Chooks and Bunnings and more besides

Another weekend over and another heap of things still to do but also things achieved. I swear the to-do list never gets shorter but then again we do keep adding to it. πŸ˜‰

I spent some time in the front garden, filling up and planting out my triangular garden bed. The Triangle bed (as it’s known) is home to my yacon. I’veΒ mentioned yacon beforeΒ and had planned to plant it out in the odd-shaped garden bed but as it’s not yet built and the yacon is sprouting I decided to change plans and plant it where I could. Due to the extra depth of the bed I used a bale of straw, heavily coated in blood and bone as the base layer before topping off with a good thick layer of purchased compost. Β I stuck the yacon in and after a really thorough soaking I mulched well with sugar cane mulch. I also mulched the asparagus bed which also houses sunflowers (a close relative of yacon) and nasturtiums this year. I have more mulch with which to give the strawberries and raspberries a layer too that I hope might give their beds half a chance of holding in some moisture. At the moment they’re drying out chronically fast and the soil is simply blowing away on days like today. A good top up with compost and a heavy watering with a good layer of mulch will hopefully keep things in place and stable until all the strawberry plants establish. They then will stabilise the bed beautifully.

One minute he's running around and then...

One minute he’s running around and then…

This morning involved a trip to Bunnings. After our usual alarm clock wake up after a thorough sleep in (being kicked in the face by a small boy and admonished “hey!” before 7am (but after 6:30) constitutes alarm clock sleep in 😦 ) we upped and got at ’em and headed out for breakfast before Bunnings. I had some birthday vouchers to spend which made it a lot of fun! And the kids were on good behaviour with the promise of Bunnings playground too. πŸ™‚

He just put himself to sleep! My funny little snuggle-bug.

He just put himself to sleep! My funny little snuggle-bug.

Jas and I hit up the garden centre where I was pleasantly surprised to find my Feijoa plant. If you have the space and want a thoroughly hardy, drought tolerant, ornamental and practical tree/shrub with both edible flowers and delicious fruits then you can’t go past a Feijoa. I grew up with one in our garden and they are truly delicious. It’s not a fruit you will often find sold commercially as the fruit doesn’t last once it’s ripe but I highly recommend planting one for its prolific fruits. I’ve put one (protected by wire) in the back garden. The chooks have already done their best to dig it back up but I’m hoping the blocks dumped around the base will dissuade them a little longer. Once it gets a little bigger (they reach 4.5m x 4.5m) then they are welcome to do their worst. πŸ˜‰

With our rather nasty frosts I may well need to offer some extra protection during the very cold nights to the passionfruit vine I purchased but I’m hoping the fact it’s being grown next to and will be trained over a water tank might offer the extra thermal mass required. I hope to get a second one or grow one from a cutting to grow over the shed water tank too. πŸ™‚ Pretty and useful.

Terrible lighting (iPhone photo taken at dusk inside the greenhouse) but my spuds are doing well in here so far. I just hope it doesn't get too hot in here for them over the summer months.

Terrible lighting (iPhone photo taken at dusk inside the greenhouse) but my spuds are doing well in here so far. I just hope it doesn’t get too hot in here for them over the summer months. Time to mound and mulch them up.

I also grabbed a Jasmine vine (yes I know they grow readily from cuttings Narf πŸ˜‰ ) and some Thyme, the latter is planted beside its cousin Oregano, both as under story plants to the grapes. I figured that they’re all Mediterranean plants after all. πŸ™‚ More herbs to come there. The jasmine will be planted to grow up and shade our front deck near the front door which will allow us to leave the door open in Summer and will also allow its heady scent to drift through the house. πŸ™‚ It’s flowers, along with the honeysuckle I hope to plant beside it, will provide nectar for the bees I want to encourage to visit my garden. πŸ™‚

Whilst I was planting out and mulching up, Martin was playing Daddy and trying to hook up our 3000L water tank to the shed roof. He’s more than just a bit of a star. πŸ™‚ The kids had asked for a splash pool so with a tarp and a sandpit frame they were ready to go. Martin installed the tank pipes (no overflow pipe quite yet) just in the nick of time. Just as he finished is started to spit with rain! πŸ˜€ I don’t think today will bring enough to wet the roof, let alone run off but there is rain or showers forecast all week. I guess today’s 28ΒΊC was just a teaser for Summer yet to come. There’s possible frost forecast later this week. 😦

The lambs are settling in well too. They wander around the garden, munching grass here, lying down to enjoy sunshine or shade there and generally keeping out of the way of the humans that share their space. They’ve quieted down too for which I am eternally grateful. Their bleating the first night had me worried that they would disturb the neighbours. 😦


