Last weekend I had a visit from blogless Mick from the gardening club. At our last meeting he’d casually mentioned that he had a new chainsaw and offered to give my fig tree a trim. (No, that’s not a euphamism! Behave yourselves!)
After Evan4 chopped down the tree in the right hand veggie garden with a spade, I sent an email off to Mick and asked if he wouldn’t mind coming around and helping me to get rid of the stump. As you can see, there’s now a compost bin sitting where the tree used to be. There’s also a hibiscus tree at the side of the house that’s gone to God. It was blocking the sunlight to the lemon tree we planted last November and was also threatening to clog up the guttering on both mine and the neighbour’s houses. It was clearly asking for it.
This is the scenic view of the sideway. The hibiscus branches are there until I work out what to do with them, while the brazier-sized logs that Mick was nice enough to cut for Evan4 have been thrown there by the lad to dry/weather/whatever it is they’re meant to do. Waste not, want not!
The next day I got rid of as many wood chunks as i could, then planted the seedlings. The snail-gnawed-and-chicken-tossed caulies and cabbage have been planted, though on mature reflection (yes, I’m capable of it at times), I’m thinking that it’s probably far too suburban and sentimental of me and I should have just bought new seedlings. I planted brussels sprouts (om nom nom) at the top of the photo because they’ll grow the tallest, then the gnawed seedlings, then a punnet of red cabbage (how decadent and cosmopolitan of me…) and a punnet of savoy cabbage, in case the gnawed ones don’t work. At the back I planted the last of a packet of peas but they haven’t come up yet. Only the peas in the pea straw who escaped the chickens have sprouted so far.
I’ve put a row of stepping stone pavers up to the compost bin. I hate going out to the veggie garden in the depths of winter and stepping through squishy wet mulch to get to the compost bin.
On the other side of the pavers I’ve got 4 garlic plants (my first time attempting to grow it) and some spinach. The spinach are looking a bit sad and yellow after a week in the ground. Maybe there’s too many wood chips still in the soil? Anyway, the plan for today is to water them with some worm wee to see if it’ll give them a good buck up.
This is the view through the fence behind the garlic plants. From one extreme to the other, hey? Most of this verdant growth is the heirloom tomatoes I bought last year in a fit of enthusiasm for seed saving. They’ve run wild and free, but with the weird summer we’ve had they’ve only been ripening in the last couple of weeks or so. I was expecting to be ripping out the plants this weekend and fertilising the ground and leaving it to rest over winter… but look:
In amongst the masses of growth there’s lots of tomatoes like this one, starting to ripen. The white ones have been particularly good and we’ve already had a few pasta meals based around them. I’m now thinking that I’ll let these plants go for another week or two and pull them out by the end of the holidays while I have the time. That’ll give the tomatoes a sporting chance to ripen before the frosts.
I’ve already saved seed from 5 different varieties, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the seed I’ve “made” myself!
The raspberries are ripening. It’s lovely to water the garden in the quiet of the morning and harvest a small handful of the berries.
You can see that the raspberries are hiding in the arum lilly patch. (I know I’m not meant to have a lilly patch in the veggie garden. I’ll add it to the list…. So much to do…. so little time….)
The whopping big tree in the chicken run is about to dump a whole heap of leaves on the ground. I’m already starting to put them in the compost. And just for those readers who were worried that the billions of doves would starve:
In the mornings I throw the chooks all of my kitchen scraps and a big bowlful of the free bread we get from a local bakery. I do this an hour or so before I put out their pellets. I like them to fill up on the free stuff first. As you can see, the doves are tucking in as well and I’m ok with that. So is Daphne.
Look in the left in the fig tree. Before I disturbed her she was gazing intently at the doves. It was like a customer in a Chinese restaurant choosing his lobster from the fishtank out the front.
The fig tree, like the tomatoes, has also ripened late this year; too late for the lorikeets unfortunately, but the possums and other birds are enjoying them.
I’ve lived here for 14 years and this is the first season that I’ve started eating them. I actually like them (who knew?) The chooks also adore them. Any that have been attacked by birds I pluck off and throw to the chooks.
Permaculture at work!
Finally, the ongoing experiment where I filled an old planter with bedding from the chicken coop, let it sit for a month or so, then topped it with a few veggie scraps, potting mix and leek seedlings. Here’s how they were on March 26, when I planted them:
Here’s how they look now:
I don’t think they’re very happy. In contrast, the spring onion seedlings I planted with just potting mix and a bit of Dynamic Lifter are going great guns:
Today is the boys’ last day here before they fly off to California for 12 days to tour with the school’s Jazz stage band. They’ll be playing at Universal Studios on Monday, Disneyland and Knottsberry farm a few days after that and also performing on some piers in LA and San Francisco. The rest of the time they’ll be racing around being tourists. I foresee today being a day of running around organising all of the things that they’ve forgotten. Wish me luck!