damp and soft.
    They all look good and dont seem to have suffered too much.

    This has left me with a clear space to work with.
    I still need a home for some soil and will barrow it over to this spot and raise this area pretty much level with the tool shed.
    Hubby will then build the greenhouse ontop of this.
    I was happy to have a little one but he has decided that I need a big one and is going to recycle the top of a flat bed trailer he built so it has a proper floor.
    So, I am getting a 2.4 x 3.6m greenhouse and wont be allowed to have pots/plants anywhere near the back door from then on.

    The bench seat has been moved to temp spot infront of the hedge and is a great place to sit on a sunny winter day.
    I love it here, it makes the garden look like a park, with it sitting in front of the hedge, violets flowering at the bottom of the hedge.
    It will have to get moved over abit but it can stay where it is for the time being.

    The arch over the main path also got move closer to the house pretty much in line with where the trellis for the brambles and vines will be.
    This meant also moving the cocktail kiwifruit which went over by the internal fence behing the avocadoes.
    I will leave the brushwood on the fence until we will be clear of frosts.

    Poor plants, anything that moves in here needs to understand that they will be moved at lest once in their lifetime.The fig tree got moved 5 times before I was happy where it was.
    I think thats all the transplanting done for this year.

    We finally worked out what seeds we were getting from Kings seeds.
    I find it cheaper and easier to order on line, get a great discount from them and the original cost of the seed is in most cases less than the shops.(plus they send me out a really good catelogue with great pictures so I know exactly what I am getting.)
    Someone did say I spend too much on seed so I am not saying how much, but the way I look at it is ,I dont buy alot of things and this is one thing I do buy.
    I like to try new things, for example we've got cool area type tomatoes to trial(3), egg shaped eggplants to try along with 1 that is white but not an heirloom. I got this one because it was supposed to be bred for cool areas and if it does well then I will creat our own heirloom from our plants.
    This really excites me.
    I did save some of our seeds last year and will use some of those as well as some from the original packet to make sure we get a good mix.
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    BBrrr its not spring yet so Adam can wait til next time.
    I've had two days all to myself, home alone and dont need to do anything that I dont really want to so I decided to sit in the garden and watch.
    Good thing I did too, I learnt something.
    1. I cant put the rabbit cages along the trellis to the north of the garden as I intended cos it will cut out way to much winter sun.
    2. I've got the Avocadoes in the wrong spot, they are too close to the trellis so when they grow I wont be able to get between them and the fruit growing on the trellis.
    3.I have got the right spot for the greenhouse tho.

    Afew days ago I drew up a 'floorplan' of the garden.
    I took this out with me to make sure things were on paper as they were in the garden.
    I had a re-read of Lindas book and every now and then would take note of the wind, sun,shade from the trees etc...a really relaxing and definitely de-stressing exercise.
    With this and my tape measure I worked out that I could move the Avocadoes behind the Satsuma tree/in front of the Feijoa trees in an inverted L shape.
    I checked with my gardening by the moon which told me I shouldnt move them till the end of the month which gives me time to contemplate alittle more on this.
    This spot is better also because ther is more protection from frost due to the hedge on the south side with an evergreen tree growing in it along with the feijoas, satsuma and the neighbours large pecan(?).
    If I'm careful how I plant them I can get on all sides of each tree in this area.

    Mum stopped off on her way home from work and suggested that I put the rabbits on the southwest part of the trellis with an evergreen growing on the house side, so they are protected from the nasty southerly winds.
    Out came the tape measure again and garden stakes and sure enough it would fit beautifully,with and extra bit of trellising on the garden side for me to grow things on.(lack of decent stakes has been a problem).
    It also means that they will be closer to the house in that I will go up the path to the garden and turn left along the fruit walk, the first part will have the rabbits or straight and then right to the greenhouse so everything is closer together.

    I moved the chooks today alittle earlier than I was going to cos they had cleared out all the weeds behind the satsuma.
    With the heavy rain we had the nestbox had filled up with water so I need to make sure that this is facing the tarpauline and so doesnt get the driving rain.
    I'm really surprised that the hen who sleeps in there wanted to, it was so mucky.
    I wouldnt have wanted to sleep there if I was a hen, let alone lay an egg in there which they alll did.
    It was bad enough having to clean it out.
    I found some dried herb prunings and grabbed up some pine needles from my mulched beds and it was all nice and neat again.
    Hubby scored a new 'tarpauline' for me.
    Its the bottom third of a sail that isnt any good any more for sailing ( has oil stains on it !!!).
    On two of its corners it has heavy duty rings which means it wont get damaged being tied down, just need to rig something on the other corner.
    So I got my first go at moving the girls and hoisting the sails.
    I did check that all the metal ties on the dome were on the inside so they wouldnt catch the sail before I hoisted away.
    This sounds easier than it was.
    This is really heavy and no matter how hard I tried I could not lift it over the top of the dome.
    Off I went for a contemplative cuppa tea.
    A quick nosy thru the tool shed and up I surface again with some old telecom cable 2-3 m long,(no idea where that came from but very handy).
    Tied one end in a ring on the sail, walked around to the other side of the dome and hoisted away....Brilliant.

