Round Two.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mischief, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yesterday I did pull out the old weed mat from the shed and laid it out around the compost bins to start with.
    We also had a roll of galvanised wire which got cut off in not quite foot sections.
    These were bent in three forming a staple and were used to hold the mat down.
    The oldest bit of weed mat was used first cos I figured that the area around the compost bin was going to get alot more wear and wouldnt be worth putting the fresher stuff there.
    The odd hole got a patch put under it and stapled down.
    The newer stuff still on the roll was just enough to do along the existing trellis, so now we have a 'square edge' to start from to get the back mandala lined up as good as its going to get.
    So far so good.
    We had quite abit of growth on the original winter savory so this was given a hair cut and the prunings were used to edge the beds along the trellis path.
    I stuck the garden scissors through the weedmat to make a little hole and pushed the cuttings thru that and firmed them up.

    I'm pretty sure that the mat is not going to last forever but it makes me feel good to have it there, I see a newly purchased straw broom being used to sweep it clean every now and then while it does last.
    Hopefully by the time it needs replacing I will have come up with a more long term solution that will not cause more problems than it solves.

    We have been collecting the walnuts that fall from the neighbours tree andso far have got quite a haul.
    They arent very good for long term storage being soft shelled so we have been sharing them out amongst our friends and scoffing them like the delectable treats they are.

    It was time to collect the Chokos too before the frost got on them so there I was crawling through the Bears Breeches (acanthus?) and getting disengaging them from the fence.
    These seem to grow quite well in the long grass and I found these accidentally by almost breaking my ankle when it rolled on one.
    From the vine that I didnt get rid of in time I think we easily got at least 50kgs.
    I knew the neighbour loved them and for some reason hadnt got his to grow so I took a bucket of them over to the fence and hollered.
    She wasnt too happy to see them but he was delighted and after telling them afew recipe ideas to make them more tasty they swopped a bucket of Feijoas for them.
    They have two huge Feijoa trees and said that on thursday gave away 75 pounds of fruit just on that day and had started to run out of people to give them to.
    Our trees are still recovering from their haircut and are only just starting to drop their fruit.
    I do wonder if they are alittle slower because they are started to get shaded by the neighbours walnut tree.
    I was alittle bit nervous about talking to them cos they can see what is going on in our back yard and thought they would have something to say about how slightly overgrown it looks but they didnt and didnt seem to be just being polite about it either.

    Back to the Bears breeches.
    I originally grew these along the fenceline when I noticed that the wandering jewel weed didnt grow under them and at that point had neighbours who didnt care and let it grow all over the place.
    When I crawled in amongst them after the chokos I was expecting to find the convovulus vines all through them but apart from two there wasnt anything growing in them.
    I was absolutely thrilled to see that my pulling this off the fence and where ever else I saw it has started to pay off and have decided not to pull out the bears breeches from around the garden to make more room.

    The other neighbour on that fenceline got a butternut stuck up on a post for them to collect.
    I wasnt sure if they would see it as it was getting abit dark but it had gone not too long after so hopefully that will go towards keeping them appeased too.
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    You have neighbours that swap chokos for feijoas?! They are either REALLY nice or VERY gullible! Wish I had a neighbour like that....
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yes lucky me!

    Its now the start of winter and they are still growing strong.
    I have been picking the little ones when they are about an inch to an inch and a half and munching on them as I work in the garden.
    We used to eat them like this as kids and I think the little ones have more flavour.

    I'm really surprised at what is still going even though its May and now winter.
    The luffas are still growing both vines and fruit.
    I'm not too sure whether we are supposed to be cuting the fruit off to dry or leaving them to die back, Im starting to get alittle concerned that they will rot if I leave them too long.

    The last of the butternuts have died back and I need to pick up the fruit, I'm going to leave one to see what happens to it over winter.

    Actually I left the sunflower that grew in the garden (and the last couple of sweet corn on the stalks) just to see what happens too.
    It had a full head of seed on it which bent downwards and now looks like one of those old fashioned curved street lamp, minus its seeds which may be if we're lucky grow next spring, we'll see.

