My wildest dreams have come true

I think I’ve hinted previous about some exciting news to share and finally I am able to do so. In fact, it’s now a little overdue, but I hope you’ll forgive me when you hear how busy we have been. 🙂 Continue reading

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Christmas, New Years and the garden

 

This morning was glorious. I was up before the sun and although it’s cool and overcast this morning (a pleasant change from scorching sun in cloudless skies) it was lovely to firstly watch the light oozing into the day and then a little later, be outside gardening. Continue reading

Tomato planting time

I have not a single photo to share but I’ve spent the day in the garden, focused on planting. Will you forgive me? 🙂

Given the forecast for the next week won’t drop below 6°C overnight and the days are predominantly warm, I figured I would plant out my tomatoes. It’s officially tomato planting weekend anyway (Melbourne Cup weekend is considered the time to plant tomatoes in Melbourne and surrounds) so I roped Martin in to help.

We’ve planted Money Maker again after it’s most prolific fruiting last year, as well as Roma for bottling. I’ve not planted any cherry tomato seeds but instead snapped off the shoots from the tomatoes that have struggled on through neglect and cold on my back deck to grow. I’ve plenty of cherry tomatoes all in need of bigger pots. 🙂

I also decided to clear out my seeds this year. I’ve many varieties I’ve collected over the last couple of years, some I’ve just not planted, others I’ve tried and they didn’t sprout or got forgotten etc, but seeds only maintain viability for a certain amount of years, likely less given their haphazard storage here so I reasoned I’d grow a few of each and if I liked them I’d figure out if they were worth keeping or not. From memory I have Purple Cherokee, Black Russian, Purple Jasper, Pink Oxheart, Mr Stripey, Yellow Pear (cherry), Green Zebra and 1 or 2 others. I’ve planted out about 2 of each and we shall see what impresses the palate. 🙂

We also planted out some of the pumpkins, gherkins, spaghetti squash, cantaloupe (rockmelon) and honeydew melons. I’ve got some purchased watermelon seedlings yet to go in but to be honest, I’m stuffed after today so they will be required to wait until Tuesday.

All the plants have been tagged with aluminium plant labels. Now for those that know me I’m not a fan of aluminium. The jury is out on food safety, I’ve heard connections between aluminium and Alzheimer’s and it’s pretty energy intense if I can remember back to the assignment I did on the stuff in grade 6 but sometimes the stuff finds its way into our house and this time, rather than popping the cans into the recycling bin I decided to emulate a friend and use it to make plant labels.

Take 1 empty soft drink or beer can and cut off the top with a sharp knife (carefully – it’s slippery stuff). Then, using scissors, cut down the height of the can, cutting strips as wide or narrow as you desire for your labels. Then, again using scissors, cut each label off the base of the can. The leftover pieces go into recycling and you have your plant labels. If you plant the same varieties each year then they will last forever! Using a ball point pen (a dead one is perfect), write on your labels, pressing hard. The pen almost engraves in the soft metal and you never have to worry about permanent marker being less than permanent. 🙂 The only issue I can see is that they edges can be sharp.

Anyway, I’m off to put my feet up for 15 minutes before dinner. 🙂 What have you been up to this Melbourne Cup weekend (and if you are lucky enough to have the Cup Day holiday on Tuesday, what are your plans?

Shy

Spring has sprung here but like always it’s not sure if it’s going to stay quite yet. Why is it that Spring has to be the shy season?

The weeds chicken food that I’ve actively grown over the winter 😉 is almost overwhelming to contemplate cleaning up feeding to the chickens but the sunshine these last 2 weekends has helped and I even managed a light sunburn. The vitamin D has helped to boost the motivation further yet, as has good company (thanks S and T).

Food for the chooks.

Food for the chooks.

2 beds partly cleared and also partly sown - carrots, snap peas and some very early pumpkin seeds.

2 beds partly cleared and also partly sown – carrots, snap peas and some very early pumpkin seeds.

The time has come to pour some energy (and money 😦 ) into tidying up our gardens. The veggie patch needs nothing more than some hard yakka to find the soil underneath the “green manure” (how many phrases can I come up with to disguise the fact my gardens are a weed fest I wonder 😉 ) then some time spent transplanting seedlings and sowing seeds, etc. That’s not so bad (as long as you only look at 1 garden bed at a time) but the front is more than a little overwhelming. With the help of some good friends, 8m² of eucalyptus mulch (so far), more hard yakka, several garden tools, 2 wheelbarrows and a few days of sunshine, the front garden is coming together too.

We’ve decided to surround the beds with hardwood sleepers. We’ve been over the pros and cons of hardwood vs treated pine, both CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) and ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary) and decided that although “they” say it’s safe, neither of us are entirely comfortable, even with the beds more likely used for fruit trees and flowers. Still, the price difference stings. 😦

Sorry for the half shadow - bed cleared of weeds, allium seedlings replanted and 2 plum trees planted too. They'll shade the greenhouse in summer, just when it needs the shade most.

Sorry for the half shadow – bed cleared of weeds, allium seedlings replanted and 2 plum trees planted too. They’ll shade the greenhouse in summer, just when it needs the shade most. I’ve since added some scrap plastic garden bed edging I had lying around and it all looks much neater. 🙂

We’ve sourced a local supplier of greybox in Maryborough and hopefully the first lot of sleepers will arrive at the end of the week. Here’s hoping the preliminary forecast for fine weather arrives along with them.

In other garden news, the orchard is starting to burst into both flower and leaf with all bar 1 of the trees having made it through. The 1 tree that has no sign of greenery ran afoul of some small child breaking it in half (culprit unknown) but if the root stock lives, I hope to play at grafting. The seed grown apples are also coming along nicely. We spend Sunday out weeding the beds and paths, topping up garden beds where needed and feeding the chickens anything green from in there. Our poor chooks must be totally glutted I must say but if the egg the kids found is any indication, I’d say the greenery agrees with them. There is 1 poor hen walking funny tonight. 😉

Here’s hoping the weather lasts as these school holidays I would like to spend outside in the sun, weeding, sowing, planting and structuring, teaching and learning alongside my children. 🙂

It's Lizzie the Skink, found on the woodpile, released into the veggie patch.

It’s Lizzie the Skink, found on the woodpile, released into the veggie patch.

As an aside, my unbelievable daughter was in the garden with me the other day. She picked a leaf, brought it over and asked me what it was. It was a FOUR LEAF CLOVER! I could scarcely believe my eyes! 1st and only leaf she picked. Today, out in the garden with friends I was telling them of Allegra’s incredible find. She tells them how she did it, picks a leaf and brings it over to show us. Would you believe it? Yep, ANOTHER FOUR LEAF CLOVER! What are the odds?! Both of them are pressing between the pages of my Earth Garden magazine to be laminated for lucky charms. Not that she needs them if she can find them like that!

The first 4 leaf clover. It's 1 in 10,000 chance of finding one. What's the odds on picking 2 leaves over 2 days and those very first leaves are 4 leaf clovers?

The first 4 leaf clover. It’s 1 in 10,000 chance of finding one. What’s the odds on picking 2 leaves over 2 days and both of those leaves are 4 leaf clovers?