    On the last couple of beds the girls cleared, I sowed a 'spring manure 'cover crop to dig in at a later date.
    The seeds I sowed a the start of July were needing to be transplanted into little pots (finally) so this got done.
    The shelves in the porch are full of seedling trays now.(I cant wait to have a proper greenhouse).
    Mum talked me into growing sugar beet again by saying that she would bring up her juicer so when we harvest them we just need to scrub the dirt off chop into lengths and put thru her juicer before pouring each jug into the pot on the stove.
    This way it shouldnt oxidize like it did when I brought it home from her place to cook up.
    Sooo we now have 5-6 dozen sugar beet seedlings on the trot.

    Some other points I noticed while I was observing was...if I'm going to grow the cabbage trees at the back of the beds along the hedge as permanent grow poles for beans etc..., that I need to make sure I take into account how wide the trunks grow after 10 or so years.
    I had them marked out on my floor plan as litle dots then realized that they may start off wide 5cm trunks but dont stay that way.
    tape measure out I go measure the stump of the cabbage tree that I know was 15 years old.200mm.
    They do grow fatter than that tho, which also means that I need to plant the pups off to each side rather than the middle.

    My picture started off with round beds and as I started mucking around with the fruit walk and the hedge walkway, I wound up with what I guess you could call double keyhole beds.
    Instead of having a chook food spot at the back of the bed its turned into a temp path accessed from the back walkway.
    I havent started on this with any of the beds yet but it makes better sense to me cos I hate standing on the beds to reach anything.
    In my previous gardens I have done the block planting method with being able to reach the middle of any bed from each side.

    I had marked down outside the greenhouse door, one of our half wine barrels, but on measuring the actual area, I realised that this would be a pain to get the wheel barrow passed-I checked the wideth of the handles on that too.

    We've got more movement on the greenhouse, we have a floor for it and now a door so things are starting to move.
    I did once build myself a little greenhouse but didnt have a door and couldnt figure out how to make one so I Know the importance of having a door, if only to keep the cats out.

    I made a butternut,oka and leek soup last night and thought it needed abit of sparking up so I knowing where my parsley and lemon thyme had been transplanted went up and got some.
    No moon and no torch and I brought back the right thing with no weeds.
    Very pleased with myself.
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I was going to wait til the end of the month to move the Avocado trees to their new spot but realised that they are starting to get flower buds and would need to be stable by the time the flowers actually appeared, so I moved them.

    First I had to clear along the back hedge where I had a pile of twiggy branches rotting down.This started out about 3 foot high and after almost a year was down to a foot.
    Pruned that bit of hedge which hadnt been done, the neighbour had done alot for me by keeping it so short,its definitely thinner along here than further up the hedge.
    Measured out where exactly the trees need to go and dug a shallow trench making sure I can get right around the plants and hedge, then carefully dug each tree out and placed it in the trench then gently placed the compost they were growing in around each tree.
    Gently because I had a 'glory' of worms to take care of.
    I have decided that thats what a shit load of worms should be called.Masses of them.

    The three trees that were growing in front of the nectarine tree have been put back so they are in line with it.
    After I put them in I made sure that I will be able to get between them and the back fence( which needs working on this new year).

    The day was perfect for moving them, nice overcast day turned drizzly, not to bright, not too heavy a rain.
    I gave them all a sprinkling of blood and bone and the rain after2 days has soaked it in.
    They look good.

    I swopped two around so the really frost burnt one would be directly under the evergreen tree.

    After pruning the hedge I was able to finally get behind the Feijoa trees again and found that the wandering jewel weed was once again invading fromthe back neighbours.
    I have done so much to try to 'deal' with this pest, including planting Bears breeches along the back fence(worked really well), only now I need to get rid of the bears breeches cos they are pushing on the fence and dropping millions of seeds everywhere, all of which seem to be growing.
    More mulch for the garden.
    Living mulch in the case of the jewel weed.
    I have decided not to make a fuss over it and let it grow under the trees,when I want to put compost down I'll put it straight on top of it.
    The only thing I'll stop it from doing is climbing the trees and hedge which it has done in the past.