    The peppers I left hoping they would redden up didnt, they rotten instead, oh well.

    All the capsicums and peppers are not exactly growing but not dying either.
    Its such a warm winter they just havent died back yet.
    Perhaps we should dig them up and put them in pots til next spring.

    The nasturtiums are still flowering even one of the ginger plants is trying to flower.

    The Lima beans are still green and still flowering, I did even find some pods on them!
    I have decided to leave them till they die back before collecting the pods- they are really hard to see with all the greenery, I figured I would be able to spot them better when the leaves are all gone.

    The Purple King and Painted Lady beans died back probably a month ago and the pods are in the porch drying out for seed for next year.

    I thought I had accidentally thrown out the bitter melon seed but found them on a reciept in the kitchen under something else so they are now in an envelope, folded up and labelled.

    Alot of people tell me I need to get proper containers to my seed in but my grandmother never did and just kept them in envelopes that came through the mail folded and quite often just left in the kitchen cupboard.

    I acquired some new things for the garden just recently, a friend had the purple maori potatoes and I was told to get them in the ground in a sheltered spot now which I did.
    I put them in 2 spots to be on the safe side.

    The other score was a dozen hoops from the nursery I do winter work for,they dont use these any more.
    Now all we need to get is the frost clothe to go over them and we should be able to extent our season alittle and maybe protect the baby plants from that dratted starling next spring.
    I'm feeling quietly excited about this,I can see good things happening here because we have these.

    The watercress my daughter collected from a local stream had roots on some of the stalks so we put them in the half wine barrel that had filled up with water.
    We werent too sure how they would go but they all are still green and still floating,perhaps we will have our own watercress to harvest next spring too.

    The winter savory cuttings are looking healthy and strong and aittle bit more visible on the weedmat.

    The last bed the chooks left had alot of wandering jewel weed growing in the path which I had raked onto the bed in the hopes that the chooks would eat it.
    I used to have chooks that did eat this right out but these ones obviously need to be educated.
    While they did enjoy scratching though it they didnt eat it so I,m left with this and not really knowing what to do with it.
    I dont have any lawn clippings to put on that bed due to the constant rain so I guess it will have to be raked backwards and forwards to stress it out so it doesnt set roots down.

    The chook dome is half way round the back mandala now and so far everything is fitting.
    We will be jamming the dome hard up again the Bears breeches along the back fenceline or the orange tree bed will be more lopsided than it is now.
    Its shrunk from 3 metres in diametre to 2 but alittle oblong at one section.

    Some of the girls must have lost the odd feather as there were quite afew lying on the ground,none of them had notable patchy spots though.
    For some strange reason known only to them, they have started giving an egg or two each day again.
    Could have been something in the buckwheat ?
     
  4. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    mischief, you'll always have those urenika potatoes wherever you plant them once they're established. They survive hot compost and pop up everywhere. They also stay bright purple when cooked (cool man!) and the chooks love em cooked up, dirt and all.
    I can't imagine them getting diseased, but they could be a vector to other, wimpier spuds.
    I dunno, but I'm having "it's when, not if" freakouts about potato disease at the moment.
    Even pretty hardcore permies seem to recommend getting the volunteers out.
     
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I'm not too worried about the potatoes getting diseased.

    I have had them grow by themselves along the fenceline from either the really tiny spuds or the seed balls that are produced from the tops (not sure which).
    This area has had the potatoes grow there now for about 4 years,they also grow alongside of jerusalem artichokes and have afew wild flowers and grass with them so perhaps all those plants have organised their own crop rotation system.

    I quite often transplant the rogues when I get the time and found they produce just as well as chitted potatoes.

    I was recently told about an old timer here who grows his potatoes on the same spot every year and has done so for the last 20 years.
    He apparently grows white mustard on their spot over winter and digs it in just before he plants the potatoes.

    I love the look of them and think they taste fantastic.
    These ones are supposed to grow quite long, but perhaps thats from the extra watering she gives them.
    I didnt think they would survive a hot compost tho.

    Now if I could just get my Yams to grow properly and at a decent size to eat life would be getting close to perfect.
     
