Thursday, April 24, 2008

Growing Challenge - TheCarrots are in!

Finally - we have planted the carrots. The ground here is gravel/sand so heaps of little rocks and no good for lovely long straight carrots. This is why we haven't had success in the past. This year we're trying a trench method I read on the net. The bloke said to dig a trench and simply fill that in with soft sandy organic matter, rather than have to cultivate (or sieve in our case!) a large area.
So we've done it. Trench dug, filled with lovely worm castings - generously donated by Grumps, thanks! and carrot seeds sprinkled on top.

We'll see how they go!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

War is declared!

They have arrived. Clad in an armour of black with red stockinged legs, they appeared silently, stealthily under the cover of darkness. This morning I stood in the vegie patch, surrounded by the carnage and very nearly wept at the futility of it all. The enemy - Red Legged Earth Mites. The victims - all our beautiful new seedlings. But it isn't over. They may have won a battle, but not the war. Tonight Hubby and I put our heads together and devised our plans for the counterattack. Lacewings! A whole box of them! Hahhhaaaaaa! We have ordered a box of them - didn't know you could order insects until tonight - but you can, and we have and so we wait and in a few days, when the enemy has been lulled into a false sense of security...we will pounce - or at least the Green Lacewings will and smite the mite from the face of this vegie patch. Victory shall be ours!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Babies in the garden

And here we have it - some up to date photos taken a mere 8 minutes ago. The vegies have definitely grown since that old pic was taken.

A particular success story this year - so far - has been the garlic. I found a website earlier in the year written by a group of people who were really serious about their garlic (talked to the cloves almost). They suggested soaking the individual cloves in Seasol and Bicarb overnight, and peeling the softened skins the next morning before planting. I have to say we've never had garlic sprout so fast or look so healthy. These were planted just before the Autumn equinox so 5-6weeks ago. See pics.

Here as well we have the baby kiwi vines as mentioned: Only just visible to the left and right of the tree.

And a few other personalities that roam Cwm Goch, Zac our beautiful Border Collie, and one of those much-put-out biddies!

Today's afternoon project is to plant the Broad Beans - we hate them but Nana and Grumps love them so the beans will be for them. And hopefully, we'll actually get some carrots in too....kind of got waylaid from our 'Challenge entry', but at least there's lots of other stuff going in.


Henry Reigns!

Finally sorted out my log in problems and hurray - we're here again.
Well it's starting to get under way. I've got Hywel (hubby) on board and he has built fences - permanent and temporary (wobbly!) through the orchard. We visited our friends' farm in York to get some hay and sheep manure - you never saw people so excited about sheep shit as us that day!

We also got a new rooster - he's a Plymouth something (rock?) and absolutely delightful! He's only young, and came with 2 females (we think). Of course there has been friction in the henhouse the last few weeks as they settle in, but it's getting better. Those nasty old biddies better watch out - 'Henry' is destined to grow a lot bigger than them!

Anyhow here's a picture of Henry (named after the king who also had a number of wives!) he is soooooo friendly and comes when he's called. My favourite rooster ever. Just hope he keeps his nice temperament when his spurs come in.

We also got a stack of seedlings and put them in. Yes we plan to grow from seed but wanted to get a head start. So, bought seedlings are in, seeds are currently being propagated - and hopefully will go in as a successive planting in a month or so.

Here's the plot! OMG! I did a double take as I accessed this photo just now. It was taken a few weeks ago - and already looks quite different. I will definitely get out there tomorrow and take some new photos.

Since this one we've put in a crop of potatoes a la Peter Cundall - which means just plopped them on the ground with a few sheets of newspaper under them, then layered them over and over with sheep poo and straw. It looks a burial mound but hopefully will give us heaps of potatoes. The kids just loved looking for the treasure (aka spuds) last year.

Today's highlight was buying a male and a female kiwi fruit vine. I think they're called Chinese gooseberries overseas. I was inspired by a You tube video I saw last night about a man who designed Forest gardens Robert Hart? - may need to edit that name, can't quite remember. In any case we've planted them against an old apricot tree that isn't producing and has several large old dead branches. Hywel was going to rip it out but I convinced him not to. It's still providing a frame/canopy and therefore might be useful in some way. Anyway - the vines might be a flop there - but you can only try and see. I think it should be ok - some protection from winds, but not enough foliage - due to the dead branches - to block out the sun the plant needs. Time will tell. Photos tomorrow!

While mentioning You Tube - I found a heap of Bill Mollison documentary segments there, and some inspiring clips from the Dervaes Family. Well worth a look. The stuff these people are achieving is amazing.

Anyway, thanks to those people who commented so far - I learn HEAPS from other people's info on the web - I hope some of what I learn is useful to you. :)