    I found the original plans I had drawn up when we first started this and still really like the idea of having the garden in two circular mandalas rather than the back set in lines.
    After giving myself a really bad stomach ache and severe case of the runs means I dont like the orange tree very much at the moment.
    So I went back to the drawing board to see if we could somehow get a circular mandala without destroying the satsuma tree.
    Its still got lots of fruit on it so its safe from being dug up and moved, but if we are going to do that, its got to happen soon before the temperatures warm up or it Will suffer.
    Hubby wants to move it to the roadside garden, which is a long way and we'd have to get help with that.
    Still thinking on that one.

    The new plans look fantastic with the greenhouse slotted in, the rabbits accounted for and some decent sized compost bins marked out close to where we park so I can haul stuff to compost without getting tangled up in anything else.
    The satsuma will have to go 1 metre over to stay within that bed or 3.5 metres over to go in the middle bed , or out to the roadside garden.

    Meanwhile the kiwifruit plants didnt suffer in their move and are starting to get buds and the garlic has shot away, that comfrey tea and sprinkling of blood and bone a week later seems to have been appreciated.

    Yesterday I decided to make a 4 bay compost bin.
    I went down to the local ag/farm supply store and asked if I could have some nonreturnable pallets if they had any.
    The man grinned, pointed to a huge pile and said help yourself!!!

    I wanted to get 8 all the same shape and size but there were only 4 pairs.
    Two trips and I had what I needed to get started.
    The two largest ones were put in the middle and tied with baling twine.
    Next the two nicest looking ones went on the side closest to where we park the trucks(so it looks pretty)
    Eventually I had all the sides up and tied together, wriggled around so everything was more or less square.
    I got given two pallets which werent any good for the compost bin carcass but found that I could prize off the strips of wood and use them to fill in the few gaps in the sides.
    I managed to get alot of the nails out of them too and used them to nail everything together.
    There was even enough strips to do one of the bin fronts.
    Thought myself quite clever for thinking of nailing a length down each side with a block between that and each side(and middle bit), so now to fill the bins up I take more of these strips off other pallets and slot them in the gaps which then makes the front.(need to learn how to explain things alittle better I think).
    This was supposed to be only 2.1 by 2.4 but because of the size of the pallets wound up being 2.4 by 2.6
    I was going to grow something at each end but this will have to wait til I make sure I have enough room to get around everything when the garden beds are in full swing.
     
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I did abit more work on the compost bins.
    Some of the slats I'm using for the front are thicker than the others and were alittle hard to push in the slots so I took the face boards off and replaced them with thicker slats off some newly gained pallets.
    This now means that no matter how thick the slats are they will fall into place and the thinner ones are thick enough that they wont fall out either.

    I pulled off the brushwood from the internal fence and rolled it up afew days ago thinking I will keep these cos I'm bound to find some use for them and I did, as covers for the bins.
    I took the first one and lay it over the top of one bin and moved it so the internal edge was just resting on the side of the pallet, then used the lopers chopped down the length of the brushwood so the outer edge was alttle out from the edge of the bin.
    When I got 2/3rds down the front I cut through the wire holding it all together and after pulling out some of the fine stuff retied the wires around the piece of bamboo that runs through it.

    I found that I really needed to have something to support this or it was going to cave into the bin so I got a couple of 'tomato stakes' ;(they wont last next year so I wont be using them, nothing worst than tomatoes falling over) and now have them across the top of the bin.

    Amazing how alittle bit of brushwood makes things seem to disappear.

    I did the same thing with the rest of the bins and found that with a board the width of a fence paling, the rolled up brushwood will sit ontop at the back of the bin without unravelling, til I need it to help keep the compost from drying out.

    I managed to score a couple more pallets which means I now have enough to fill in the front of two bins, unfortuantely someone else came along and got to help themselves to My pallets so I'll have to go back every now and then to see if I can pick up the last two so I can have front for all the bins.

    After admiring my handywork I realised that the gap down the middle of the centre bins would fit the stakes I have lying around so I gathered up all the stakes of various sizes and types and put them in their new home which decluttered the place somewhat.
    In the bottom part I have some scrappy bamboo all tied up and jammed in. I have been using these to hold up my peas(when I remembered to use them).

    Alittle while later I was trying to find a home for the reinforcing mesh I use as trellising.
    One length was 6' long and I lent it up against the side of the compost bins while I contemplated, then realised that this would be a great spot for them.