  6. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I can't decide if I should ignore the cries of "disease, disease!" or not.
    My garden's only 3-4 years old, so I'm worried that the garden being healthy thus far could be more due to lack of disease buildup and luck, rather than my happy perennialised, polycultural potatoes!
    I keep hearing/reading opposing info. While right now I might be congratulating myself on my volunteer lovely spuds, what happens if blackleg, scab, wireworm and wilt show up? The four horsemen of the potatoapocalypse...
    I'm not fond of yams, so that's one veggie I can ignore.
    Do you have a favourite tomato to grow? I keep trying obscure varieties that I think aren't suited to my climate.
    I know what you mean about waiting for things to die off. My garden's pretty small and I save so much seed, it seems that most of it's tied up in giant seed-monsters most of the time. Next season is the year of the shelly bean. If mine ever brown off and you're still keen, I'll send some, although George's beans and the scarlet runners may have crossed...
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi Pippimac,
    I sometimes wish that we had just started small instead of going whole hog with the two mandalas, but I always just jump in and try to do it all and maybe not getting the best results that I could have.
    Still I look at it this way, that part of the section is in better nick that it was as just a lawn and it is providing more insects and lifeforms with a more varied environment and so has got to be better than just being a short lawn.
    At some point I know it will be exactly what and how I need and want it to be.

    I always come back to Oxheart and Amish paste.
    This year I grew the Princippe Borghese again too, this one is a cherry tomato.
    So this trio give me a cherry type, medium sized with the Amish paste and the Oxheart is slightly larger.

    I did grow some enormous ones the very first year we tried gardening but didnt keep the seed from them cos I thought that was how that sort always grew and now mourn the lose.

    I think you will only get disease build up if you are foolish and only plant the same thing year after year in the same spot with out a buffer crop.
    Or if you are also unlucky too.
    I think the growing climate plays a part too....what would your section be suseptible too?

    I did have late blight show up one year on the tomatoes but I cut the affected parts off and put them in the rubbish.
    The tomatoes grew back and while they didnt do as well they still produced fruit that looked good.
    I had never gardened before and didnt know that you're not supposed to do that,I havent had it since and thinking about it cant remember what you are supposed to do to combat it.

    I dont think we will have major problems with pests and diseases because we are trying to feed the soil rather than the plants and adding as much organic matter as we can.
    (Having said that I just couldnt get my cannellini beans or any dwarf beans to grow this year as they kept being eaten by some little white bugs in the ground.)

    This year was supposed to be my shelly bean year but due to being away so much the garden didnt do very well with the beans amongst other things, so it turned into a what happens when you (do/dont do something).
    Beans need to be picked regularly or they stop producing when they have mature pods forming up.
    Its quite surprising how fast they can get to that point, especially in mid summer.

    I did grow a couple of cool weather tomatoes that one was supposed to grow in greenland but again didnt do well.

    I dont know how Fukuoaka and his students managed to eat well if they had to survive on what could grow through the grass, but I guess they probably lived mainly on the Barley and Rice crops more than anything and just had the vegies as top ups rather than main course.

    I will have a look at what types I do have of the tomatoes(I was greedy and bought quite afew different types to try out). I can pm you and if there are any you want to swop for the beans that would be great.
     
  8. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I haven't had any disease, yet. (Powdery midew doesn't count, in my book). I move my plants around, but my big ???? with potatoes is more that I've never managed to completely clean them out of a bed, so despite my (rather relaxed) rotations, I have spuds all over the place.
    I like a tomato with a bit of acidity. Oxheart is always described as 'low acid'...
    Have you tried tommy toe or gardener's delight?
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Powdery Mildew seems to turn up here near the end of summer.
    To me its a sign of summer coming to an end, finishing off the pumpkins and gherkins that have set their fruit and ready to die back anyway.

    So far the chook dome has gone around the back mandala with lots of room of the edging.
    In fact its now looking like two beds now rather than 6 circles.
    Now that the central bed with the orange tree has been shrunk considerably, the first two beds are now joined together with curved edges on two sides, while the rest of the beds are now a big semi circle.
    We do need to shunt the diagonal path dividing the two mandalas over just slightly for the dome to be able to be inched around to that last station.