The other project that’s on the go at the moment is changing over winter crops for summer. The broccoli are just about done now and I pulled up the last of the supermarket styled broccoli plants the other day which the chooks and ducks enjoyed immensely. The aphids had moved into one of them and the others were a while off having side shoots that could be harvested so I decided to call it Β where it lay and pull them out. The sprouting broccoli are almost all in full flower now and I’ve been collecting the seeds when I can. The ones in the greenhouse will come out over the next few days to make way for some sub-tropical root plants I’d love to try. Even despite the heavy frosts I have a few ideas for keeping them warm over winter. I hope to try ginger, galangal and turmeric. The cauliflowers are starting to form up so I hope to harvest them in a week or 2 and there are 3 beetroot left in there too which will finish off the brassicas growing. I’ve been rapt with the purple sprouting broccoli and would plant them again in a heartbeat. Although they don’t grow a large head like the commercial broccoli (well, mine didn’t) they produced prolific small heads which made an impressive display and are also utterly delicious. No need to chop up into florets either, it’s ready to go. Perfect for cooking or serving raw as is with dip. πŸ™‚

The yellow flowers are my broccoli in bloom. Pretty, even in the dusk light.

The yellow flowers are my broccoli in bloom. Pretty, even in the dusk light.

My marigolds are starting to emerge in among the garlic as are my parsnips and carrots among the potato onions. There’s no sign yet of the pumpkins or corn planted in one of the garlic beds but I expect to see them in another week or so. When they emerge I will repeat the same planting in the next garlic bed and then again in the 3rd one. And when the corn reaches a few inches in height, each will receive its companion bean, planted next to it. I just love companion planting. πŸ˜€ Pumpkins to provide a living mulch and corn to provide a trellis for the beans. The beans then leave behind nitrogen for the next crop.

Well, bedtime looms on this balmy October night so time to hit the sack. πŸ™‚


17 thoughts on “Chooks and Bunnings and more besides

  1. Enjoy your feijoa πŸ™‚ We love them here and there is much excitement when the first start dropping off the trees, we both scramble to have the first taste!!

  2. narf77 says:

    I swear someone up there is laughing at us…chooks…eating broccoli?!!! Our chooks walk over broccoli and look at us as if to say “where’s the good stuff!” they wouldn’t touch broccoli or pretty much anything else unless we planted it or they could dig it up. Methinks their ability to free range and the organic mix we feed them has left them spoiled (much like our dogs who sniff things you give them and nine times out of ten turn their heads away…whoever heard of dogs dissing cake?!!!). We have a teeny feijoa but I am going to take some cuttings from the girls feijoa in town as I want lots more. Take note NEVER let it be said that narf7 didn’t give you a sporting chance. Jasmine is the debils spawn. It will take over your entire garden and you will rue the day that you ever planted it. Same goes for honeysuckle…debil spawn 2! Like a terrible sequel that is actually more scary than the first! Our honeysuckle spreads over an acre and the only thing more virilant is the vinca (periwinkle…sigh…) and forgetmenots… Looks like you have a great and most productive weekend. This week is where we get stuck in and today promises to at least deliver a good pile of blog photos (probably of me fast asleep on the floor or fallen into the huge hole that a big dead tree left when falling conveniently right next to our garden site and blocking off our access to the area till we cut it up…sigh…”NATURE WHY DO YOU TAUNT US SO!!!” ;). Green at your water tank :(…

    • Forget me nots we have already… Like a plague! πŸ˜‰ I don’t mind as they’re all flowers an d the FMN’s just get mowed so they’re fine. I grew up with a honeysuckle and never remember it going feral. As for the jasmine, I have ALWAYS said I’d have one in my garden since I was a kid. And it’s exactly what we need near the door. It will be lined up for 6 monthly prunings to keep it out of the roof though. πŸ˜‰ And anyway, there is no way it could be as bad as the dock (both varieties) we have growing absolutely everywhere in our gardens and grass (can’t call what we have lawn πŸ˜‰ ) Oh, and the wild lettuce (both varieties), the plantain, scotch thistles, a different variegated thistle, stickyweed, hawthorn, poplar and I’m sure we have some other weeds. πŸ˜‰
      The tank moved with us from Spotswood. I’ve been itching to get it installed for most of the year now but the slab is finally in place and yay for water harvest. Only 42,000 or so more to go now. πŸ˜‰
      I reckon nature taunts us to get even for the destruction we humans cause. It’s only fair after all. 😦

      • narf77 says:

