Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A full shelf in the greenhouse...

we recycle and repurpose as much as we can and here is one of our adopted ways.... straight out of Linda Woodrow's book, The Permaculture Home Garden. We scrounge polystyrene lidded boxes from the rubbish pile at the Supermarket - they have seafood delivered to them in them - sometimes they are a bit smelly! Then cut them in half to make two trays. Have to be a bit careful with the half that comprises the lid as it's base, though mostly this is fine. From the recycling section at the dump we take back as many square, 2-litre, plastic milk bottles and cut off the top and the bottoms, leaving about 15cm+ open-ended rectangle. Then fill the poly trays with the cut down milk bottles - sometimes I find a row of square, 1-litre bottles is needed if the shape of the tray doesn't fit neatly. We fill these with our potting mix and transplant our seedlings in one per milk bottle as soon as they have their first pair of true leaves - sometimes the seedling is only a few cms tall. We leave them to grow here until they are about 15cms tall, so they are strong and sturdy by the time they are ready for the garden outside. We feed them with worm wees whilst in the greenhouse. At the moment I'm using a commercial mix, after running out of an easy supply of 2 of my ingredients for home-made potting mix....will get back to that the worm wees is a great boost for the seedlings.
The punchline for this system is, of course, that one simply makes the hole in the garden bed where the seedling is to be planted and gently tips the whole milk container into it, until the soils are level, tuck in with extra compost/mulch and shimmy up the milk bottle to create a perfect micro-climate/protection barrier around the new plant until it has settled in (2-3 days). Easy.

Pond update

as you can see, we now have a few plants softening the edges of our pond - calendula, borage, chamomile, red day lillies, red cabbage trees, a few bromeliads and a passionfruit vine beginning it's travels over a rustic Manuka frame work and a selection of rocks and driftwood which are added to each time we return from an adventure... ... a work in progress...

Next WInter's firewood supply already...

An overgrown bunch of Sheokes or Casurina trees on our property suddenly became next year's firewood supply already...not really suddenly! Aaron has been working solidly a bit each day for the last couple of weeks to create this masterpiece. The trees have been cut so they are now able to be coppiced in the future. As they happen to also be a nitrogen-fixing type of tree which releases a dump of nitrogen upon being pruned/trimmed, we are feeling very good about being able to maintain them now...for lots of reasons! Just a little bald along the highway at the moment.this too, is being solved by Aaron, who is in the process of building a new enclosing fence - I'm trying to convince him that there needs to be some pretty cut-outs or something beautiful included - he likes the idea of the beautification, just not the fiddly bits when we just need a fence up now! (I think!) Here he is preparing the first posts for concreting in.

Spring in the Mandala Garden

there have not been entries lately due to....well, THIS! Spring is so inspiring and I just want to be soaking in it the entire day...weeding, mulching, sowing, tranplanting, mowing, sitting, smelling and EATING the fresh food we gather.
Soon, I'll post a detailed written update for the several people who are interested in our experiences using the Permaculture Mandala Garden design - I've made contact with someone else who is using it and has also set up a two-mandala system, just the same.
Tonight - here are a few pics in the meantime. In the foreground of the one directly above, is a strawberry bed and the topmost shot shows a very lush spurt of new growth on the Comfrey we are using to surround our garden.
I'll also post an update on the Chook Dome - we had a major re-build on our hands after a particularly bad storm and now have a new, stronger, better version, thanks to Aaron's hard work and excellent ideas!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chook update

please say a warm hello to Miss Gina, our latest chook in the dome. She appears to be a Minorca-cross, with an enormous, highly coloured comb and wattles. She definitely stands out amongst the rest of the flock. Apparently, she will lay a very, very large white egg every 3-4 days...she began today.
And these little characters are a small hatching of 5 Andalusian chickens, which hatched 12 days ago. Although this pic is blurry (gee, they move quickly!!), I had to post it - the one of the broody's back is just so fun!!! Of course, they are proving a massive temptation for Phoebe - all she wants is to be able to love them up like she was able when we had some which were incubated for us last year - of course it is a very different story when there is a "Mother" fiercly protecting HER BABIES who will not let either of us get very close at all. A couple of days ago, I twigged to what Phoebe was up to - she was creating a gap in their run, hiding around a corner and waiting for a chick to wander out, whereby she'd then scoop it up for a sneaky cuddle while 'rescuing' it....only the Mother wasn't very happy with this AT ALL!!