    I harvested some more of the cabbage tree that hubby tried to kill by cutting it to the ground.(This set LOTS of shoots which are now up to 3 feet high).
    So far I've taken off four of these and replanted them in the back mandala where hopefully they will take root.
    They should do, 2 of the 3 I did earlier grew.

    I did collect the luffas and put them in the porch just in case they got frosted on and rotted.
    I'm looking forward to these being dried and in use.
    I have waited so long to finally get home grown luffas, I cant wait...no more buying plastic pot scourers and a decent back scrubber!

    The black raspberry cane was cut into foot long lengths and these have been planted out along the trellis on the north side of the back mandala, in between the 2 boysenberry plants.
    This may make things alittle congested but hopefully we will be able to kep the boysenberries up along the top rung and have the raspberries underneath.
    All the currant bushes look alittle small to be taking bits off so we havent touched them.
    The black currant appears to sprouting shoots already.
    I think we may nned to move the white currant from where it is as it is getting swamped by the pineapple sage thats growing with the grapefruit tree.

    I checked the watercress the other day, some of them have obviously not found it to their liking and disappeared but a couple are still looking quite green and sticking their heads up out of the water.

    I was fasinated with the bugs that were on the water.
    There were a couple of different types.
    One lot were quite small and scurried along the top of the water flat out.
    I thought it strange that no matter how slow or fast they moved, the water didnt ripple at all.It really looked like they were scuttling over mirror.
    The other one was alot bigger about half the size of a fly.
    This one jumped.Actually I first noticed it when it landed on the water and again no ripple, then it jumped and the no ripple.
    I know about the tensile strength of water but to me it just didnt seem right that there was not the slightest ripple.Very strange.

    We have been sowing the white mustard as well as the lupins and peas again as a green manure crop, using our saved seed to do this and will keep aside some to set seed for the next lot, hopefully alittle more than this years (otherwise we will just have to get some more seed.)
    The next part to get sown will be with the phacelia cos we're getting alittle low on the other types.

    Two of the ginger plants are flowering, what a lovely yellow is has.
    So far this winter hasnt been that cold yet so these are still growing as are the chillis and nasturtiums that have usually died back by now,they are still trying to flower as well, I really do need to get some potting mix and pot these up and bring them inside.

    Im going to ask my boss at the nursery if we can have some of their old frost cloths for our garden.
    I was talking to one of the supervisors who told me that they do still have them in one of the sheds but dont use it so we should be able to get some or buy some, I'm happy with either option- its not cheap to buy.

    I started thinking of how we could use these other than as frost protection.
    We might be able to run the hoops along the back hedge line with covers on and run the chooks through there to help clear out weeds and bugs.
    Actually this opens up all sorts of possibilities,I did look at the back fenceline too but that might be too much temptation for the little foxie who lives over the fence.

    We should do much better with our seedling raising with these hoops.No excuses for fried vegies now,lol.

    On the "T.P" tree, I still think its a tree mallow but as it still hasnt flowered I cant be sure.
    This obviously likes to be planted in reasonably rich soil as the one that is in poor soil is less than half the size of the other.
    That one has a very sturdy trunk on it and huge hand sized leaves.
    I have been eying this one up as a possible trellis for a cherry tomato,Maybe we could just looped the tomato in amongst the 'mallow'.
    It will be interesting to see how tall this grows, at the moment its about 4 foot high.
    I really should take some cuttings of it and maybe cut the other one right back to see if its a cut and come again type plant.
     
  10. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I think it is great that your garden is evolving to be your individual space - unique in all the world. Well done.
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thank you Purplepear.

    I had a bit of time after work to get out and do a bit of a tidy up before the rains started again.
    I went out specifically to find all those asparagus plants and mark them so I can find them later to transplant them

    The one on the shade side of the grapefruit is obviously not liking where it is, their new home will have to be in a full sun spot I think.
    Im looking at the north side of the garden just across the path from the compost bin.
    That bed is alittle deeper and should they should fit there without interfering with what will be in the bed.
    This area is where I stupidly planted the Apple mint after being told it was benign.
    I wonder if they would like to grow together,I do like mint tea and it seems a shame to pull out such a lovely plant if we dont need to.