        Nature is a bit stupid to pick on those of us that are actually trying to make a difference ;). The jasmine has the problem of running under the ground and popping up all over the place…same thing happens with the honeysuckle and the periwinkle. I adore both of them (the scent and the romance over an arch) BUT I had to learn the hard way by trying to remove it from a garden bed next to the house and there was more jasmine in root form than soil in the garden bed! I was amazed at its tenacity and now I am just like Garfield with my ears back because you can’t get rid of it. I bought a jasmine and planted it in town and promptly forgot about it and the other day when I was showing Kelsey how to prune (“back to the buds!”), I noticed that it had gone feral…not my problem now πŸ˜‰

        • Maybe I might plant it in a pot in the garden bed then… I do have a goodly sized terraotta pot I can plant it in now too. Then the rest of the garden can be filled up around it. Containment that is hidden under the mulch layer. IF it works the I will look like the gardener than has managed to tame the wild jasmine beast! πŸ˜‰ And yes, it is a stunning plant, ultimately romantic and deliciously scented. I will also be planting a Cecile Bruner rose there too so I will have the trilogy of romance by the front door. πŸ™‚

  3. We tried the ‘Three Sisters’ companion planting technique last year. It was brilliant. We could fit a corn, bean and pumpkin / cucumber / zucchini plant per 9 litre bucket and all got along swimmingly. And people complain about not having enough space?

    Every time I read this blog I just want to leave it all and buy a place where I can potter and build and experiment and grow food. It’s closer, I can feel it. I can’t wait until I have a to-do list filled with important, interesting tasks too.

    • Hey Pavel, great to hear the 3 sisters worked for you! It’s one thing to read it works in a book but another to hear first hand experience. I’m just hoping I have got enough of a jump on the season for the corn as it failed to mature last year due to a) a short growing season and b) brand new nitrogen low garden beds. We’re learning. πŸ˜‰
      Space is all relative isn’t it. Gav from Greening of Gavin grows far more in what amounts to a pretty standard block of land (by today’s standards it’s huge though) and I have heard of harvests from balconies that far outstrip what you’d expect possible. It’s all about thinking outside the box a bit sometimes hey. πŸ™‚

      • Space is definitely relative. I think it comes down to motive. If you want to grow plants you will grow plants. Few situations are preclusive. Perhaps if you live in an air-tight bunker you may struggle without the assistance of technology.

        Gav’s a gun. I admire what he has done and how he has done it. He is a poster child for suburbia.

  4. Jo says:

    Jessie, passion fruit vine over the water tank – you are a true-blue Aussie! I’m with Fran on the jasmine though.. I have it growing through two separate neighbouring fences now, and keeping a hawk-like eye on it before it strangles any innocent nearby plants. Feijoas do brilliantly here. There is one that drops fruit over my back fence. Now that is a plant neighbour I love! And the red flowers just in time for Christmas – perfect!

    • I thought I needed to grow it over the dunny to be a true blue Aussie. πŸ˜‰
      I read the other day that the feijoa flowers are edible too! I shall keep an eye on my feijoa for flowers this Christmas then. πŸ™‚

  5. Mumof2Rs says:

    Oh you shame me with your productivity! I read this and thought, yes yes yes, this is what I am aiming to get my garden like. I have just put in a couple of feijoas too. I have never tried them but have heard good things.
    I may also be keen to try growing yacon, but haven’t made up my mind yet. Is it allelopathic like sunflowers?
    I am planting 3 sisters for the first time this year (corn, rattlesnake beans and green squash), and didn’t really think it would work. But when the beans started growing up the corn all on its own, I marvelled that they would know instinctively to do that. Isn’t nature wonderful?

    • Sunflowers are allelopathic? You learn something new every day. πŸ™‚ I have no idea but they do get rather large and I think quite bushy so they may shade out anything else anyway. I can let you know in Autumn. πŸ˜‰
      If you’re aiming to get your garden like mine then I must say that’s not aiming too high. My garden is so very much a work in progress and more mess than order (real mess, not just unorganised gardens) and more weeds and grass than food, and a learning curve as steep as a cliff. Still and all I LOVE it. πŸ˜€ I love being in it, love thinking about it, dreaming about it, researching for it and then actually getting out in it. πŸ˜€ And I love sharing it too. πŸ™‚

    • And my bean of choice is also rattlesnake beans! First time I’ve tried them. πŸ™‚

  6. LyndaD says:

    Cant wait to visit to see all the progress. Im trying to visualise it all. The sheep look so “normal” in your garden. Oh Orik. So you’ve moved on from the high chair and now have him wedged in a pallet in the back yard. Jess Jess Jess.

    • Lol, I KNEW you’d comment on my sleepy boy. Literally running around the garden one minute, bombed out the next. And his feet weren’t jammed in for the record. πŸ˜‰
      As fr visiting, ANY time! You know that. πŸ˜€

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