I can’t believe it but 2014 is already 1/12th over! 😮 Where did January go I ask you? Likely up in steam given the hot weather from the other week and again heat is forecast here to usher in February. Still and all, I’m on the path of finding ways to minimise the heat and I plan to freeze some treats for us to enjoy when it heats up further tomorrow and then to a scorcher on Sunday. Thankfully Martin is home to take the older two kids to the swimming pool and help them cool down there.
I finally got around to a job that was absolutely critically overdue the other day. Our gardens, being new and built upon beds of carboniferous materials (straw, dead leaves, branches etc) are low in nitrogen. I had compensated for this when I built them by adding a lot of blood and bone but clearly, given the state of my stunted yacon, well insufficient amounts. On the weekend I finally got around to distributing 1/2 a bag around my pumpkins, tomatoes, the poor starving yacon and hence the zucchinis too, and the other beds out the front as well. I watered it all in Saturday evening but this evening was my first chance to check out what effect, if any, had occurred out there.
I also needed to check on the 2 zucchini that were out there, unsupervised. Zucchini are like children (well my children at least) in that if you leave them unsupervised they will get up to mischief. Well, they had indeed been up to mischief. I picked one of them and now need to figure out if I have enough eggs to disguise it as a slice. It may well need to be an awful lot of eggs. 😉
And I will need to work out what to do with the next 3 days worth of zukes too.
The yacon have put on an inch since the weekend too so clearly the lack of nitrogen for nitrogen loving plants was a spot on diagnosis. 🙂
A quick glance at the strawberry patch and I realise that every cent I spent on strawberry pants was wasted. They all died. However, the strawberry plants I was given for free are thriving though and already multiplying themselves. The yield is small but the taste is divine and with a little love and care I expect the yield and the size will increase. 🙂 Not all made it but enough have done so that I will see a carpet of dark green leaves in a year or 2.
The pumpkin patch is beginning to take off, little runners heading off left, right and centre. I can no longer tell which leaf belongs to which plant. Just as I had hoped.
And to my surprise I already have a pumpkin growing. I bought some Buttercup pumpkin seedlings from Bunnings (here, here and here for info on buttercup pumpkins) and I already have my first fruit growing. They are small pumpkins and will be a lovely novelty for the kids to help me hollow them out, stuff them with yum including the rest of the pumpkin flesh, sultanas, nuts and more and then roast them. Yum! 😀 According to wiki my most trusted of friends 😉
Buttercup squash is one of the most common varieties of this winter squash, with a turban shape (a flattish top and dark green skin), weighing three to five pounds [1.3kg-2.3kg] , and normally heavy with dense, yellow-orange flesh.
I only bought them as they were cute and small. 😉 The bush itself seems more like a zucchini in its growth habit wich might be of interest to those who have limited space for growing pumpkins who do their best to squash (pun intended) all other life forms in the general vicinity. 😉
The potato hugel is doing well and indeed I went bandicooting for a friend to say thanks for some help he gave us so the less than impressive plants are due to me needing to haul them out altogether. The spuds are a bit wonky in shape but deliciously creamy white. 🙂
Next year I am thinking I might plant the hugels with sunflowers. Or maybe corn. Imagine walking between them and being simply shadowed out by tall golden heads all nodding down to you. 🙂
In my most exciting news though, in my opinion, we have a frog in our pond. A friend was helping me to line the edges of the pond with some rocks he’d collected for me and as I adjusted an existing rock a small frog plopped into the pond and swam off, indignant no doubt at me disturbing its home. I looked closely at the time and have seen again this evening and we have tadpoles in there too!
I am absolutely stoked that even though my fish died I still have a thriving pond. Things must be doing well in there to have frogs and tadpoles. 😀
I must say I have been incredibly impressed with how well the hugels have performed too. The weather has been unkind to gardens with its relentless heat and lack of rainfall (although we were generously granted a misty damp sort of day yesterday, or was it the day before?) but truly, the hugels have outperformed my wildest expectations this year. Hugelkultur gardens are incredibly waterwise gardens but usually only after that first year. It takes time for the wood base to begin to rot down and to absorb all the rain water that falls over the winter season. Our beds are relatively new (mere months) and haven’t experienced all that much rain. I have 2 that are very dry and have suffered with the lack of rain and regular watering (whoops) but the last 3 have been incredible. I haven’t had to water them, nor the tomato bed nearly as much as I would have thought I’d need to. The plants are doing well too and although the nitrogen levels needed help I had already expected that as they can be low on nitrogen the first year or 2. Still, I am very impressed with how they’ve performed and would recommend them to anyone who is keen on a natural raised garden bed or someone with excess fallen trees needing using/removing or who has limited space in which to grow as hugels actually increase your garden space. If you build them quite high (they can be built up to 2 metres I believe) then you can turn a small space (the base of the hugel) into a space potentially up to 4 metres! 😮 Some plants do better than others but on the whole, I think they are well worth the effort. 😀 Just don’t use freshly fallen poplar! 😦
Stay cool my Australian hippies. Stay warm to those of you in the middle of winter and enjoy the weather all of you currently enjoying a pleasant forecast.