    I have this urge to race the dome around the rest of the beds so I can make sure of my facts this time before I do a major transplanting exercise again.
     
  12. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    Eeek! Apple mint! Benign is not the word...I can't imagineit working with asparagus as it forms such a mat and asp resents competition, right?
    But then again, I'm biased: our old place Down South has apple mint, montbretia, honeysuckle and a load of other...things battling for supremacy. The apple mint's winning.
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Ahhh,never thought of the matting aspect, just the root depth levels being at different levels.
    Oh well, I made a start on pulling it all out,have the leaves dried off with a towel and going to chop them up and dry them by the fire as I go.
    I should have known to put this in a big pot rather than in the veg garden.
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I have been wanting a hedgehog to come and live our garden for ages now and I think we might have one now.
    I went out to feed the cats in the dark and put my hand down where I thought a bowl was only to feel something small and prickly.
    Good thing my old dog is no longer with us or the hedgehog would have been chook food.
    Strange how the cats sort of look sideways away from this intruder stealing their food.
    Maybe I should start feeding the cats inside again, dont want the hedgehog to fill up on cat food when there are all those lovely snails it could be dining on.

    We got rained off work yesterday, which was great cos I really needed a break.
    By lunchtime the rain had died back to the odd drizzle so I set to work on the back mandala.
    I cut the larger winter savory plants back quite hard to get some sturdy cuttings for the edge of the double bed and had enough left over to go round most of the path side of the other larger bed.

    The dome got inched around again and I stuck a peg in the diagonal path where the dome needs alittle more room.
    It definitely looks like the diagonal path will be curved rather than straight now.

    On my wanderings I crouched down to see what was happening with the black currant.
    It has not grown into a nice round shrub due to being crowded by the winter radish that grew next to it and still after having the extra space all summer was some what flat on that side.
    Somehow one of it branches had broken off so I took that off and stuck it in the ground out of the way by the compost bins.
    Under the currant, the orangeberry ground cover was looking really pretty.
    I'm a foliage person rather than a flower person and I love the way different shapes contrast with each other.
    So we have the currant, the granny's bonnet and the orangeberry all nicely nestling.

    I like the way the orangeberry acts as a ground cover, its not too aggressive and tends to 'stand up' before touching down again,leaving lots of mulch underneath.

    It seemed like it had quite alot of tendrils so I decided to give that a haircut as well.
    Each length had alot of leaves and at the bottom of these, little roots were forming.
    So with my newly sharpened secateurs, I cut the stalk into bits with at least one leaf on each, some are longer.
    These have been planted in between the winter savory cuttings.

    I'm hoping that apart from having a really nice contrast of size and shapes of leaves, that the larger leaves of the orangeberry will act as a ground cover under and on each side of the winter savory.
    It wont matter too much if it encroaches on the beds or the paths, the chooks will scratch it into place on one side and we will stand on it on the other.
    I am hoping that this will be at least a partial solution to our weedy path problem.

    The nasturtiums are still flowering and I realised that I had not collected any seed from these yet which is annoying cos I couldnt see the yellow one just the red one(its supposed to be orange but is scarlet).
    I managed to find half a dozen seed pod(?) to dry and will just have to wait for the flowers to finish and fruit up hopefully before we really start to get frosts.
    I'm thinking that this plant might be useful as a internal bed 'path'.
    If I plant it where we are going to walk inside the beds it could act as a ground cover and I'm thinking that it will stand up to alittle bit of walking on, I'm going to try it to see next season anyway, so we'll soon find out.

    The Cabbage tree in the corner closest to the compost bin keeps getting trod on, or rather its long leaves do when I walk past it.
    I dont really want this happening in case it rocks the cutting too much and stops roots from forming up so all the leaves that grow on those two sides got cut back by at least half.
    This cutting has a curve in it rather than growing straight up so I have put in a short stake to hold it upright, hopefully it will start to grow straight from now on.