    The other lengths were over 3 metres long,so off to the tool shed and out with the hack saw and tape measure.
    I measured the 6' and started cutting away.
    The ends of these have prongs so where I cut I made sure that end was as near as I could to the cross pieces leaving a nice prong for the next sheet.

    I found it was much easier to get this done if I only cut alittle over halfway through the mesh, when I had worked my way down to the bottom rung, I stood on the shorter end and got hold off the longer end and pulled it upwards where it would separate.
    No more fighting to get the blade of the hacksaw free, etc...

    I got 2 neatened up trellises out of each and alittle bit left over.
    I'm now looking out for something I can attach to the side of the bins so I can hang them up.Should be alittle safer that way.

    Alitle while later I was again contemplating and thought they garden side of the bins could be used for something but what?
    A tap perhaps?
    No a place to put that stainless steel laundry tub thats been sitting behind the tool shed for ages.
    Out with the hamer and a couple of nails and the laundry tub is attached to this side of the bins so I could see how it looks and if hubby likes the idea.

    And you thought compost bins were just for making compost.

    The idea is to run a hose into the garden so I am not having to roll it out each time and roll it up again when I'm done(which I dont do and get into trouble for it).
    If I can get a attachment hooked up so I have water at a tap above the tub and one so I can use the watering system for the garden, I've got both ends met.
    I ned to get a plug for the tub so I dont use more water than I need to.
    The bright idea with having the tub here is .... I can prewash the vegetables in the garden,trim off any nasty bits and put them straight into the compost.
    If I put a bucket under the drain, perhaps I can use this for the compost teas/manure teas rather than letting it pour onto the ground.

    With having the plug left in, I might not even need to use the tap in winter, just let it fill up with rain and if the water is fresh and clean then I can also use it to refill the chooks waterbowl.

    I think I have room to put afew buckets of compost teas, I just thought of that, so I'll have to go out and move the seaweed bucket and comfrey bucket over there, to see if there is room for a 'drain' bucket.

    I'm rethinking direct mulching of the garden beds and composting for a number of reasons, I havent formulated my plan of attack for the next growing season fully yet, but this biodynamics book is giving me afew ideas (cant see me doing the cowhorn thing tho).
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Maybe you could fit a worm farm under the sink and run the water into there? For another glorious glory of worms. I liked that....
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi eco,
    I dont know what it is about worm farms but I just dont want one.
    Probably a good thing that the garden has sooo many of them now.
    I tried to dig over the last bed that the chooks were on cos it looked nasty and lumpy and needed a good tidy up.
    I got to turn over 5 spadefuls and had to stop because I was hurting my worms, they're everywhere.
    I thought okay I'll just hoe down the high spots....AHHH decapitated worms.
    Off inside for a restorative cuppa.

    When I came back out I decided to move the Orange tree instead cos its stating to get those soft new shoots so it has to move now before they get too big.
    I decided to move it to the central bed of the back mandala and remeasured everything again to make sure it would all fit properly.
    The tree was quite mishapened from being smothered by the Feijoa trees so I carefully trimmed it int a better shape, cut all the fruit off,topped it cos its way to high and dug right around the drip line 2 spades down.
    I could see there was no way I was ever going to move this by myself so I asked hubby to help.
    He gave me an old sheet and said wrap the trunk, ok that got done, then he tied a rope around the trunk and drove off in his truck and out popped my poor tree.
    I was expecting the root ball to come out with soil not the whole tree all on its lonesome, plus the hole I dug for it was too small so it had to wait while I made it bigger.

    Its been replanted with alot of its old soil as well as 4 bags of aged horse manure and a couple of wheel barrow loads of compost.
    Not too sure how but I seem to still have a hole where it used to live and the soil level around the tree doesnt look over full.
    I did saturate the poor thing after it was replanted and staked.
    Just by chance I poked the hose nozzle into the soil around its trunk and suddenly had a hole where water and soil was disappearing so I did it again and again til the soil stayed on top where it was supposed to be.
    Must have been alot of air pockets, that could have been disasterous.
    We have had alot of rain and overcast days so it should be okay.
    I check it every day and the soft new shoots are growing more and bigger while the existing leaves dont seem to be wilting or going strange shapes or colours.
    I cut up all the twiggy branches that got pruned off and lay these around the base of the tree out past the drip line.
    Should be all good.

    I nneded somewhere to plant out my first lot of sugarbeet and the Pukekohe long keeper onions,(someof which do have little bulby bulges at the bottom), so there are now two rows of sugar beets and just on the edge of the bed is a single row all around of the onions.
    I didnt think of sowing carrots til just now so I'll have to see if there is space for them.
    I think its still root sowing time.
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Gone to play at Adams place
     

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