    I've been reading Eco's blog and started to wonder if I should look at having a spot outside the mandalas for when I cant move the dome around.
    (Havent decided whether it should be a permanent thing yet or not, I dont really want to do that.)
    This would stop the over fertilized rampant growth that we have had with the Lima beans and I wouldnt have to worry that they are going to get worms from being on the same spot for too long.(I'll have to check, but I think their worm cycle is 3 weeks to be re infested).
    I'm quite keen to see if the hoops covered with shade cloth would work and can see that they could help me clear the 'boundary' between the garden and the rest of the yard, especially around where the fruit trellises are supposed to be going.
    This is always getting grass growing and gets away on me.
    If it works, then Maybe I could move the geriatric hens into a hoop system and the new girls into the dome.
    That way I dont have to think about being mean to the old girls.
    (I do so love chicken and chives ravioli tho)
    There should be enough hoops to do another one for the newbies if I have to or someone will have to give me a hand lifting the dome out into hubbys side so they can help out there.
     
  15. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Weelll, we both chickened out on dispatching the chickens and a friend took pity on us and said they could go live a the bottom of the farm by the river, so off they went today.
    There were already 3 other geriatrics down there, 2 roosters and a white silky cross, they seem to be ignoring the newbies so I guess thats a good start.
    Who knows we may go back to check up on them only to find they finally decided to start laying again and have little fluff balls following along behind.

    While we were coming back we spied some chipped trees in a little park.
    It may have been put there to mulch the tree it was under but it was already well mulched so I dont feel guilty at pinching it.
    So, using the half barrel we transferred the hens in, we filled up the back of the ute.

    Instead of all the other things we were supposed to do today we wound up relaying the paths, I think we managed to make the mulch deeper than the first time so hopefully this will keep the weeds at bay for quite awhile.
    Got most of them done with 2 ute loads.
    I think maybe one more should do the trick.

    It feels like we are back to square one again

    The dome got moved around to make sure the beds were wider than the dome, it got hard to see exactly where the edges were even with the parsley on some of the beds.
    These werent quite right although they werent too bad so alot of them got hoed off.
    The paths were made wider as well so there will be that room for the winter savory cuttings to go in when there are enough to go round.

    While doing this we found an absolutely enormous carrot which unfortunately got hoed in half but you could still see how fat it was!

    The diagonal path between the two mandalas does now have that curve in.
    Looks kinda funky, with the self sown turnip and black radish, that were on the edge of a bed now finding themselves slapdab in the middle of the 'new' path.
    They, of course, had to stay until they did their thing because they were already flowering.
    Darn,I hope this isnt going to be a re run of last year as well, I Will walk over these if they are still there when the dome is ready to move past them.
    Maybe I should move them off to the side out of the way this time

    The three beds that run along the hedge next to the tools shed are now joined together with the path now running right to the middle of the garden.
    I figured that if I was going to walk over the bed cos it was more convenient than walking around the beds, then there really needed to be a path there, and so now there is.

    I would say though that I think this will be the last time I am allowed to move things around, so it had better be right this time.

    I thought there might be enough room for a 'bed' of strawberries between two stations in the second mandala and laid out the hoops to see how the wideth worked out.
    Unfortunately it didnt, the hoops fitted but to get the dome over the diagonal path onto the first mandala meant going right over where the hoops would be set up so thats not going to work.
    I decided that I dont like sharing My strawberries with the birds, they can have all the little plums.
    I want to use the hoops to cover their special bed.
    We ran out of sunlight before we finished so there is checking out the bed over the path from the compost bins.
    The water bed, funny this is the only one that still gets called by name, its the curved one in the first mandala and is longer than three domes.
    If I get home before dark tomorrow I'll lump the dome around that bed to see if there will be room for the hoops at the end.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    This week we finally got the luffas dried out.

    The largest one started to get a white mold on it and when I cut it open, it was all black and nasty inside so that got thrown out,yep into the garden along the back fenceline.
    I figured that it if was growing wild and got moldy it might still produce good seed and good plants.
    I dont really know, but it isnt anywhere I would deliberately plant them so it cant contaminate next years crop.

    Never having dried these before and having tried for the last 3 years to get this to grow, I was not going to lose what little crop we managed to get, so when another one looked like it too was going to get this mold, I brought them all inside and put some on a rack over the firebox and the rest on the tiles in front of the fire.
    The ones on the rack got turned every now and then so they would dry rather than cook.

    When they felt alot lighter I was fiddling around with the first one trying to figure out how to get the skin off it.
    I knew it wasnt supposed to be there.
    I managed to get a finger underneath the skin and it sort of unzipped.
    I couldnt do this at first with the others until they had dried out alittle more and only one got a piece of skin stuck on that I couldnt unzip, eventually I got it off but you can still see on the luffa where that spot is cos the fibres there look different.

    I was surprised to find that although they had lost alot of weight, they were still really wet and slimy feeling inside the cavities, so they went back infront of the fire until that had all dried out too.

    Gettting the seeds out was a mission, you can only get one finger into one cavity and cant really get a grip on anything
    Another head scratching moment.
    Somehow I hit on the idea of squeezing each along the ridge all the way up and then banging it on the table, which of course meant they flew everywhere.
    After a couple of frustrating days I discovered that if you put your hand over each end and shake up and down the seeds loosen their grip and then fall into your hand.
    So with all the table banging, shaking, squeezing,poking etc we now have a lifetime supply of luffa seeds.
    I have to admit that Im still not sure which is the best way to get the seeds out and can see us going through this all over again next year.

    The first time I used it in the bath it felt all slippery again and I thought "oh great Im going to get covered in yuk", but it washed off and dissolved in the water.
    It started off looking a light brown colour which isnt particularly pretty but after the slim was washed off and I used it to soap up my back -lovely, it turned in this quite nice pale goldy colour.
    This now sits upright on a cloth to help it drain, just incase it starts getting moldy too from being damp.
    They all are alot softer than the ones I ever bought from a shop and arent white like those, which I guess means the shop bought ones may very well be bleached.

    I wasnt sure how they would go in the kitchen because they do feel quite soft, so I cut one in half, just in case it was a waste of time and got ruined.
    So far its cleaned off the plates etc really well.
    I wasnt too sure about using it on the greasy fry pan but it rinsed out okay in the soapy water and as far as I could see, I got all the food scraps out of it, gave it a rinse in fresh water and left it standing up right to drain too.

    I am absolutely rapt!!!
    We never have to buy kitchen scourers and back scrubbers ever again.

    When mum saw the finished product she just had to have one and made sure she didnt forget it when she left.
    I think these might just be a nice part of a Birthday and/or Christmas basket prezzie.

    Its such a basic thing but, I feel that we have really achieved something significant with these.
    And best of all when they arent any good any more in the house they can go into the compost, or as firestarters filled up with fry pan grease.
    Multi functional. I love it.
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Well done Mischief - that is permaculture.
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    You can have some of mine... I still have 2 garbage bags full of them... :)
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thank you, Purplepear.
    I did wonder after I had posted, whether or not I had in fact steamed the seeds in the luffas I dried ontop of the stove.
    I guess Im going to have to do a sprout test at some point before I resow them in spring!

    Hi Eco,Now girl why havent you dollied them up and opened a stall at your local market, You know I'd love to have some so I had enough to give to all my friends and family but Customs just wouldnt approve.
    Hey did you say the flowers on your Vietnamese mint were white? Ours are still going strong but the are a lovely pink.

    We had a powercut all ay long yesterday, so I made perc coffe ontop of the firebox.
    I had put the finely chopped stevia in a teapot to brew with tea but that didnt sweeten it up that well.
    So with the coffee I put the stevia in the little basket along with the coffee grounds and then set it to work.
    I can say categorically, that a tablespoon of stevia is way too much but it definitely works that way.

    Also discover the culprit that was ruining the skins on our mandarins, I thought it was birds but no it was tiny little snails!
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Molassis for those snails mischief. Just water it done enough to spray and cover the tree.
     

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